Now that your head and body are protected, it is time to offer your hands the same protection. These are two of the main appendages you use to operate your bike, and yet they are often the most neglected when it comes to safety.

One might be tempted to throw on a pair of warm woollen gloves or even ride with bare hands and be done with it, but this mistake has lead to innumerable serious injuries that could quite easily have been prevented.

When buying motorcycling gloves, the three main things to consider are protection, control and comfort. Each rider will form their own opinion on which of these three things they want the most, but it’s important that there is an element of all three in the choice you make.

 

Comfort

For anyone that intends to spend extended periods of time on their bike, while touring for example, comfort will be considered a top priority. Those in the market for comfortable motorcycle gloves should look out for the following:

  • External stitching or flat seams – Both of these serve to stop the stitching of the gloves scratching against your hands while riding, which, may not affect a rider over a short distance, can be come irritating or even painful over time.
  • Pre-formed palms – These serve to make the glove more comfortable in the gripping position by curving the palm so it better fits around the handlebar.
  • Ventilation – Your hands and feet have the highest concentration of sweat glands on your body and on a hot day, this can mean sweaty, sticky hands if they are cooped up inside leather riding gloves. To combat this, you can opt for vented gloves, perforated leather or a meshed material.
  • Insulation – On the other side of the coin, on a cold day it’s vital to keep your hands warm so that they can function quickly and properly. Insulated gloves need not be bulky – materials like Thinsulate will shield your hands from the cold while preserving the mobility you need to operate your bike.

 

Control

For those who will be engaging in very active motorcycling, i.e. track racing, it is important that your hands have sufficient freedom to move so you can accurately control your bike. Gloves that fit this criteria should have the following:

  • A good fit – It’s very important to know what size of glove you need as wearing gloves that are either too big or too small can drastically hinder finger movement. An easy way to test a gloves size is to clench your fist; if a glove is too small, you will notice an uncomfortable tightness around your knuckles and you may not be able to completely close your hand. If the glove is too big, you may notice the fingertips bunching up and folding in your palms.

To measure your hand to get the perfect glove size, place your fingers flat and together, then stick your thumb out as much as you can, so it’s at a right angle to your fingers. It’s then a simple case of taking your measuring tape and measuring all the way around your hand at its widest point, normally just below the fingers.

  • Thin material – Though leather offers very good protection, it tends to be bulky, so if you are looking for optimal control you should look into textile gloves. Premium textiles like Kevlar composites offer protection superior to even leather, while maintaining a good degree of flexibility, though they come with a hefty price-tag.

 

Protection

The main purpose of riding gloves is to give your hands a fighting chance against the tarmac in the event of a spill, therefore choosing a pair with adequate protection is essential. Leather is often the first choice for those seeking as protective a pair of gloves as possible, and these days gloves come with a host of features added to enhance safety:

  • Moulded knuckles – Almost all modern motorcycling gloves come equipped with moulded knuckles, pieces of a hard material stitched over the knuckles to offer added impact protection in the event of an off. These materials can vary from hard plastic, to carbon fibre and even Kevlar composites, each coming with their own price tag.
  • Wrist guards – These are plastic or composite panels that are stitched onto the wrist sleeve of a pair of gloves to give added protection from twisting, should an accident occur.
  • Double stitching – As the name implies, this refers to additional stitching in the glove, making sure that in a crash situation, the gloves do not fall apart from prolonged heat and abrasion..

On the next page, we will move onto the last, but none the less important piece of motorcycling gear: Boots.

Gearing up – Boots >