Time for some Heat! First Gear
The other day I decided to go for a ride to Wellington via Palmerston North, Masteron, along SH2 and then come back via SH1/SH3.
The day started nice at 7am but was little chilly. I had expected it and had my heated jacket on. This jacket runs on a battery and has 3 heat settings the lowest of which lasts about 7 hours before running out. Well I only took one battery with me expecting the day to warm up. It was soon at -2 degrees and the heated grips where on 4 and the heated seat on 3 along with the heated jacket and I was still not that warm but was okay. After 4 hours the heated jacket stopped and I thought the battery had run flat as I had not used it for some time. The rest of the trip I was cold and never warmed up. There was even some rain to cool things even more.
When I got home I threw in the second battery and nothing. Thinking it flat I charged them both up and it still would not work. Every now and then I could get it going but gave up. Later I opened the back of the controller and found a broken wire but I had to superglue it togeather so if it stops again it would be a new controller.
Anyway I got to thinking I needed something that ran off the bike and not battery so started looking around. Could not find anything in New Zealand so started looking in the USA. On Revzilla I found a heap of gear from FirstGear. Watched a few review videos and some feedback and decided to get some. I ordered the controller first and it arrived 22nd August 2016. I opted for the wireless remote and had to wire the first bit to the battery. Picture of what is included is here. Cost of this was US$139.95. The controller consists of a pigtail which goes to the battery, a receiver which plugs into the pigtail and has two separate outputs for two zones and the transmitter which is powered by two AAA batteries and has two control knobs for the different zones.
The second things I ordered where the socks and pants and then a week later the jacket liner. The jacket liner arrived first on the 25th August and I tried it on as I was a bit worried about the sizing. Being a 6’3” person and of large statue getting gear to fit is a pain sometimes. No worries here though and the sleeve length was perfect and had plenty of room in the jacket for movement. The collar is fleece lined and very nice. Heat is said to be 90 watts and heats the chest, back, arms, and collar areas. A picture of the jacket hanging is included and you can see the connection wire for the heat controller. There is also connections at the end of the arms for gloves or glove liners and another connection in the waist to connect to the pants. The cost of the jacket was US$199.95.
The pants and socks took some time to get here and were held up in customs. They decided that they were clothes so wanted to get the duty and the GST. The duty was 10% and then 15% GST on top of that. In the end I had to pay an extra $150 in taxes getting the things through. These are not available in New Zealand in any form yet they want their share of the money. The cost of the pants was US$189.95 and the socks were US$69.95.
Anyway they finally arrived and soon had them unwrapped and tried them on. They all fitted nicely but by now the weather had warmed up and there was no real chance to put them to the test. I did however put all the gear on and then sat on the bike while it was in the shed and turned the heating up to full. The jacket was awesome and you could feel the heat building quickly all over the chest, back, and arms. The pants also heated nicely and gave a nice warm feeling to the legs and bum. The socks were not so good though. They heat only over the top of the toes area so did not appear to get much heat but I am sure they will be good. On the socks the wires are quite prominent but you don’t feel them in the boots so no issues there
Now I just have to wait for some really cold day to try them out fully but I think it is going to be money well spent and I will not have any more chilly rides.
Now to wait for my next farkle to arrive which is the Clearwater LED Darla lights.