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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
...that is the question...
In the never ending quest for motorcycle related knowledge, I've realized that I've been riding long enough to know, that I don't know much...And that there are endless options for staying warm on a motorcycle, at all price points. Some prefer heated gear, some prefer strategically chosen layers, or a combination of both. I would assume this is like an oil thread, in the sense that there are a thousand opinions, all of them "correct" :wink: . I"m open to, and will continue to practice random experimentation with this. It would be nice to hear from some of you more experienced riders regarding what your favorite setup is. A wise lyricist and BMW rider from my favorite band says "There is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong gear."
Specifics:
Bike: 05 1200RT, has heated grips and seat.
Conditions: West Tennessee fall/winter/spring. I will be attempting to stay warm between 30-50 degrees F, occasionally 20 degrees. Very little snow, fair amount of rain.

I do own a (recently purchased) heated jacket liner although a few trial runs at 46 degrees have revealed a general lack of heat control. It has "low, med, hi" and here are some observations when using a medium weight riding jacket as an outer layer:
Heated jacket seems warm for the torso with not enough heat to the sleeves. With just a moisture-wicking shirt under the jacket, "low" is entirely too warm. With a medium weight shirt between the jacket and torso, heat is more comfortable. I would tend to think that a thin moisture-wicking undergarment is still recommended to control the inevitable perspiration. This of course in addition to a medium weight shirt. However, adding yet another layer between your body and the heating elements would seem counterproductive when the temps get even colder. I'm starting to see the wisdom in the older style Gerbing heated jackets with the bike-mounted dial control for heat settings. Customarily, with all things "motorcycle", this revelation comes immediately after purchasing something else.

If the moderators don't mind, I'll link to an article which gave me an idea, of which I'd like your opinion: No heated gear at all. Here is the article: (see section labelled #1 in article, 1/4 of the way down, to skip to pertinent portion)
https://ultimatemotorcycling.com/2013/11/14/seven-tips-winter-motorcycle-riding/

What say ye?
 

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I ride year round, with the exception of snow or ice. Hot, cold, wet, dry, windy, calm. I used to have heated gear - jacket liner and pants - and thought they were pretty good, until they weren't. Had problems with both the liner and then the pants. Fixed the liner, then gave it up when the pants went out. Went to layers using merino wool and a thin lofted jacket to keep warm and keep the wind out.

What I liked about the heated gear: less bulk; easily adjustable for temperature changes.

What I did not like: plugging into the bike was a pain, even with a dedicated plug; hot and cold spots; reliability issues; no heating unless you are on the bike.

What I like about layering: easy to pick layers for the temperature; merino wool is super comfortable; seems to handle wet rides better; no need to plug in.

What I do not like: on really cold days can become bulky, but found really heavy weight merino wool garments that are warm with less bulk.

Would not go back to heated. I have ridden in 10 degree weather with the layers and stay warm and comfy with no problem. For me, it's just easier overall
 
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I ride year round, with the exception of snow or ice. Hot, cold, wet, dry, windy, calm. I used to have heated gear - jacket liner and pants - and thought they were pretty good, until they weren't. Had problems with both the liner and then the pants. Fixed the liner, then gave it up when the pants went out. Went to layers using merino wool and a thin lofted jacket to keep warm and keep the wind out.

What I liked about the heated gear: less bulk; easily adjustable for temperature changes.

What I did not like: plugging into the bike was a pain, even with a dedicated plug; hot and cold spots; reliability issues; no heating unless you are on the bike.

What I like about layering: easy to pick layers for the temperature; merino wool is super comfortable; seems to handle wet rides better; no need to plug in.

What I do not like: on really cold days can become bulky, but found really heavy weight merino wool garments that are warm with less bulk.

Would not go back to heated. I have ridden in 10 degree weather with the layers and stay warm and comfy with no problem. For me, it's just easier overall
Thank you for that insight. I've tried merino wool socks and love them. Would you share what you use for the merino wool upper body layers? Thinking it's time to purchase some and I'll give a similar jacket a try in combo. And may give up on the heated jacket after all...
 

