From electrical sockets to heated apparel, Coliant Group gears up riders
Most motorcyclists probably aren’t using their smartphones for catching Pokémon or playing Angry Birds during their journeys, but there’s no doubt that smartphones, as well as GPS units and other tech, have become part of the riding experience for many.
In order to use those devices while riding, however, they need to stay charged, and that’s where Powerlet comes in.
“What the big issue is with smartphones now is they’ve become so popular with riders that they’re acting as their map application … but they’re also using it to stream music while they’re riding,” said Adam Bonislawski, vice president of business development at Powerlet parent Coliant Group. “As you can imagine, you’re draining the battery quickly on your phone while you’re out riding because it’s running these applications at the same time. So naturally, when they have it mounted, they’d like to be able to power it, so they never run out of juice in their device.”
Powerlet offers easy charge
Powerlet offers power outlets, cables, plugs, sockets, wiring and more, to allow riders to easily charge any device via USB or cigarette lighter socket while on the go.
“What Powerlet does is takes the power from your battery and puts it anywhere on your bike that you’d like,” said Michael McGunagle, SBU Leader for Coliant.
As smartphones and GPS units become increasingly popular riding tools, companies like Powerlet have had to step up to help riders keep those devices charged.
“People now are so accustomed to the idea of having their smartphone with them all the time; they feel naked without them. They have that idea that, ‘If I’m not connected, I’m really at a loss,’” McGunagle said. “And it’s a safety feature, too, because if something happens while you’re out on the road, it’s easy to call for service as long as your phone is charged.”
Powerlet also offers rearsets to allow passengers to charge their phones, cameras or other devices, while they’re riding on the back of the bike.
And, Powerlet sockets work both ways, allowing riders to not only draw power from the battery, but also to return power to the battery through a charger.
“The beauty of the Powerlet line is it allows you to take power from the bike, but it also allows you to put power back in the bike with the use of a Battery Tender,” Bonislawski said. “You don’t have to have additional leads hanging off of the bike that may be unsightly. This is a full interface that allows you to do everything.”
For those who don’t use their devices while riding, but want them ready to go when they stop, Powerlet offers its Luggage Electrix brand, which brings battery power back to the bike’s bags.
“We can go ahead and take the power from your battery and just run it into your bags, so if you want to have your phone or your tablet charging while you’re out riding, you can go ahead and do that,” McGunagle said.
On top of its products that offer charging solutions, Coliant Group has also transitioned its technology into a line of heated gear called Atomic Skin.
“Right now we have a big push on our Atomic Skin line. It has a full line of heated gear, from socks to pants, to gloves to a jacket. The current gear has a wireless wrist controller that is capable of controlling all four garments independently,” McGunagle explained.
All of the products are designed as liners to be worn under regular riding gear. They feature Microclimate technology using Carbon Nano-core heating elements with safe infrared heat. The jacket retails for $429.95; the pants are $279.95; the socks have a $194.95 MSRP, and the gloves are $174.95.
“The jacket price includes the controller, and it is competitively priced on the market. Even though it comes as a combined price of $429.95, that takes into consideration the jacket price of normally around $249 and the controller being the balance of that,” Bonislawski said. All of the other products come with the controller as well.
The jacket is water- and wind-resistant. It has a heated fleece collar, a self-storage pocket and a Pro-Form outer shell. The pant liner is made from the Pro-Form outer shell, and it offers protection and breathability in a stretchable pant that doesn’t bind up under other gear.
“The idea of the heated gear, it’s not only just a comfort issue, but it’s a safety issue as well. As you’re riding and you’re getting colder, your hands are cramping up; you’re not able to react as quickly as you want to,” McGunagle said.
Bonislawski added, “Even if you start to ride in the morning, and it is chilly, if it warms up during the day, it’s easy to shut off. And because it’s wind-resistant, it acts as a second layer. Atomic Skin gloves and socks are made to fit directly next to your skin; there’s no need for an insulation layer. For the jacket and the pants, it’s recommended that riders wear those garments with a light long-sleeve T-shirt or leggings underneath, then the heating elements will keep you warm, and when you don’t need them, all you have to do is turn it off and use it as a liner.”
The heated gear offers dealers the chance to keep their customers safe and riding longer into the season than if they had to rely on only their traditional riding gear. Recently Powerlet was testing its heated gear in 37-degree weather, and they kept plenty warm during the trip. The temperature range for the gear is from 32-60 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Powerlet sockets also provide an opportunity in that dealers can sell them to riders who they know will be using devices during their trips, and it is a good add-on to a GPS, camera or battery charger sale. Plus, they’re easy for techs or a do-it-yourselfer to install.
“To put a Powerlet socket on your bike, you can do it within 20 minutes — anybody. You do not need any special knowledge with the electrical system of the bike, but because it deals with the battery, and you have to drill a small hole in the panel, depending on what kind of kit you get, people can be a little apprehensive about it,” McGunagle explained.
What sets Powerlet apart from its competitors is its product quality, Bonislawski said.
“The majority of our engineers come from the automotive side of things. They have the idea of building things that are more toward the automotive standards and automotive processes, so the quality is high,” he explained. “The quality is what we really go ahead and pride ourselves on.”
Though Powerlet employs former automotive engineers, the movement of a motorcycle is put into careful consideration when designing products.
“On the PAC-069, the dual USB, it’s made to specific standards for vibration, for wind and water and dust, so when somebody is out on the trail and that thing is being beaten around, it doesn’t vibrate out. You can always count on it to be able to charge the products.”
Editor's note: The original version of this story said Powerlet products were distributed by Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties. However, as of Sept. 30, Powerlet has gone dealer direct.