Date reviewed: October 2017 | Tested by: Helen Milbank | Price: £119.99 | www.keisapparel.co.uk
I really, really hate being cold. As a pillion, I’m moving less than the rider, which makes matters worse and limits the trips my husband and I can have in autumn/winter.
This Keis X30, which I’ve had for about 18 months now, is specifically cut for women (riders or pillions), with a collar added that the X10 version doesn’t have (though it’s not got a heated panel in there).
Fit is important on heated kit as you want it snug enough to keep the warmth against your body, without it being too tight to restrict movement. Of course you need to try any bike kit on for yourself before you buy, but I’ve found this perfect for me, and it slips easily under my outer jacket.
As with all Keis heated kit, the vest comes with the wiring to connect to your bike’s battery, along with a selection of fuses to suit any other kit you’re using. One weatherproof plug connects your vest to the bike, while sockets inside can connect gloves, trousers and/or thermal insoles, so there’s minimal faffing when you jump off the bike. The plugs tend to be a bit stiff, particularly when new, so make sure they’re plugged in properly.
The controller is easy to use, and sockets inside allow you to connect other items
Power and control
I typically have the X30 powered by my own connector under the seat of our KTM – it draws a tested 1.1A at 12V, so doesn’t have a major impact on the alternator; my husband’s easily able to run his heated kit at the same time.
The supplied controller gives three levels, and hangs just below my RST jacket – even when that’s zipped to my trousers, there’s enough room for the water-resistant controller to be easy to reach and operate. When not in use it tucks away in the left pocket, which has an upside-down zip so the cable passes out easily.
Even though warmth is important to me, I’ve rarely felt the need for full power. The last ride I had was at 4°C, and I was very snug with it set to medium. It also doesn’t bother me that there’s no heat in the arms – keeping my core warm is all that’s needed.
What I find really beneficial is the fact that this vest can also be powered by an optional battery pack. I have a 4000mAh battery that tucks into the inside pocket and keeps me warm while I’m walking around. Besides using this just after getting off the bike, it’s proved absolutely brilliant on dog walks, when horse riding, or even in the garden.
The 4000mAh battery I use has been replaced by a more compact 2600mAh pack
Despite the relatively small heating elements on the chest and back that allow this to draw such little power, I’m really snug in it. I tested the battery, and found that it lasted a full four hours and seventeen minutes with the vest on full – an indication that it’s a quality lithium-ion pack. That pack has been replaced by a more slimline and lightweight 2600mAh unit, but I’d still expect a good two and a half hours from that on full power, much longer of course on the medium I tend to use most.
The first time I ever used this it was 8°C outside… too cold for me to be happy, but with the extremely fast heat-up of the X30, I was really comfortable in just a few minutes. I was immediately convinced, and I wouldn’t be without it now…