Let There Be Heat!
I admit it. I’m incredibly difficult to buy presents for.
A couple of weeks ago I happen to go out for a ride and upon my return I blurted to the wife that I wanted heated riding gear. When it came time to open presents under the tree I was pleasantly surprised to find a heated jacket from CycleGear!
The wife said that they had multiple models and this was easy to return for the one I wanted.
It was their in house brand (HotWired or Sedici) and a long sleeve jacket liner. I looked at the package contents and headed to the store to get a better idea of what I was missing or might want instead. After conferring with a worker, I decided the jacket was perfect but still needed a few add ons like an inline temp adjustment and something to warm the hands (glove liners or heated grips).
It turns out that the adjuster was supposed to come with the jacket as a bonus, so they gave me a free one. For hand warmth the best way looked to be glove liners ($79) that would plug right in to the sleeves of the jacket!
One of the other issues I thought I was going to have is routing the cable from the battery to somewhere convenient to plugin while riding. The battery in most bikes is under the seat, the battery in a KTM 950 Adventure is under the motor, right behind the front wheel. The Jacket came with a cable and the gloves came with yet another of the same length. The question would be – are they long enough?
So I started with battery. To get to it I removed the Black Dog Skid Plate. Once the skid plate was out of the way I could get to the battery.
Removing the plastic cover, I then removed the existing battery tender lead. I don’t need it for this bike as the new heater cables also provide the same connection for a battery tender with a small adapter. No sense in having two sets of wires when just one will do.
I found out I have a pretty cool lithium battery. It’s a SSTZ14S-FP Scorpion Stinger LiFePo4 Extreme High Output Battery! It’s incredibly light too!
Next I snaked the new wire up the left side of the engine as the exhaust is on the right. The wire made it up under the gas tank, beside the air box.
From there I routed the cable (there wasn’t much left) into the ‘glove box’. Once I put the fairing piece back I had just enough cable to have it peek out from under my tank bag.
From there I thought I might be able to plug in my jacket.
I was wrong. The jacket connection is at on my left hip. There’s not enough cable to reach and still ride. I still needed an ‘extension cord’ of sorts. Ernie suggested I find a coiled wire. Gerbing makes one that would be perfect but it seems everyone is sold out right now.
Additionally the inline adjuster would need to be added somewhere, inline. That meant it either plugged in to the pigtail sticking out or on the other end of the extension cord that I needed (right before the jacket). Neither seemed like a great idea so I re-routed the cable so that it came out of the top of the glove box.
The cable didn’t quite stretch there and that’s ok. the connection is actually inside the glove box and the cable is somewhat held by the pinching of the glove box lid. From there (for now) I have the controller going to a long extension cord that came with the gloves. That cable goes into my tank bag and then I have a shorter piece coming out the side closer to me.
It’s not a perfect setup, but until I get the curly cable it’ll have to do.
With the cable in place I put my new jacket and gloves on, turned it to 11 and went for a warm ride!
The Problem With Heated Clothing
My test ride was fabulous! I wore a t-shirt, my liner, and a light jacket and was warm as toast. I could adjust the temp to suit my comfort and was in near perfect heaven.
But here’s the inherent danger. It’s an Adventure Bike and we like to ride adventurously into the wild with our bikes (and now while wearing heated clothing). But what happens when something goes wrong? What happens when a cable shorts, or we get a flat, or crash, or a battery dies? With heated clothing you are relying on that electricity to keep warm. You can’t fix a flat while cabled to your running motorcycle.
As a former mountaineer I can tell you all about how important it is to keep warm. If you are miles (or a couple of days walk) from civilization and something happens – are you going to be able to keep warm?
Just a concern I have. It’s probably a good topic to beat to death over a bunch of beers. That said, it’s cold outside, let’s ride!
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