Gloves are an essential part of your riding kit though a lot of people don’t appreciate just how much. Your hands are the primary connection between you and the bike though your butt and feet are also part of the equation.
However, it is the hands that do the majority of the work, operating the throttle and the front brakes, the two main controls. So you need to be able to feel what you are doing with the controls yet know that your hands, which are one of the first things that instinctively get thrown out in the event of a fall, are properly protected.
This is always essential but on a circuit or a fast cross-country road in a pair of sports gloves, it is even more important. And these from helmet manufacturer LS2 are up there when it comes to feel and protection.
1. LS2 Swift Race Gloves
1. LS2 Swift Race Gloves
First things first – LS2 began making clothing a couple of years ago and some of it – these gloves included – is very good indeed. On paper, they tick all the boxes; the highest protection rating for gloves; 2 KP.
Gloves are rated with either a ‘1’ – standard pass – or a ‘2’ – a superior pass. These get the 2 and they are also awarded ‘KP’ for Knuckle Protection. They are made in goat skin and cowhide for exceptional abrasion resistance and have hard-armour over the knuckles and on the fingers.
The knuckle armour is vented, as is that on the fingers to allow air in to keep the hands cool and the leather on the thumb is perforated for the same reason.
The third and fourth fingers are joined with a leather bridge to prevent them getting spread in an off and there are Superfabric sections - for additional abrasion resistance as well as impact absorption – on the thumb, the heel of the palm, over the scaphoid and on the outside edge of the little fingers. Finally, there is padding on the back of the wrist and a hard armour section on the top of the wrist, on the long cuff.
So on paper, they hit the spot. And on the bike, they do too. They are dead easy to get on – there is an elasticated wrist section as well as a narrow strap over the wrist and a wider one at the inner end of the long cuff.
Sliding the hands in, the lining is smooth and plush, the pre-curved fingers mean you adopt a natural semi-grip position and the finger lengths all feel good though the thumb feels slightly long for me but that’s a function of my sausage-style fingers and thumbs.
The thumb, however, also feels a bit baggy – my thumb seems to move around inside the glove a little too much for my liking, which can affect using the indicator control, for example.
The seams on the fingers are flat-bottomed, so there are no joins to get under your fingernails – a pet hate – and they instantly feel comfortable and secure. The bridge on the third and fourth fingers isn’t intrusive, and the fingers move nicely, thanks to the accordion section on the forefinger and one under the knuckle armour.
There are silicone grip panels across the palm and feel for the bike’s controls is very nice – a single layer of leather on the inside of the fingers and the palm mean you can exercise precision as well as feel what the bike is doing under you.
They are perfect for trackdays or sporty blasts across country on warm days. The cuffs are large enough to accommodate the sleeves of a set of leathers but also have enough adjustment to be pulled in tight if you prefer to wear them under the cuffs of say a sporty textile jacket.
There are also smartphone-screen compatible fingertips, which work with my hard-screen protected iPhone and a visor wipe on the left-hand thumb – always useful.
I have used these gloves quite a lot and while fit – particularly on the thumbs – can be a bit annoying on the roads, where you need constant indicator use, for example, on a track or rural roads where you need feel and control, they are great.
They feel lovely on the hands, are cooling and work superbly with the bike’s controls and the highest rating for protection, combined with their obvious protective qualities, is enormously reassuring. And at less than £70 a pair, you can’t really go wrong.
Highest protective rating for gloves
Comfortable and great feel
Thumbs too large for me