by Gus Breiland
This fall brought Minnesota another beautiful season of riding. However fall can be a challenge. Cold in the morning, warm in the afternoon, and cold again in the evening. Most of the places I want to go are morning to evening away, which leaves me warm for only part of my ride.
The Aerostich Kanetsu AirVantage Vest with zip off sleeves is one of the best solutions for extending your riding hours from before the rooster crows to well past dinnertime instead of the standard 10am-4pm during peak sun. October / November and March / April can bring those perfect 60 degree days, but you have to endure those 30 degree mornings and nights to get there. One of the main things to concern yourself with when buying electric gear is a good snug fit. The closer the heating element is to your skin, the better the heat transfer. The problem is that off the shelf garments never quite fit perfectly or the rider is buying for style over function and buys it too loose. This leads a rider to purchase a liner that fits like a regular jacket versus a snug fitting functional piece of riding gear.
The Aerostich Kanetsu AirVantage Vest solves the imperfect fit by using an inflatable bladder sewn within your vest. Simply blow up your vest using a valve that is located within a small pocket over your left breast. This is a one-way valve that you blow into. Your vest inflates to give you a gentle hug. Plug the electric part of your vest into your bike, and away you go. The off the shelf vest has now conformed to your body giving you a custom fit with ideal heat transfer that leads to less draw on the battery. I have been running my Kanetsu AirVantage Vest throughout this fall which includes chilly mornings running up for pancakes north of Grand Marais to riding around town getting some miles on the wheels of MMM’s test fleet. A simple pigtail hook-up to the battery and you are wired for heat.
We have all had a friend or riding acquaintance give us a line about “A real rider doesn’t need all those high falutin, fancy bits to ride.” They believe that if you tough it out you can warm up with a cup of coffee. You know the guy, hugging the coffee pot, ordering oatmeal and foregoing the ice cream that comes with the blueberry pie. Sucker. Steal his ice cream and sip your coffee knowing that the ride home will be satisfyingly warm with or without your heated vest turned on. But at least you have the choice. It is simple to be warm. It is inexpensive to be warm. It is right to be warm. The liner just becomes part of your Spring/Fall riding gear and you will use it when your feel the time is right. Heck, you might even use it because you can!
Go get yourself a few more months of riding by running up to Aerostich in Duluth, MN or shop them online at www.aerostich.com. The vest costs $267 with the sleeves or $227 without. The sleeves will cost $50 if you decide to get them later. Save yourself the effort and $10 and buy them as a set. Aerostich also carries a wide range of electrical accessories for hooking up to your bike. I recommend the QuiConnect 2 system. This coaxial power hookup is one of the simplest connectors to use and allows you to quickly mount or dismount your ride for that pie and coffee.