"Introduction" because I'm just dipping my toes in the vast and growing array of riding gear for outdoor, winter comfort. I'll admit to being a bit overwhelmed with the choices. For years, Gerbing and Widder set the standard for heated motorcycle wear. I've been researching their gear--as well as some of their competitors--and I've come away questioning just how much I want to invest at this point to own all that I want--particularly given the winter modifications I'm planning for Queenie. That unanticipated "almost thief" was a cost I could have done without. My mods could have had a nice head start with the dough I spent. Thus, I've started looking for alternative winter wear, gear made for x-country skiing, winter hiking, and hunting, for example. These sports offer loads of items worth a closer look as some work for motorcycling too. Some of it is cheaper, some not.
My tab for the "must" items I want total around $1000! Yes, I could do without some of it, but this price includes what I consider the basics: heated vest, heated armour pants, heated socks, heated gloves, two temperature controllers. That's it. It's a lot of money for riding on the days when the ground will be free of snow or icy conditions. In Chicago, that could mean many days or about ten total!
Here's the wear I've accumulated thus far:
Inherited 20 year old winter leather gloves. I purchased a microfiber (heat-holding) liner for them that has a pocket on top in which packs of hand warmers can be inserted. These hand warmers are environmentaly friendly, non-toxic (thanks for that!) pads that warm up and lasts for 5-7 hours. A fleece neck scarf that can double as a face mask. My favorite: battery operated socks! They definitely work, I tried them out last night and my feet warmed up almost immediately. My inherited battery operated socks didn't work, but I sure appreciated getting them from a former motorcyclist. Total thus far: $47.00. To that I should add, electric glove liners, which haven't arrived yet. They are from CozyWinters and cost $70 and the purchase includes the glove/sock harness needed to hook up to the bike at no extra charge. Thus, no need to buy a temperature controller. Total for my alternative approach: $110. I can handle that without weeping.
My Firstgear Kilimanjaro jacket has always kept me warm with its system of liners, so I'll rely on it to carry me through the winter. I have Firstgear pants, which I'll wear with its liner or, wear my leather pants and long johns underneath.
Fuller comments on winter wear later. I'm heading out for a glorious ride this beautiful crisp fall morning. It's now 40 degrees but warming up to 57 degrees. That's good enough for me.