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I have used heated gear for many years, starting with a Gerbings jacket and gloves, until the Gerbings finally gave out and I replaced it with a Warm 'n' Safe. I also have the wireless thermostat, which I keep velcroed on the brake reservoir. I've stayed warm down to below 20 degrees and I particularly like the lack of bulk with electric gear.

One point I would make...your jacket needs to fit you really snug in order to work properly. I wear just a merino wool long underwear shirt under it and the jacket liner, compared to what you might normally wear as a light jacket, should actually feel likes it's bit too small for you. This puts the heating elements close enough to your skin to really work. I might add that, compared to the older Gerbings jacket I had, the Warm 'n' Safe distributes the heat much more evenly across my upper body. The thermostat offers infinite adjustment for comfort and it has two dials for both my liner and my gloves.

For me, the problem with just layering up is, sitting on a bike there isn't enough aerobic activity to create any body heat. For what little heat is being created, you need some pretty heavy layers to keep it all in and the cold air out. Of course, everyone's physiology is different and I've no doubt for some folks layering works just fine. It just doesn't work for me.

Once the temperature gets below around 45 degrees, I pull out the heated gear and stay quite comfortable for all day rides.
 

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Been riding for almost 50 years, I've tried most things. At one point I was fully electric. That worked great for long highway days but I got tired of plugging in and making connections and fixing/ replacing parts. Sweaters and long johns generally don't fail with no warning. These days I have a heated seat and grips on the RT and take a heated vest with thermostat on trips because I like the adjustability but the majority of my stuff is not heated.

For the rest I recommend a Gortex (or similar) lined textile coat and pants on the outside. Leather is sexy and all but it is hot in the summer and cold in winter. Leather also absorbs water and gets both heavy and chilly. Bad deal. Your gear also has to fit, that is why I don't use Aerostitch anymore, when I get the shoulders and arm length right the rest of the jacket is cut for a blimp. OTOH, it might fit you perfectly, you have to try it to find out. I wound up with an over priced BMW coat because it fit me perfectly. With a few layers of microfiber underneath your suit and the vest just over a non-cotton tee shirt you are as comfortable as you'll get. Mountaineering types have a saying, cotton kills, it may not kill you on a bike but it still sucks. If you prefer the wool option that can work well, I just like the nice, soft synthetics.

For hands and feet the same formula works, Gortex outer and microfiber underneath. Glove liners can take you favorite gloves down quite a few degrees with comfort. One other point, if it is really cold you can't beat good heated gloves. They are a PITA to connect but for hours on the road in the thirties (single digits if you are metric) they are the only way I've found to keep your hands warm, far more effective than heated grips. I haven't done it but I've heard similar reports for heated socks.

Thats it, just invest your life savings in a pricey suit, several layers of costly sweaters and pants for underneath, expensive gloves and boots and that $800 helmet and you are all set. >:)

One more thing on helmets, those dumb looking Pinlock visors really work, I installed my first one a few months ago. I live on the coast were it is often cool and foggy, I get to test anti fog properties often. We had Fog City shields in the past, Pinlocks seems to be the new and improved Fog City product. Read the washing instruction on the Pinlock shield, if you don't you'll feel as dumb as as I felt when I tried to clean it. The problem is, if you wear them, your glasses, they still fog with your face shied closed. The best solution I know is to get them really clean before your ride. The anti fog treatments are mostly just soap/ detergent. Gently wash your glasses with soap in warm water and dry them with soft cloth before your ride and get some of the cleaning wipes you'll find at the drug store for use during the day.
 

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...that is the question...
In the never ending quest for motorcycle related knowledge, I've realized that I've been riding long enough to know, that I don't know much...And that there are endless options for staying warm on a motorcycle, at all price points. Some prefer heated gear, some prefer strategically chosen layers, or a combination of both. I would assume this is like an oil thread, in the sense that there are a thousand opinions, all of them "correct" :wink: . I"m open to, and will continue to practice random experimentation with this. It would be nice to hear from some of you more experienced riders regarding what your favorite setup is. A wise lyricist and BMW rider from my favorite band says "There is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong gear."
Specifics:
Bike: 05 1200RT, has heated grips and seat.
Conditions: West Tennessee fall/winter/spring. I will be attempting to stay warm between 30-50 degrees F, occasionally 20 degrees. Very little snow, fair amount of rain.

