$20 v. $100 motorcycle gloves


If you haven't read my latest newsletter, then you probably don't know about my new number. In addition to sending me an email, writing on my facebook fan page, or sending me a tweet, you can now text your questions to my new 24-7 hotline, 415-857-GEAR. I'll do my best to post an answer asap.

My first question just came in from the 407 area code from Steve, who found me when he listened my interviews on The Pace Podcast. Thanks Steve!

"Can you tell me why twenty dollar leather work gloves are not sufficient gloves."

Answer: Well a glove that cheap can't offer any protective value other than being leather. Although that's fine, it's the bare minimum and you need more than that.

"What more protection do hundred dollar gloves do? Do they protect from breaking fingers?"

To answer the first part of that question, here are a few things that a more expensive glove can offer:

  1. Materials (external and internal): higher quality cowhide, goatskin and sometimes kangaroo (which tends to cost more than $150, Schoeller-Keprotec, Kevlar lining
  2. Construction: double stitching to prevent tearing, minimal seams, key impact/abrasion areas reinforced (palms, outside of hand along the palm up to the pinky finger), sometimes the 4th and 5th fingers sewn together to prevent separation
  3. Protection and Retention: Soft/hard armor or impact foam on the knuckles, the bottom of the palms, between the joints of the fingers, velcro and zippers to keep them on our hands at all times!
  4. Fit and Comfort: A more expensive glove will fit and feel ten times better than a cheaper one. The gloves will have a precurved fit and cut, so that it's more comfortable in riding position.
But most importantly, I think a more expensive glove will stay on your hands no matter what.  The purpose of all of our gear is to cover our bodies and stay put in the event of an accident.  I've yet to see a $20 glove provide anything but a little warmth from the wind.

Generally, every accident tends to be different in terms of the events leading up to one. Chances are that you'll be injured in an accident, no matter how slow you're going.  You may or may not break a finger, it can completely depend on the situation.  It really comes down to risk. How much are you wiling to risk a major or minor injury?

In my worst accident (I've had 2), I wore these gloves from Racer and I still broke one finger. Because the 4th and 5th fingers on those gloves are sewn together, they stayed that way when my hand hit the pavement, but my middle finger somehow got over extended and it fractured.  1 is a lower number than 2, and that's all I could've asked for; aside from wishing I hadn't been rear ended, of course.  So unfortunately, no, they won't always prevent breaking a bone.

The fact is that you have no idea if/when you'll be injured in an accident.  There's just no guarantee. And yes, spending $100 on a pair of gloves won't guarantee that.

But I can guarantee you this, that spending more on your gear will minimize the risk of injury. Sometimes it's difficult for us as riders to see the bright side in an accident, but that's what motorcycling is. Understanding the risks and doing everything in your power to minimize it.

I hope you will too!