Even a minor spill without gloves on can put you off work for weeks. Lose a decent amount of skin off your hands and you won’t be able to hold a pend, use a keyboard, grip a tool… which will make you feel like a tool.
But I don’t ride expecting to fall off: really, I wear gloves because it makes for a more comfortable ride than having naked hands.
Even in the height of summer I’ll wear gloves: I’ve even been sunburnt in the gaps between glove and jacket. The trick is to have airflow, and that means ventilation or mesh components and breathable materials.
A comfortable summer glove enhances feel at the controls, protects from the sun, bugs and the occasional rock, stops your hands getting dirty from your bikes hand grips and, of course, should save your skin in the event of a fall. The best motorcycle gloves are pre-shaped to be comfortable while riding, not walking. How it feels wrapped around your handlebar grip is important, not good it looks draped over your seat.
Practical gloves will have armour built-in, there to protect the knuckles and bottom edge of your palm, parts which can get slapped on the ground in a crash. The materials will be designed with motorcycle riding in mind. If leather is used, it should be top-grain: often this results in not just a more protective glove, but one which lasts longer too.
Every motorcycle glove should have a fastener around the wrist: sport and longer gloves often have two. It’s not obvious to many riders why – if a glove feels snug they think it’s fine, but they don’t realise gloves can be thrown off in an accident. Put your current gloves on and flick your wrist, hard, with relaxed fingers: if the glove starts to come off, you can be sure it’ll come right off in a big crash, moments before you need the glove the most.
When you’re trying on gloves at a bike shop (still the best place to buy them, because you can try them on), fasten them properly then try to pull them off – if you can remove them, don’t buy them. Consider also the convenience factor – too many riders leave the fastener loose, so they can get their gloves on and off quickly, which almost certainly means they will fall off in an accident.
How much protection you need is a very personal choice. Cruising around on a fine Sunday on a classic bike at low speeds isn’t likely to result in a big crash, so basic leather gloves would probably be fine, although the Saber gloves from macna reviewed in this feature would be better.
Getting around the city in the heat would see me reach for the Alpinestars Copper glove or Five GLoves Stunt Evo – ventilation, protection and touchscreen accessibility. For broader use across the weather spectrum, Macna’s Chicane is that bit heavier. And for a spot riding in the heat, Five Gloves as its RFX Airflow, a racing glove redesigned and built to provide ventilation combined with lots of armour and a full wrist covering.
Dainese set us two pairs of mesh construction gloves which have funky Italian styling with excellent comfort. And that’s just seven sets of globes from the hundreds available in Australia.
Words: Nigel Paterson
This is an excerpt from Australian Road Rider #154 - if you would like to read the full review check it out in the Mag!