Gerbing has been producing heated gear for more than 40 years. They have two product lines, identified as 12V and 7V. The 12V line of products is aimed at Powersports, as they require the gear to be plugged into a 12-volt power source. The 7V line of products uses a rechargeable 7-volt lithium battery as a power source.
As I would be testing on two bikes and didn’t want to add additional wiring to both, I went with the 7V cordless option.
It was the last week of July when the request came out to review heated gear. The current temperature was around 30 Celcius ( 86 F) with a humidex of 35 C (95 F). I know this isn’t the extreme heat that a lot of southern regions get, but for just north of Toronto, it was hot.
I have not used heated gear in the past, and always wanted to give it a try, so I jumped at the opportunity. I did have one caveat, I would not be testing until late September or October.
*Note: Gerbing Heated Clothing provided the V7 Torrid Heated Vest for the purposes of this review
The Torrid Softshell Vest gives you unprecedented warmth and flexibility in the most extreme conditions. Built to protect you with four-way stretch softshell material, a bonded fleece back and four patented Microwire™ heating zones, you won’t want to leave home without it.
Gerbing Gyde Torrid Shell Features:
Four-way stretch softshell material with bonded fleece back
DWR finish repelling snow and rain
Four Microwire heating zones: collar, chest (2), and back
Reaches temperatures up to 135 F
Equipped with a dual-mode 7-volt battery and wall charger
Ideal mid-layer or outerwear piece
Four Zone Heated for Targeted Warmth: Neck, Chest (2), Back
Water and Wind Resistant
Battery (4 Heat-Settings indicated by Lights & Heat Times):
100% (4 red/blue lights) – 2 Hours
75% (3 red/blue lights) – 3 Hours
50% (2 red/blue lights) – 5 Hours
25% (1 red/blue lights) – 8 Hours
The theme of the review could easily be versatility. When I first tried on the vest my first impression was that this could be used for so much more than motorcycling. Unlike the 12V heated liners which require you to be tethered to the bike, the lithium battery in the Torrid vest opens up so many more options for use.
In fact, the first time I used the vest wasn’t on the motorcycle. One of my riding buddies Norm recently moved to a beautiful old house without a garage for storing his bike. It did, however, have an old shed at the back of the property with limited access.
So on a cool drizzly day, with help from another riding friend Pete, we set about to remedy this problem. I gathered up all the cordless tools I thought we would need to create wider access to the backyard and shed.
On my way out the door, I decided to add another cordless tool… the Torrid 7V vest. I was glad I did. It worked great, I couldn’t wait to give it a try on the bike.
My first ride was on a cool morning, but with the forecast to warm up. The vest fits easily under my motorcycle jacket. As I am, what I like to call well-insulated and tend to run a little hot, I set the temperature on the vest to the lowest setting and headed out.
What I found was that the vest did a great job of taking away some of the chill. As the day got a little warmer I was able to turn the vest off, but it still acted as a very good mid-layer.
Gerbing Gyde 7V Torrid Heated Vest Includes:
7V 3400 mAH Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery Pack (25.16Wh)
Gerbing Lifetime Warranty
After several weeks of riding, and other uses, these are my thoughts on the Gerbing Gyde 7V Torrid Softshell Vest.
The shell appears to be well constructed with a bit of stretch in the material for extra comfort. The main zipper feels strong and smooth and is backed with a rubber seal.
There are four pockets: two exterior hand pockets, one exterior chest pocket, and one interior chest pocket. There is a small zippered pocket inside the left-hand pocket to hold the battery and plug. So, that kinda makes five. All the pockets, inside and out, are zippered.
The outer chest pocket is bonded with rubber for added water resistance. The interior, including the collar, is lined with fleece for added comfort.
The 7V Torrid comes in four colors: Blue, Black, Green, and Camo. The following colors are from the Gerbing website.
I have inspected the material and zippers after several rides, everything is wearing very well and looks as good as new.
Battery Charging & Heating
The vest includes one 7V Lithium battery along with a wall charger. The interior contains four heating zones. Two on the chest, one in the back and one on the collar.
I charged the battery overnight, as recommended by Gyde. Simply plug the charger into the wall and plug the cable into the battery. When the light on the charger changes from red to green the battery is fully charged. Gyde indicates that a full charge should take about 3 hours and I found that to be accurate.
