The Keis B601RP heated vest will change the way you think about winter riding | MCN review

Keis heated vest 5 star
Keis heated vest 5 star

The Keis B601RP Heated Bodywarmer has introduced a new level of heated luxury to my time spent on a bike. When I first started riding, the warmest winter commute was when I’d pick up my copy of MCN from the newsagents and slip it down the front of my battered Wolf leather jacket as extra insulation. That was on top of two t-shirts and an itchy fisherman’s jumper, followed by some ex-army waterproofs (that weren’t).

I could barely move with it all zipped up and would still need thawing out when I got to work, but how things have changed with the introduction of heated vests– for the last 4 months I’ve been flitting about in sub-zero temperatures with nothing more than Keis’ latest heated bodywarmer, Oxford’s Advance base layers and a Halvarssons Gruven jacket. And it’s been absolute bliss.

Tried and tested by Justin Hayzelden for four months and 3,100 miles

'Heated kit really does change the way you think about winter riding, and the Keis B601RP bodywarmer has proven itself essential as winter wear.' This vest is flexible, comfortable and produces a good heat output to keep you warm. This vest can be used with the 12v battery on the bike or with the purchase of an additional battery.


  • Quick warm up
  • Easy to fit
  • Simple to use
  • Comfortable
  • Good range of settings


  • Waist level connectors an be annoying if you don't get them in the right place
  • Quality
  • Value
Heating Micro carbon fibre
Outer 85% Chinlon, 15% Spandex
Inner 100% Polyester
Voltage 12V
Current draw 3.4A
Power 41W
Sizes 2XS to 3XL
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Moisture wicking

How comfortable is the Keis B601RP to wear?

Keis use Ultraflex for the construction of the B601RP, a super stretchy lightweight fabric usually reserved for sportswear. This provides the figure hugging fit that’s essential for effective heating, with enough give so that you don’t feel like an overstuffed sausage.

Ultraflex is 85% Chinlon, a robust fabric that is both moisture wicking and highly resistant to heat, as well as being breathable and soft to the touch. The other 15% is Spandex which gives it the necessary fourway stretch.

Keis heated vest B610RP cable port

The B601RP’s inner lining is polyester, creating a sandwich for the wiring and heating elements, and the result is a mid layer with less bulk than those two cotton t-shirts I used to wear back in the day. Once zipped up it’s comfortable and flexible, without any restriction to movement and just a reassuring sensation of snugness.

What’s the fit like?

Hooking it up to the bike is simple – you can either wire the supplied adaptor direct to the battery or use the accessory power lead (£22.00) to tap into a pre existing DIN or cigar lighter style socket. Either way Keis provide a selection of fuses and a handy chart to determine which you’ll need, as the current draw is different depending on how many heated garments you’re using.

You can actually run heated gloves, trousers and insoles using the B601RP as the hub for the power supply. There are various terminals at strategic points for this, two below the armpits and one on the hem. I’ve been using it with Keis G601 touring gloves and they complement each other perfectly.

Keis technology heated vest logo

The only thing to bear in mind is that the main connector sits in a pocket approximately waist height, so you have to make sure it’s in a comfortable position before doing up trousers or belt. I had some teething trouble getting this right, but with regular use it ceased to be an issue. 

How does the heating work on the Keis heated vest?

Keis supply a heating controller with the B601RP that allows you to turn the heating elements on or off and select one of three settings – low, medium and high, indicated by an appropriately coloured LED on the unit. It plugs into the socket in the left pocket and has just enough cable attached to hang below the hem of most jackets. With a single button operation, it’s straightforward to use, even in chunky winter gloves.

The B601RP has micro carbon fibre heating elements on the back, either side of the chest and around the nape of the neck, and once activated they become noticeably warm in just a matter of seconds. These need to be positioned close to the body for the maximum effect, although without pressure and not to bare skin as Keis stress in the instructions. It’s advisable to leave a little wiggle room so that you can move the pads a little from time to time, but in my experience just shifting riding position slightly seems to be enough.

On the lowest setting the B601RP provides enough warmth to maintain a comfortable core temperature in single figure weather, but when the wind chill kicks in for extended periods on longer rides, the extra boost from the higher settings becomes most welcome.

