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Friday, 3 June 2016

In praise of warm paws, a tyre update and other stuff

Even where we live in NZ, we get sometimes light winter frosts first thing in the morning.  Before readers who get REAL winters tell me to harden up, let me explain!  Most of the mentoring I do involves 500 km days, often in colder parts of the country which also means early starts from home.

On a naked bike, wind chill is a big factor.  I hate the loss of feel with thick winter gloves and although I've had heated grips on some previous bikes, my fingers have still suffered on longer runs.  Not good for control, especially when in the company of other riders.  Last spring, I took the plunge and bought some Gerbing G3 heated gloves from Revzilla in the US.  They sat in the cupboard until yesterday when the first cold spell of winter struck - the first opportunity to try them out in anger!

Gerbing G3 heated gloves

The gloves themselves have heating wires throughout the whole glove, including the fingers which is what I saw as the big advantage over heated grips. The componentry consists of a fused connector to the battery, a variable temperature controller and a wiring loom from the controller to the gloves.  In my case, this goes up the inside back of my cordura jacket and down through the sleeves between the jacket liner and the shell.  Gloves were US$140 and the temperature controller a further US$50 -  a little more than heated grips but not expensive in the scheme of things.  Incidentally, the gloves are made from the softest leather I've ever encountered.

Battery connector from under the seat - tucked away when not in use

Connector to the temperature controller

Temperature controller

The temperature controller sits in a small digital camera case which is looped onto the waist tensioners of my jacket - very quick to adjust (but not on the move!)

Connector from sleeve to glove

Connecting everything up is hassle-free as the ample wiring length means that you can connect up the gloves before slipping them on.  It's easy to run the surplus back up your sleeve but it's not really necessary as they don't flap about or get in the way of anything.  Similarly, there is sufficient length in the wiring from the controller to enable you to get on and off the bike without having to unplug.  The connectors look pretty sturdy which was a worry when initially buying the gloves as fellow moto-blogger Richard Machida let me know that he'd had some connector breakages on his. Perhaps they've been redesigned since then but time will tell.  Besides, with Richard residing in Alaska, his probably get a lot more use than they're likely to in NZ!

On to the million dollar question - do they work?  Well, before leaving home yesterday, I deliberately set them at the low end of the range and they were fine in 2 or 3 degrees C temperatures.  Plenty of scope for cranking them up when temperatures drop even lower!  Happy?  You bet!

In a previous post, regular readers will remember that I was less than impressed with the Dunlop D214 sport tyres which were OEM on the Suzuki GSX-S 1000.  There were several reasons for this but as I cover up to 20,000 km per year and the rear D214 only lasted for 3700km before having to be replaced, cost was certainly a consideration!  I reverted to Michelin PR4's which I'd had on the Street Triple.  As well as being better suited for a bigger range of weather conditions, speed of roll-in to corners was markedly improved as the 55 profile PR4 has a sharper crown than the 50 profile D214.  The PR4 has now racked up nearly 7000km including a trackday. The profile remains excellent with heaps of tread left.  I'm picking that life will be 10000 km or better, which is pretty satisfactory on a 1 litre sport bike.

PR4 at ~7000 km

Finally, nothing to do with motorcycles but living in a benign climate, there are plants flowering in our garden through the whole winter.  Here's a selection of photos I've just taken.

Neoregelia Carolinae Tricolor bromeliad and the ever-present Annie

Close-up of unknown bromeliad variety

Various bromeliads - the banded Vresia is nearly a metre across


Climbing orchid

18 comments:

  1. Will be interested to see how the gloves go. I've always steered away from them as gloves tend to wear out whereas heated grips last pretty well (136,000km on mine). Are they waterproof?

    My PR4's are at 10k but not much more left in them. Having trouble finding replacements...considering Angel GT's as cycletreads have them on special this weekend - only thing putting me off was the crap run I had out of the Angel ST's...

