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Bruno Valeri
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Product Review

Gerbing G3 heated motorcycle gloves review (electric gloves)
Nov. 2005

Few things will weaken your resolve to continue a motorcycle ride as enduring cold hands will. Your body may be comfy but if your hands are freezing, your ride is bound to be cut short. Not only does riding with cold hands seriously detract from your enjoyment, it can also affect your safety. Since cold hands have less feel as well as significantly lower dexterity, your fluidity in operating the handlebar controls can be greatly diminished.

There are many ways to keep hands warm. One way is to use warmer gloves. But warmer gloves can often be bulky, lessening dexterity and feel. I've never liked that option much for motorcycle riding. I’m also reluctant to sacrifice abrasion protection in return for added warmth.

For my riding preference, the ideal glove should provide reasonable warmth and abrasion protection while still providing good feel for the controls.

On initial glance, the new Gerbing G3 heated motorcycle gloves seemed to fit the bill.

Description:

  • Quality leather construction
  • Heated gloves using Gerbing's High Density Heattm technology
  • Waterproof/breathable membrane
  • Thermolite lining
  • Gel cushion strips on palm
  • Adjustable wrist enclosure
  • Lifetime warranty on heating elements


What I found:

The Gerbing G3 heated gloves look and feel very good as stand-alone leather gloves and are equally at home on or off the motorcycle. Constructed of quality leather that is supple and soft to the touch, they provide excellent feel for the controls and are very comfortable to wear. The glove form is pre-curved and they require no break-in period.

Though they offer no impact protection of any type, they should provide reasonable abrasion resistance.

The Thermolite lining provides surprising heat loss protection without adding appreciable bulk while the gel inserts on the palm increase comfort for extended riding.

Plug-in the Gerbing G3 gloves and they heat up quickly, resulting in well-distributed, soothing warmth. The heating elements warm the back of your hand as well as the top and sides of your fingers. However, I did notice that the thumbs never seem to warm as much as the other fingers. I don't know if this is by design or if it is a design limitation.

Though the Gerbing G3 gloves include a waterproof/breathable liner, Gerbing refers to them as water resistant rather than as waterproof. I suspect this to be due to the realities and complexities that are part of glove construction rather than as a result of the liner’s performance as such.

My initial testing did reveal some localized water leakage, particularly at the tips of the fingers, but it represented conditions that were more extreme and harsher than those generally encountered. This included complete submersion under pressure of water.

But when treated with Nikwax weatherproofing and tested under normal riding conditions involving heavy rain, the water just beaded off the surface of the glove and my hands remained warm and relatively dry. So I'd expect them to be fairly water resistant. A very decent trade-off in exchange for the better abrasion protection offered by leather. In addition, when riding in the rain, the gauntlets can easily fit under the jacket sleeve cuffs to prevent water from running down the sleeve and into the glove.

Another possible plus relates to the wiring layout. Gerbing gloves are wired in parallel as opposed to being wired in series. In the event of one glove malfunctioning during a cold ride, the other would still heat. If the same failure occured on heated gloves with wiring mounted in series, both gloves would fail. This is similar to what happens to many of the miniature X-Mas light sets when one bulb burns out. The whole set goes out. But on a set that is mounted in parallel, a single or multiple bulb failure does not affect the rest.

Sizing:

You may find, as I did, that a slightly looser fit provides more comforting heat as well as making the Gerbing G3 gloves more comfortable to wear. Very snug fingers may result in making the wires more noticeable not to mention possibly increasing hotspots, especially at the tips of the fingers.

In addition, when regular street gloves are worn for warmth, a little looseness is generally preferred. The dead air space resulting from the looser fit provides increased insulation that would be lost in a tighter fitting glove.

This may seem like it runs contrary to the generally accepted wisdom in heated clothing. It suggests that snugger fits are best for transferring heat. But gloves represent a slightly different application. Whereas a lower-powered heated vest typically transfers heat mainly by contact (conduction), a heated glove can transfer heat by contact and also by radiation, since the relative density of the heating elements heat the glove itself. The heated glove then radiates heat. If there is a little dead air space within the glove, it warms this air.

In the case of the Gerbing G3 glove, the heating elements also warm the air captured within the Thermolite lining, further adding to the insulating and heating effect. The resulting warmth feels very soothing, almost luxurious. Much nicer than the sensation of being up against a hot heating element. Something to consider.

Hook-up options:

The Gerbing G3 heated gloves can be either hooked up to a glove wiring harness or directly to the sleeves of the Gerbing jacket liner. The glove wiring harness is laid out in a basic Y configuration. It is meant to have one branch go down the inside of each jacket sleeve where the plug connects to a glove. The tail of the harness goes down the side of your torso where it connects to the battery wiring harness.

In order to simplify the hook-up process, I've cut little 2 inch strips of sticky back Velcro and used them to secure the harness to the inside of the jacket. With the wiring harness now part of the jacket, there is no fumbling with cords when the time comes to ride. I slip on the jacket, connect each glove and connect the glove harness to the battery harness. A total of 3 plugs and I'm ready to go. Total elapsed time: 5 to 8 seconds max. No muss, no fuss. Warm hands.

In addition, the above setup is easily transferable to other jackets.

At full power, the Gerbing G3 gloves require a maximum of 22 watts. For variable heat output, the G3 gloves can be connected to a temperature controller. This allows for precise selection of heat output that you can choose depending on factors such as temperature, etc.

Overall:

Two things stand out with the new Gerbing G3 heated motorcycle gloves.

a) They provide ample amounts of well distributed heat.

b) The immediate impression is that of a quality leather glove that looks
__-good on or off the bike.

If rated by criteria such as wearing comfort, dexterity and feel, quality of construction, quality of heat output, abrasion protection, and appearance, the new Gerbing G3 heated gloves seem set to usher in a new standard in the heated glove market.

Riding with hands enveloped in soothing warmth makes me very reluctant to ever want to go back to enduring a ride with stiff, cold fingers.






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