by Liz Jansen
While most motorcyclists appreciate the protective properties of helmet, jackets, pants and boots, the value of motorcycle gloves gets overlooked. Hands and fingers are vulnerable. Outstretched, they’re often the first body part to contact the ground.
In addition to providing abrasion resistance and cushioning impact, gloves keep hands warm and dry, aid with grip and prevent blisters and calluses. Most riders have multiple pairs for various weather and riding conditions.
- Fit. Gloves need to fit snug to your hand without feeling tight or loose. Try them on and then wrap your hands around the handlebars – or a reasonable facsimile. Make sure there’s no bunching or pressure points.
- Gauntlet. They should extend approximately 2” above your wrist so skin is covered at all times. In colder weather, they’re invaluable for keeping cold air from going up your sleeves.
- Abrasion resistance. Even a minor tumble can have you sliding down the pavement. Look for extra padding in the palm and make sure it’s attached securely to withstand road friction.
- Wrist strap. Easy on, easy off. Make sure there’s an adjustable strap you can tighten to secure your gloves on your hand once they’re on. They’re of little use if they come off during a spill.
- Ventilation. On hot days, good ventilation is a lifesaver – even in gloves. Some have ventilation on the back; others, like mine, have fine holes in the leather fingers. Either will allow for airflow, just check for solid construction.
- Dexterity. Whether you’re wearing light summer gloves or heated winter gloves, you should be able to move your hands freely to operate the controls, open and close your visor and zippers on pockets and tank bags.
- Construction. Inspect seams, lining and closures for finishing details. Choose high quality leather or GORE-TEX® and double stitching for seams and additional padding. When trying on lined gloves, put them on and take them off a few times to assess whether the lining is going to stay in place.
- No pressure points. You want seams to be on the outside so they’re not rubbing against your skin. Your fingers should reach to the end of the glove without being tight against the ends.
- Visibility. Although they’re usually on the handlebars, your hands still help get you noticed. Any movement, whether it’s hand signals or adjusting your position can cause reflective piping or inserts to get picked up by headlights and alert drivers to your presence.
- Water resistance. Ideally water proof. That can be hard to find unless you’re prepared to spend a lot of money. I’ve adopted carrying waterproof over-mitts that are thin and fit over my gloves. That way, I can purchase other protective qualities and be able to make whatever I wear waterproof. You touch, feel and sense with your hands. They’re valuable tools and your connection to just about everything you do. Choose riding gloves wisely. You want your hands to function a lifetime.