I’ve been a huge fan of Gerbings heating riding gear ever since I bought my first pair of heated gloves and jacket from Atlanta BMW / Ducati back in 2001. It’s kept we warm and toasty throughout the subsequent 10 winters with only a few exceptions.
The first exception became a recurring problem: internal wiring breaks/shorts in their coax-style bullet connectors. These rugged-looking connectors simply don’t like to be bent at right angles on a regular basis. When they do, the copper wire tends to break over time and you find yourself without heat! It would begin as something that you could temporarily “fix” by fiddling with the bullet end. I think I went through about 4 wire leads — which were thankfully easy to get from my friends at Atlanta BMW / Ducati — before giving up on the coax bullet connectors.
Instead, I decided to use the SAE style connectors that AeroStich / RidersWarehouse used on its heated gear and that you find on the Battery Tenders and most other automotive electronics. It was a straight forward change where I simply installed a Battery Tender lead to the battery instead of a Gerbings coax bullet lead wire connector and then cut the coax end off the Gerbings Heattroller lead and replaced it with an SAE connector.
It’s been working like a champ for four (4) years now. So, fast forward to a couple of weeks ago…
Early this winter we had some very cold December and January days when the mercury was tickling the teens and low 20’s where having heated gear on a sport bike was a necessity. So, I head off to work all nice and warm and about 10 minutes into my ride my right hand is getting cold; really cold! I’m guessing bad glove wiring or a short somewhere in the jacket lead wires. Then, on the ride home that night the glove is magically warm again. A couple of weeks go by and it happens again on a 23°F morning. Well shoot, that’s it. Time to figure this out.
So, after running some tests on the gloves and the wiring I was able to isolate it as being a jacket lead wire issue. Want to guess where??? Yup, right there are the coax connector bullet. Now, the trick is, getting to the wiring that’s all sealed inside the jacket. Two seconds later I’ve added a 6″ slit to the liner that gives me access to all the wiring. 10 minutes later I’ve replaced the lead wire that runs from the shoulder to the sleeve-end connector with a new one salvaged from a spare wire lead set. However, anticipating that I’ll probably need to replace the other wire lead going to the left glove at some point in the future I decided to install a zipper instead of stitching up the liner so I now have a nifty little access port to the jacket wiring.
Now, if I could just get a pair of Gerbing’s gloves that have some additional heating elements in the palm of the hand. Not sure why they assume that anyone riding in cold weather probably has heated grips….
I figured since I already had to get the sewing machine out to install the zipper in my Gerbings liner I might as well get some heavy-duty needles and fix a few loose seams and torn zippers on my well-worn leather and textile winter riding gear. No sense in replacing what is still basically good gear just because it’s falling apart!
My 12-year old First Gear Sport Touring Over Pants had a seam let go along side the fly that needed to be re-sewn. My Heine Gricke leather jacket also had a zipper end coming loose and the corduroy collar lining needed to be tacked back in place. Back when I was wearing what were essentially motocross boots to brace my ankle during recovery from a break the sole of a boot got caught on the lining of my Fieldsheer Highland winter overpants and tore it all up so I finally closed up all of those torn seams. And, so long as I was on a roll I decided to replace all of the velcro fasteners on the Fieldsheer Highland jacket.