Motorcycle gloves; a helping hand....

Motorcycle gloves are one of those personal items of motorcycle gear that everyone has an opinion on, but no two riders will ever agree about! So I should start by saying that these comments are purely those of the management (that's me!) and are not supposed to upset, offend or enrage in any way…..

 Motorcycle gloves need to keep your hands warm but not sweaty. They need to be strong enough to provide protection from injuries in a crash without restricting your ability to operate the controls.

Motorcycle gloves also need to be designed and fitted to stay on your hands in a crash. Otherwise, what the point?

Something like 30% of motorcyclists' crash related injuries are to the hands with 23% to the wrists. Just stop and imagine for a moment what it is like to lose part or all of the use of your hands. Hopefully that will spur you on to make an informed choice when it comes to motorcycle gloves.

If the gloves meet the European Standard, they should be up to the job.The motorcycle gloves must be marked CE EN 13594 to meet the standard. If not, here are some design features to help guide you in your choice.

  • Do they cover at least 2 inches or 50 mm beyond the wrist and provide impact protection over the knuckle?
  • What kind of fasteners are used? If you just have to pull them on, guess what? They can also be pulled off! Motorcycle gloves must have some sort of wrist strap or other means of locking them on to your wrist. Test the fastening system by getting someone to try to pull the gloves off.
  • Do they fit your hand without feeling tight or too loose? Try a test with them by holding a motorcycle handlebar…. 
  • Can you feel and operate ALL the controls and switches? 
  • Can you adjust your visor?
  • Can you feel any tightness or pressure points, such as at the tips of fingers or from bunching of fabric or padding?

Construction - what to look for

Examine each part of the glove. Features may include impact or abrasion resistance, multiple layers of material, gel packs, high density foam and finger webbing. 

  •  The base of the palm and wrists need to be covered with abrasion resistant material that will withstand sliding on your hands along the road. How is the protective layer attached? Will it rip off at the first contact with the road? What is it made from? For example, metal studs may protect your gloves better than they protect your skin as they get very hot from friction. 
  •  Pre-curved construction means the gloves are shaped with a curved palm rather than an open flat hand . Such gloves can be more comfortable on tour, because there is less fabric to fold or bunch under your hand.
  • Vents on the back of the hand allow air flow for cooling, but look at the design. How is the vent positioned and attached to the main protective layer? The vent may a weak point that could detach from the main protective layer in a crash. How are the knuckles protected? e.g. multiple layers of material, Kevlar or polycarbonate plastic. 
  • Any additional layers should be double stitched, not a patch of double layer material! Check to ensure that additional layers are stitched on top of the main protective layer, rather than a separate double section that is sewn in. An inserted double section is actually weaker because of more seams and leaves your skin exposed if it is ripped off.
  • How are the fingers protected? Your little finger could be the first part of you to hit the road. They can take the full weight of your twisting body and can be very easily dislocated or worse (believe me, as an ex rugby player, a dislocated finger is plenty bad enough!). Gloves with some webbing between the little finger and the ring finger are designed to reduce such injuries. 
  •  Look at the stitching, Check for dropped stitches as this may lead to seams bursting under pressure, such as in a crash. Seams should be external rather than internal so they do not rub against your skin.

The top gloves score highly for abrasion resistance, burst resistance, water resistance and last but not least, comfort. Here are some of the top motorcycle golves manufacturers who consistently do well in customer reviews as well as independent testing reviews...

Alpinestars, Fly Racing, Fieldsheer, Firstgear, Icon, Joe Rocket, Moto GP, MSR, O'Neal, River Road, Speedrag, Tour Master, Teknic, Thor and of course there are many others.

Well, thats my take on motorcycle gloves. Hope you find it useful.

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Copyright Motorcycle parts accessories and more, Michael Holmes 2004