When most people think of motorcycle safety equipment, the first thing that comes to mind is a helmet. But, as important as helmets are, they’re not the only safety equipment you need when you ride. Motorcycle gloves have important safety functions too, beyond just keeping your hands warm. Select your motorcycle gloves with care, and they’ll take care of you in the event of an accident.
Think about it: when most of us fall, we reach forward with palms down unless we’ve been trained otherwise. If you experience a fall from your motorcycle, you can imagine how much damage you can do to your hands. You can lose enough blood through hand injuries to require a transfusion, believe it or not!
Motorcycle gloves may be made from natural materials like leather, or man made materials. Advances in materials have led to less bulky gloves that are protective and warm and allow you to maximize your hand functioning while you ride. And of course, gloves are available in any color and pattern you can imagine.
People who ride a lot in cold climates sometimes invest in heated motorcycle gloves, which are battery operated and heat both the front and back of the hand. These are must-haves for people who commute by motorcycle in cold weather, and they’re waterproof as well. Gerbing Gloves are popular heated gloves, and are powered by rechargeable 12V batteries that you can recharge with your bike’s battery.
When you choose motorcycle gloves, look for high quality stitching, particularly in any areas that could absorb impact in a fall. Leather should be thick, and there should be padding in the palm area and other areas that may absorb impact in a fall. You will know your gloves fit well when you can use all your fingers without them feeling bound, and when you can use your handlebar controls properly. If gloves don’t fit well, you’re less likely to wear them, and motorcycle gloves don’t do you any good if they’re back home or sitting in your bike’s storage box.
It is important that your gloves be long enough to provide wrist protection. Gauntlet type motorcycle gloves, that are long enough to cover the cuffs of your riding jacket, are generally best at protecting your wrists. Leather is a great material for your gloves, because it’s durable and conforms to your hands with wear, but you may want to switch to a breathable fabric for summer.
Non-leather (textile) gloves do have some advantages over leather. Textile gloves allow additions of hard plastic, metal, or Kevlar to be added to the gloves more easily than leather does. And they can be made in any color or pattern. You also have the advantage of not having to cover gloves in the rain if they’re not leather. The newest textile gloves are warm and very resistant to abrasion and puncture. However, textile gloves do tend to cost more and are not as pliable as leather. They also tend to be bulkier, so you need to make sure you can use your hands well while wearing them.
Motorcycle gloves should not just be an afterthought, but an important element in your riding safety gear, so take the time to choose good gloves, and wear them every time you ride.