The Breakdown

Quality-built, waterproof, leather gloves, equipped with smart safety features to protect in a crash. They are a joy to wear in cold weather. They heat up nicely and allow me to feel like it’s summer riding even when it’s near freezing. They have shorter fingers than usual, the index finger isn’t touch screen friendly, and the Vanguards are fairly expensive to buy. The necessary components to connect to the motorcycle’s power supply or a portable battery pack are sold separately from the gloves. Despite the expense, I think Vanguards are one of the best options for heated motorcycle gloves.
AESTHETICS 99%
DESIGN 90%
MATERIALS & BUILD QUALITY 99%
WARMING PERFORMANCE 90%
FIT & COMFORT 95%
VALUE FOR MONEY 90%
Pros
Comfortable, very lightweight for leather / The strong, ergonomic design shows high quality / Superfabric, TPU knuckle guard, and gel pad protection / Waterproof, Windproof, Warm, yet breathable / Double stitching, long cuff but not too long / Can run on the bike electrical system or a portable battery / Temp controller switch has a wireless option / Suitable for warm or cold weather / Men’s and women’s sizing available / Lifetime manufacturer’s warranty on heating elements
Cons
Expensive to buy / Not touch screen friendly as claimed / Short fingers / Thick padding on palms and underside of fingers / Where do I mount the controller switch?

I Hate The Cold and Now I’m Converted

I live in Alberta, Canada. It’s what I like to call “Northernmost Texas” because we have ranchers, oil fields, country music, and a ton of lifted pickup trucks.

I’m told some areas of Texas experience some chilly weather in the winter (even snow in parts), but up here we take it too far when temperatures can occasionally plummet to inhuman levels around -40C (-40F).

A neighbourhood in Airdrie, Alberta, Canada during winter.

The worst part for Albertan motorcyclists is the long winter wait to get back on the road. Extending our riding season later in the year or starting early when temperatures hang around freezing is vital. To do that you need specialized gear and it makes sense to go electric as I found out reviewing these Gerbing Vanguard heated gloves.

I freely admit to previously having a chip on my shoulder about using heated gear. “That’s for wimps or hoity-toity types” was my old mindset before I tried any. Now I don’t think I’m better than anyone riding without them, I just know I’m a lot more comfortable than before!

What You’ll Need

Justin Silverman from Gerbing and Gyde Supply sent me a pair of their Vanguard heated gloves to review free of charge along with a jacket liner, Y Harness, twin circuit temperature controller, and a 12V battery harness.

Dual circuit temperature controller $69.99

Dual circuit temp controller.12V battery harness $11.99

12 volt battery harness.Y Harness $11.99

Y harness.Heated jacket liner $249.99

Heated jacket liner.Single circuit temperature controller $49.99

Single circuit temp controller.

Photos above from Gerbing’s website

You will require at least the first three components listed above to run these heated gloves. I would recommend spending the extra $20 on the dual circuit temp controller instead of the single circuit one so that if you plan on adding a jacket liner, pants liner, etc in the future you can control the two devices independent of each other.

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Power Concerns

You’ll also need a bike equipped with a stator rated for 300 Watts output to avoid running a power deficit when the engine is at low idle. I tested these gloves on my 2018 Kawasaki Ninja H2SX SE and 2019 KTM 790 Adventure S. Both boast 400 Watt stators, so power was never a problem for me even with the gloves and jacket liner running at full bore simultaneously.

Gerbing lists the draw of the Vanguard gloves at 1.1 Amps per glove while running, but I didn’t confirm this.

Build Quality, Design, and Aesthetics

There’s little not to like about the appearance and design of these gloves.

The Gerbing Vanguard heated motorcycle gloves underside view.

The Weight

I was impressed with how lightweight these gloves are when I set them down on my scale and it came out to 0.73lbs. Considering they’re made of leather and have heating elements inside, etc. Nicely done!

Premium Leather Exterior

The exterior is a super soft, pliable, Aniline cowhide leather that fits my 8.5” diameter palms perfectly without any tight spots. When I put them on right out of the box it felt like I’d been wearing them for a while and there was zero break-in period necessary.

The leather flap for covering the velcro strap on the Gerbing Vanguard gloves.

The leather flap for covering the velcro strap on the Gerbing Vanguard gloves.

More shocking to me is how my somewhat short and chubby fingers fill the Vanguard extremities with an exactness I haven’t found in any other gloves. It’s like these gloves were made just for me, but if you have longer than average fingers you’ll need to move up a size. I would say these gloves fit smaller than average when it comes to the fingers.

