When the temperature drops, it’s your hands that feel the chill first. Riding with frozen fingers is not only unpleasant, but potentially dangerous as well. Although heated grips help considerably, they do nothing to directly warm the upper surfaces of the hand most exposed to high-speed airflow. That’s exactly where heated gloves like the Keis G501 come into their own.
During December and January I’ve covered around 1,500 miles wearing the Keis heated gloves and I’m unequivocally impressed with them. Testing has been aboard the Suzuki V-Strom 1000XT, which doesn’t have heated grips and whose handguards offer zero wind protection. Air temperature over the test period has varied between +10 to -4 Celsius. Accounting for wind chill, the effective temperature at 70 MPH was therefore something like -12 to -28 Celsius. I’m very happy to report that my usually numb-with-cold hands have stayed toasty (and completely dry) throughout all those miles thanks to the effectiveness of the Keis heated gloves.
Before getting into heating specifics, it’s worth saying that the Keis G501 are supremely comfortable gloves ‘unplugged’ and I have every intention of wearing them year-round. They’re not at all bulky for a cold weather product, the fit is great and there are no irritating internal seams, and they offer equivalent feel and dexterity to a typical summer glove. The composite design features (3M)Thinsulate™, Hipora™ waterproof membrane, and the latest abrasion resistant materials including rigid armour over the knuckles. There’s a visor wiper on the left index finger too.
The gloves come with a cable to connect to your bike’s battery, which is certainly the most reliable method of providing power. An optional rechargeable battery pack is available separately, and I’ve been testing that as well. The gloves are also supplied with a Y-cable that threads inside your motorcycle jacket and connects the gloves themselves with the power source. The input socket on the gloves is just behind the heel of the thumb.
In the middle of the back of each glove is a prominent and easy-to-operate power mode button. When first plugged in, the power is off by default. Holding down the button for a second or two enables high power (red), pressing it again switches to medium (amber), and a third time to low power (green). Heat immediately radiates over the back of the hands and down the fingers.
Running off a fully charged battery pack (which is about the size of a pack of cigarettes), Keis say that high, medium, and low power should provide heat for around an hour and a half, two and a half hours, and nearly five hours respectively. I can’t vouch for the low power performance, but those figures have proved accurate for the high and medium modes.
I found that using the high power mode for extended periods of time created uncomfortable hotspots over the knuckles and other pressure points. However, most of the time, even on the frostiest of days, I’ve been operating the gloves (connected directly to the V-Strom’s battery) in the medium power mode. This seems to deliver enough warmth to balance out the effects of wind chill.
It’s no exaggeration to say that wearing the Keis G501 heated gloves has transformed my winter riding from a shivering ordeal to a comfortable pleasure. I really can’t recommend them highly enough.
Keis G501 Armoured Heated Gloves (pair)
Current Draw 1.6A. Typical Power 19.2W.
Available in sizes XXS/6, XS/7, S/8, M/9, L/10, XL/11, XXL/12
UK RRP £189.00
Keis Optional Battery Pack and Charger (2600mAh)
UK RRP £66.00
Review by: Iain Harper