When the Gloves Come Off | GEAR

Throwing Down the Gauntlet

Motorcycle gloves must offer adequate dexterity and control feel while you’re on the bike and provide impact and abrasion protection when you unintentionally get off it. More than a year in the making, this months’ Gear spread gives a gloves-off comparison of what we’ve been using to keep our hands covered during everything from the daily commute to racetrack testing.

AGV Sport Laguna
AGV Sport's Laguna gloves are hewn from the thickest cowhide here so they took the longest to break-in, but then became a favorite. A brushed liner and soft padding along the top of each hand make them very comfortable, and perforated leather between the fingers offers good ventilation. They run a size large, and the cut is perfect for those with plumper hands. Double-flap gauntlets fit over large cuffs and wrap your wrists with armor. The palms are double-thick leather and have hard panels beneath the leather on the outsides of the hands. We'd like to see tougher Aramid stitching used instead of Nylon, but besides that we can't fault the Lagunas. They fit well, offer excellent features and at $99 are an incredible value, which is why they're our top pick.

Price: $99

MC Rating 4.5 out of 5 stars

Velocity Gear Formula
Velocity Gear is run by a man on a mission to produce the safest gloves possible. John Franklin's Formula gloves are made from kangaroo leather, use Aramid stitching throughout and have plastic knuckle armor and Knox palm sliders. Kevlar-blend liners extend from fingertips to gauntlets, and help the gloves pass burst testing as outlined in the EN13594 standard for Professional Motorcycle Gloves, a voluntary standard not currently achieved by any major manufacturer. The wide gauntlets engulf the fattest cuffs and have thick padding on the outer wrist, but no hard armor. The Formulas were hands-down our top pick until the Velcro tore off one wrist strap and the seam on the left index finger split open. The Formulas are constantly evolving, however, and Franklin is already using our input to design the next generation, which we look forward to testing.

Price: $225
MC Rating 4.5 out of 5 stars

Knox Handroid
These Sci-Fi gloves have giant gauntlets that accommodate even the fattest jacket cuffs, plus contoured hard armor that encases your wrists. The innovative ratchet-and-wire closure system is effective and easy to use, and despite lots of armor on both sides of the hand the Handroids offer uninhibited flexibility and incredible control feel once broken-in. The brushed liner wicks sweat and helps the gloves slip on and off. A low-side crash at the racetrack wore down the left palm slider and wrist armor, but we didn't stop wearing the Handroids until the stitching on the right ring finger inexplicably came undone. Knox has addressed this issue with an updated seam design, and the second-generation gloves show no signs of failing.

Price: $249.95
MC Rating 4.5 out of 5 stars

REV'IT! Jerez
Rev'It!'s Jerez gloves offer the most comprehensive protection here. Hard armor covers the knuckles, heels and backs of the hands and contoured panels wrap all the way around the wrists. The chassis consists of kangaroo and goat leather as well as synthetic fabrics, each positioned to offer optimum abrasion protection while maintaining dexterity. Aramid fabric beneath the leather adds an extra level of security, and Aramid thread is used throughout. Sizing runs small and finger length is slightly short for those with slender hands, but aside from that comfort is good. The Jerez gloves' all-encompassing gauntlets make them a bit of a chore to get into, but once you've got them on your hands feel invincible.

Price: $289.99
MC Rating 4.5 out of  stars

Icon Overlord
Icon's Overlord gloves are made from goatskin and kangaroo hide, so they're the lightest gloves in this comparison and felt broken-in immediately. They flow the most air thanks to mesh panels between the fingers and plenty of ventilation, making them an excellent summer glove. The gauntlet openings are rather small, however, and the Nylon fabric on the bottom was quickly torn up by the Velcro on the adjacent flap. The kangaroo-skin palms are very thin, but there are Pittards goatskin overlays in the right places and they're sewn together with Aramid thread. Hard armor is in place at the knuckles and outsides of the wrists.

Price: $145
MC Rating 4 out of 5 stars

Alpinestars GP Plus
A-stars' GP Plus gloves were comfortable right away. The leather chassis hosts hard armor across the tops of the hands and double-thick cowhide and rubber "sliders" on the palms, beneath which there's a Kevlar lining as a last line of defense. The gloves have large, elasticized gauntlets that admitted the cuffs of all the jackets with which we wore them, and those gauntlets are lightly armored. Sizing runs about a half-size small. After two years of near-daily use the seam at the tip of the right index finger began to unravel, but by that time the gloves were getting crusty and needed replacing anyway.

Price: $189.95
MC Rating 4 out of 5 stars

RS Taichi GP-WRX
RS Taichi's GP-WRX gloves are cut from supple bovine skin and boast carbon-fiber knuckle pr[otection plus sliders embedded in the double-thick leather of the palms. The wrap-around gauntlets are easy to secure and have light padding, but we'd like to see something harder to shield the ulna bones of the wrists. With perforation between the fingers and a soft liner, comfort is first-rate; just order one size up since the Japanese sizing runs small. The RS Taichis use internal seams throughout, which in our experience yield a more durable construction, albeit at the expense of some control feel.

Price: $159.95
MC Rating 4 out of 4 stars

Dainese Full Metal Racer
The most expensive mitts in this comparison are beautifully constructed and incredibly stylish, but the only thing that sets the Daineses apart from gloves costing half as much are the titanium plates atop the hands. The Full Metal Racers feature a leather chassis, titanium and carbon-fiber hard armor and large sliders on the palms as well as robust pinky protection. They run a size large, and despite internal finger seams are quite comfortable and offer precise control feel. The small gauntlet openings limit their use to tight-fitting suits and jackets, and before they were broken-in the knuckle armor pressed painfully against the tops of our hands during hard braking. Want to look like Valentino Rossi? Buy these. Looking for a good value? Look elsewhere.

Price: $349.95
MC Rating 4 out of 5 stars

Teknic Xcelerator
Teknic's Xcelerator gloves use lots of kangaroo leather for excellent control feel and put hard armor in all the right places. The Xcelerators scored high in terms of fit, but they run a size big. A fall during track testing put the hurt on the Knox palm sliders and tore through the leather, exposing the Kevlar mat below. We kept wearing them, but soon had problems with sweat-induced materials degradation. After just a few months of heavy use, the leather on the palm began to tear and the stitching on both index fingers gave way. Prior to that the Xcelerators were amongst our favorites, but the material and seam failures are unacceptable.

Price: $219.99
MC Rating 2.5 out of 5 stars