One of the most vulnerable areas of the body when riding a motorcycle are your hands. Whatever kind of bike you ride, they’re stuck out in front of you, exposed to the elements - and if the worst happens, likely to be the first thing that hits the ground. With that in mind, a decent pair of gloves should be considered essential kit in the same way as a helmet.
From perforated summer gloves and lightweight trail items to track-ready armour and waterproof winter warmers, there is a huge range catering to just about every motorcycling application imaginable.
We‘ve provided a broad overview here, along with some helpful advice on what to look for, plus links to specific MCN buyer’s guides and expert in-depth reviews.
The CE standard for gloves is EN 13594:2015, with Level 1 being awarded for a basic pass and Level 2 for items offering additional protection. There are several elements to the test, briefly described as follows.
Impact abrasion resistance:
The natural reaction during a fall is to brace for impact with outstretched hands, palms down. This test measures for the level of protection provided during such a situation, both in terms of the initial impact and potential ensuing slide.
Knuckle impact protection:
This is an optional test for Level 1 gloves and is rated at either 1 or 2 KP. All Level 2 gloves will have achieved 2KP in order to pass.
The main difference between Level 1 and 2 here is that only the palm of Level 1 gloves is tested for cut resistance, whereas all materials present in a Level 2 glove have to pass to achieve certification.
Three separate pieces of the protective layer are subjected to a tear test, with the lowest score dictating whether a pass has been achieved.
Each type of seam is tested at three individual points to ensure that the overall structural integrity of the glove reaches the required standard.
A glove can only do its job if correctly fastened, so this test measures the force required to pull it off whilst being worn. 25N dictates a Level 1 pass, 50N for Level 2.
Sizing and cuff length:
The difference between levels here is basically that of short and long gloves. Level 1 requires a cuff length of at least 5mm (measured from the line of the wrist) and Level 2 50mm. Sizing must comply with the European standard of EN420.
As gloves are worn in close contact with the skin, tests are carried out to ensure that none of the construction materials contains restricted or harmful substances. This includes measuring pH values and checking for potentially harmful elements, such as azo colourants, chromium VI and pentachlorophenol.
Gloves must allow the wearer to maintain a certain amount of dexterity in order to operate switchgear, visor catches and so on, so this ensures that there is no significant restriction in movement.
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