My Hand Measurements For Reference

My thumb measures 2.5”

My index finger measures 2.75”

My middle finger measures 3”

My ring finger measures 2.8”

My little finger measures 2.75”

The sizing chart for Gerbing Heated Gloves.

I was sent a size Small from Gerbing and looking at the chart I see that I’m right at the maximum before I would need to get a Medium. That checks out.

***Women’s sizing runs from 6” XS palm diameters up to 9.5” in XL

It’s What’s On The Inside That Counts

The interior is made from Polyester microsuede which feels soft and pliable to match the leather outer.

The interior of the Gerbing Vanguard heated motorcycle gloves.

Somewhere in there behind the microsuede is 150g of Thinsulate and a microwire network of strands comprising the Gerbing heating element the company is famous for. Add in a water-resistant AQUATEX layer (that breathes about as good as some Gore-Tex infused gloves I’ve worn) and you begin to get a pretty thick glove.

Protection Components

First, let’s celebrate the inclusion of Superfabric patches on the Vanguard palms/Scaphoid areas along with a smaller patch on the side of the little fingers. This stuff costs a fortune, but I’m sold on it because it creates a low friction zone right where you would want it if you went for a slide down the road.

Superfabric patches on the Gerbing Vanguard heated motorcycle gloves.

Should your hands or wrists suddenly grab on the rough pavement during a slide it could easily lead to a serious injury (broken wrist and little finger). Thank you for including this on the gloves, Gerbing. I would have liked to see it cover the meaty part of the thumb area too and run further along the length of the little fingers, but at least it’s somewhat present.

I didn’t go for a slide to test it out… sorry, not sorry.

Superfabric on the Gerbing Vanguard gloves.

Gel and TPU Knuckle Guard

Some gloves I’ve worn that have a large knuckle guard on them rub on the top of my hands noticeably, but Gerbing built the TPU block perfectly on the Vanguards. I don’t even know it’s there on these gloves.

The Gerbing Vanguard heated motorcycle gloves knuckle guard view.

They also put small gel packs on top of each of the three fingers between the thumb and pinky over the middle joints. I think it’s very difficult to build in decent protection in gloves while still allowing hands to move naturally and operate motorcycle controls and switches.

I think Gerbing found a happy medium with these gloves when it comes to protection. Good job!

Too Thick?

Wearing these gloves out on the road takes a bit of getting used to because of how thick the material is surrounding the palms and fingers. I lose the usual tactile sensation on the grips I’m used to having, but the grip is still good thanks to the ergonomically curved shape of the Vanguard glove palm and fingers.

So while I wouldn’t have the capability to type up this review while wearing the Vanguards, I feel confident controlling my motorcycle if not just slightly more encumbered than while wearing my usual riding gloves.

These are in essence built a lot like winter gloves… because they are winter gloves.

Decent Breathability

I mentioned already how well the water-resistant layer allows perspiration to escape while keeping water out and warmth in, but only to a point.

If I wear these gloves in temperatures above 20 Celsius (68 Fahrenheit) they’re just too hot for my liking. I don’t think that’s unacceptable for them but your tolerance may differ from mine.

The Wiring Connector

I thought for sure the thick, black, cables coming out of the inside of the Vanguard cuffs would irritate me while wearing them, but I was wrong. I never once noticed them interfering with my circulation or getting in the way at all. Even when I tucked them inside my jacket cuff they weren’t a problem, so I have to give full recognition to Gerbing with a slow clap on this one. Bravo!

The Gerbing Vanguard heated motorcycle gloves.

Good Quality Electrical

I also recognize the quality of the electrical components Gerbing has designed for their gloves. I admit to dropping the temp controller on the ground a few times without harming it.

The micromesh heating elements carry a lifetime warranty from Gerbing against defects and failure. That’s how confident they are with their product. I had zero issues with any of the components while testing.

The cables didn’t harden up to the point of being brittle in the cold. They remained flexible and pliable at any temperature I tested them in. Excellent quality!

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Idiot Proof?

Gerbing put colored bands on the connectors along with labels in the jacket liner to show how the jigsaw puzzle goes together.

A diagram from the Gerbing website showing how to connect heated gear together.

It’s so simple even I couldn’t botch it up.

Installation on the Bikes

It doesn’t get any simpler.

The 12V battery harness connected to the battery terminals on a KTM 790 Adventure.

The 12V battery harness (photo above) that connects to the bike’s battery has open loops on the end (hooks) so you don’t have to remove your battery terminal bolts completely to install the harness.

