Motorcycle safety gear is incomplete without a pair of gloves. Apart from making you look stylish, they provide protection from hand injuries and abrasion while riding your motorcycle. Riding gloves protect your palm, fingers, knuckles, and wrists in case of a motorcycle crash. Invest in a high-quality and strong pair of motorbike gloves. These are as important as your helmet, riding boots and a jacket which comprises your riding gear. Remember that the heel of your palm will endure the maximum impact in the event of a crash. So, compared to the rest of your hand, your palm must be heavily protected. Made of leather or textile, get to know the wide range of motorbike gloves available in the market. This motorcycle gloves buying guide will help you pick one to suit your riding style.
If you’re planning to buy a helmet, check out our Helmet Buying Guide
Types of Motorcycle Gloves
Motorcycle race gloves are made of professional-grade material suited for track riding and motocross. They are beefed up to provide increased levels of protection and comfort as compared to a regular pair of motorcycle gloves used in everyday riding.
With the kind of exposure that race gloves endure on a motorcycle racing track, a lot of factors are taken into account during their making which includes full gauntlets, armor, good throttle control, generous ventilation and high-speed crash resistant features. These gloves perform well on the track as well as on or off road.
Gauntlet style gloves cover the entire wrist and go halfway up the forearm. Shorter gauntlet cuffs are available too. Sports bike riders usually prefer full gauntlet gloves because along with crash protection they offer weather proofing features and protect the hands from rain, moisture, and cold.
Full gauntlet style gloves are unthinkable in hot and humid weather. Summer or short gloves end at the wrist and are usually worn during hot, dry, or warm summer motorcycle riding. These gloves provide a perfect mix of protection and ventilation. They are airy and prevent your palms and hands from becoming sweaty and uncomfortable. These are made of thinner leathers, mesh fabrics, and sweat-wicking materials.
These gloves are designed for a cruiser or urban-styled motorcycles and are suitable for city riding. Cruiser gloves serve the purpose of a relaxed ride. These are strictly street bike gloves and protect your hands in case of a fall and combine style and protection.
Adventure/ Touring Gloves
Adventure gloves are best suited for adventure riders who embark on long-haul trips as these are more resilient to such conditions. Protection from extreme climates and crashes are important features of these gloves. A little on the expensive side they are available in leather or textile. The best all round gloves are touring gloves suitable for everyday riding. They protect you against weather and crashes at normal road speeds.
Rain/waterproof motorcycle gloves have insulating features and are waterproof, windproof and breathable. These gloves have water-resistant membranes and are made of fabrics like Gore-tex and other similar materials that provide a superior barrier and keep your hands dry. These have different levels of waterproof protection inside the gloves but may look like any regular gloves on the outside.
Heated motorcycle gloves are best suited for warm and comfortable riding in winters or cooler weather. Your hands tend to endure all the cold wind in winter and these are the kind of gloves you cannot do without during your winter rides. You will find both, battery-powered and plug-in models in the market.
These are not highly used and recommended as they come with their own risks. Of course, it’s your personal preference to use these but our suggestion would be to go for winter leather gloves along with a good liner if you want to keep hands warm.
Off-road or dirt gloves are lightweight and have a lot of armor that is designed to maintain grip. Since these gloves are for slower speeds they have fewer protection features. These are more about airflow, comfort, and movement.
Fingerless gloves do look cool on your hands. Though your fingers are left unprotected they can still protect your hands from handlebar vibration, your palms in case of accidents, and keep your hands cool.
Motorcycle glove liners are lightweight and are used to layer your regular gloves to provide added warmth to your hands during the cold weather. It is said that glove liners worn inside your gloves can sometimes increase the heat by about 20 per cent.
Know your Motorcycle Gloves
- Upper part covers the top and back of the hand to protect you from an impact of crash, abrasion, and weather. It is usually made of thick leather or textile.
- Fourchettes are ventilated strips of material connecting the upper to the palm by joining the front and back portions of the gloves’ fingers.
- Palm covers the palms to provide comfort and good throttle control.
- Lining: The lining is an added inner layer to provide insulation from cold, rain, or moisture.
- Cuff often carries a padding or armor, covers the wrist and acts as a barrier against cold or moisture.
- Closure: The closure may have buttons, D-ring straps or Velcro to secure the gloves around your hand.
- Armor provides protection crash impact and scraping.
- Stitching holds the entire glove together. The use of double stitching and external stitching can be observed in most gloves.