I do own a (recently purchased) heated jacket liner although a few trial runs at 46 degrees have revealed a general lack of heat control. It has "low, med, hi" and here are some observations when using a medium weight riding jacket as an outer layer:
Heated jacket seems warm for the torso with not enough heat to the sleeves. With just a moisture-wicking shirt under the jacket, "low" is entirely too warm. With a medium weight shirt between the jacket and torso, heat is more comfortable. I would tend to think that a thin moisture-wicking undergarment is still recommended to control the inevitable perspiration. This of course in addition to a medium weight shirt. However, adding yet another layer between your body and the heating elements would seem counterproductive when the temps get even colder. I'm starting to see the wisdom in the older style Gerbing heated jackets with the bike-mounted dial control for heat settings. Customarily, with all things "motorcycle", this revelation comes immediately after purchasing something else.

If the moderators don't mind, I'll link to an article which gave me an idea, of which I'd like your opinion: No heated gear at all. Here is the article: (see section labelled #1 in article, 1/4 of the way down, to skip to pertinent portion)
https://ultimatemotorcycling.com/2013/11/14/seven-tips-winter-motorcycle-riding/

What say ye?
BB:

If you're going a long way and it's cold, you can't beat electrics. You need to layer properly for electrics or you'll have some of the problems mentioned below. I like to use at least a thick long sleeve Tee under my electrics jacket liner. I sometimes use a waterproof inner liner...I have one of the shiny grey ones from a BMW jacket, but Olympia also supplies similar ones. They're great for holding the heat in. When you keep the heat in, you don't need so much heat from the liner. That means more even heat and better comfort...in my experience. s

Contrary to one of the riders above, I use leather pants and a heavy leather touring jacket in the cold. Mine has an elastic band about mid way down that keeps drafts from coming up from underneath. It was on closeout at a bike store and about 3 of us bought them. This thing is great for cold weather because it stops the wind. Textile just doesn't do it the same.

If it rains, I never ever rely on an inner liner for rain protection. I always use rain pants and a rain jacket on the outside of whatever I wear. The reason is that, if your liner is inside, the outside layer soaks through. It will make you very cold because it's constantly evaporating water...great if it's hot...awful if it's cold. Generally, it's colder when it rains and I don't like a wet jacket.

My new rain jacket is high vis...which makes some sense in the rain. It has a hood. I usually don't use the hood, but if it's coming down in buckets, I can put the hood on and then my helmet and keep water from going down my back. I think it's a North Face and it's very thin...It breathes.

I have an older non-breathing jacket with a couple vents. That keeps me warmer and is a good emergency layer...for a summer trip into the rockies where it gets cold up on the passes but you don't want to carry a lot of layers....It's good for 20 degrees lower than whatever I'm wearing...but I'm liking this new one for most trips.

I use a Gerbings jaket liner. It has plugs in the sleeves for electric gloves. My electric gloves are the older Gerbings that are really thick and big. I usually don't need to turn the power on and my hands are plenty warm. They're the warmest gloves I have...unplugged.

For normal trips, like my recent one to Falling Leaf (MO) from Chicago, I used Olympia winter gloves. They're very soft and have thick fur (or something) inside. Very comfy and flexible. Not electric.

I use Aerostitch 3 finger rain gloves over my riding gloves as needed. They take a bit of practice to use but I like them.

:toast:

RTWIZ
2017 R1200RTW...(RT#4)
 

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One more thing on helmets, those dumb looking Pinlock visors really work...
Yes they do, right up to the point when they don't.

I've already had Shoei replace the visor AND the insert once and it appears it'll happen again as mine keeps fogging and always from the lower right and then over and up.

Contacted them about it and they told me that the pins themselves can be and should be tightened so that the user cannot slide a piece of paper between the insert and the visor. If one looks at the top of the pin (the part facing inwards), you'll notice it has a hex head. a 7/32" socket and hand-tightening is pretty much all you need. The outer pin might move as you do so; a pair of needle-nose pliers GENTLY applied could work to hold it in place.

