I have been riding with Firstgear heated gear with independent heat control buttons for over two years. They have serviced me well by keeping me warm and cozy in all the cold I have ridden in—all the way down to temperatures in the upper 20s. However, because I now wear the form-fitting Klim Ai-1 airbag vest, I have been searching for a thinner heated solution to wear under it. It’s time for the new Firstgear Generation 4 lineup—heated layer shirt ($190 MSRP) and three liners—jacket ($250), gloves ($90), and pants ($200).The big change is that the Firstgear Generation 4 liners use a physical heat controller—the previous heated liners had individual, three-level push button controls on each piece of gear. The Heat Troller Set is necessary. Although there’s a unit for single use, I went with the Dual Heated Troller Set ($140).
The Firstgear delivery arrived and, as luck would have it, it was going to be 28 degrees at 1 a.m. in my vicinity that night. So, at 12:30 a.m., I suited up in the heated pants liner with Kevlar-lined riding jeans, the heated layer shirt with my Klim Air Bag Vest and Klim lightweight adventure jacket over, and the heated glove liners inside my shorty, summer leather gloves. I wanted to ensure I was testing the capability of the heated gear with little help from outer layers. I rode the Ultimate Motorcycling Yamaha Ténéré 700 Project Bike because the rider position is more exposed than my 2007 Yamaha Venture.The Dual Heat-Troller comes with a 32-inch fused battery harness. I hooked the harness to my battery and left about 20 inches of cable out from under my seat.It took a while to get all hooked up. The glove liners attach to the cuffs of the shirt. The shirt attaches at the left waist to one of the two cables from the dual heat controller. The pants liner attaches to the dual heat controller’s second connector. Then, the controller is attached to the fused cable from the battery.Finally, I attached the dual controller to my jacket by sliding the belt clip holder ($14) into the left zipper pocket. If one is going to ride in 28-degree weather, then one needs to spend the time to prepare, or one will freeze one’s butt off!The Firstgear Dual Heat-Troller’s gear wires are tipped with two tops—red and yellow. They correspond to the color on the knobs and the piece of clothing you are plugging it into. If you forget the first time, as I did, then simply turn one up to full power, and you will find out real fast whether it is blasting the shirt and glove liners or the pants. Heat adjustments are felt within seconds.The heat adjustments are truly infinite for fine-tuning. Turning it all the way up was way too hot for me. It was 28 degrees, and I was wearing jeans and a Gore-Tex windbreaker. I kept fiddling with the controls to find the optimum setting, and the controls were probably no more than 1/3 of full heat as I cruised down the freeway at 65 mph with the temperature below freezing.With a 28-degree riding temperature, it is easy to feel where the heat is and isn’t. The pants liner is assembled with wind-blocking, waterproof, breathable front panels and very soft, breathable spandex panels for the backs of the legs. The heat panels are on the thighs and over the knees. There is also a heat panel across the whole of the upper butt.The windproof fronts keep the heat concentrated on the front of the leg. I could definitely feel the cold on the backs of my legs. However, with the front so comfortable, the backs were obviously cold but still tolerable. If I was caught on the road with only denim jeans and the Firstgear pants liner at 28 degrees, I would grab a paper or plastic bag and line the back of my legs as a wind block.The Firstgear heated pants liner has an elastic waistband with pull tensioners on both hips. The exposed zipper goes to the top of the waistband and is secured with a fold-over hook-and-loop tab. The left hip has a small zipper pocket housing the cord connections. A black-capped connector from the ankles of both legs attaches to Firstgear heated socks. The red cap connector is for powering the pants.If you don’t want to independently control your socks and pants, then a 2-into-1 connector is included. That is what I was using.One controller dial is for everything pants, and the other for everything shirt/jacket. The 2-into-1 connector must reach over the top of your waist so it can plug into the leads from the dual controller unit.The Firstgear pants liner (48 watts at 13.8 volts) is designed to be worn next to your skin. I wear 34/30 jeans, and the Medium (32-34) fits comfortably, thanks to the garment’s flexibility.The Firstgear layer shirt has the same power rating as the pants liner. It’s a pullover with a zipper closure up to the top of the