Keis B601RT heated vest controls

The first time I switched the B601RP to high on a proper cold ride was a revelation. I was puffing through freezing fog banks on a dark, moonless night up the A11, and despite the bike’s ambient temperature display reading -2° C, it felt like I had a Mediterranean sun beating down on my back. When people say heated kit is a game changer, that was the moment it happened for me – I haven’t looked back.  

Combining the B601RP with an outer jacket, or at least a liner, that has good thermal properties really helps to keep a consistent temperature, and I’ve found that I actually spend most of the time with it set to ‘Low’. Keis advise against running it for too long at high power anyway, and I’d strongly recommend reading the dos and don’ts in the manual before use.

I’ve also tried the accessory Bluetooth controller (£60.00) which allows you to regulate temperature through the Keis app. It works fine if you have your phone mounted somewhere accessible, but the standard controller is so easy to use I consider it very much a luxury.  

Is the Keis B601RP heated vest good quality?

The B601RP bodywarmer is very well put together and finished to a high standard. After more than 3,000 miles it has all the stretch it had when new, and still looks like it too. All cables and fittings have proved durable enough for daily use, along with the controller.

Keis Heated Vest zipper

To back this up Keis offer a lifetime warranty on the heating elements, and two years on the garment itself. This seems reasonable to me, and as I’d only be using it for the colder months, I believe it’ll have a long service life.

Is the Keis B601RP heated vest good value?

I wouldn’t have to think twice about spending my own money on the B601RP heated bodywarmer – for the level of comfort it provides in winter and build quality it’s worth every penny.

This heated vest is intended to be worn as a mid layer by those who are not deterred from riding by the coldest of weathers. The water resistant fabric is also insulated with Thinsulate to help keep you warm. With over 25 metres of heating wire across the garment, Gerbing guarantees that riders will be kept warm on even the coldest of days.


  • Lifetime warranty on heating elements
Construction Thinsulate insulation soft shell
Heating Back, chest and collar
  • Inside and outside pockets
  • Water repellent
  • Lifetime warranty on heating elements
Price: £119.99 (was £184.99)
The Macna Cloud is a heated gilet that has the option to control it either using the button on the vest or via the bluetooth app. This app allows you to control several heated items at once, for example your heated vest and heated gloves can have the temperature increased at once. There is the option for different charging an battery options but these are sold separately to the vest.


  • Bluetooth app allows multiple items to be controlled at once


  • Batteries and charger not included
Voltage 7.2V or 12V
Consumption at 7.2V Consumption: 2,8A / Power: 24W / Level 1 (white) - 4:30 hours / Level 2 (blue) - 3:30 hours / Level 3 (pink) - 2:45 hours / Level 4 (red) - 2:15 hours
Consumption at 12v Consumption: 4,1A / Power: 50W / Level 1 (white) - 3:15 hours / Level 2 (blue) - 2:30 hours / Level 3 (pink) - 2:00 hours / Level 4 (red) - 1:30 hours
  • Bluetooth controlled via the app or control buttons
  • Four heating levels
  • Battery level indication
The Keis V501RP heated vest is designed to be worn under your motorcycle jacket, it has elasticated side panels to help achieve a close fit. It is made of a lightweight breathable softshell material and has zipped pockets for smaller items and a designated pocket for keeping the controller tucked away in.


  • Lightweight
Construction Softshell
Voltage 12V
Heating Micro carbon fibre
Sizes 2XS to 3XL
  • Elasticated side panels for improved fit
  • Zipped storage pockets with designated controller pocket
  • Breathable
Price: £296.99 (was £329.99)
This heated vest by Alpinestars is at the higher end for price, but for this additional outlay you do get the battery included and an automatic heating control option which monitors the rider's body temperature. It is longer in the back for better coverage and can be controlled via the Heat Tech app. With 3 heat level settings and dual input the vest can either be linked up to the bike's battery or with the high performance 12v lithium battery.


  • Comes with the battery
  • Automatic control


  • Not the cheapest
Construction Softshell outer
Voltage 12v or lithium battery
  • Battery is included with the vest
  • Heat Tech system
  • Elongated at the rear for better coverage
  • Can be controlled with the Heat Tech app
  • 3 Heating settings
  • Automatic heating control

So what’s the verdict?

Heated kit really does change the way you think about winter riding, and the Keis B601RP bodywarmer has proven itself essential as winter wear. It’s flexible, comfortable and produces more than enough heat to keep your core cosy. This is not only important for health, but also key for concentration, meaning you can give your full attention to the job in hand. I’d have to think long and hard about going out without it!

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