Friday, January 17, 2014

Review: Tourmaster's Synergy 2.0 Heated Gloves

This week, the folks at motorcyclehouse.com came through with my first item to be reviewed.  It was a pair of Tourmaster Synergy 2.0 Electrically Heated Textiles Gloves with a single heat controller.



The fit of the gloves, always an iffy thing when ordering things online, was nice and snug; the way you'd want them to be when buying gloves.  Their sizing chart was accurate at least when it came to my hand size.

The gloves are made in the gauntlet style where they're designed to fit over the ends of your riding jacket sleeves.  The gloves even come with a waterproof  extension sleeve of sorts, extending from the end of textile gauntlet to prevent water from coming in via the gauntlet I think.

The gauntlet style at first caused me some issues as I am used to wearing gloves over which I can zip up the ends of my riding jacket's sleeves.  Once I got over that, all was well.

The wiring harness was easy to hook up to my motorcycle's battery and was color-coded and pretty straightforward for the most part.  It only required a brief glance at the accompanying user manual to figure things out and less than 30 minutes later, my motorcycle was wired up and ready.

The wire harness leading from the rheostat heat controller to the gloves is inserted into the sleeve's of one's riding jacket and I didn't find it too cumbersome, though I still loathe wires for the most part.  Note: These gloves, per the user manual, draw 24 watts of power.  There is a temperature sensor that keeps the glove's temperature consistent.

The gloves are also nicely lined with 40 grams of Thinsulate, and the website says the gloves have 100 grams of Polyfill, making them pretty warm gloves without the power being on.  The heat is provided by flexible steel fibers woven into the glove.

Some things I found out as I tried these gloves over several commutes:

1.  You have to remember to hook up the gloves BEFORE you put either one of them on.
2.  You have to remember to hook up the heat controller to the wires in your jacket and then to the red connector on the motorcycle AFTER you start the motorcycle, otherwise a power surge could damage the heating elements.
3.  Don't forget to unhook the heat controller from the motorcycle when you arrive at your destination or get off the motorcycle enroute.  If you forget, the connectors should come apart, preventing you pulling on the part of the harness that is hooked up to your battery, or worse, pulling the motorcycle itself!

source: LINK

Heating Capacity: B-

All the trial commutes were done on a '86 BMW Airhead R80 with no windshield or hand guards, the gloves fully exposed to the wind.  The alternator on this motorcycle puts out only 280 Watts.

In above freezing temperatures (my commutes never got warmer than 37°F and I didn't turn on the heat when temperatures were above 40°F on the way home from work.  

The gloves felt warm at first, and this was at their Max setting by the way.  They never really felt very hot and by the end of the 45 minute in above freezing wind chills, my hands and fingers were fine but starting to feel the cold slightly.  

In below freezing temperatures, the lowest temperature was 26°F during these trials, the gloves didn't do as well.  Given a wind chill factor that approached 5°F at times, the gloves kept my hands mildly warm at the beginning of the 45 minute commute but towards the end of the ride my hands were starting to get chilled; and my fingertips were beginning to tingle with the cold.

Grade for heat: B-.   I kind of expected the heat put out by the gloves at the max temperature setting to be uncomfortably hot and it never even got close.  Sure, without the heat they put out, my hands would have probably been icicles after only a few minutes but that was my experience.

Fit and Finish: A.

The textile material was nicely crafted and sewn together, nice snug fit and once I got used to the gauntlets, they went on just fine with minimal hassle.

The wiring/connectors are well put together, color-coded for easy identification of function and should be long enough for any type of motorcycle.  They connect together very snugly and securely, requiring a mild pull to pry them apart from each other.

The heat controller comes with a plastic clip to enable you to clip it onto your riding jacket for ease of use and to monitor the red LED that tells you the system is on.  The controller has six settings, with the first being off and sixth being max output.  I only used #6 when riding.  The manual says the gloves should have been putting out 163.4°F of heat, I didn't feel it.  

Some tests:

Using the motorcycle's onboard battery, engine NOT running, ambient temperature 58°F in garage.

Low after 5min 80°F
High after 5min 95°F

Using a 180 Amp Hour Marine Deep Cycle Battery:

Low after 5min 86°F
High after 5min 105°F

-----

Hooked up the system to my 2011 URAL Patrol sidecar rig with its 700 watt capacity alternator and went for a ride with the ambient outside temperature of 52°F.  Note: My URAL has a full windshield which  blocks most of the wind chill from the gloves.

Low after 5min 85°F
High after 5min 95-100°F (barely).  

This to me was evidence that the temperature sensor was indeed regulating the heat output as the manual states that in the High mode, temperatures can reach 163.4°F, but the sensor prevents that.  I am guessing here, but I don't think the sensor will permit the heat to exceed much above 100°F.

-----

The gloves came with a tag stating they used Rainguard technology, using a waterproof yet breathable barrier to keep a rider's hands dry.  To test this, I submerged my gloved right hand in water up to the wrist, for fifteen minutes, my hands remained dry.  Water was absorbed as I could wring it out of the glove, but the water didn't reach my hand.

-----

As stated before, I rode with the gloves turned on, in ambient temperatures well above freezing (52°F) and while my hands felt warm, they never overheated or sweated.  I guess that's proof that the waterproof barrier allows excess heat to exit, as claimed by the product literature.

-----

Overall, these gloves should be a nice option for folks who ride in mildly cold weather and don't mind dealing with wires while getting on and off their motorcycle.  Tourmaster, per the user manual, warranties their stuff with a limited warranty for three years.

Based on my personal experience, these gloves probably won't be enough when riding in below freezing temperatures for long periods of time, but then again, there's so few of us known to do this.  I'll add to this review next time there's snow riding to be done in sub-freezing temperatures while on the URAL sidecar rig.

5 comments:

Richard M said...

Nice review. Do you get to keep them for a long term review or do you have to send them back? The connector looks just like the Gerbings connector.

Charlie6 said...

Thanks RichardM, I believe I can keep them longer, waiting to hear from the folks at motorcyclehouse.com as to this.

Trobairitz said...

I've wondered about these gloves but all the wire put me off. We see people riding to coffee with all the wires sticking out of their jackets and it seems like to much hassle.

I'm thinking of the Ansai (Mobile warming) battery operated ones pondering if they would be easier to use.

Thanks for the review.

Charlie6 said...

You're quite welcome Trobairitz, I loathe wires of any sort....even foregoing my heated vest due to the power cord.....I've thought of the battery powered ones but wonder about heat output.

Arizona Harley Dude said...

I've a pair of Tourmaster Electric gloves I picked up in Anchorage. Suffered going, but not coming home. A plus to them is the controller slips into a pouch on the left glove. Same wire problems getting on and off the bike, but they work great even when I have ridden in 22 degrees with snow. I found I can't really tell they are on until I turn them off.

What gloves do you usually ride with? It is about time I get a new pair.