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Our Member Tested program puts the best gear in the hands of real riders who give real reviews. You'll hear the good, the bad and the ugly about all the gear they have tested. But when it is over, you will know you can buy the best piece of equipment that is durable enough for MOA members. All product reviews must come from an active member (at the time of submission) and should include photos of the product being installed or used in some way. Drop an email to wfleming [at] bmwmoa [dot] org with your idea for a review or your completed review. Thanks!


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VnM Sport Cooling Compression base layers

Posted By Deb Gasque (#182082), Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The record-breaking extreme heat during the summer of 2016 was intense, to put it mildly, and may have put the brakes on many planned motorcycling trips. Riding is a struggle when our bodies are put to the extremes due to weather. For cold weather riding, there are several gear options on the market to keep us comfortable, but for scorching temperatures, I haven't had much luck finding gear that accommodates the body from neck to ankles and works well - until now.

Aliki Karayan of VnM (pronounced “venom”) Sport started her mission in 2009 to produce high-performance, cooling compression base layers for herself and others in her field of super bike racing. Having no experience in garment manufacturing or design, she took her strong passion to produce hard-working, quality gear and started making phone calls and meeting with people. Aliki persevered through trial and error and finally found a high-performance fabric from Italy and a manufacturing company in North America to make her dream come true. Today, she custom designs her cooling compression base layers for racing teams and has been very successful creating products that are superior in performance.

Deb models the base layers her, showing off her R 1100 RS.

In speaking with Aliki about the possibility of her gear working for riders in the long-distance riding world, she didn’t hesitate at all and sent me a set to try out. Upon receipt of the package, I immediately tried the two-piece base layers on and was thrilled with the comfort and fit. The top loosely fits up around your neck to keep it cool and protect it from chafing from your riding suit. Around the bottom of the base layer top, there is a strip of a rubber-type material on the underside that lies against the skin on your abdomen to keep the gear in place so it doesn't ride up over time. The long sleeves keep your arms cool, as well as block the sun on your wrists for those who, like me, get “racing stripes” where my gloves and riding gear sleeves don’t meet. Additionally, there is compression built into specific areas such as the arms to help with body fatigue. Aliki also added mesh panels in certain areas to heighten the cooling function. The base layer bottom, which fits to the ankle, was equally as comfortable in all areas, including the knees and the crotch where discomfort can really make a good ride bad.

VNMcompressionshirtman   VNMcompressionshirtwoman
Standard VnM base layer shirts, male version on the left and female on the right. Which was probably obvious.

I put the Vnm Sport cooling compression base layers to the test during a two week ride in extreme temperatures last July. Prior to putting on the base layers while preparing for each day’s ride, I wet them in the sink. The high-performance fabric held the moisture and wicked it slowly as I rode, which maximized the cooling effect. On days that the temperatures were horribly extreme, I used the restroom sink on my fuel stops and breaks to rewet the fabric when it dried out. On days when the temperatures were in the 70s and 80s, I found the gear worked well without wetting it. I did notice that when the temperature dipped below 70 in the early mornings and evenings, I needed to put on a layer between the base layers and my summer riding suit, as the cooling effect was a little too chilly for me. As far as maintaining the undergarments while on the road, I washed them in the shower with me and hung them out to dry overnight. The fabric is sturdy and high-quality, and it feels as if it will hold up very well over a long period of time. The basic base layers come standard in black, but Aliki also designs super-fashionable custom gear with color panels and graphics. I highly recommend the VnM Sport cooling compression base layers to our legion of riders, as they really does their job, are extremely comfortable, and are high-quality products for a reasonable price (they retail at $97.99 for each piece and can be purchased at

VNMshirtman   VNMshirtwoman
Male and female compression shirts. Below, compression pants.


Tags:  baselayer  Clothing  MemberTested 

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BMW HeatUp Vest

Posted By Bill Wiegand, Thursday, January 29, 2015
Turn a Winter Ride into a Ride in the Park

Regardless of whether you’re hoping to simply take the chill out of a cool evening ride or extend your riding season, heated gear can keep you in the saddle longer. The HeatUp Vest, part of the BMW Functional clothing line, can help you do both.

 Constructed of an insulating polyester material and lined with fleece, the thin vest is also breathable, moisture-wicking and windproof yet fits easily beneath a rider’s jacket without adding excessive bulk. Shivers stand no chance as wonderful and welcome warmth is delivered through five heating elements covering the chest, back and kidney area. Other nice design features include a high collar, a slightly longer back and a zipper that angles to the right to avoid irritating the throat area.

  The powerful heating elements are thin without the feeling of being wrapped in Christmas lights that my previous heated gear had. Only the lead running from a pocket on the lower right side of the vest reveals its purpose and the vest is stylish enough to be worn off the bike by tucking the lead into its zippered pocket.

  Connecting the vest to the bike is simple. Plug the three-foot coiled connection cable into your onboard power socket and connect the lead running from the vest into the socket at the end of the cable. With this setup the vest heats at full power. To allow for three levels of heat adjustability, connect an optional controller between the connection cable and the vest. Connecting a Y-cable to the power cable allows a rider to operate two vests, with each able to run without a heat controller, with a single controller operating both vests equally, or with dual controllers allowing rider and passenger the opportunity to control heat individually.

  The thermometer on my instrument cluster read 28 degrees when I fired up my GS. Wearing an insulating base layer, I hardly noticed the vest beneath my StreetGuard 3 jacket with its insulating liner. The bulkiness of my previous heated jacket wasn’t there, and I enjoyed not feeling like the Michelin Man. Sure, it wasn’t the middle of summer, but I could ride.

  After powering up the vest, I immediately set the controller to its highest position and within seconds felt the heat it provided. By the time I put on my helmet and gloves, I was actually uncomfortably warm. After resetting the controller to a much more tolerable medium setting, I rode off. 

  Cloudy Illinois skies blocked any radiational heat the sun might have provided, and for the first 30 minutes of my ride, I stuck to quiet country roads. Other than my “wrong-season” gloves allowing my fingertips to feel the cold and the area around my pinlock visor needing more anti-fog spray, I was riding comfortably. It was time to raise the ante.

  After bumping the heat controller to the high position, I jumped on I-57, headed north and soon settled into a cruising speed of 70 mph. With a full tank of gas and no destination in mind, my limiting factor would be my comfort. With the temperature bouncing between 29 and 31 degrees, cold fingers forced me off the Interstate about 30 miles up the road. Had I been wearing better gloves, I might still be riding. While a fear of ice keeps my bike in the garage when the mercury drops below freezing, knowing how well the HeatUp vest performed on this day, I know anything above 40 is going to be a ride in the park.

  The BMW HeatUp vest is available is sizes from XS to XXXL and carries an MSRP of $249 with the controller selling for $69.  For more information, visit your local BMW dealer.



Tags:  BMW  Clothing 

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