Of course I did this and it worked! It no longer fogs from the right...nope, it now starts right in the middle! :crying:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have used heated gear for many years, starting with a Gerbings jacket and gloves, until the Gerbings finally gave out and I replaced it with a Warm 'n' Safe. I also have the wireless thermostat, which I keep velcroed on the brake reservoir. I've stayed warm down to below 20 degrees and I particularly like the lack of bulk with electric gear.

One point I would make...your jacket needs to fit you really snug in order to work properly. I wear just a merino wool long underwear shirt under it and the jacket liner, compared to what you might normally wear as a light jacket, should actually feel likes it's bit too small for you. This puts the heating elements close enough to your skin to really work. I might add that, compared to the older Gerbings jacket I had, the Warm 'n' Safe distributes the heat much more evenly across my upper body. The thermostat offers infinite adjustment for comfort and it has two dials for both my liner and my gloves.

For me, the problem with just layering up is, sitting on a bike there isn't enough aerobic activity to create any body heat. For what little heat is being created, you need some pretty heavy layers to keep it all in and the cold air out. Of course, everyone's physiology is different and I've no doubt for some folks layering works just fine. It just doesn't work for me.

Once the temperature gets below around 45 degrees, I pull out the heated gear and stay quite comfortable for all day rides.
Thanks for the advice and specifics. I will try some of that. It would appear that my purchase of "Hotwired" brand 3-setting jacket may be part of the issue. One would think that the infinite adjustment factor would certainly help. I will check into Warm N Safe, possibly see if anyone wants to buy this one.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Been riding for almost 50 years, I've tried most things. At one point I was fully electric. That worked great for long highway days but I got tired of plugging in and making connections and fixing/ replacing parts. Sweaters and long johns generally don't fail with no warning. These days I have a heated seat and grips on the RT and take a heated vest with thermostat on trips because I like the adjustability but the majority of my stuff is not heated.

For the rest I recommend a Gortex (or similar) lined textile coat and pants on the outside. Leather is sexy and all but it is hot in the summer and cold in winter. Leather also absorbs water and gets both heavy and chilly. Bad deal. Your gear also has to fit, that is why I don't use Aerostitch anymore, when I get the shoulders and arm length right the rest of the jacket is cut for a blimp. OTOH, it might fit you perfectly, you have to try it to find out. I wound up with an over priced BMW coat because it fit me perfectly. With a few layers of microfiber underneath your suit and the vest just over a non-cotton tee shirt you are as comfortable as you'll get. Mountaineering types have a saying, cotton kills, it may not kill you on a bike but it still sucks. If you prefer the wool option that can work well, I just like the nice, soft synthetics.

For hands and feet the same formula works, Gortex outer and microfiber underneath. Glove liners can take you favorite gloves down quite a few degrees with comfort. One other point, if it is really cold you can't beat good heated gloves. They are a PITA to connect but for hours on the road in the thirties (single digits if you are metric) they are the only way I've found to keep your hands warm, far more effective than heated grips. I haven't done it but I've heard similar reports for heated socks.

Thats it, just invest your life savings in a pricey suit, several layers of costly sweaters and pants for underneath, expensive gloves and boots and that $800 helmet and you are all set. >:)

One more thing on helmets, those dumb looking Pinlock visors really work, I installed my first one a few months ago. I live on the coast were it is often cool and foggy, I get to test anti fog properties often. We had Fog City shields in the past, Pinlocks seems to be the new and improved Fog City product. Read the washing instruction on the Pinlock shield, if you don't you'll feel as dumb as as I felt when I tried to clean it. The problem is, if you wear them, your glasses, they still fog with your face shied closed. The best solution I know is to get them really clean before your ride. The anti fog treatments are mostly just soap/ detergent. Gently wash your glasses with soap in warm water and dry them with soft cloth before your ride and get some of the cleaning wipes you'll find at the drug store for use during the day.
A lot of great advice and thank you. Definitely gravitating toward a Goretex outer layer and boots, for the durability, water / wind resistance, and "breathability". On that note, hard to imagine how a material can claim to be breathable and wind / water resistant but those of you who have used it would know if it works. So many choices to narrow down. I've wondered about using a 'Stitch, seems durable, protective and convenient, but the whole fit thing is a bit daunting. If one paid that much, and had fitment issues, that would be quite frustrating. Next helmet will include a Pinlock, may try a Fog City add-on in the meantime. Have definitely noticed that cleanliness helps on visors and goggles, but will still fog.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
BB:

