Also: Part 1: Volt Titan 7v Battery Heated Gloves Review
The Mobile Warming LTD Max heated gloves are comfortable and have a thinner profile than the Volt Titan gloves reviewed in Part 1 of this series.
The thinner profile provided by the Exkin Air insulation has a downside, however.
The Mobile Warming gloves registered the same 150° F as the Volt Titan gloves, but the LTD Max gloves just don't seem to provide as much heat when riding in cool weather. We think the amount of heat is reduced by air flowing over the gloves during riding.
The LTD Max gloves are claimed waterproof but the forefinger of the left glove also leaked during our "Bucket Test".
Although they are listed as a motorcycle glove, the LTD Max gloves have no hard protectors, just like many other winter motorcycle gloves and and heated motorcycle gloves.
The batteries in the Mobile Warming LTD Max gloves are rated at 2200 mAh, compared to 2900 mAh of the Volt Titan gloves reviewed in Part 1. The battery pocket on the Mobile Warming gloves is located off-center, to the inside of the glove gauntlet, which adds to the comfort level when wearing the gloves by providing more room.
Overall, the Mobile Warming LTD Max gloves are comfortable and a better fit over heavy winter riding jacket sleeve cuffs than the Volt Titan gloves. Other than the large and heavy battery pack, the Mobile Warming gloves feel very similar to a pair of typical winter motorcycle gloves, which is a plus.
It's not often when we have two competing products available simultaneously and at the same physical location and both can be used for a comparison. The manufacturers may not like their product being compared to others for several reasons, but they don't mind when their product outperforms the others.
Since we had two battery heated motorcycle gloves available -- the Volt Titan gloves (review) and the Mobile Warming LTD Max gloves, it's only natural to compare and contrast these with our benchmark battery heated gloves.
Those are the Gerbing Hybrid heated gloves reviewed in 2009, which have warmed Rick's hands during the coldest riding days over the last few winters and the VQuattro Squadra Heated Gloves (review), which are the only pair we've found with hard knuckle protectors and other typical motorcycle protection.
The VQuattro Squadra gloves won the webBikeWorld 2012 Motorcycle Product of the Year Award, but VQuattro products are very difficult to find, even in Europe. The company has promised an international eCommerce website, but hasn't delivered as of this writing.
The Gerbing Hybrid heated gloves are "hybrid" because they can be connected to the motorcycle's electrical system for ultimate heating power, or connected to the Gerbing batteries instead. The problem is that the dual battery pack and charger is sold separately for 100 bucks extra, so you'll end up spending $300.00 or so on the gloves. The Volt Titan gloves are the bargain of this bunch at only $219.95.
As I mentioned in the Volt Titan heated gloves review that is Part 1 of this two-part series, there is now a standard design formula for battery heated gloves.
We had mentioned also in that review that "It wasn't all that long ago when battery heated motorcycle clothing was still a dream. Complicated wires, expensive controls and a pocketful of fuses were needed to stay warm during (really) cold winter riding."
The advantage of battery heated gloves is that -- once the batteries are charged -- all you have to do is turn them on, select your desired heat level and ride. It doesn't matter if you're on a bicycle, a 50cc scooter or a Gold Wing; the gloves will provide heat.
The Mobile Warming LTD Max gloves are typical of this "standard formula" for battery heated gloves in 2013. They're called motorcycle gloves but don't have any hard protectors and very limited abrasion protection otherwise. That "standard formula" is used in all of the battery heated gloves we have reviewed, by the way.
\We think all or most of these gloves are probably made in the same factory somewhere in Asia, perhaps by people who have good intentions but don't really know much about motorcycling. Why? Because other than the VQuattro Squadra gloves, none of the others have the type of protection demanded by webBikeWorld readers.
Apparently, the manufacturers take an existing "sport" glove used for skiing, snowmobiling and other winter sports, fancy it up a bit and call it a motorcycle glove. For example, the Mobile Warming gloves have some perforated leather sections over the fingers and main knuckles. Perforated leather on winter gloves? Really?
Not that it matters, but it just seems like a real design faux pas and it adds support to our theory.
The Mobile Warming LTD Max gloves adhere to that standard design formula for battery heated gloves...more or less.
The insulation is not as thick, which makes the gloves easier to wear and to pull over a thick winter jacket sleeve cuff. The big square battery in the Mobile Warming gloves puts out 2,200 mAh at 7.4 Volts, which is typical for the breed.