- Extra features may include palm sliders, finger bridges, knuckle vents and touchscreen compatibility.
Motorcycle Gloves Buying Guide
Textile or Leather
There is no definitive answer to whether textile is better or leather. There are many variables that come into play; climate, riding style, level of protection required, appearance etc. Leather is strong and durable with good abrasion resistance and stretches and molds to the shape of your hand.
Bikers generally prefer leather motorcycle gloves. Cowhide is heavy and rigid; kangaroo skin is lighter and goatskin is soft; often gloves are made of a combination of these materials and all of them have good abrasion resistance.
Textile, on the other hand, tends to resist extreme weather conditions better. Owing to its denier rating textile can be a versatile material. Textile gloves can be made thick and dense to provide protection from the cold and chill in winters and can also be made light and airy to make you comfortable in hot and humid summers.
Everyday riders, adventure or touring riders prefer textile gloves. Choose the one that you think is best for you for the type of riding you will be doing.
Fitment, Feel and Size
It is important that the gloves fit you well and they are neither tight nor loose. If ill-fitting gloves come off during a fall, the purpose of wearing them in the first place is beaten. This goes for the other motorcycle gear as well. Gloves that are too tight can cause numbness in your hands rendering them useless. Excess glove material in your palms, fingers, and knuckles can cause calluses and hand fatigue.
A hook and loop wrist closure is best for a glove to be fastened firmly around the hand. Leather motorcycle gloves if tight initially tend to loosen with time but textile gloves can fit perfectly from the word go.
Gloves should make you feel comfortable while riding and not restrict your finger movement or your control over the motorcycle. There shouldn’t be too much or too less inner lining. Make sure you wear the gloves and try gripping your motorcycle handlebars, ensure that your grip is good on the throttle and handlebar. Also, see that you are able to use all controls as you would without gloves.
Remember there is a slight difference in the size of your hands. So, buy gloves that fit the larger one perfectly and don’t worry about the smaller hand as the size difference is minimal. Online retailers provide you with sizing charts and instructions. Look for your perfect size, and in the rare event that you might have bought the wrong pair, most online sellers thankfully have a return/exchange policy.
Protection and Safety
Safety and protection during motorcycle riding is a not a choice but a priority. It is imperative to wear gloves with adequate palm protection, pre-curved fingers and bridges, armor over the knuckles and fingers, and abrasion resistance to keep you safe in case of a crash or a fall.
A lighter pair of gloves with ample ventilation and sweat wicking qualities to deal with the summer heat and humidity and a heavier pair with adequate insulation and lining to protect you from the cold and chill is highly recommended. Our suggestion would be to buy a separate pair of gloves for different weather types.
As using winter gloves in summer (or vice versa) might shorten the life of gloves, example wearing winter gloves in summers will make you sweat a lot and that can start deteriorating the gloves from inside.
Whatever your riding style may be, do not compromise on safety and protection and wear motorcycle gloves that suit your type of ride; be it motorcycle racing or adventure riding or everyday riding. Whether you ride a sports bike or a cruiser, there are gloves designed specifically for the different types of motorcycles or riding types. The onus is on you to choose the right pair and be safe.
Care for your Gloves
After care for your bike gloves is as important as taking care while you buy them; they will last longer and save you from investing in a new pair frequently. Gloves should be cleaned regularly to remove road grime and sweat from your hands. They should be washed in warm soapy water and rinsed clean with cold water. Wringing them will spoil their shape so let them dry naturally. Use a conditioner to keep the sheen on your leather motorcycle gloves intact. Check for any loose stitching on seams or any loose glued part and get them repaired.
If you live in that part of the world where you may have to ride during summer, winter and rainy season, it is advisable to invest in multiple pairs of gloves; winter gloves, summer gloves and waterproof motorcycle gloves. If you are an early morning or a night rider, opt for high visibility reflective gloves to alert oncoming motorists.
Whether you are an aggressive rider, a cruiser, or motorcycle racer, combine the right pair of gloves along with the other riding gear, and you are all set for your motorcycle riding. Identify your style of riding or the type of biker you are and find a pair of gloves that fit your style.
There is a plethora of options and features for you to consider before you buy your type. Try out different pairs of gloves of different brands till you hit upon the perfect pair. This motorcycle gloves buyer guide will help you invest in the most appropriate pair. Feel comfortable and protected as a rider and keep your passion for motorcycling running high!