x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Can new product take the heat out of biking in the UAE?

The new biker cooling product from the British company Ventz. Courtesy Ventz
The new biker cooling product from the British company Ventz. Courtesy Ventz

Fair-weather biker. It’s a phrase that I used to hear a lot when I lived in the UK, where the winters threw up serious challenges to anyone with a penchant for travelling on two wheels. I had a Harley-Davidson for four whole months after passing my motorcycle test and I don’t think that I used it more than a dozen times, thanks to wet roads with their slippery drain covers, fallen leaves, black ice and severe winds.

But the UAE presents entirely different problems for motorcyclists. The driving standards of car users is one thing, but what about the weather? I once met a motorcycle journalist who had come here in the summer to try out the road leading up and down Jebel Hafeet in Al Ain, as part of a series of features that he was writing about the best roads in the world for bikers. He was wearing a special cooling suit, but after just half an hour of riding in the fierce heat, he was soaked through.

Could any item of clothing protect riders from the insane temperatures that we bake in every summer? Ditching the jacket altogether is one option but only the criminally insane would dare go for a ride with bare arms and no back protector. A British company called Ventz believes that it’s found a solution, having designed and patented a tough plastic “cooling system” that fits between the tops of your gloves and the sleeves of your jacket.

“When riding in warm weather,” says the company, “an invisible layer of hot air, trapped in your jacket, raises your core body temperature to uncomfortable levels, which can cause a dangerous loss of concentration. Ventz creates a flow of soothing air that removes the trapped heat, making your journey cooler and more comfortable. Safe and comfortable to wear, Ventz is effective for both the rider and pillion passenger.

“The insertion of Ventz into the sleeve opening of your jacket effectively turns the jacket into one large venturi system. An acceleration of airflow is generated by the Ventz device which flows up the sleeve and around the upper body before finally exiting the jacket via the neck opening; this faster flowing air exploits a principle known as the Bernoulli Effect.”

Apparently Bernoulli’s Principle states that an increase in the velocity (speed) of air decreases the air pressure; lower air pressure creates a partial vacuum sucking in the adjacent air at normal pressure – in this instance, the hotter air trapped around the lower regions of your body/jacket. The effect of this constant cycle of air replenishment means that it isn’t possible for there to be any trapped air that can heat up to uncomfortable levels. Any excessive body heat, says Ventz, is immediately transferred out of the jacket, keeping the user at a more comfortable riding ­temperature.

The devices are made of shatterproof plastic and pliable rubber, and they’re nice and compact. They also feature a filtration system to prevent airborne insects making their way up your sleeves.

Interesting stuff but has anyone actually tried them yet? So far I have been unable to test out the maker’s claims, but I intend to and some of the motorcycle press has already carried out independent reviews. The consensus of opinion is that, while they’re not able to provide drastic cooling levels, they do add to rider comfort.

“We’ve worn the Ventz in a variety of weather conditions and found them to function as promised,” said Bruce Steever of Motorcycle Consumer News. “They don’t radically change a rider’s comfort level, but they do work to add some welcome cooling. Even when wearing fully perforated leather, the additional airflow is noticeable.”

It’s obvious from what Steever says that the searing temperatures in the UAE’s summers will still overcome this or any other device, but what they might do is enable bikers here to enjoy riding for an extra few weeks either side of the really hot weather, and that has to be a good thing. They’re cheap enough to take a punt on, at about Dh120 including shipping – pay a visit to www.ventz-range.com and see for yourself.

khackett@thenational.ae

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