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I just took a 30 mile ride into Beeville, Texas, and thought I'd do a write-up on my Warm-and-Safe heated pant liners.
Actually, let's call it a purely subjective observation/comparison. I owned a pair of Gerbing heated pant liners years ago and I can tell a difference. . (Let me add that none of what I write about Gerbing's may be relevant..they may have the micro-wire pant liners now and like I said, it's been years.) Let's start with the W/S liners. They're skin tight...think heated Spandex...made to be worn beneath blue jeans, which is what appealed to me in the first place. I have a pair of Sliders I normally wear them under but I don't always use those on shorter rides. They make me look svelte with my 38-inch waist and I like that they hug your legs and aren't as loose fitting as the Gerbing's liners. They're also not quite as warm.
Which isn't neccessarily bad...I suspect it's more the difference in pant thickness. The Gerbing pant liners are more like light weight snowmobile pants, in my mind. They're bulkier than the W/S which means they seem to be warmer than the W/S.
I left Michigan back on the last day of 2005 at 8 a.m. and it was 23 degree's outside. I had 2 seperate, single controllers on the bike..one for the jacket/gloves and one for the pants/socks. I had to keep turning the pants down because they got too warm as well as my feet. This was on an '85 K100/RT BMW...a full fairing bike with lowers.
Today, with 2 seperate controllers on a 2010 Victory Vision, the W/S pant liners worked great, as did the jacket and gloves I had, but I could still feel the chilly, 35 degree temperature,(not even figuring wind chill), on the ride. Again, I personally think it was the bulk of the Gerbing liners that made the ride warmer. One of the negative's about the Gerbing liner was that I couldn't wear them under blue jeans so I had a pair of Tour Master riding pants which are thicker than jeans as well.
I make it a habit to wear a pair of light-weight nylon running pants (not that I run), lined with a bit of fleece to just about the ankles, over the W/S liners . I think the W/S feels warmer under jeans because of the nylon's wind-blocking effect...those blue jeans don't hold the wind out very well. The W/S, in my mind, are more comfortable as well.
One of the short-comings concerning W/S is I've never seen them at a bike show since I retired in 2002 and I'm a pretty tactile person...I want to touch and feel the merchandice before I buy it. Maybe this is the company's way of keeping costs down, but it doesn't work for me. I ordered the W/S pant liners over the internet, with apprehension, but so far am very pleased with them. There does seem to be some wiring that runs across my left knee that got pretty irritating by the time I got the half-hour ride into town but maybe the wires are loose enough to move around. It did remind me of another issue I had with the Gerbing pants...they were too tight across both knees even with the looser fitting Tourer Master riding pants.
In the end, I like the W/S better than my old Gerbing liners, and with a slightly heavier pair of fleece lined/nylon running pants, think they'd be as warm as the Gerbing.
|Good review. |
I have been using the Warm-N-Safe heated liners, both pants and jacket, for about 8 years now. I used them again on our New Year's Day ride and rode 176 miles in 40 degrees in complete comfort.
I learned to use them like long under wear, meaning I dress with regular clothes over the liners, and then wear a jacket, and if cold enough, outer pants over that. As the temperatures drop, the heat controller gets turned up. Almost no bulk and when I get off the bike I am dressed normally. Works great.
If you want the tactile experience at shows, just look for the stuff under the FirstGear brand. It is made by Warm-N-Safe, is the same stuff, but has the FirstGear branding. When you order off the website, you get the same stuff only branded as Warm-N-Safe.
Warm-N-Safe also invented the popular Heattroller, both the original wired version, and the newer remote control ones. They were the OEM suppliers to Gerbing up until Gerbing took it to China and had it reverse engineered and made cheaper than the USA made Heattroller. As my buddy found out the hard way when he bought the Chnese Gerbing's version, a short in the wiring means instant death to the Gerbing controller. The Chinese did not include the automatic short protection of the original. Both my buddy and I have accidentally shorted our wires to our gear, and his controller died instantly, while my authentic Heattroller from Warm-N-Safe automatically protected itself and reset by simply turning it off and back on.
