When I started riding last century, I was advised that I should always wear gloves. Like a typical newbie, I shrugged this off “pffft I don’t need no stinkin’ gloves”.
The first summer storm soon sorted that out. Those rain drops felt like needles on the back of my hands at 1ookm/h (60mp/h) and hail made me look for the nearest bridge to hide under.
So off I trundled to my local Motorcycle Emporium to invest in my first pair of gloves. Eventually settling on a pair of RIVET long gauntlet thick looking things (yes I still have them after all this time). These gloves had the added benefit of being hot in summer, cold in winter and waterlogged for days after an expedition in the rain.
To try to counteract the cold during winter I wore finger-less woolen things under them. This method worked great for the backs of my hands, but didn’t do much for the finger tips.
Often I’d arrive at my destination and have to slide my hands sideways off the ‘bars, then I’d try to prise my fingers open as I walked into where-ever I was going, in search of the nearest heater to thaw out my hands.
I eventually invested in some short gauntlet, thin leather summer gloves that were made in India. They were a pretty blue colour. I knew this because every-time they got wet my hands would turn blue from the dye they’d used.
These gloves got a bit of a workout in 2000 when I put a stone chip in the side of a Mitsubishi Colt. Even though they were thin and offered just a smidgen over no protection at all, they helped break my fall and saved the palms of my hands from abrasions.
With the money I got from the insurance on the bike, I went out and bought a Kawasaki ZZR-1100 (D4), a new Shoei RF-900 lid and a pair of DRY RIDER Gloves. I still wore the blue gloves for a few years after that.
The DRY RIDERS have lasted me for ages. They are Kevlar* lined, warm because of the Thinsulate* lining, and have this neat terry towelling thing on the index finger for wiping the rain off your visor. They are not waterproof but they dry out over night, which is a big improvement over the REVIT gloves I’d been wearing.
Last summer I bought some no name short gauntlet perforated gloves from the local markets. They’re thin and have knuckle protection but little else. They are great for getting a tan between where my jacket stops and the gloves start. Sunscreen helps, but I forget to apply it most of the time so I get this tanned strip of skin on my wrist.
People must think I’ve missed a bit when I was having a wash or something.
A few weeks ago I decided I needed to replace my old DRY RIDERS. The tips of the index and middle finger had worn through on the left hand and the rubber bits on the knuckles were starting to get flakey. The prerequisite was that they had to have Kelvar and Thinsulate as a minimum, and they also had to be reasonably priced.
I’d read about gloves made by a company called FIVE. I’d never heard of them before, but Adrian at the local Motorcycle Emporium assured me these were the most comfortable and best value for money gloves around.
For me they ticked all the boxes:
- Kevlar lined – CHECK
- Thinsulate – CHECK
- Terry towelling wipey thingy for the visor – CHECK
- Knucke protection – CHECK
- Palm protection – CHECK
- Supple (but not weak) leather – CHECK
- Water proof – You Betcha!
See the last dot point?
The unique thing about these gloves is that FIVE claim that they are completely water proof. They have this wide water resistant elastic section that’s sewn into the glove and grips your wrist to prevent water flowing down your jacket and into your glove plus they have this beaut lining that is impirv… impervyo… damn it, resistant to water.
I took this claim with a grain of salt, because in my experience nothing is waterproof, especially if its wind-blown.
But! After the several days of riding to work in the rain over the last few weeks, I can attest that they are indeed waterproof.
The gloves are well made, and of high quality. The only problem I’m having with them, and this is a breaking in period thing you understand, is that I have a very wide palm, so they are a little difficult to get on initially.
Going up a size fixes that problem, but then the fingers are about 25mm (1 inch) too long. The more I wear them, the more they are freeing up, so the difficulty I’m having getting them on is a short-term problem I think.
So what should you look for in a glove?
It is very much personal preference. The brand is not important, but I would recommend at least Kevlar lining, knuckle and palm protection as a minimum.
Just a word on the terry towelling wipey thingy.
The DRY RIDERS had it on the index finger, whereas the FIVE gloves have it on the back of the thumb. Both methods work, but I find the back of the thumb easier to use.
As the Yanks say “You’re mileage may vary.”
- Kevlar: a synthetic fibre of high tensile strength used especially as a reinforcing agent in the manufacture various products.
- Thinsulate: synthetic fiber thermal insulation used in clothing.