Friday, 31 October 2008

exo2 cothing review, part 2

Vest time,

one of the first things I noticed was that the actual vest is made by a company called Keela who specialise in outdoor wear, you will find there products worn by the Scottish mountain rescue teem as well as the British Police Force, Ambulance crews and other members of the public sector. The shell of the StormRider vest is one of Keela’s new flagship fabrics called AirExtream, this fabric has already won lots of awards for clothing. Having worn Keela’s clothing before I was in no doubt as to the quality of the vest, this coupled with exo2’s unique polymer sheeting has made a very good piece of clothing.

After trying on the gloves I adorned the StormRider vest, a huge grin appeared upon my face, I just couldn’t help myself, it was so toasty and warm, it was honestly like wrapping my torso in an electric blanket. The heating pads are extremely well placed around the body and supply heat not only to the front but to the lower back area as well.

The vest is extremely well made, the stitching is excellent, the zip works and is sturdy and smooth. The fit is nice and body hugging until that is you get to the upper torso just below the neck, this part is a bit baggy (for me anyway I’m a size 40” chest and this is the smallest vest they do), I can pull the excess material in by about 4 inches old money or 100mm.

The vest is too long to be worn with a 2 piece leather race suit, in that you have to tuck the lower part into the trousers, which in turn increases my waist by 2 inches.

Another thing I do not like are the pockets, what’s the point in having pockets on something that goes underneath your normal riding gear, these pockets add unnecessary bulk to the garment especially the top pocket. If I were looking for an outdoor pursuits heated vest then this would be the one, but since its primarily aimed at motorcycle riders, then I think exo2 need to go back to the drawing board or do more R&D. the vest can be powerd by a separate optonal battery pack or wired directly into the bike via the supplied harness.

Detailed overview of the StormRider Heated Vest:

Front view:

Bottom picture outlines areas of heating pads.

Back View:

Bottom picture outlines area of heating pads.



Top picture outlines the pocket the connections are kept. Bottom picture outlines the connection for optional battery pack.


The StormRider heated vest is priced at £175, and I think is a bit overpriced due to the fact that its aimed at motorcycle riders. If exo2 gave it a slight redesign then I think the vest would be worth every penny of its price tag. The wiring could have been placed a little better as I find it a bit awkward where it is. I also think that the optional battery pack is of no use to motorcyclists in the fact that every rider will plug themselves into the bikes electrical system and to walk any distance in winter in motorcycle gear is hot enough. I suppose there are the few that would use the vest in other pursuits like walking the dog, so I suppose the inclusion of a pocket for the battery pack would be of use.

Heat wise while on the bike is tremendous it does what it says on the tin. But has the same problem as the gloves in that whilst stopped for any length of time it gets a bit to warm, but on the move and its really good at keeping you nice and warm.

exo2 clothing review

I was sick to the back teeth of getting cold while out on the bike. So I finally took the plunge and got myself some heated clothing. As you have already guessed by the title I opted for exo2’s range of clothing. Why? I hear you ask, well simple answer, it’s a British company with a unique invention. What’s unique about it is the heating element is a carbon based polymer that once supplied with dc voltage excites the carbon into giving off heat. Its very flexible like a rubber sheet its waterproof and washable.

After countless weeks of humming and hawing I finally decided I was going to splash the cash. I phoned exo2 and made an appointment to see them. So at about 12:30 I headed off from Kirkcaldy to Bellshill on the 29th October 2008.

Adorned with a 2 piece Prexport leather suit and waterproof boots, a pair of Richa waterproof gloves, Cold Killers pants, top and neck warmer thingy and a Bell m2 helmet. The ride there was in the daylight but it was cold, by the time I got there I was freezing.

The place is an absolute nightmare to find, no seriously, its not an industrial unit its an office block in the Strathclyde Business Park.

After eventually finding the place I was greeted by an employee and escorted up the stairs to their office then ushered into a warm comfy meeting room, I was then asked if I would like a cup or coffee. No thanks I said. The gentleman left and about 2 minuets later another elder gentleman entered the room, announced himself as James and asked what clothing items I would like to see and try on.

Me-Gloves insoles and a vest please

James-what vest do you want to see

Me-the warmest one with a smirk on my face

James-ok I’ll be back in a minuet, make yourself comfy.

I took my helmet, gloves and jacket off and started to thaw out, buy this time I started to get pins and needles in my toes and fingers. James came back a few moments later with an assortment of different sized gloves and vests, asked what sized gloves usually fit then opened a pair of large, he then asked what size of vest I would want then opened a size small, he then gave me both items to inspect and asked if I would like a cuppa.

I was now mostly thawed out so I accepted. He came back with cuppa and said I’ll be back in a moment I forgot the power pack. When he came back he plugged the power supply into the gloves and vest. We had a chat about R&D and how the polymer came to being. This gave enough time for the gloves and vest to warm up for me to try.

First on was the gloves. Hmmm nice and toasty, ohh wait a minuet there to toasty. James then explained to me that they will be a tad to warm as they were designed to take wind-chill into factor. He also explained that the gloves do not have the polymer sheeting but are wired. He also went into great detail about how they are made and what materials were used and how the wires run in the glove to ensure that you get the warmth where its needed. I also discovered that the gloves are made on the larger side, so I swapped them for a medium which fit much better.

Detailed overview of gloves:

First impressions, they feel and look cheaply made, but on closer inspection they are not to bad, ok not top of the line gloves by any means but not rubbish. They feel like new gloves as in that they have that cardboard feel to them. I suppose this will disappear as I break them in, and are not to padded, to me a heavily padded glove can make them feel clumsy.

V wipe on thumb:

One of the things I don’t like about the gloves, the v wipe is too small and hard. I can feel a small ridge on the back of my thumb, besides I don’t use my thumb to wipe my visor I use my index finger. The v wipe also restricts the movement of the thumb.

Palm of glove:

Suede like fabric and leather.


Suede like fabric, woven carbon type fabric, fabric and leather.

The pinkie finger has carbon like fabric which I just don’t like, I think this might crack in time. The other 3 fingers have pads on them.


Hard plastic with carbon fabric covering. Seems to be in the right place for my knuckles.

Wrist strap:

Leather and Velcro with a plastic buckle. A bit to long for my liking.

Cuff: mostly fabric with carbon like material.

Wide enough to get your jacket sleeves in.

Cuff strap:

Leather and Velcro. And just about right for size and shape.


Tufted nylon with Thinsulate and Porelle membrane.


Another thing I’m not to happy with, I would have liked to see a small pocket on the outside of the glove for the connection. Having a hard piece of plastic on the inside annoys me a little, if it were on the outside the only thing that would be inside is the connecting cable which would be much comfier. Another thing that is a bit annoying is the cable for the cloves is HUGE, way to long if you ask me. One of my friends who is 6’3” popped in for a cuppa when I got home, so I tried the wire length on him to see just how long it is, and yup it’s way to long. The arm length was not to bad but still to long and the connecting cable that runs down to the jacket is way to long even for him. Ok I’ll admit I’m only 5’2” tall and I expected it to be a little long, but it really is way to long. The connectors and cabling are good quality and I have no complaints there.


The retail price of £125 is not too bad for what you get, but I would like to see some refinements as mentioned above. One of the other things I would like to see is double stitching throughout. Also the knuckle protector needs a bit more padding behind it, apart from that the comfort is really quite good. Warmth while riding is about right, its only when you stop at lights for a long period that it gets a bit uncomfortable. I have not tried the optional heat controller as yet and I think I will purchase one to try out.

Part 2: Stormrider Vest