The batteries in the LTD Max gloves are placed in a nearly-too-small pocket offset to the inside of the gauntlet, and this position makes it a little easier to fit the gloves over said sleeve cuff.
Also, the battery pocket is half under and half over the top of the gauntlet; it would have been better if the pocket were made as a fully external patch pocket, which wouldn't steal as much room from inside the gauntlet, but overall the Mobile Warming LTD Max gloves are the easiest to wear and fit over sleeve cuffs than any of the others, with the possible exception of the VQuattro Squadra gloves.
However, the battery pocket zipper is barely long enough to squeeze the battery inside. It is very difficult to get the battery in and out of the pocket as a result. The zipper could stand to be at least a half-inch (13 mm or so) longer.
The battery pocket has a clear section to see the heat levels. As is standard practice, the controller is built into the battery, with an on/off button that acts as the heat range selector. Again as is standard practice, the battery has 4 ranges, but you'll probably use either #4 or #3.
The batteries used in the Mobile Warming LTD Max heated gloves are again pretty much standard for modern "wireless" heated gloves.
The batteries are Lithium-Ion, made in China and are rated at 7.4 Volts at 2200 mAh. This is a 35% deficit in milliAmp-hours to the Volt Titan heated gloves.
Each Mobile Warming battery weighs 109 grams (3-7/8 oz.), compared to a nearly identical 113 grams (4 oz.) for the Volt Titan batteries. A Mobile Warming battery measures approx. 20x42x70 mm compared to a thicker 23x50x70 mm for the Volt battery. The slightly thinner profile also helps the Mobile Warming gloves in the wear comfort department.
Press the on/off button and hold it for about 2 seconds and and you'll hear a fairly robust "beep", you'll see a green LED and the battery turns on at level 4, the highest heat level. Press it again to cycle through the heat range, one click at a time. Press and hold again for about 2 seconds to turn the battery off.
The button and beep system has a better feel than other battery types, which means that accidentally turning on the battery when fumbling with getting it into the tight pocket is rare.
The system works well and it's easy to view the relatively bright indicator lights. The battery uses a pin-type connector that adds another 17 mm to the overall length of the battery. This makes it even more difficult to get the battery inside the tight fit of the LTD Max battery pocket. Since you have to remove the batteries each time you want to charge them, this is somewhat of an issue.
We mentioned this in the Volt Titan review and it bears repeating here. The main problem with all of the battery heated motorcycle gloves we have reviewed is the method used for the storage of the bulky battery.
The manufacturers need to make the battery compartment easier to use and more roomy. The fact that they don't is a strong indicator to us that these gloves really weren't designed with motorcycling in mind.
The pocket for the battery should be of the patch type or a cargo pocket located on the outside of the gauntlet, not the inside. As we also mentioned, we'd go one step farther and add some Velcro to make the pocket a stick-on affair and then the entire battery and its pocket could be easily swapped out or removed for charging.
An external pocket would eliminate the tightness in the gauntlet that these very large batteries causes when they are placed inside, rather than outside. The only reason why we can figure that the glove manufacturers don't do this is because the designers aren't really using the gloves (i.e., they're apparently not motorcyclists...or skiers or snowmobilers...).
All of the battery powered heated motorcycle gloves we've tried have problems with holding and storing the battery. The Mobile Warming LTD Max gloves take a slightly more reasonable approach, with the pocket offset to the inside, which helps. Here's a photo:
A clear window on the back of the gauntlet on the Mobile Warming gloves allows the wearer to see the indicator lights on the battery (photo above).
The controller is easy to use, but as we mentioned in the Volt Titan review, if you want to change heat settings while riding, it's better to pull safely over to the side of the road first or wait until you're at a stop sign or stop light. It's difficult and dangerous to try and find the button and activate it whilst riding. This is the case with all battery heated gloves that we've reviewed.
We used a temperature probe to measure the heat in the middle fingertip of each glove. All of the gloves are rated around 150° F (65.5° C) and all came close. But each glove feels different during motorcycle riding.
The Mobile Warming gloves peak at 150° F after 4 minutes and we measured the Volt Titan gloves at a 144° F peak after 4 minutes (see the chart below).
But the Volt gloves feel much warmer than the Mobile Warming LTD Max gloves when riding, probably because the Volt gloves retain more heat with their much thicker insulation. The Exkin Air brand insulation in the Mobile Warming gloves feels very thin and apparently it isn't as efficient.
