Date reviewed: January 2018 | Tested by: Richard Niven, BikeSocial Test Team | Price: £199.99 | www.keisapparel.co.uk
Despite being an adventure rider who loves exploring the most frozen parts of this planet, I’ve never used any kind of heated clothing. The first time I got to test the Keis Premium Heated Jacket was sadly not really much of a good day as the temperature started off at a [relatively] warm 6°C and never fell below 4°C the whole day. In all that time I left it switched to ‘low’ and felt comfortable throughout.
On the second test ride I left home it was 2°C, so I decided to head for the magical Cairngorm mountains of Scotland. Wearing the Keis J501 under my usual bike jacket I simply left it set to low but as I got closer to the Cairngorms the temperature fell to a freezing –3°C, and the low setting was soon switched to medium.
I rode around in the snow the whole day, adjusting the controller between ‘low’ and ‘med’ and felt warm the whole time. Never once did I have to switch to the high setting.
With my Honda NC750 already wired up for world touring with many gadgets, I was a bit worried that adding this jacket may just overload the electrical system, so I only fitted it with a 5A fuse which so far – after 20 or so hours riding – has lasted well [Ed’s note – the jacket will pull up to 7A in full power… the limitation of any bike is its alternator, so if you can, keep an eye on the voltage to see it stays around 13.5V when running. If your bike doesn’t have one, you could temporarily use a multimeter across the battery, or pick up a cheap digital Volt meter. We’d recommend using the supplied 7.5A fuse, or the 10A if you’re wearing gloves as well].
Being just under six feet tall and of slim build, this jacket fitted me very well. With it being so light I don’t really notice it being there, and once it’s warmed up (which is very quick) I generally forget its even there.
One great thing about this jacket is the way it seems to hold its heat for a long period once unplugged, and keeps me warm for quite a period after.
The jacket comes with one fitting cable and instructions of how to connect it, which is extremely easy; the main lead simply connects directly onto the battery and using the cable ties supplied I threaded it along to somewhere on the right-hand side of the bike that the jacket’s connector could reach.
At the time of writing, the controller was supplied free with all Keis jackets and vests
Power and control
On my larger modern Japanese bikes the power output can easily handle this jacket at any level, but on older machines such as my Royal Enfield I would rather just use the jacket on ‘low’ to save the electrical supply.
The control for the jacket is situated on the left, and once plugged into the supply cable will not start heating until you switch it on. This of course will prevent the jacket drawing current before you start the engine – unless you turn it on beforehand.
There are three heat levels on the control (high, med and low), of which I’ve only ever used ‘med’ or ‘low’. High level I think would be too hot for me, despite having used it own to -7° Celcius!
The controller plugs into the inside of the Keis, with a cable just long enough that it can hang beneath the hem of your bike jacket, making it easy to switch between modes.
Riding with this Keis heated kit under a normal biker’s jacket is great – it’s only when you turn it off that you realise just how much heat it’s giving out.
When it’s not being used on the bike the supply cable and control fit nicely into the side pocket, and riding in the rain/snow/hail sure helps keep me warm and dry. Generally I find that most biker’s jackets tend to leak slightly, and after a few miles in the rain I start feeling the damp coming through. With the Keis underneath I stay warm, and any damp that does get through soon seems to evaporate before I feel it.
Wearing this in the freezing cold winter Scottish weather certainly gave me a false sense of temperature; the sun may be shining and the sky might be blue, but the temperature is a wonderful -3° Celsius.
As I have more than one bike I decided I wanted a connection fitted to each machine, and so managed to find extra kits online for only £13.99.
I am very impressed with this jacket; it certainly kept me warm while I was out having adventures in the snow… already I can’t imagine riding without it!