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Four Essential Motorcycle Gloves

There are hundreds of gloves on the market today. Some are practical, some look pretty, some are priced low, while others are priced high. The bottom line is that when it comes to motorcycling there is no one perfect glove. Four perhaps, but not one. Over the years we've tested a lot of different gloves and have come up with our four favorites, based on need, use and quality of course.

You can't choose a glove by the season. Since a ride on a summer day may start out with forty degree temps in the morning and wind up at one hundred plus by the afternoon, there are various types of gloves needed throughout the day. So instead we've classed our gloves into four categories � light, medium, heavy and extreme cold applications. And so our choices are�

Lightweight Application � First Gear Sport Mesh A lightweight application glove needs to allow the rider's hands to lose excess heat on a hot day, yet still protect them in the event of a fall. The Sport Mesh from First Gear does all that and features excellent construction. Carbon fiber embossed hard knuckle armor and double layered leather on the palms protects the riders hands, while the air intake scoops along each finger allow the glove to manage the rider's body heat along the extremities. The glove is otherwise made of lightweight mesh, packs up small, is machine washable and has a reflective strip along it for more visibility during nighttime riding.

Other gloves tested for this report included mesh models from Joe Rocket (poor construction), AlpineStars (a bit heavy) and Olympia (didn't do well in the washer).

Medium Application � Held Storm So much for your sunny hot day. Eventually you'll wind up in a little rain and some colder temperatures. At that point I switch into the Storm Glove from Fairchild Sport's subsidiary � Held. Held has been making quality gloves for several decades and it shows. This glove is made from lightweight Pittards leather and features a GoreTex membrane to get the moisture out and keep the rain from getting in. It provides warmth down into the 60s and the left hand squeegee provides the visor wiper you need during a ride that includes rain or fog.

Other gloves tested for this report included those by Olympia (leaky as she goes), Joe Rocket (not waterproof and where's my squeegee?) and First Gear (leaky too).

Cold application -  So much for the pleasures of summer. Winter, Spring and Fall often call for a glove that keeps you warm into the 40s. We tested a lot and few passed muster. The reality here is you'll need to spend $100 or more for a glove that does the job and the BMW Winter glove does just that. Spend any less and chances are you're getting an inferior product that allows your hand to sweat inside, is leaky and has poor construction. The BMW Pro Winter Glove features a polyester lining that wicks out moisture from the inside, critical to keeping your hands warm at all times, a nice long length gauntlet that has a drawstring pull, and a superior GoreTex membrane that keeps the rain out.

Other gloves tested for this report included those by Olympia (leaky and clumsy), Joe Rocket (give me a break) and First Gear (poor construction and lack of breathability left us sweaty inside).

Extreme Application - Gerbing's Heated Gloves Just because it's cold out is no excuse not to ride. If it's a nice day and the roads are clear of frost and ice you must take advantage. But no typical glove will keep you warm from below the mid forties for very long. Just why is that? Your body sends warm blood to your digits to keep them warm. Your digits are doing nothing on a motorcycle to create their own heat, they're just waiting around for that next rush of warm blood from your heart to get them warmed up. But as a protective measure, when it's cold your heart sends less blood to your extremities so it can do more important things like keeping your internal organs warm. Eventually your hands get uncomfortably cold and eventually dangerously numb. Before it happens you need to buck up and invest in a pair of electrically heated gloves. We like the Gerbing's heated gloves because they provide warmth around the exterior of your extremities utilizing a wire wind similar to an electric blanket. The newly released G3 gloves have a Thinsulate interior to keep your hands dry, heating along the exterior of the fingers and top of the hand and a gel palm which yields its own source of insulation.

Other gloves tested were earlier versions of Gerbing's (no gel or Thinsulate, inferior wiring connects on first generation) and Widder (too wide a spread on the wiring, clunky connects).

Patrick Thomas/Winter 2006


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