If you're going a long way and it's cold, you can't beat electrics. You need to layer properly for electrics or you'll have some of the problems mentioned below. I like to use at least a thick long sleeve Tee under my electrics jacket liner. I sometimes use a waterproof inner liner...I have one of the shiny grey ones from a BMW jacket, but Olympia also supplies similar ones. They're great for holding the heat in. When you keep the heat in, you don't need so much heat from the liner. That means more even heat and better comfort...in my experience. s

Contrary to one of the riders above, I use leather pants and a heavy leather touring jacket in the cold. Mine has an elastic band about mid way down that keeps drafts from coming up from underneath. It was on closeout at a bike store and about 3 of us bought them. This thing is great for cold weather because it stops the wind. Textile just doesn't do it the same.

If it rains, I never ever rely on an inner liner for rain protection. I always use rain pants and a rain jacket on the outside of whatever I wear. The reason is that, if your liner is inside, the outside layer soaks through. It will make you very cold because it's constantly evaporating water...great if it's hot...awful if it's cold. Generally, it's colder when it rains and I don't like a wet jacket.

My new rain jacket is high vis...which makes some sense in the rain. It has a hood. I usually don't use the hood, but if it's coming down in buckets, I can put the hood on and then my helmet and keep water from going down my back. I think it's a North Face and it's very thin...It breathes.

I have an older non-breathing jacket with a couple vents. That keeps me warmer and is a good emergency layer...for a summer trip into the rockies where it gets cold up on the passes but you don't want to carry a lot of layers....It's good for 20 degrees lower than whatever I'm wearing...but I'm liking this new one for most trips.

I use a Gerbings jaket liner. It has plugs in the sleeves for electric gloves. My electric gloves are the older Gerbings that are really thick and big. I usually don't need to turn the power on and my hands are plenty warm. They're the warmest gloves I have...unplugged.

For normal trips, like my recent one to Falling Leaf (MO) from Chicago, I used Olympia winter gloves. They're very soft and have thick fur (or something) inside. Very comfy and flexible. Not electric.

I use Aerostitch 3 finger rain gloves over my riding gloves as needed. They take a bit of practice to use but I like them.

:toast:

RTWIZ
2017 R1200RTW...(RT#4)
Thanks for all that advice...and the reminder: Need to find a rain jacket with a hood! The breathable one I have now is hi-vis and great for summer but colder rains with no hood = cold water down your back = no fun.
 

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Like ANY gear you have to find what works for YOU!

There is no comparison when riding in cold temps using proper fitting and coverage heated gear. I have heated jacket, pants, gloves, insoles. I no longer feel like the "Michelin man" when riding in the cold with multiple layers.

BUT, I always keep extra layers with me in case of a failure. There is some excellent thermal jackets and pants made by Olympia that are hard to beat as non heated gear.

With good controls you can be absolutely comfortable in cold temps with heated gear....

Until you stop for a break! That is the only negative. I like to pull in rest stops for 1/2 hour to 2 hours on high mile days. Heated gear is a problem when doing that! Just won't keep you warm.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Like ANY gear you have to find what works for YOU!

There is no comparison when riding in cold temps using proper fitting and coverage heated gear. I have heated jacket, pants, gloves, insoles. I no longer feel like the "Michelin man" when riding in the cold with multiple layers.

BUT, I always keep extra layers with me in case of a failure. There is some excellent thermal jackets and pants made by Olympia that are hard to beat as non heated gear.

With good controls you can be absolutely comfortable in cold temps with heated gear....

Until you stop for a break! That is the only negative. I like to pull in rest stops for 1/2 hour to 2 hours on high mile days. Heated gear is a problem when doing that! Just won't keep you warm.
Thank you for that. I will check out Olympia, haven't yet. As far as "good control" on the heated gear, are you using Warm N Safe, or Gerbings, or... (I assume not a low, med, hi controller like mine)?
 

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First, I'm not trying to get into an argument, my opinion is just my opinion. Your opinion is valid, I'm just curious about how came to your conclution.

