Winter is a time when you have a few choices. You can wear the best gear you can afford and enjoy those pleasant winter days, put the scooter away until spring, or wear the wrong kit and hate every ride.
I prefer to wear stuff that works but sometimes it’s trial and error, hopefully we can help you avoid making expensive mistakes with our reviews. Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be reviewing some of our own favourite items of winter kit and equipment. To kick things off here’s some RST heated gloves…
I got these gloves last winter just before riding to Germany for Scooterist Meltdown in February. At £169.99 they’re not cheap but RST stuff usually works very well – check out my review of their excellent Adventure Textiles.
The good thing about these gloves is that they’re rechargeable so there are no wires to get in the way and you can use them on a classic scooter because you don’t need to plug them in. That advantage can also be a disadvantage though because if your journey is longer than four hours the batteries will run out so you may have to conserve the power until you really need it.
Forgetting the heat for a minute, as a winter glove they’re good on their own, mine have been waterproof (even whilst riding 140 miles through horrid rain, sleet and snow back from Germany on the Quadro, see teaser for our long overdue test here) and are quite warm without using the battery. They’re also lightweight and comfortable compared, although the Li-polymer batteries add a little weight they’re still lighter than most winter gloves. Downsides are that there’s no built in protection, hence lightweight and they don’t have a visor wipe on the index finger like my usual winter gloves (Spada Elite).
Turn on the heat
The battery packs will last for around four hours so if you’re on a long ride it’s worth conserving them until you’ve done a few miles. To turn them on there’s a rubber button on the cuff, press and hold for a few seconds and it’ll glow red – that’s the highest setting of three, press again for amber and green. In reality you’ll probably only ever use the highest setting. With heated gloves they don’t get unbearably hot, it’s comfortable warmth that will take the chill off your fingers, rather than a heat that is too hot to touch. You only realise their benefit if you turn them off, or if the battery runs out. What was a comfortable temperature quickly turns into a finger-numbing endurance test.
The battery packs are concealed within a zip compartment at the wrist, so you can remove them for charging. The charger will charge both at once but it’s on a transformer so has to be plugged into a wall socket. A USB charger would be a better option so that the batteries (or a spare pair) could be charged whilst you ride – if you have a USB/12v point on the scooter. Although you can buy a spare set of batteries for £27.49.
I’m still a bit torn as to whether heated gloves are the best thing you can use in winter. I’ve had heated grips in the past and they’re ok but are usually too hot, or the heat isn’t where you want it and you also have the wiring and unsightly grips to contend with.
My own personal best winter item of kit is my Oxford heated vest. You can read a review of that here and yes it does keep your hands warm as well. My heated vest connects to the battery so can’t be used on my classic scooters unfortunately (battery ones are available though).
As a good compromise and as an item of kit to make winter riding more bearable the RST gloves are well worth having. They’re good to have for longer rides, where after a 100 miles or so you need something to thaw your fingers out, it’s comforting to know they’re there when you need them. What they’re best at though is to help with the winter commute. A few miles in mid winter is enough to freeze your fingers off, so arriving at work and still being able to undo your helmet, unzip your jacket and function like a normal person is a bonus.
I think if they had some added protection, a visor wipe and the option to charge via USB they’d be perfect. Having said that though they are still a decent winter glove (better than the Oxford heated ones I’ve tried in the past).
Lab rating: 7 out of 10
RST Thermotech gloves spec.
- Premium grade cowhide
- Super fabric
- DuPont ComforMax Classic
- Smart micro flexible fibre
- Wrist closure
- Elasticated cuff closure Power grip
- Pre-curved fingers
- Double layer leather in palm
- Heat time: 120 -150 minutes highest heat setting, 240 – 270 minutes lowest heat setting
- 7.4V Lithium Polimer battery
- 7.4V European charger with UK adapter
- Double stitched seams
- Heavy duty bonded nylon thread
- Price: £169.99
- Contact: RST Moto