Gerbing is popular, and made their way by copying first Widder ( I started with Widder gear (made in Ventura California) before Gerbing was even in business, and still have it) and then Warm-N-Safe products. Gerbing made his fortune by copying American made stuff, making his in China, and then spending the huge profits on advertising. It worked. They are now the big dogs in the industry. They even use misleading advertising and "history statements" to make people think they invented the whole thing. That seems to work too.
|Double post |
Edited by rdbudd 2017-01-07 11:19 AM
|I've owned Gerbing clothing since 2001 and have never had an issue with any of the garments or controller's I've bought from them. I DID get quite the diatribe from W/S when I inguired as to whether or not their gloves would work with my Gerbing jacket liner back in 2007/08. While I certainly know the history you mentioned and understand the owners (don't recall his name right now) anger toward them, it didn't strike me as very professional for a business. There are courts for this kind of thing and perhaps they pursued the matter that way. Still...he got a raw deal. |
I think you're right though..Gerbing is a much better known brand and that's the main reason I bought that brand in the first place...because I could actually see and handle the stuff...but I'm glad to hear they make the Firstgear stuff. I looked some of that over at the Guzzi shop in Austin the other day and thought it looked like Warm and Safe.
I'm very happy with my W/S pant liners...and as a member of the MTF...another forum...I can get W/S at a discount though I happened to have forgotten that when I bought my pant liners. I also think my W/S liners would be as warm as the Gerbing, with a pair of overpants like you mentioned...and I DID wear them with my Gerbing's too. They, (the overpants) are bulkier than I like as well but I'm always on the look out and will be checking the bike show in Dallas next week to see what there is to see.
I just used my W/S socks for the second time today too...jury's still out on them.
Thanks for your feedback too...I'm certainly no professional "tester"....just wanted to share my observations. Stay safe...
|Just remembered something else that I wanted to mention. The remote, or wireless controller. Much as I like having 2 separate controllers on my bike I don't like the rats-nest of cables hanging all over the place and when I saw the wireless controller on W/S site, I started to drool. Somewhere down the road I think I'm going to get one. I wonder if it'll work with the W/S pant liners.... |
I've found...and this might just be me...if I run a controller to the pants instead of running the pants through the jacket, I get more heat to the pants...if that makes sense. I have a dual controller for my jacket and gloves...(ActiveHeat glove liners btw)..and a single controller for the pants and socks.
|Gerbing makes good stuff, and I have their gloves and insoles. I like the insoles much better than the heated socks. Anybody's heated socks. I've found the insoles to be less intrusive and give more even heat. Kudos to Gerbing for them. |
Gerbing did the same thing to Widder that they later did to Warm-N-Safe. That kind of thing (stealing somebody elses idea, and then having it made in China instead of the USA) just rubs me wrong. I prefer to support the American economy as much as I can, but so many companies have outsourced manufacturing that it has become very difficult. It also makes it very hard for companies like Widder to survive. Pat Widder was a WWII soldier and refused to make his stuff anywhere but the USA up until nearly the end, He finally gave in and had gloves and some things made overseas, but it was too little too late for that company. Gerbing had succeeded in putting Widder out of business.
Warm-N-Safe supplied Gerbing with the controllers and the dual-path wiring concept and the co-axial connectors. Gerbing did the same thing to W-N-S. Took it to China.
That crap bothers me.
You are correct in your perception that separate controllers give more heat. I noticed that too. I use two controllers. One runs the jacket and if I use them, the gloves. The gloves plug into the jacket sleeves. Very convenient and simple. (That was a W-N-S concept). The other controller runs my pants, and if I use them, the heated insoles. The insoles (or socks) just plug into the bottom of the pants. Very convenient and simple. Again, a W-N-S concept copied by Gerbing.
Yes, the remote W-N-S controller will work with your pant liners. Or jacket. Or whatever.
Just for the record, Pat Widder introduced the American riding community to heated gear in 1971. Gordon Gerbing liked the Widder stuff so much that he started his company in 1976 to make Chinese produced copies. Taking a page from Philip Knight's playbook (Nike), he used the huge profits to advertise. The rest is history.
My kids never got Nike shoes when they were growing up either. They got American made shoes. I'm an old soldier too. America first.
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