Perhaps Mobile Warming needs to add an extra wind barrier layer and/or reflective layer on the back of the gloves to prevent heat loss. We think the cool air when riding dissipates some of the heat.
The older Gerbing Hybrid gloves also topped out at 150 degrees F after 4 minutes and they have about the same bulk as the Volt Titan gloves, but the Gerbing gloves feel warmer. The #3 setting on the Gerbing Hybrid gloves feels equivalent to #4 on the others. However, the Volt Titan gloves have the longest-lasting batteries at 2900 mAh. The Gerbing gloves of 2009 have 1200 mAh batteries that run at an unusual 11.1 Volt output.
We use the Mobile Warming gloves at the #4 (high) setting almost all the time and when the air temperature drops down below 55° f (13 C) or so, the gloves just don't seem to retain the same amount of heat as the Volt Titan or Gerbing Hybrid (or VQuattro Squadra) gloves.
Many motorcycle riders make the mistake of thinking that you need high temperature levels all the time in heated garments.
This is not correct. The temperature should be adjusted to be "heat neutral"; that is, just enough heat so that you don't feel the cold. Anything more is a waste...although I'll be the first to admit, it sure feels good!
The Mobile Warming gloves come with two 2,200 mAh batteries and a dual charger. Setup and charging is simple; it took us about 4 hours to fully charge the batteries.
The Mobile Warming batteries are claimed to last about 2 hours on the #4 (high) setting and 3 hours on the #3 setting. This is about right in our experience.
Each Mobile Warming glove has a strap across the back of the wrist to keep the glove in place and this works well. The strap doesn't interfere with the battery, nor does it interfere with riding.
The leather used in the Mobile Warming gloves is said to be goat hide, but it doesn't feel as supple or soft as the leather on the Volt Titan gloves or the VQuattro Squadra gloves. It feels similar to the leather on the Gerbing Hybrid gloves.
The gloves shown here unmarked as to size, believe it or not. I think they're a size XL but I'm not sure. They fit slightly big; more like a typical size XL motorcycle glove.
The Mobile Warming LTD Max gloves are warm enough for anything but the coldest of weather and they fit a bit better than the Volt Titan gloves.
We think that based on the combination of the heat output and insulation type, they're more suited for climates with milder winters, perhaps with temperatures not below 45-50° F (7-10° C) or thereabouts. They just don't put out the same levels of heat that we can feel when wearing the Volt Titan gloves, Gerbing Hybrid gloves or VQuattro Squadra gloves during our recent riding expeditions.
Also, this pair of Mobile Warming gloves failed our "Bucket Test". Perhaps this is an aberration and admittedly the "test" is an extreme trial (the gloves are worn and held underwater for 4 minutes). But most "waterproof" gloves do indeed pass the test; if they don't, the problem can usually be traced to a stitch that has pierced the waterproof membrane.
And finally, the list price of the Mobile Warming LTD Max men's gloves is $269.99 (now $299.99), which is $80.00 more than the Titan Menís 7v Leather Heated Gloves at $219.95. The Mobile Warming gloves are simply too expensive at 300 bucks. If we were going to lay out $300.00, it would be for the Gerbing Hybrid gloves with the battery pack kit.
The Mobile Warming, Gerbing and Volt gloves provide a minimal amount of protection for motorcycle riding; neither come close to the VQuattro gloves in this regard.
All have issues with the way the battery packs are stored, but we think the Volt Titan gloves edge out the Mobile Warming gloves in this comparison for their better overall perceived heat levels, although neither the Mobile Warming LTD Max, the Gerbing Hybrid or the Volt Titan gloves beat the VQuattro Squadra gloves for overall satisfaction and performance.
Bottom line? There's still a long way to go in the evolution of battery heated motorcycle gloves. Smaller, more powerful batteries will be difficult to design, but outside-the-gauntlet patch pockets to store the batteries is easy-peasy. What we need is a manufacturer who knows motorcycling to use existing technology to design a pair of battery heated gloves. Anyone?
|wBW Review: Mobile Warming LTD Max Battery Heated Motorcycle Gloves|
|Manufacturer: Mobile Warming||List Price (2013): $299.99|
|Colors: Black||Made In: China. Battery: China.|
|Sizes: Men's: XS to 2XL. Women's: XS to XL.||Review Date: November 2013|