Gloves are the subject of the third instalment of our “importance of…” series. Gloves are an essential part of your protective equipment and for good reason. When you are thrown from your bicycle by an inattentive Transit driver or an adventurous misadventure, your hands are typically the first body part to strike the earth. When flying through the air, your natural reflex upon landing is to extend your arms to break your fall. We may believe we are capable of overcoming this inclination, but in the heat of the moment, it is difficult to suppress the response. Nonetheless, not every motorcycle accident involves a flight. Several of these activities require sliding on the ground. If you’re fortunate, the ground will be damp grass and dirt, but more often than not, it will be gritty, merciless pavement or concrete.
Again, it is difficult to resist the impulse to put our hands out to slow down or stop rolling. Given how difficult it is to manage what we do with our hands and how easily they can be hurt, it is preferable to safeguard them as much as possible.
In addition, a decent pair of gloves protect you from more than simply the trauma of an accident. Grip and vibration damping are also essential characteristics. While I’m sure we’d all prefer to be able to use our throttles, clutches, and front brakes, traction should be a no-brainer. Vibration damping is an often-overlooked feature of motorcycle gloves. Even the smoothest motorcycles create vibrations through the handlebars, and if you were to ride with bare hands, your hands would quickly get numb. Even with the greatest gloves, numbness will set in after a certain amount of time; nevertheless, gloves lessen the effect, allowing you to ride in comfort for longer. In addition, we shouldn’t overlook the potential of gloves to keep our hands warm and dry in inclement riding situations.
Hands include the palms, knuckles, fingers, and wrists. This includes the entirety of the hand, except the back, which are the most vital parts to preserve. The reason we’re not overly concerned about the back of the hand is that it rarely makes touch with the ground. Normally, the knuckle protection protrudes sufficiently to prevent the back of the hand from sliding on the ground, while also protecting the metacarpal bones from trauma.
Abrasion resistance is more important than impact resistance in palm protection. When you’re sliding around the ground and attempting to slow down, your palms will likely absorb the greatest damage. Typically, abrasion-resistant leather reinforced with an aramid material, such as Kevlar, provides sufficient palm protection. The palm of the glove must also give an adequate grip for controlling the throttle and comfortably gripping the grips.
A distinguishing characteristic of motorcycle gloves is knuckle protection. Contrary to popular misconception, its sole purpose is not to remove wing mirrors from poorly-driven vehicles. It serves to prevent one of the most horrifying sorts of hand injuries. As it must both protect the knuckles from impact and allow them to slide along the ground, the armour around the knuckles is likely to be the largest and most crucial portion of the glove. Moreover, it must fulfil both of these jobs while permitting the fingers to move freely. It is usual to find knuckle protection made from a variety of materials, including soft plastics, carbon fibre, aluminium, and titanium.
It does not require much force to break a finger. Jack Bauer instructed me on this. In addition, if a finger is broken, there is no assurance that it will heal properly, and it may never regain its full range of motion. As with many other components of motorcycle equipment, we want to guarantee that things slide instead of dig in. Sliding significantly reduces the likelihood of our fingers twisting and breaking. If you examine the Dainese Full Metal 6 glove below, you will find that the finger joints are covered with small carbon fibre balls. These small pucks provide impact protection and allow our hands to move around the ground. Even though not every pair of gloves will feature carbon fibre protection, every decent pair will have adequate reinforcement and padding.
It should go without saying that protecting your wrists is essential. Primarily because your wrist is the portion of your hand that attaches to your body. Between the metacarpal bones, which represent the beginning of your fingers, and the ulna and radius bones of your forearm are a group of eight delicate bones that you should avoid damaging. Consider gloves with excellent wrist protection. While short gloves may be more comfortable in the summer, they provide inadequate wrist protection. Longer, gauntlet-style gloves give superior wrist protection.
Fit, feel, and convenience
Fit and feel are also essential aspects in selecting the proper glove. Similar to helmets, different brands and models will accommodate various hand sizes. While trying on new gloves, ensure that your fingers and thumbs fit snugly and there is no excess material flopping around. You must ensure that the glove is comfortable with both a relaxed, open hand and a clenched fist to be comfortable throughout the entire range of motion. Note that your gloved hand will be clenched the majority of the time when it is wrapped around the throttle. The gloves should, as expected, fit like a glove.
The wrist strap, which is nearly often a Velcro fastener, should be sufficiently snug to prevent the glove from being ripped from your hand. But, you shouldn’t pull it so tightly that you’re strangling your wrist, as this will impede blood flow and cause your hands to go numb rather soon.
Likewise, the wrist cuff should be sufficiently snug to provide a pleasant seal around the sleeve.
EN13594 certification must be present on motorcycle gloves.
On a label inside your gloves, you should discover information about their certification. On the label, there is a small illustration of a cyclist enjoying a Sunday ride (albeit his bicycle looks to be missing a frame and motor), along with two detail boxes and the standard designation.
Five tests are required and one is optional for gloves.
The distance from the wrist to the end of the cuff must be at least 15 mm for a Level 1 pass. A Level 2 pass must be at least 50mm in length.
The device that maintains the glove on the hand. Typically, this is the Velcro strap that wraps over the wrist. A machine attempts for 30 seconds to remove the glove from a mannequin’s hand. If 52N of force is required to remove the glove from the hand, it passes Level 2. If 27N of force is required to remove the gloves, the product is rated as Level 1. Anything less is unacceptable.
Like with the other tear tests, a machine attempts to separate three samples of the glove’s materials. The palm and palm side of the fingers must withstand 25N of force for a Level 1 pass, while the cuff, back of the hand, fourchettes, and back of the fingers must withstand 18N. To pass Level 2, the palm and palm side of the fingers must endure 35N, the fourchettes must withstand 25N, and the cuff, back of the hand, and side of the fingers must withstand 30N.
A machine attempts to separate the gloves’ seams. A Level 1 pass requires main seams of 6Nmm and fourchettes of 4Nmm. Level 2 increases these values to 10Nmm and 7Nmm, respectively.
Similar to the Impact Abrasion test described previously, the gloves are dropped onto a moving abrasive belt. A Level 1 pass requires no holes in less than 4 seconds, whereas a Level 2 pass requires no holes in less than 6 seconds.
Impact Protection for Knuckles:
This is an optional test, as indicated by the ‘KP’ designation in the panel of information. A Level 1 pass indicates that a single blow cannot transmit more than 9kN of force and that the average force over all samples cannot exceed 7kN. Level 2 reduces these values to 4kN for both a single strike and an average.
There is plenty to learn about motorcycle gloves. They are available in various lengths, styles, colours, and themes. Some are designed for the hottest summer days, while others are suited for the coldest winter nights. They may be constructed from cow leather, kangaroo leather, goat leather, aramids, Gore-Tex, or fabrics. Plastic, aluminium, carbon fibre, and titanium may be utilised. It is possible to heat, insulate, weatherproof, and ventilate them. Whatever plan you select, ensure that you are receiving the most level of protection for your money. The JMI Motogrip crew is always available to help you select your next glove.
Never ride a bicycle without gloves. If something goes wrong, there may be a high and irreversible cost to pay.