As soon as the Venture 12V Heated Motorcycle Vest for Women Riders is hooked up and you plugged-in, you’ll feel the reasons heated vests are enjoyed by so many motorcycle riders – warmth!
Through my entire motorcycling career, minus the six years in the Caribbean, rider friends have urged me to buy a heated vest. I’ve never found the need. Now that I spend a lot of time on my KYMCO scooter during the colder Canadian climate, the colder weather season – heated gear now has my attention. The Venture Women’s Heated motorcycle vest from Venture’s 12V line was definitely worth a test.
New to heated clothing it was quite a discovery. Though the products today are put together using advanced materials and features versus earlier years, there are still some relevant factors you’ll need to observe before you buy. The Venture vest, I’m happy to say meets most of the important features and benefits that heated gear should. Plus, they make a vest specifically with women riders in mind. Feminine styling and even wearable off bike makes it the greatest choice!
Temperature Controller to Set Desired “Climate’ Control”
Venture folk’s state that this is a “scooter” vest. Translated means it has “low voltage heating technology” resulting in low power draw to your battery. The Venture women’s vest only draws 3.0 – 3.5 AMPS providing 48 Watts (48W) of power for heating. This is relevant as commonly, heated vests are around 52AMPS to 90AMPS or more. The higher WATT output works best with an alternator of providing same or more wattage output. In fact tests have shown that the alternator can be in a negative state (discharging the battery) below 3000 RPM on your average size bike. If you have a motorcycle with less than a 250 Watt alternator, you may be dissatisfied with the average heated vest. So here is where the low draw of the Venture vest scores highly.
Not to worry about the lower amps/watts where heating is concerned. Its capabilities are estimated to reach 140F +/-5 degrees @ temperature 32F. With the advantage of the low draw system to your bike’s electrical/charging system, you’ll save the life of your battery. It’s best to do your homework before you buy any heated clothing for that fact and make sure your bike’s charge system can cope with the extra load. This will help you avoid ending up with a flat battery and during cold seasons, this can be especially important with the increased usage of other heated items, lights and so on.
The vest has a fitted temperature controller to help you set your own desired ‘climate’ control. Each setting has a unique coloured LED light when selected. A great feature when needing to make an adjustment while in motion/riding. A quick glance and you’ll see easily, which setting you’re in. It’s always best to start at the highest setting (red) this way the vest heats up quickly – in fact instantaneously! Then about 15 minutes later it will automatically switch to the lowest setting. You can then make your personal adjustments.
Panels within the vest lining are composed of hair thin micro alloy heating elements, not coils. Difficult to detect them or feel them! This vest really looks just like a regular piece of apparel, is lightweight and comfortable. I found the heating panels in the back and neck particularly comfy, almost soothing. And when I stopped riding, the pockets were warm inside! Great for warming up cold hands –something we women always seem to be in need of
Did it Keep Me Warm?
The theory is if your core is warm this keeps the blood circulating at appendages. The heart feels no threat. So that’s all you really need in heated gear is a vest to keep up your core body heat elevated. My test was done at around 0 Celsius (32F) and I did find my finger tips, though using winter motorcycle gloves, became cold. So the theory may have some value yet didn’t entirely work for me. Plus I didn’t ride longer than forty minutes at one shot, and not at maximum speed which would equal higher wind chill effects. There may be lesser effective results during a constant speed highway trip.
Also, unless the vest was pressed directly against my midriff (back/front) I did not feel its full heat. Yes it kept me warm and certainly did a great job of heating the space inside my jacket. It was warmer riding with the vest than without, however, I felt the warmest when I’d arch my back (or pushed forward my chest) causing the vest to push against me. By doing so, I felt stronger heat against me and felt warmer. Therefore fit is important.
My suggestions to the manufacturer would be to add two Velcro adjusters at the waist to tighter the vest further (I wore a Small – their smallest size). This would be equally good at the collar – it should fit snug but didn’t on me. The neck is more exposed and difficult to keep warm. A draw-string around the collar would also work. It’s the warmth the vest creates when it is against your body which really does the trick! Though indeed it did heat the inside of my jacket.
The other challenge I noted was that I had to remove the thermal lining of my motorcycle jacket to be able to wear the vest under my jacket. So when you buy this item be sure to bring your motorcycle jacket with you to ensure it fits. My jacket was extremely snug once on over the vest, but do-able. Yes you’d think the vest would lie against me but with many ‘space pockets’, it didn’t.
The women’s vest only comes in three sizes-Small, Medium, Large. I would hope their range expands. Furthermore, it’s only available in white for women. My preference is black (I can’t seem to keep white clean when it comes to motorcycling!) and hope they’ll add this option in the future, as well.
Lastly, Venture make a general outdoor heated clothing line using a lithium battery to heat items including Vests. I think that this would be a great added feature to their 12 Volt line. As you know, motorcyclists spend a lot of time outdoors and even during a fuel pump stop you could switch over to the lithium portable power and continue being heated. During the stops I made, the Vest tended to cool off quickly.
It’s easy to hook-up and overall, pleased with the performance and style!
The vests main connector stows neatly away into pocket provided. It’s a “no see’em”.
The controller coax jack (input) detaches and can be kept in your pocket when not in use.
The fabric is water-repellent coated with a nylon exterior with polyester fill Interior.
It’s hand washable
Is designed to work with a 12 -13.8 VCD (Vapour Crystal Distillation), motorcycle battery.
Warranty covers a lifetime of the heating element and one year warranty on the apparel aspect.
MOTORESS director, Vicki Gray is a basic and advanced motorcycle instructor – certified for over 28 years. She is a motorcycle licensing examiner and has instructed, examined and licensed riders for European and North American road racing schools.