by "Smalls" for webBikeWorld.com
A well-made pair of women's leather gloves from the Alpinestars "Stella" women's motorcycle clothing line.
The Stella SP-3 gloves have plenty of padding and reinforcement.
Ladies, if you are like me, youíve found it frustrating to find the perfect gear specifically designed for women.
I live in a small town and the pickings for womenís motorcycle gear are mighty slim to say the least. Many times Iíve been told to try a menís small, but the fit isnít the same Ė whether it is boots, gloves, riding pants, or jackets.
While I donít want something foo-foo, I do want something feminine, and menís gear will not cut it for me. I mean, I want everyone to know itís a girl on that bike!
Gloves were the easiest item to find. The hunt for a jacket and pants was tiring, and the quest for a helmetÖwell, thatís another whole story to come soon.
In the meantime, I was so happy to find a pair of gloves that had most of the features I was looking for but which still fit my budget.
After trying some menís gloves (which were too wide in the palm) and a few pairs of womenís gloves, I purchased Alpinestarsí Stella SP-3 Gloves.
But first, here's how to get the proper fit: When trying on gloves, you should be able to pinch a small amount of material at the tip of each finger and thumb when the fingers are extended. This extra room will be taken up when you grip the hand grips.
Next, do just that; wrap both hands around some hand grips. In fact, throw a leg over your bike, especially if you ride a sport bike.
The feel of the gloves is different if you are just standing holding a grip versus if you are leaned over the bike with a little weight on your hands, so go ahead. Itís an excuse to sit on that dream machine youíve been wanting!
Once you stop drooling over the bike, focus on the gloves. How do they feel? Does the material sit smoothly under your hand?
Some gloves I tried bunched up in the palm just below the fingers. While a little wrinkle under the palm may feel fine when sitting in the shop, in a couple of hours it might lead to irritation and possibly blisters. The glove should fit snugly to provide a good grip on the handlebars.
Pay particular attention to any pressure on the fingers or fingertips Ė this can cause said appendages to become numb while you're riding. If a seam is pressing into your fingers, try another size or another pair.
Glove sizes may vary slightly within each brand, or even in the same model from one year to the next; the Stella GP-3 gloves I purchased are an older version.
I tried on the new GP-3 gloves and the fingers were slightly shorter -- not much, but just enough so that when I wrapped my hands around the controls, I could feel pressure on my fingertips.
It may have just been that particular pair I tried on; the store only had two pairs in size large. With the exception of finger length, the feel and cut was the same between the older and newer models.
OK, so letís talk features! The Stella SP-3 gloves are light weight leather; perfect for street riding. The gloves provide a nice grip on the bars. My hands get a little cold when the temperatures drop to around 45-50 degrees (7-10 Celsius); however, I often have cold hands, so this is subjective.
With the weather in the 60's (15-18 C), my hands feel fine. It hasnít been warm enough this year in northwestern Montana to comment on how these gloves will feel on a hot day, but when I get the chance to find out, Iíll let you know. C'mon, summer!
The Alpinestars Stella gloves sport a full gauntlet, which is 3 ľĒ long (8.2 cm) on my size large gloves. The gauntlet includes padding on the outside of the wrist, adding extra protection for the wrist bone in the event of a slide.
Gauntlets are a feature I need, because most jacket sleeves run short on me. The gauntlet on the Stella gloves extends past the cuffs on my jacket to protect my wrists in case of accidents, as well as offering protection from the elements and bees (A couple of friends actually had bees go up their sleeves and sting their arms and backs; Iíd rather skip that party.)
The hook-and-loop closure allows a customized fit over jacket sleeves and the diameter of the gauntlet on the Stella gloves is 5 ĹĒ (14 cm), which fits easily over my jacketís tapered sleeves. There is room for a bulkier sleeve, but that would depend on how bulky the jacket actually is.
The Alpinestars Stella gloves are made from full grain leather with a padded, Kevlar-reinforced leather palm. The outside of the pinky also includes leather reinforcements, while the inside of the thumb and bottom of the index fingers feature reinforcements made from suede.
An extra layer of leather would have been nice on the ends of the first two fingers to prevent wear from clutch and brake levers. And additional leather reinforcements on the palm, just below the fingers, would have been a great addition also.
The fingers of the Stella gloves are pre-curved to provide a natural hold on handgrips. A 5mm EVA foam layer protects knuckles, the back of the hand, and the wrist and the fingers and thumbs have an extra layer of leather with foam padding for added protection.
While the leather is light weight, impact areas have been reinforced with extra layers of leather and padding, all secured with double stitching. Even with all the padding, these gloves flex easily and are very comfortable.
The seams are on the inside of the glove, rather than on the outside. Sometimes, depending on fit, this can lead to irritation during extended rides, but the longest Iíve ridden in these gloves is two or three hours and the seams were not an issue for me.
There is a thin layer of knit fabric inside the gloves; the best way to describe this is as a fabric backing for comfort. However, Alpinestars does not indicate that the Stella gloves are lined.
A true liner would be a complete inner glove attached inside the outer shell and all seams would be enclosed between the two layers. The fabric inside the GP-3 gloves is sewn in a way that all the seams are still visible and would be touching the skin (see picture below).
Elastic on the bottom of the wrist helps keep the glove in place. Over time this elastic will eventually stretch out, so I would have preferred the addition of a thin strap here for more security in keeping the glove secured on my hand. However, it fits well and feels fairly secure. And embroidered logos give the glove a finishing touch.
According to the Alpinestars sizing chart, I would need a medium, but the store where I found them only had a size small and large, and the large fits great.
I didnít have a medium to compare it to, but since the fingers fit perfectly on the large, I think the medium would probably be too short in the finger length.
The most recent versions of the the Alpinestars Stella gloves have a few variations: the color of the embroidered "SP3" is grey rather than white; the leather reinforcements and padding are styled differently and the finger padding extends to the finger tips; the wrist padding reinforcement is perforated leather; the wrist elastic goes all the way around the wrist; and there is an added leather reinforcement on the palm just below the fingers.
These additional features also add $20.00 to the list price.
The Alpinestars Stella SP-3 women's motorcycle gloves are a well-made pair of leather gloves with plenty of padding and reinforcements. Although I would like to see a couple of additional things added, with the current feature set and price I donít think the Stella SP-3 gloves can be beat.
I picked mine up for $45.00. If you are budget-conscious, but donít want to sacrifice protection, check these babies out!