heated collar. It has the first impression of a medium-weight sweatshirt due to the 40-degree rated wires connecting the seven heated panels.The heat is apparent on the entire bicep area, upper and lower back, around the collar, and full chest from about two inches above my belly button to my neck.Because all my tests were done with non-insulated, unlined jackets, I could feel where my jacket was transferring the cold to the unheated area above my armpits, where the 28-degree jacket was touching the layer shirt. I turned up the shirt heat to compensate, and that helped. This was testing, not road tripping. I wanted to discover any possible issues, About a third of a twist of the dial was a comfortable setting at 28 degrees with the windbreaker.I am satisfied with the performance and comfort of the Firstgear layer shirt; it is exactly what I was hoping for. I have worn it several times directly against my skin, and a few times with a thin undershirt when I knew I would take it off as the day got warmer. I like the extra body length to tuck into my pants to stay secure. The glove attachment plugs are under the wrists, and I used them on my midnight rides to power the Firstgear glove liners.The Firstgear glove liners (11 watts at 13.8 volts) are extremely thin, so I was able to slide them into my summer leather gloves. The glove liners are not waterproof, so protect them from rain.I was amazed by the overall warmth of the glove liners—they warm my hand out to my fingertips. Remember, I was riding with summer leather gloves, and my fingertips were surprisingly warm. They were being controlled by the same dial as my layer shirt, so I didn’t have it set to more than one-third—they were that good. I wore the Firstgear glove liners under thin waterproof gloves while riding in the rain off-road, and I still had good feel of the controls, and warm hands!Although I took the Firstgear jacket liner (106 watts at 13.8 volts) with me on the midnight ride, I quickly realized I wasn’t going to strip down on a freeway offramp at 2 a.m. in 28-degree weather. A few nights later, it was 34 degrees, so off I went.The Firstgear jacket liner is a dual-purpose jacket. It can be worn off the bike as a lined, waterproof windbreaker with reflective piping for safety, and on the bike as a warm, heated riding jacket liner. It has the same power connections as the layer shirt, with main power at the left hip and glove connectors on each wrist. In addition, there is a separate glove-only power connector in a zipper pocket inside the jacket at the left hip. The jacket liner heats in the same areas as the shirt liner. With a 106-watt maximum output, I couldn’t comfortably turn the controller up past one-third.I am really impressed with all four Firstgear Generation 4 heated products. Initially, I wasn’t sure I would like the dual controller unit. However, the flexibility of fine-tuning the heat level for particular conditions is extremely useful. The layer shirt is absolutely what I want to wear under my Klim airbag. The glove liners are so thin and so warm they allow me to wear the best glove for the riding conditions. The pants liner is so well insulated that I don’t need to turn up its heat until the temp drops below 40 degrees. Heated gear is the way to go at temperatures around freezing, and the Firstgear Generation 4 heated liners get it done right.
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Motos and Friends—the weekly Podcast brought to you by the editorial team at Ultimate Motorcycling.
My name is Arthur Coldwells.
In this week’s first segment, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the much anticipated Yamaha MT-10 SP. That’s the model with the Ohlins semi-active suspension. It’s only been available in Europe for the last couple of years, but finally the good news is, that it’s coming to America. The big question is, whether the extra 3k you’re going to have to pony up for the Ohlins is actually worth it, or perhaps there’s just not that much improvement over the stock KYB suspension that has suited the Yamaha MT-10 so well until now?
In the second segment, Associate Editor Teejay Adams chats with Val Collins. Val grew up on motorcycles and learned to love speed, however her real love is Formula 1 tunnel-boat racing. These are the guys and gals that are strapped into a tiny cockpit and then hurtle down the straights at 120 mile per hour and pull 5G in the corners. We attended the recent season finale in Lake Havasu and watched our friend Mike Quindazzi try to take the win. Val chats with Teejay about her love for two-wheels and tunnel-boats. Yeah, it’s crazy stuff.
From all of us here at Ultimate Motorcycling, we hope you enjoy this episode and have a great Thanksgiving Holiday!