Second, I'm not a vegan or otherwise opposed to leather. For short, local rides generally I wear an old leather jacket and riding jeans. The jacket is an example of one of the great things about leather, it was made for my not standard body. The jacket fits perfectly (not something I experience often) and, over the last few decades has become a second skin in spite of the heavy leather used to make it. The thick leather breaths well enough to be tolerable in warm weather. Also, thick, high quality leather (not the thin crap used in cheap gear) is your best protection if things go very wrong. But in cold or very hot weather the leather stays home.

I have to ask if you've ever tried good textile gear e.g. Aerostich, Klim or BMW products. I've put a Gortex layer over my leather when the temperature dropped and found the increase in warmth to be clear and dramatic. Small leaks I didn't notice suddenly stopped and I was much warmer. Unless you are willing to wear a jacket that gets clammy at temperatures that would normally be comfortable you can't make leather wind or waterproof without a layer of something like Gortex underneath the leather. An example is the defunct Aerostich Transit line. Even Transit leather gets heavy (absorbed water) and turns into a "swamp cooler" as the wind evaporates the large amount of water in the leather.

A perfect example is today, I'm an hour from a ride that will start foggy and in the low 40s and be dry and in the mid 80s before I get home. In the morning I'll have a medium weight sweater under my BMW Gortex jacket, removing the sweater and opening vents later will keep me cool and comfortable unless the weather folks guessed wrong and temps get into the nineties or higher, if that happens I'll wish I had my mesh jacket. In either case my leather jackets/ pants wouldn't be as comfortable as my textile gear.


BB:


Contrary to one of the riders above, I use leather pants and a heavy leather touring jacket in the cold. Mine has an elastic band about mid way down that keeps drafts from coming up from underneath. It was on closeout at a bike store and about 3 of us bought them. This thing is great for cold weather because it stops the wind. Textile just doesn't do it the same.



RTWIZ
2017 R1200RTW...(RT#4)
 

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Thank you for that insight. I've tried merino wool socks and love them. Would you share what you use for the merino wool upper body layers? Thinking it's time to purchase some and I'll give a similar jacket a try in combo. And may give up on the heated jacket after all...
I use WoolX products. They come in multiple weights. I use the heaviest weight in cold weather, and will even use an under layer when it gets below freezing. Today was a perfect example of why I like layering. It was 38 degrees riding in to work and I had the heaviest layer on. Coming home it was 64, so the heavy stuff went into the side bag and the ride home was comfy.

As you can tell from the responses, everyone has their own preference, and you’ll have to figure out what works for you. Whatever you choose, enjoy the ride.
 

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A heated jacket liner and you will never regret it. Here is the original Gerbings outfit:
https://www.gordonsheated.com/index.php/jacket-liner
No need to adjust layers, just adjust the thermostat. And layers don't keep your neck nice and warm. Caught in a day of riding in cool rain, this under your Aerostitch and life goes on. On a cold day, I wear a long sleeve tee shirt and my jacket liner under my gear. I just leave the jacket liner on for lunch or other duties.
 
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Thanks for all that advice...and the reminder: Need to find a rain jacket with a hood! The breathable one I have now is hi-vis and great for summer but colder rains with no hood = cold water down your back = no fun.

I have a Frogg-Togg which I love.



It breathes very well, It has a hood, but the collar is high enough that I never needed to use it.
The pants legs have a long zipper on the sides which makes them very easy to put over my riding pants.


I also use the jacket all the time as a wind breaker over my mesh jacket when it gets a little colder. (Much faster to put it over and remove that the outer layer of my flex jacket with all the zipper attachments.)









When it gets cold, I prefer heated gear. They are less bulky and can be adjusted on the fly while riding. (No need to stop to add or remove layers)
All I wear under my jacket is a long sleeve wicking shirt. No issues riding below freezing temp.
At this time of the year , on long rides, I wear heated gloves,jacket,pants and socks.



My only gripe with my setup is that on the dual controller, both the gloves and the pants/socks are on the same controller (The jacket is on a different one.)
I would prefer to have the gloves separate since your hands usually need more heat than your legs.

Heated grips are fine but only to a certain extend. The clutch and brake levers are not heated and can get really cold. If you have to use them a lot, your fingers get really cold. Heated gloves solve that problem.
 
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