Call me a wuss, but I reckon nothing prepares you for winter on the bike like quality heated clothing. The heated vest and gloves from Oxford add a touch of luxury to riding in the bleakest time of the year.
Both the vest and the gloves have what Oxford calls the Inox Flex Heat System, which means woven stainless steel heat pads that are soft and flexible so they don’t cause discomfort. The vest has large heat pads in between the inner mesh lining and outer soft shell fabric to keep the chest, back and neck warm.
Heating is powered by the bike’s battery rather than a separate rechargeable battery, which has the benefit of offering more warmth for longer. You can still use the heated gear off the bike, but obviously not with the heat switched on. The only thing to remember is to unplug yourself from the bike before you walk away (I nearly snapped the leads a couple of times forgetting to do that, but they survived my mistake quite admirably).
Both items come with all the necessary cables and connections to wire them directly to the bike’s battery terminals – and connecting it is easy (even for non-technical folk like me). Once the battery connection has been made you can plug them into the connection leads and off you go. Both items have their own connections so they work individually or together. The leads for the gloves can be run inside your jacket so that the wire comes out of the cuffs to meet the glove. Once you get used to running the wires through your jacket this quickly becomes routine, although I am considering attaching the wires to my winter jacket’s lining… maybe some cable ties would do it, but if not, I might have to resort to my sadly lacking sewing skills.
The vest has a very nice and snug fit and it feels nice and warm even when not switched on, so you still get the benefit of an extra layer if you get off your bike and have bit of a wonder around. Of course, once it’s plugged in the heat levels are much more significant. In fact, as it has been fairly mild for this time of year, I have only had the vest on the lowest setting, which has provided sufficient warmth.
The vest has an in-line heat controller that lets you choose from four heat levels. It’s easy to use, but I wouldn’t like to change the settings whist on the move as I think it would distract me too much, so I tend to pull over when I want to turn the heat up or down – it only takes a minute and I can concentrate on what I’m doing.
The gloves have large power buttons on each hand that control heating (three levels) individually, so if you want, you can even have different settings for each hand. These are so easy to use that they can be adjusted on the go.
The gloves are made from leather and PU-backed nylon and they are waterproof and insulated so they can be used as winter gloves even without the power supply.
I am quite impressed how much heat both products generate and although it’s not been quite cold enough recently to see how these items work in extreme conditions, they have certainly made my commute very pleasant.
RRP: vest £149.99 / gloves £149.99
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