Bruno Valeri

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Product Review

Gerbing Cascade Extreme jacket (heated motorcycle jacket)
Nov. 2006

We've all experienced it at some time or another. There we are, getting ready for
that long trip and wondering what riding gear we will take along. Even in summer,
temperatures can vary widely. While touring in Utah, it's common to encounter
mid-August temperatures hovering around 40C (104F) during the day, only to have
them plummet to below 5C (41F) while riding over mountain passes later that night.
Taking along extra riding gear means less storage space available for other trip
necessities. This is made worse when riding two-up. The holy grail in terms of riding apparel seems to be finding that one piece of gear that can cover the gamut of

The Cascade Extreme heated riding suit represents Gerbing’s latest foray into the motorcycle garment market. The new offering is claimed to provide the versatility of
a four season, multi-weather riding suit. This review looks at the Cascade Extreme jacket.

With the Cascade Extreme jacket, Gerbing proposes a two-part solution consisting
of an outer shell and a removeable inner liner. The light shell is claimed to be well-
vented and comfortable enough to wear for hot weather riding while also providing
protection against wind and rain. For riding in colder temperatures, it includes an
integrated heated and insulated jacket liner.


  • 330 Denier Cordura shell
  • 1000 Denier ballistic fabric on outer sleeves
  • TPro body armour
  • zip-out heated liner insulated
  • air vents on forearms, underarms, chest, and back
  • expansion zipper allowing ventilation at wrist
  • sealed seams
  • urethane coating
  • zipper atttachment for Cascade pants
  • battery harness, coil cord extension, single controller adaptor
  • jacket: three inside zippered pockets
  • six outside pockets, including four front with storm flap and waterproof zippers and two hand warmer pockets
  • heated liner has three inside pockets, including 1 zippered
  • storm collar
  • reflecting 3m piping on sleeves, front pocket, back
  • snap-down cargo pocket on lower back
  • Gerbing Power Distribution Unit eliminates dangling wires
  • Dual 2 Wiring allows for 2 separate circuits
  • lifetime warranty on the heating elements
  • MSRP $425

What I found:

The new Gerbing Cascade Extreme jacket targets the needs of the touring rider look-
ing for versatility, comfort, and performance. Jacket and sleeve cut are designed to
be comfortable for an upright riding position that requires less of a reach in the arms.

The shell is constructed of 330 denier Cordura that is urethane-coated on the inside. Though 330 denier Cordura provides a more moderate amount of abrasion protection than Cordura of a heavier grade, this textile is more drapable and not as stiff, making it noticeably more comfortable to wear on and off the bike.

The outside of the sleeves offer significantly enhanced protection with 1000 denier
ballistic fabric that is used from wrist to upper shoulders. To safeguard from impacts,
removeable armor is included at elbows and shoulders. These flat armor pads are made
of a high-density type of rubber material and incorporate cutouts, allowing them to
bend unobtrusively around a joint. No back protector is offered, though there is a
stowage pocket allowing the rider to install a model of his or her choosing.

The jacket feels quite substantial when picking it up, noticeably heavier than what an
average jacket of this type would weigh. This is due to the armor. Listed as TPro and
claimed to be CE rated, it carries no stamped markings. It seems to offer a higher
weight-to-protection-ratio than other CE armors. But this is only apparent when
picking the jacket up. It is not noticeable when wearing it while riding.

Detail Matters:

Overall, there is good attention
to detail related to rain and cold
weather management. In addition to
sealed seams, all external openings
are fitted with what are
referred to as water-proof zippers
and covered with storm flaps to help
ensure cold and rain stay out. A
rubber corner-tab facilitates gloved
access. The front main zipper is also
generously covered along its length
with a storm and wind flap. All metal
snaps are finished with an exterior
plastic covering.

Cool weather riding:

Staying warm when riding in the cold is all about keeping the warmth in and keeping
the cold out. Though this seems obvious, not all jacket materials provide an effective
barrier to cold wind and dampness. Most fabrics, including Cordura
, have some deg-
ree of permeability. Anyone who has ridden in the cold with a jacket made of regular
knows how permeable it can be and how acutely you feel the cold

Gerbing counters this by using a Cordura with urethane-coated backing. This effect-
ively makes the fabric windproof and waterproof.

The Cascade Extreme also comes up strong in the neck area, where a significant
amount of heat loss normally occurs. Unlike many cold weather jackets that stumble
in this critical area, the Cascade Extreme jacket features an effective wrap-over
storm-collar that provides excellent protection from wind and cold. Inner lining for
the collar on both the jacket and the heated liner is a soft velveteen-type of fabric.
The storm collar includes foam padding that adds to comfort and insulation.