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  2. Hi Andrew - hope you're well! On the basis that I'm not going to need them an awful lot, I hope that they last well. They are apparently waterproof but I'd probably slip my Rain-Offs over them if I was going any distance.

    Yep, I remember your problems with Angels - not alone either. Metzler Roadtec 01's seem to be getting a good rep. I've just found out that Boyds in Hamilton are selling PR4's massively cheaper than Drury Performance Centre so I'll be switching allegiance next time, especially after their brilliant service when I copped a puncture in Hamilton 3 weeks ago.

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  3. Hey Geoff, and I thought that I was getting soft with heated grips! Actually the heated gloves are a much better proposition than wearing really thick winter gloves that offer as much sensation as boxing gloves. The guy I was riding with last Tuesday in 2C - 7C all day had a plug in heated vest and swears by it. He likes to be dressed quite lightly and not trussed up in lots of layers.

    Looks like you will easily get 10,000kms plus from that rear. I have often wondered if the 55 profile would not last as well as the flatter 50 profile on a heavy bike.

    PS Annie is a cute as ever! Cheers Jules

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  4. Hi Jules, great to hear from you!
    Yeah, I have an expensive pair of Teknics winter gloves bought about 5 years ago and I've only worn them a handful of times because they're just too bulky. Agree with your mate with the heated vest. Gerbing actually make a dual controller for 2 items of heated gear.

    Yep, the rear is doing really well. I suppose the harder centre compound helps, maybe the twisty roads I ride help to even out the wear too.

    Annie doesn't trust me in the garden - she supervises everything I do!

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  5. Geoff, those gloves are the business, I have been using the hybrid version for 3 years now and they saved my Scottish trip as they dry out quickly on the high setting!

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    1. Hi Nikos,
      That's great to know thanks, especially the business about drying. The G3’s are allegedly waterproof but I normally use Rain Off super thin mitts over the top of gloves on a decent run as they are the only thing I've found to be 100% waterproof. Fantastic product.

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  6. A nice, eclectic mix of topics. Don't get me wrong, I love the gloves but I don't think that they are designed for the every day use I put them through. I use them for maybe 7 months of the year. The same with the jacket liner. The only fragile point seems to be the connectors.

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    1. Thanks Richard. Yes, I understand that you must be one of the world's most demanding customers for good gear based on where you live! BTW, happy retirement. I really must keep up :-)

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  7. There is stuff blooming and growing in your backyard. Tell me again, Geoff, what do you need heated gloves for? No really, I understand. I was so glad that David had installed the heated grips before I went on my Canada trip last September. Riding all day in low temps will make you appreciate any heat source. Enjoy your winter!

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    1. Hi Sonja!
      Yeah, yeah! Getting soft in my old age :-) . Yes, it's all day rides in cold temps that take the toll. If you can keep the hands warm, the rest stays pretty good too; especially with top quality merino layers like Icebreaker.

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  8. I like how Annie made it into the flower pic.

    Glad your gloves are working well. Warm hands are a must when riding.

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  9. Hi Brandy!
    I am apparently an incompetent human and need to be supervised at all times in HER garden!

    Absolutely right - hate being cold and losing concentration. Did another training ride this morning in genuine frost and stayed lovely and toasty. Amazing how much better the concentration levels are, as well as being more relaxed.

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  10. You ride in a lot harsher weather than I do these days Geoff. I'd say in those conditions grip heaters would have to be a must.
    Those Michelins sure do get good wear don't they. I haven't tried any on my new R1 yet I've decided to stick with the Bridgestones that the bike came with, they are super sticky.

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  11. Hey Steve!
    Yep, I sometimes get much choice of the weather conditions when mentoring and getting enough heat in a sport tyre can be problematic. The PR4 is a good all-rounder but if I wear these out by Spring, I might be tempted to try the M7 RR or even the M1. Both have had pretty good reviews and are apparently tolerant of wet conditions.

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  12. Thanks for the share, love reading your blog!

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    1. Many thanks Khloe, very kind of you! Safe riding.

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