. . . is to lose one of them, especially when they are your favorite.
A few months ago, I lost the right hand of my favorite motorcycle gloves: the “Sambia” by HELD. They were a splurge buy after my motorcycle trip to South America. The flimsy pair of Fox gloves I had taken with me (a bargain at $20 a pair) had served me well during the trip, and I was impressed they had lasted the entire 6 months.
I used to balk at gloves that cost more than $100, and before buying the Helds I had never owned a pair of motorcycle gloves that cost that much. The Held gloves came in at $120 USD, but they were worth every penny. I have long fingers and the Sambias comfortably accommodate that. They are made of Kangaroo leather on the palm, breathable nylon on the back—sewn together with the seams on the outside of the fingertips—with hard plastic, ventilated protection over the knuckles. I had never put on a glove that fit in all the right places and moved in the right direction until then. Hours on the bike did not deter its comfort factor.
When I lost one of the gloves, I couldn’t help but be frustrated and sad. I live in Panama where there is no regular mail service to easily order another pair. So I had to find what was in stores here. Luckily mall culture is huge and there are a couple motorcycle apparel stores, although brand selection is limited.
Returning to my self-imposed limit of not spending more than $100, I eventually found two pairs of motorcycle gloves: Rev’it! “Striker,” which retail for $80 USD, and then during a subsequent purchase, Klim’s “Adventure” gloves (non-current version) for $60 USD.
Why did I buy two pairs when I only needed one? Because I made a rookie mistake when I bought the Rev’it! Strikers. At the store I appreciated the basic features of the gloves: the goatskin leather palm with breathable nylon on the back (this time seams on the inside) and a plastic knuckle protector that wasn’t as bulky as Helds. One feature I really liked was the additional contact fabric on the first finger and thumb, which makes using smartphones with gloves on that much easier. I had fitted them in an air-conditioned store and they felt great. When I took a weekend trip during humid 37ºC (98ºF) weather, I realized I bought a size too small. The circulation in my hands was cut off. I tried them a second time during another long ride to see if the humidity had helped the leather stretch at all . . . Nada.
I went back to the store to buy a second pair in a bigger size, but as with many lessons learned in Panama, you buy it when you see it because if you go back to get it, chances are it won’t be there. And they weren’t. More Rev’it! gloves would not be in stock for another couple of months.
So I bought a pair of Klim gloves at another store. The Klim gloves are all right and they work just fine, but I can feel the downgrade in materials. The padding is decent, but the leather on the palm is thin. They breathe well, which is nice in the heat, but my biggest gripe is that the cuff is too short. I don’t want to worry about getting sun burned on my wrist when I ride. To compare Klim to Rev’it you can notice the differences, but to compare Klim to Held is not fair. For twice the price you definitely get twice the glove. The biggest lesson I learned is to be more careful with my favorite gloves because, as far as I know, a “lost and found” for single motorcycle gloves does not exist.
After spending some time riding with these three pairs of gloves, which would I buy again? The Rev’it Strikers (of course in a correct size). For the price you get a lot of glove, and the smart-phone friendly fingertips sealed the deal.
Finally, I will impart this piece of advice, which I wish I had known before buying: What to look for in sizing a shorter style, warm-weather adventure glove?
· With the glove on, stretch your fingers out as wide as possible and see if it pulls uncomfortably on any points of your hand. Look at the seams… can you see thread pulling away from the fabric? If so, it may be too tight. Check the palm for excess fabric. If you can pull more than a fingernail’s worth of fabric, it’s too loose and you need a size smaller. How do your fingertips feel? Is the space maxed out or do you have wiggle room? While you don’t want to have a lot space between you and the fabric, it should be snug enough to accommodate the natural expansion and contraction of your hands during different weather.
· Clench your fingers into a tight ball and feel if the protection on the top of the hand or on the fingers digs in anywhere. Open and close your hand several times to see if there is any rubbing on your hands. This can cause sore spots or calluses. Try to minimize this.
· The grip test (the emulate the grip on the handlebar): hold up your first two fingers like you are making a peace sign. With the opposite hand make a “c” shape. Place your peace finger hands on the leather of the “c” hand between the thumb and forefinger and push down at the curve. This is how your hands will feel for hours while riding. How do your fingertips feel now? If there is too much pressure in the fingertips or too much wiggle room try a different size or another style / brand.
You can find more reviews and travel stories at: AlisonsWanderland.com