There’s nothing quite as miserable as riding home from a ride, particularly with many kilometres to go, and being cold. Cold equals miserable in my experience of motorcycling! Don’t get me wrong, there have been massive improvements in motorcycle gear over the last 30 years, with merino wool garments, Gortex lined synthetic textile jackets and heated hand grips being right up there with the best things I’ve found for winter riding comfort.
My winter riding kit has just taken a massive leap forward with the addition of a Venture Heat, heated jacket from Zarkie Australia. The jacket is worn under your regular riding jacket.
The power supply is super easy to fit with a connector to each side of the battery and an inline fuse setup.
First Impressions in 2C: I deliberately dressed lightly for the first ride with the heated jacket and removed the inner liner from my winter jacket. The ambient temp was 2C when I headed off, so obviously I was going to be able to genuinely test how good the heated jacket would be. The Venture jacket is much thinner than the liner in my jacket. Rolling the ZX14R out of the garage, I started the motor, plugged in the connector on the Venture and held the soft switch for three seconds. (It has an inbuilt 3 stage temperature controller). By the time I’d put my helmet and gloves on there was a really impressive amount of warmth radiating under my jacket. After 5 minutes on high (red glowing switch) the jacket automatically steps down to the medium setting (indicated by a yellow glow).
I spent the next hour riding in 3C – 7C temps with my torso wonderfully warm (augmented by warm hands from my heated grips). I also enjoyed the warmth down the outer aspects of my arms. I believe that Venture also make heated gloves that plug straight into the jacket sleeves, however, I have no experience with them.
Once it got above 10C later in the ride I turned the controller down to the low setting (green glow from switch) and was plenty warm. Other than the obvious thing of being beautifully warm, the jacket had two other advantages over my traditional multiple layers. The first being that with light clothing and the Venture under my jacket, I wasn’t all trussed up and had much more freedom of movement than I have with my multiple merino layers. The second unexpected bonus was that the warmth felt really great for my chronic back pain!
The verdict on the Venture heated jacket? Based on my first shortish ride of around 200 kms I was very, very impressed. It was my most comfortable winter ride ever and I genuinly believe that avoiding getting cold is a big plus in terms of riding safety.
I will write further updates in the upcoming months as I use the jacket in a diverse range of weather conditions. Full details on this product, check the deluxe jacket on the Zarkie website
There is a caveat to this review, namely that I was given the jacket by Zarkie to test and review free of charge. All that was asked was that I write a review and link to their website. I was told that I can keep it, but let me say there was not even a hint that I had to be positive about the product – just try it and write a review. So keep in mind before you spend your hard earned, that I did not!