Gyde also recommends that you maintain at least 25% charge when the battery is not in use to help prolong battery life.
Usability is simple.
After charging the battery:
Locate the power pocket inside the left outer pocket. A nice touch, the pull tab on the left outer pocket has a red pull tab.
Open the power pocket to locate the power plug and plug it into the battery.
Press and hold the power button located on the battery until the LED lights illuminate.
Push the power button to select the temperature you would like. (4 red lights = high heat, down to 1 red light for lowest heat)
Place the battery into the pocket and close the pocket.
To turn the heat off, press and hold the power button.
To check the battery level of charge:
Disconnect the battery from the power cord.
Press and hold the power button.
LED lights to indicate the remaining power will illuminate (4 lights indicate a full charge, 1 light is 25% charge.
During my use, I found the battery life to be very close to the numbers provided by Gyde:
100% (4 red/blue lights) – 2 Hours
75% (3 red/blue lights) – 3.5 Hours
50% (2 red/blue lights) – 5 Hours
25% (1 red/blue lights) – 7.5 Hours
Additional Battery Upgrades
For extended cold-weather riding and for peace of mind, I would lean toward a 12-volt system that plugs into the bike directly. Two hours on the high setting would not be enough in these situations. This could be achieved with multiple batteries, along with a 12-volt dual car charger. I did not have a car charger to test, so I am not aware of how long it would take to charge the battery while mobile.
If like me, you run a little on the warm side, you might be able to ride all day on two batteries.
Additional batteries cost about $40 each, the dual car charger is about $20 and there is also a dual wall charger available for about $20.
Gerbing has been making heated clothing for many years. You don’t stay relevant this long without a reputation for quality. The 7V Torrid vest appears to be very well put together. During my review period, I have not encountered any problems with the build quality.
Fit & Feel
The 7V Torrid vest comes in 5 sizes; Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, and XX-Large
Using the size chart on the Gyde website, I selected the XL. My chest size is 47 inches, which falls between Large and X-Large.
Use this size chart from Gerbing to determine your fit. Try on the gear for the best fit as sizes may vary by style.
I found the vest to be very comfortable to wear. The 4-way stretch outer shell allowed the vest to form to my body. The bonded fleece interior allowed for a soft feel, with no shifting between the interior and exterior. I always wore the vest over a base layer. To get the full impact of the heating elements the vest should fit snug. The stretch material easily allows for this.
Heat coverage is two patches on the chest, one on the back and across the collar. I would like to see larger heat zones, but this may be a limitation of the 7-volt system. I really liked the high collar for heat and wind protection.
Overall, I found the 7V Torrid vest to be very comfortable.
Care & Storage Instructions
The vest should be hand washed only. Do not dry clean.
After removing the battery and tucking the cable into the power pocket, hand wash gently with a mild detergent in cold water.
Rinse thoroughly and gently squeeze out the water, do not wring or twist.
Lay flat or hang to dry.
Do not iron, do not put in the dryer, do not use a heat source like a hairdryer.
Once dry, gently tap the plug to confirm it is dry.
Check the plug periodically for cracks or exposed wires.
Before storing, ensure the vest is completely dry inside and out.
It is now early November as I am writing this review. As you can see from the picture below, winter has come early to the Greater Toronto Area. This picture reinforced one of my initial impressions of the 7V Torrid vest, and that is its versatility. As my wife and I headed out to walk the dog (Chewbacca), I threw on the vest with a light jacket over the top (removed for photo). It worked very well.
I turned the power up for the start of the walk, turned it down part way through and powered it off when I was completely warm. This reflects the way I used it when riding. I turned it on until the outside temperature warmed up or I personally got warm. After I felt warm, I would either turn it down to save on battery power or turn it off and use the vest as a mid layer.
I think the strength of the Gyde 7V Torrid vest is in its versatility. For riding, as this is a motorcycle website after all, I think it works best for shorter rides on cold days or taking off the chill on an early morning ride. For riders that head out for extended cold weather trips, I would still lean toward a full heating system that is powered by the bike.
Overall, it is a great piece of riding gear, with so many more uses beyond the bike.