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Gerbing's Cascade Extreme Suit

The electric clothing manufacturer goes prime time

The creators of some of the most popular heated motorcycle clothing and gloves in the world have taken things to the edge with their new Cascade Extreme riding suit.

Over the years, Gerbing's has come up with a number of textile riding suits incorporating their heated lines, but there's always been something missing. Early suits lacked needed armor, style was often an issue and flexibility to morph the suit as the weather dictated was sometimes missing.

But the Union, Washington, company has done their homework and come up with a suit that stands up to the standards set by top textile riding gear competitors like First Gear and Aerostich. In fact, as we reviewed the new Cascade Extreme we put it to the test against other gear like the Kilimanjaro jacket (First Gear) and Road Crafter suit (Aerostich).

The first thing you notice when you pull the suit from the packaging is that the quality in the fabric is premium. Unlike lower-end brands like Joe Rocket, Nitro and Teknic, the Gerbing Cascade Extreme (let's just call it the CE from here on out) incorporates a higher denier weave in the outer shell.

There's a distinct lack of Velcro at the collar--a welcome design change from the Kilimanjaro which had a way of self destructing itself as well as helmet chin straps.

Zippers � oh yeah, the CE utilizes many, allowing venting on the arms, chest, back and at the arm pits. All venting zippers are waterproofed with marine quality zipper types.

The pants are matched in design to the jacket. Missing are side pockets and rear which eliminates leaking in those areas during heavy rain. Instead, the pant incorporates front panel packets that fold over when shut to keep the rain out.

Reflective piping? There's plenty of it on both the jacket and pants. So much so it puts the low end guys to shame.

Now, it is a Gerbing product, so we need to talk about the heating element (good pun, eh?) of the jacket and the pants. Each have zip-out liners which incorporate Gerbing's tight weave heating wire. Anyone who has compared a Gerbing liner to say, a Widder, knows what we're talking about in terms of a tight weave on the line. The Widders tend to have much more space in the wire weave making them less effective than the ones our friends in lower Hood Canal produce.

The Gerbing heating setup utilizes the company's Dual 2 schematic which splits the heat with one channel sending heat to the jacket and the second providing current/heat to the pants and optional gloves and socks. Both channels can be controlled with an optional Dual 2 thermostat. If you don't want to use the thermostat, you can Y together the inner connections to feed them evenly from a single thermostat.

The liners integrate extension plugs off the arms and legs that be be used to heat the optional gloves and socks.

Unlike Gerbing's standard liners that work with any riding jacket, the liner used in the CE cannot be removed and zipped up on its own or with another jacket effectively.

The outfit is perfect for 3 season use. Because the heated liners zip in and out the jacket and pants can be worn comfortably during the fall, winter and spring months. Venting on the jacket makes it suitable for summer use, but at present the pants lack venting and would be uncomfortable on a hot day.

Zippers are included in the lower jacket sleeves to reveal the plug points for the optional gloves.

If there's an obvious downfall to the jacket it's the choice of armor the company selected. Not because of its quality � it's TPro CE rated body armor, but because of its excessive weight. Essentially the armor is soft rubber weighing in at six times that of typical armor found in a First Gear or Aerostich jacket and pant combination. The result is a heavier suit that makes you feel a bit like the Michelin man when you wear it. The quick fix is to replace the stock armor with one inch thickness Visco foam such as Confor which can be purchased in sheets through better foam resellers, or an upholstery shop. Doing so will eliminate more than 3 pounds from the final weight of the suit.

And while the price seems more in line with high end makers such as Aerostich and First Gear, you'll realize it's a true savings when you remember you get those toasty electrically heated liners as part of the deal. The jacket with liner is $425 and the pants with liner are $299. Thermostat, gloves and socks are extra, but well worth the addition to a great suit.

We've been watching and waiting for a suit of this quality to hit the streets from the little heated clothing company in Union that could. Now that it's here we like what we see and feel. Contact your nearest Gerbing dealer and arrange to view the Cascade Extreme soon. You can locate your local dealer by visiting Gerbing's website at www.gerbing.com .

PT/Fall 06


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