As the saying goes, "dress for the slide, not for the ride."
Sometimes your gear is the only thing between you and the road, so it only makes sense to be sure your gear is the safest it can be, without sacrificing comfort.
Today, we're taking a look at a rider's best options for hand protection.
Historically that meant leather, until Kevlar and metal appeared on the scene. Now, riders have a full range of options: leather, metal, Kevlar, other carbon fibers, even rubberized composite materials.
Let's look at each, to help you determine which type of protective glove is best for you.
Which Part of Your Hand Needs Protection?
First consider how you ride:
- For touring or commuting, you may be more concerned with protecting your hands from the occasional stone or bee, low side slide, or road accident.
- If you are an aggressive track rider or sport bike racer, you may thinking about the hazards and requirements of these particular sports, and opt for a higher level of protection entirely.
- In a slide, it is natural to put your hand out, so palm protection is key.
- For that same reason, it's also a good idea to reinforce the pinky and outside of hand.
- Hard knuckles for protection from flying road debris -- the backs of fingers need protection, too.
- Kevlar or other extremely strong thread to keep gloves intact when put to the test ( ie, the stress of a slide, etc. ).
Whether you do track days, aggressive off-road riding, or just want to be as safe as you can be for the daily commute ... look for gloves with adequate protection in these specific areas.
Options: Kevlar Motorcycle Gloves, and Beyond
1. Kevlar: still one of the toughest materials
You may be surprised to learn that Kevlar was originally designed as material for a racing tire. It's high tensile strength-to-weight ratio is so great, compared to steel it's about five times stronger.
Kevlar is often used to reinforce one or more of the key areas noted above ... to give you the protection of a suit of armor, without sacrificing comfort.
2. Metal Knuckle Motorcycle Gloves
It is not uncommon, especially in racing gloves, to find that with metal knuckles fit can be an issue because metal knucles don't always mold to your hands as well as gloves made of other materials. For this reason, we don't use metal knuckles in our gloves.
In our experience, more flexible materials such as Kevlar or rubberized knuckles offer more than adequate protection without sacrificing fit and comfort, like metal knuckles do.
3. Premium Carbon Fibers and Composite Materials:
Technology is constantly producing innovative new materials that are stronger and lighter. A look at high performance cars and other sports equipment will turn up many examples of that (carbon fiber hockey sticks, golf clubs, skis, etc.).
Some of these premium innovative materials can come with a hefty price tag, so it may not be essential for you to have the latest technology on your hands -- but it's good to know what's out there.
4. Rubberized Knuckles: More Comfortable Protection
It should come as no surprise that we started designing protective gloves with rubberized, composite knuckle protection, instead of less flexible materials. This hits the sweet spot of protection AND comfort/fit.
In our experience, rubber knuckles flex and move with your hand -- so it feels more comfortable in a glove, while adding solid protection.
5. Reinforced Leather Gloves: Naturally Protective
Having explored a full range of armored glove materials, keep in mind that many riders simply prefer leather gloves, or a strong abrasion resistant textile, like nylon.
For extra protection, look for features like a double layer of leather on the palm, the addition an EVA skid pad on the palm, or Kevlar stitching for extra strength.
What level of protection is right for you?
You only get one set of paws ... so take extra good care of them.
Take it from Chip F. ...
For most of us, choosing something from the list below is a good place to start. All of these are designed to protect where it counts.
Check out these 9 Olympia armored glove styles:
#307 Vented Fingerless Gel,
#340 Vented Kevlar Protector,
#450 Full Throttle
#452 Perforated Full Throttle,
#470 Kangaroo Curve,
#715 Extreme Gel,
#734 Digital Protector,
#4370 Cold Throttle,
#4375 Ladies Cold Throttle
Have you ever had the experience of a slide? Did your gloves hold up? Tell us about it about it below, we'd like to know.