On the inside, the jacket features an integrated heated liner that can be easily re-
moved. The liner, that includes a heated collar, is constructed of windproof nylon
and contains 100 grams of Thinsulate to help ward off the cold and keep the heat in.

Even without firing up the electrics, the windproof shell, storm collar, and insulated
windproof liner all combine to produce an effective package at keeping a rider warm
in cooler temperatures. To seal out cold drafts to hips and lower back, the bottom
edge of the jacket features an elastic drawstring that allows to cinch for a snug fit.
For colder situations, dialing up warmth is convenient and quick. Heat output is
controlled by using Gerbing’s a digital temperature controller (purchased separately).

Turned on to full capacity, the Gerbing heated liner converts 77 watts to soothing heat that covers body, arms, and neck. For more details, please refer to this previous review of the Gerbing heated jacket liner.

Since all Gerbing heated apparel interconnects, heat settings have traditionally been controlled at one point. Using this method allowed the connection of heated jacket, pants, gloves, and socks.

New at Gerbing is the Dual 2 Wiring system. Using a Dual Temp-Controller, Dual 2 Wiring now allows a rider to control two circuits separately. For example, jacket and gloves can now be set at different temperatures. Plugs ready to connect with heated gloves are included and stowed in zippered sleeve compartments.

Anyone who has dressed for cold weather riding knows what it’s like to feel like a
stuffed blimp, as this often entails layering several thick or bulky items. Even if you
end up surviving the cold, your riding enjoyment is hampered. In addition, dressing for
the cold also means spending time on deciding what to wear or gauging what to pack
for the upcoming trip.

The Cascade Extreme jacket offers the simplicity of slipping the jacket on and going for a ride. It would be difficult for me to imagine temperatures where this heated jacket would not provide enough warmth during a long, cold ride.

Warm weather riding:

As the weather warms up, the collar can be peeled back in stages, allowing progressively more airflow to reach the rider

The heated liner easily zips out
resulting in a light outer shell.
But by nature of its design, the
heated liner cannot be zipped
up when removed from the
jacket. Pity, as the traditional
Gerbing heated jacket liner is
very practical to wear around a
campsite at day's end. A solu-
tion to this might be to unzip
the liner and wear the light-
weight shell for campfire acti-
vity. There's a possible added
bonus to this option, as there
are more pockets on the jacket to carry various campground

Since urethane-coated Cordura
is not permeable to vent body moisture, the Cascade Extreme jacket relies on plenty of venting to keep the rider cool in warmer tempera-
tures. In addition to two eight-inch chest vents, there are two sizeable vents on top of the forearms, two six-inch wents under arms, and one exhaust vent across the upper back.

Sleeve vents are especially welcome when riding behind a large fairing

Enhanced arm venting: expansion zipper at the wrist combines with a hook and
loop cinch-strap allowing wrist opening to expand up to an additional two
inches across

For riders sitting behind larger fairings, the vents on forearms, underarms, and wrist
openings will add welcome airflow to that provided by the chest vents. Arm and wrist
venting is particulalry effective for two reasons. It is more exposed to the airstream
and it allows air to flow over the arms along their length, carrying heat away.

Though the Cascade Extreme jacket will likely be hot to wear in areas where summers are punctuated by high heat and extreme humidity, it should be quite serviceable where hot temperatures are accompanied by more moderate levels of humidity.

Other features:

To enhance safety when riding in low visibility, the Gerbing Cascade Extreme jacket
offers generous reflective trimming

For carrying odds and ends typically required when touring, the Cascade Extreme jacket provides four storm-flap front pockets with zippers in addition to a snap-down cargo pocket across the lower back. There are also two hand-warmer pockets.

The jacket offers three zippered inside pockets while the heated liner provides three inside pockets, one of which is zippered. Both the heated liner and jacket include a zipper atttachment for Cascade pants.


As always, proper sizing is important to maximize comfort while riding. For this 160lb tester, medium fits, just.


With its attention to detail and versatility, the Cascade Extreme jacket represents good value. The $425 msrp includes a Gerbing heated liner that normally retails for $200. This brings down the real cost of the jacket alone to $225. Something to consider.


The Gerbing Cascade Extreme jacket offers the simplicity of slipping it on and going
for a ride, knowing that you can handle just about any weather that you come across.
This helps cut down significantly on the number of riding items needed when touring,
especially important when riding two-up. It's also very practical for commuting, where
you don't have a lot of things to get into and out of when riding in cooler temperatures.

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