A decent pair of gloves is crucial for anyone who rides throughout winter. Irrespective of the protection offered by the bike – whether from handguards, fairing, bodywork or whatever, your hands (as well as your feet) are likely to be some of the most exposed bits of your body.
If they get cold, then it’s bad news. At best it can be irritating; at worst, it can be downright distracting and can cause damage to your fingertips, as well as drive your overall temperature down. So, keeping your hands warm is essential.
Many riders do this with thick insulating winter gloves. This can help but has the effect of reducing your feel for the bike, effectively insulating you from what it is doing at a time when, arguably, you need the best connection and sense of grip and behaviour.
Others like heated grips to allow them to wear a thinner glove for that feel for the bike while the grips help to keep their hands warm. However, this can be an issue if it’s wet; most membranes work on heat difference, driving moisture from the warmer side to the colder.
Usually, your hand is warmer and it flows out, but if you have heated grips on in the rain, it can actually push water across the membrane into the glove.
Heated grips also don’t help with keeping fingertips warm and that’s the issue I always have; they get cold and that starts to affect my concentration and comfort. This is why I, like many riders, favour heated gloves. These allow a decent degree of feel for the bike but will fend off the cold when you need it, thanks to electrically-powered heating elements built into the glove – typically on the back of the hand and down the fingers.
These ones from Furygan are really good; they are reasonably warm without the heating activated, thanks to 37.5 technology. This is designed to maintain the humidity level at the skin at the optimum 37.5% and helps to remove heat when you’re warm and release energy back to the skin if you get cold. This means they give a really good feel for the bike, without being too bulky when the temperature is at a reasonable level.
They are formed in goatskin with sections of fabric to help grip the bike’s controls. They use D3O armour over the knuckles as well as on the fingers, and there are smartphone touchscreen-compatible fingertips and a visor wipe on the left-hand thumb.
I find that they come up large and ended up with the Small size, my usual Medium feeling baggy and sloppy. The Small fits me very nicely; they are snug and tight without feeling constrictive. The leather means the gloves give slightly as you wear them, while the plush lining feels lovely against the skin. For me (I have wide hands and short fingers and thumbs) they fit perfectly and I have worn them for hours at a time without any loss of comfort.
The Blizzard are supplied with a pair of batteries, but this inevitably makes them bulky, particularly around the cuff as the battery sits in a pouch on the inside of the glove on the back of the hand. However, many riders – myself included – prefer to have the gloves hard-wired to the bike so they never run out of charge and they are less bulky. They generally get an extra heating mode as well, as the Furygans do.
However, one of the coolest (pardon the pun) things about the Furygans is the FuryHeatSystem app. Available for iOS and Android, it gives you control of the gloves from your smartphone. While that may feel like a gimmick, it also allows you to set a pre-heat time for your gloves so that (when connected to batteries) they are warmed up ready for you to put them on at set-off.
However, the best feature is that once they are paired, you can control both gloves from just one of the buttons mounted on the back of the wrist. This is handy because, as anyone who’s ever tried to turn the heat up at 75mph on the motorway knows, it can be a bit of a nightmare. With the Furygans, just hit the right-hand button with your left finger and the left-hand glove automatically follows suit. No taking your right hand off the throttle to control the left-hand glove. Brilliant.
There is just one snag; the men’s version appears to have been discontinued, though you can still find them if you search around. However, the women’s version is still available and they appear to have replaced with the Heat Urban 37.5 – using the same technology but in a redesigned shell.
If you can find a pair, these are a great addition to your winter riding kit. They combine an excellent feel and fit with superb heating and safety and convenience on the bike.
As I write this, I’ve just ridden 200 miles in mid-single-digit temperatures with the gloves set between low and middle-level heating, and my fingertips were neither hot nor cold – they just felt as they would if I were in the car. Perfect.
Excellent feel and fit
Gentle to powerful heating
One-touch control with FuryHeat app
Discontinued so take some finding
More heated gloves:
Read how to hard-wire heated gloves to your bike in our comprehensive guide.