Akuma Street Fighter Motorcycle Gloves
Akuma Street Fighter Gloves
by Rick for webBikeWorld.com
Motorcycle Glove Reviews | Owner
Summary: Super soft and comfortable leather along with carbon
fiber protection means the new Akuma Street Fighter gloves are a perfect
cross between a touring and race glove.
We usually run a summer
glove feature around this time of year, but not much has
changed since our
2007 Summer Glove "Extravaganza", with
very few releases of new mesh or perforated gloves.
Thus, a 2008 comparison doesn't seem likely.
But there are definitely
some motorcycle gloves of other types that we think
you'll find interesting, like the new Akuma Street
Fighter gloves described here and a few more that are
currently being evaluated, so stay tuned for more.
I can hear you now: "Wait a
second -- did you say Akuma? They're the LED
helmet guys, right?"
That's right --
webBikeWorlders are familiar with Akuma Helmets,
including the very cool
Akuma Ghost Rider (review), Akuma's first helmet,
and also with the
Akuma Stealth (review), which was voted the "Best
Helmet" at the 2008 Powersports Dealer Expo in
Indianapolis this year (see
Akuma is also
working on the
Akuma electrochromatic visors (First Look), and we
can't wait to get our mitts on that one...
But in the meantime, Akuma
is now expanding their product line with motorcycle
clothing and gloves to compliment the helmets. The Street Fighter gloves are brand
new, and they will be followed by the "Specter" version, which
are said to be identical in every way except they'll be
without the middle knuckle vents shown here.
Akuma says the Street Fighter gloves
were designed for street and racing, although my feeling is that they're
missing a couple of features that would put them in the
true "race" category.
But it's only a matter of
semantics, because after wearing them for the
past few weeks in a variety of weather conditions and on
a gaggle of different bikes, I think Akuma has stumbled
on to something here: the Street Fighters are the
perfect cross between street, sport and touring gloves.
The first thing I noticed
about the gloves is how buttery soft the leather feels
-- I'll go as far as saying this is the softest leather
I've ever felt on any motorcycle glove I've ever worn.
The leather feels like the super-high-quality stuff one might
find on a high-priced designer jacket.
I asked them about it, but
all they said was it's some type of new "leather and
Kevlar matrix" material. How leather can be
combined with Kevlar is beyond me, but these are the
guys who put a rechargeable power pack, LED work lights,
rear LED exhaust vent lights, electroluminescent helmet
graphics and electrochromatic visors on motorcycle
helmets. If they say they found a way to mix
leather and Kevlar, who am I to argue?
All I know is that the cow
that these came from must have been fed marshmallows. I wonder if
they could make me a pillowcase out of the stuff??
The gloves are lined with a
type of thin flannel-like material, and most of the
seams on the inside are taped to prevent rubbing. The
gloves apparently run slightly small, because I usually take a
men's size large, but the XL's shown here fit me
The modified box-section
fingers give me just the right amount of room -- not too
tight, not too loose -- and there's just enough length
and width at the fingertips to allow for that extra
stretch necessary for gripping the handlebars.
This combination of
fingertip length and width is apparently much harder to
get right than you'd think, because more than a few
new gloves I've worn recently have
either mis-matched finger sizes or one, two or more (or
all) of the fingers are either too short, or too narrow,
or there's not enough room across the palms.
I don't recall having as
much trouble with fit in previous years, and my hands haven't
changed, so it's either coincidence or the motorcycle
glove manufacturers are using some type of new standard
size for human hand shapes.
This happened once before
with motorcycle jackets, where all of a sudden a size
large was no longer a size large -- and then it changed
back just as quickly as it came. Who knows?
C'est la vie... Anyway, this pair of Street
Fighter gloves in size XL is now my personal standard
The other problem I
occasionally run into, especially on race gloves, is the
typical lack of flexibility in the
carbon fiber (or other type) of hard knuckle protector.
The knuckle protector should ideally be curved
underneath to match the profile of the base knuckles,
and it helps to have some padding and maybe some elastic
at the sides where the floating knuckle protector
attaches to the body of the glove.
All of this is to give
enough room for the hand to move underneath it,
otherwise the glove may end up feeling like the torture
devices covering the ultra-expensive
(review) and the
Speedstar Gloves (review).
The Street Fighter gloves
have no such problem; the carbon fiber knuckle protector
covering the back of the big knucks feels like isn't
even there -- I don't notice it at all, which is
Oh, and I almost forgot --
there's also an extra section of the super-soft leather
that runs around the outer edge of the pinky finger.
The leather is so soft and pliable that it's
unnoticeable in this crucial area.
The Street Fighter gloves
also have little carbon fiber protectors on the back of
each of the top knuckles (the third knuckles, down near
the tips of the fingers), and this includes the thumb.
These are a plus -- many gloves provide third knuckle
protection only on some fingers, usually the fingers
towards the heel of the hand.
The middle knuckle of the
first three fingers is covered with a rubbery type of
protector that includes a screened vent. I've seen
this type of protector and vent used on other gloves,
and I'm never quite sure if the rubbery stuff will hold
up or will grind into dust after a few feet -- and I
don't want to find out.
A tiny hole lives at the
bottom of each vent, but it feels like they're covered
by the liner on the inside of the fingers, so let's say
this is more for show than go. I've tried various
methods of holding the glove when riding to see if I
could feel any air flowing in with no luck.
What is interesting though
is that even though Akuma doesn't make any claims to
using an Outlast-like phase change material in the
gloves, my hands don't get as hot as I thought they
would, and they remain at a neutral temperature all the
way up to about 80 degrees or so.
Since there are no other
vents or perforations on the gloves, I'm assuming that
the liner material does a good job of wicking moisture,
because I'm not sure why the unperforated leather
doesn't make my hands feel too warm.
Moving to the palm side,
each glove has a single piece of thin suede-like leather
that runs from near the tip of the forefinger down under
and up along the thumb. This is designed to offer
some added protection in this wear area. Another
section of this suede-like material covers the base of
the palm on each hand.
The wrist features a section
of elastic material sewn nearly all the way around the
wrist and the gauntlets are about 3/4 of what I'd
consider to be full length. A section of
hook-and-loop secures the glove under the wrist and the
gauntlets are wide enough to fit over most jacket sleeve
The elastic and the shorter
gauntlet and the absence of a separate wrist closure are
what keep the Street Fighter gloves from being
classified as a full race glove in my opinion, but it's
probably what helps make them comfortable for touring.
I do wish the gauntlets were
longer and wider and that the gloves had a more secure
closure; the elastic and the hook-and-loop does a pretty
good job, but I can still pull a secured glove off my
hand by the fingertips. This probably won't bother
most riders, but I have a sort of phobia about my gloves
coming off in a crash...
All in all though, that's a
minor quibble, and an issue that's certainly not unique
to the Akuma Street Fighter gloves. The comfort
factor and the quality of construction make them look
and feel like -- I don't know -- maybe $120.00 gloves?
But get this -- Akuma set
the list price of the Street Fighters at only $69.00,
which I think is a super deal!
The new Akuma Street Fighter gloves offer a super
combination of comfort, protection and high quality
construction at a very reasonable price. They hit
the mark for everything from basic street riding to
Sportbiking to all-day touring.
Product Review: Akuma Street Fighter Motorcycle Gloves
Retail Price: $69.00
Sizes: S - XXXL
June 2008 Notes: Gloves provided by Akuma for this
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