I like that they have a fuse in the harness to protect the Gerbing components from bursting into flames should there be a power surge too.

After that, it’s merely a question of routing the power cable up from under the seat to make it accessible to plug in the temperature controller switch followed by either the Y Harness or heated jacket liner (depending on which you are using).

The Gerbing Y harness.

The Y harness in the box (above).

The Y harness is the more economical way to connect the temperature controller to the two gloves while the heated jacket liner is the expensive way to warm your entire upper body thanks to heating elements embedded in the chest, back, neck, and elbow areas.

The Gerbing Y harness running up Jim Pruner's back and down the arms to the Vanguard heated gloves.

In the photo above you can see the Y harness in place running up over my shoulders then down my arms to the gloves. Normally they’d be routed inside my jacket out of sight.

Before trying the jacket liner out I had no idea I wanted warmth on my elbows in cold weather riding. It turns out I do.

How Do I Hold The Controller?

The length of the electrical cables is borderline excessive for a single rider’s needs, but if you have a passenger plugged into the bike I can see where so much length comes in handy to reach them.

The Gerbing dual circuit temperature controller module.

This photo shows the dual circuit temperature controller.

The problem is what to do with all that excess length (if it’s just a single user) and more importantly, where do you put the temperature controller module to keep it both accessible to make adjustments on the fly while also safe from say falling into the chain or rear wheel by accident?

Yes, you can just keep it in your pocket, but that’s annoying and dangerous to fish out while flying down the road.

The two best places I found was to attach some velcro to the back of the controller and the fuel tank on my bike to hold it there. After a while, I did find the velcro failing and I began hanging it off my RAM X Grip mount instead.

The Gerbing temperature controller switch attached to the fuel tank on a KTM 790 Adventure.

This is a photo of the single circuit temperature controller stuck to the gas tank on my 790 using velcro.

Neither are sophisticated methods, but they’re good enough for the girls I go out with, so to speak.

I found this $10 dual circuit temperature controller holder on the Gerbing website that likely would be the answer, but I wasn’t provided one for this review.

Warmth Generated

Here’s the most important question to be answered in reality: How satisfied are you with the warmth delivered?

The answer is very satisfied right down to zero degrees Celsius (32 Fahrenheit) when used unshielded at highway speeds. Below that I find the gloves can’t keep up with the windchill.

The way I tend to use these gloves is all or nothing because on my motorcycles my hands are fully exposed in the wind blast so once temperatures drop low enough to warrant using them I just put them on the highest setting and leave it there.

It’s Like Summer Again

The most unexpected thing about the Vanguard heat production is how subtle yet effectively warm it is. I envisioned feeling hot spots on the inside of the gloves against my skin, but that never happened. Indeed, the net effect is that regardless of the outside temperature my hands feel just as warm as they would in my regular non-heated gloves during a 23 degree Celsius (73 Fahrenheit), summer day.

The only way I know they’re working is by looking at the temperature gauge on my display to then realize “Oh… that’s pretty chilly and normally my fingers would be frozen right now, but for these gloves.”

It’s never felt too hot for me wearing these Vanguards (in colder temperatures, of course). It’s been a suitably consistent amount of evenly spread out warmth on the inside. If however, I wanted to use them in temperatures below freezing I think it would be necessary to install these Oxford handlebar muffs or something equivalent from another manufacturer.

Gerbing lists the maximum temperature for the Vanguards at 135 Fahrenheit, but due to the Thinsulate/leather/AQUATEX/Microsuede sandwich, there’s no way I can accurately measure what it gets to. My hunch is that it doesn’t get that hot, but it doesn’t matter what the exact number is in my mind. Does it work? YES.

If you read my other review of the Gerbing Heated Vest you’ll see that I was able to measure the warmth it generated using a temp gun. The highest I measured was 113F despite the 135F claims Gerbing made for it.

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Water Resistance

I did ride in the rain with these gloves and they held up as expected. No leaks and no problems functioning for me.

I would say they could call them waterproof based on performance, but I’m guessing Gerbing doesn’t want people trying to make warranty claims after using them completely underwater to harvest oysters or something like that. That might sound ridiculous but I bet you a dollar the truth is something close.

What Doesn’t Work

The product description on the Gerbing website lists “touch screen compatible index fingers”, but I can’t get it to work at all. Normally gloves with that feature have some sort of different material on the index fingers while these Vanguards don’t.

All I can guess about this “failure to perform” is that it’s listed in error on the product description because I see no evidence of it being built into these gloves at all.

