RRP: Vest £140 / Gloves £189 // Tested by: Mikko Nieminen
There’s all-year riding, and then there’s all-year, all-weather riding. If you find yourself in the latter category, then carry on reading, my friend.
I like riding in any conditions bar ice, so for the winter months I always arm myself with layers and heated kit. The premium vest and armoured gloves from Keis that I have been wearing this winter have proved a good choice.
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Let’s look at the vest first. It’s made of thin and stretchy material so it slips easily under your riding jacket and allows a good level of movement. It’s also lightweight, and you hardly notice it once you’re on the go – apart from the heat, of course.
The heat is transmitted through micro carbon fibre heat pads, which keep the torso warm even when the temperature drops. The coldest temperature I experienced according to my bike’s thermometer was -1C, and I was perfectly warm in my body, but not quite on my hands.
So, the gloves. They look very much like normal winter gloves, except that they have a big button and a lead connector on them. If you wear them unplugged, you might think they are just regular gloves as the heat elements don’t make them clumsy or overly thick. And they are insulated with 3M Thinsulate, and waterproofed with Hipora film. The heat is felt mostly on the back of the hand, but also in the fingers and thumbs.
There are, however, no heat pads on the palm side. This is understandable because you have to maintain some feel, but it also means that heated grips are needed for the really cold days. Once those bad boys are fired up together with the gloves, you can ride in tropical luxury.
Both items are dual powered, meaning that you can use the provided lead to connect the vest to your bike’s battery, or you can run them off a 2600mAh portable battery pack (sold separately, £66). I got around 1.5 hours of service from the battery pack when running both items on medium heat at the same time – perfect for commuting or shorter rides, but if you’re heading anywhere further you’re better off with wiring the garments to the bike’s battery. It’s worth noting that the battery pack also adds bulk to the vest, so your jacket might feel a little snug.
There is also the option to purchase a plug that goes into a 12V socket on the bike (£17), but using this is a bit hit and miss depending on the exact shape of the socket. Some sockets allow the plug to move too much for the connection to stay live, and that switches the heat off. You could be lucky, or you could be cold.
Another consideration with using the auxiliary socket is the current draw. The vest needs 1.5A and the gloves 1A. Given that 2A fuses for these sockets aren’t too uncommon, you may need to check and replace this before you set off.
A free Keis heat controller worth £34.99 was included with the Premium heated vest. It gives you the option of three levels of heat and easy access to switching the heat on and off. The items also come with fused wiring harnesses for pinching the Amps from the bike’s battery.
Overall, the Keis vest and gloves are excellent items for winter riding. They keep you warm when nothing else works, they are well made, and wearing them feels pretty much like wearing any other motorcycle kit.
For more information, visit: www.keisapparel.co.uk