Reviewer: Peter Henshaw
Keeping your hands warm in winter is a perennial problem that won’t go away, but a lot of the solutions bring their own drawbacks. Handlebar muffs are effective but can be clumsy, while heated grips are neater but take a while to warm up. Heated gloves, which plug straight into the bike’s electrics usually deliver a faster warm up, but it’s bit of hassle to plug them in every time.
The latest from Keis, which offers a whole range of heated clothing including waistcoat, trousers and insoles, is an optional battery pack which makes its X900 gloves independent of the bike or scooter. Ever smaller, lighter and cheaper lithium-ion batteries make this a practical proposition.
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The result is undeniably bulkier and heavier than a plug-in heated glove, but once they’re on you don’t notice that. Just like a plug-in glove, this one does warm up more quickly than heated grips. The X900s have three heat settings, with the rubber button on each glove glowing green, yellow or red respectively. Even the hottest red setting isn’t that fierce, but so far it’s kept the chill off my hands on an hour’s ride at 2 degrees C – I’ve yet to try the gloves in sub-zero temperatures.
The disadvantage of batteries of course, is that they have a finite life, and these lasted three hours on the hottest setting, so plenty for a long two-way commute. They are easy to recharge, and the charger that comes them does both gloves at the same time, taking about two hours.
The X900 gloves cost £129.99, with all the wiring to plug them into the bike’s battery, and the battery/charger gubbins are a £70 option, so you can still revert to plug-in heating if faced with a longer ride. And there’s one more advantage of battery power – you can still have warm hands off the bike.