Value for the Money

As already mentioned there are some hidden costs associated with Vanguard ownership. You need several extra components over and above buying the gloves. The cheapest way for you to get these gloves working in your “hot little hands” is to spend $160 + $12 + $12 + $50 = $234 US.

There’s no denying that’s a lot of money even for an excellent product such as this. Consider also that you’ll need to buy another pair of gloves to wear in hot summer temperatures instead of these Vanguards which are too hot.

If you have the money to buy two good pairs of gloves I absolutely would recommend getting these Vanguards. If you don’t have that kind of coin, then perhaps you should invest in the nearly $200 less expensive aforementioned handlebar muffs instead.

The Final Verdict?

The Gerbing Vanguard heated motorcycle gloves

At the risk of sounding repetitive, I appreciate these gloves and highly recommend them anytime someone asks me about heated gear.

I’m the kind of person who will pay more for quality, because I like to be comfortable and for my gear to function at the highest level.

I appreciate companies that stand behind their products with a solid warranty and customer service.

I like the way these Vanguard gloves don’t look like anything other than a typical leather motorcycle glove with Superfabric patches on them and yet their secret identity as a warming friend makes them special.

Yep… I’ll be holding on to these babies for a while. I keep them in my pack along with the temperature controller and Y harness every time I anticipate running into inclement weather while out on bike rides.

  • Jim

Pros

  • Comfortable, very lightweight for leather
  • The strong design shows high quality
  • Superfabric patches and TPU knuckle guard, gel pads protection
  • Waterproof, Windproof, Warm yet breathable
  • Temp controller switch has a wireless option
  • Double stitching, long cuff but not too long
  • Can run on the bike electrical system or a portable battery
  • Men’s and women’s sizing available
  • Suitable for warm or cold weather
  • Lifetime manufacturer’s warranty on the heating element

Cons

  • Expensive to buy
  • Not touch screen friendly as claimed
  • Short fingers
  • Thick padding on palms and underside of fingers
  • Where do I mount the controller switch?

Specs

  • Manufacturer: Gerbing Gyde Heated Clothing
  • Price (When Tested): $159.99
  • Made In: China, designed in the USA
  • Alternative models & colors: Black leather only
  • Sizes: S to 3XL
  • Review Date: October 2020

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Gerbing Vanguard Heated Gloves Image Gallery

 

8 Comments

  1. Norskie
    November 6, 2020
    Reply

    “I’m guessing Gerbing doesn’t want people trying to make warranty claims after using them completely underwater to harvest oysters or something like that. ”

    No, they got tired of people like my wife and I making warranty claims when our hands got soaked after two years of use. These are just far too expensive to replace every couple years.

    Wish I could find heated gloves with protection and GoreTex.

    • November 6, 2020
      Reply

      Hi Norskie!

      Thanks for the insight since I haven’t had these gloves for nearly that long to test. Is it possible you just got some bad gloves or did Gerbing give you replacements to try afterward and they leaked as well?

      If you’re looking for alternatives we’ve reviewed several other heated gloves on the site you could read about.

    • November 10, 2020
      Reply

      Hi Norski, I have to say that I love oysters but haven’t heard of anyone using our gloves for harvesting them before 🙂

      Please shoot me an email and I’ll do my best to take care of you.

      Thanks, [email protected]

  2. Pops
    November 9, 2020
    Reply

    I didn’t see mention as to where the heating elements are in the glove. Many are only on the back of the hand and fingers, not on the palm or around the fingers. Where do these stand?

    • November 9, 2020
      Reply

      I didn’t cut open the gloves for a look, but what I’ve ascertained is the elements are shaped like a thin ribbon that runs all over inside the gloves (including the palms and fingers) to create the even warming layer I noticed in my testing. In these gloves, there aren’t any hot spots as a result of the design, but neither are there cold spots. It works very well.

  3. Freubel
    November 9, 2020
    Reply

    The most retarded thing ever is those 90 degree angle connectors on the gloves.
    The cables coming from the controler are straight, so you’ll be pulling those 90 degree connectors in another 90 degree.
    This caused mine to break within 2 years. Gerbing doesn’t fix it under warranty because it’s “outside” cabling.

    • November 9, 2020
      Reply

      That’s surprising to hear, but I also don’t understand why the connectors are 90 degree. It hasn’t caused me any issue to this point though. I might contact Justin and ask him to comment on this and other warranty issues.

    • November 10, 2020
      Reply

      Sorry to hear about the issue with your gloves, and we will be happy to fix them for you! Please email me [email protected] and we will set you up with a Warranty Repair.

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