Full-featured motorcycle race gloves for street or track are also a good bargain.
Next in our five-part review of Eska gloves is the Eska GP Pro. Please see the Eska H2 glove review for an introduction to Eska and some background on this nearly 100-year-old Austrian glove manufacturer.
The GP Pro shares the "Racing" category of motorcycle gloves in the current Eska lineup with the Indianapolis GTX reviewed previously.
The GP Pro shares many of the racing-style features found on the Indianapolis GTX but without the Gore-Tex X-Trafit membrane. This reduces the price of the GP Pro by 40 Euros, making it a good value because it otherwise has the expected protection found in higher-end street/sport race gloves, including the use of Kevlar threads in the palms.
The GP Pro is available in the all-black version shown here, along with white or green trim versions, which have just enough color to add interest without overwhelming, making it difficult to pick a favorite. But, since basic black goes with everything, that's what we have here!
The GP Pro is made from leather, with nary a bit of textile to be found. The palms are made from kangaroo, used in high-end motorcycle race gloves because of its strength and thin hide provides good sensitivity on the hand grips.
The gloves also have the added Pittards "digital" reinforcements on the palm, which can be seen in the photos as the material with the checkerboard appearance. On the GP Pro gloves, the Pittards section is one piece, across the palm and up on to the thumb. It is double-stitched to the base kangaroo leather with Kevlar thread.
It also has a unique pattern with deep horizontal cuts, designed to provide flexibility without binding across the palm when the rider is gripping the handlebars.
The GP Pro gloves have what might be called a full race cut, similar to the Indianapolis GTX, with a large gauntlet and what is apparently the trademark Eska TPU gauntlet sleeve cover, which adds protection for the outer part of the wrist.
The Eska "Easy Flex" thumb protector is also included on the GP Pro gloves; this system prevents binding when the thumb is curved. It consists of a semi-floating section of leather blind-stitched over the thumb leather, with smooth leather underneath to reduce friction. It works very nicely to reduce thumb pressure on all of the Eska gloves we have tried.
The GP Pro gloves have a large carbon fiber main knuckle protector that covers nearly the entire top of the hand. It has a low profile yet it is very comfortable and hardly noticeable, helped by its low weight.
The carbon fiber protector includes a thin layer of rubbery-feeling foam underneath for cushioning. It also features the Eska "Airflow System", which consists of a narrow raised ridge on top of the protector, with holes for ventilation. The GP Pro version of the Airflow System has three small holes in the carbon fiber, which do seem to allow some air to flow through when riding, although it can't be felt directly over the back of the hands.
Each of the middle and first knuckles of the forefinger and second finger, and the middle knuckle of the third finger are protected by a semi-hard rubber protector. They feel harder than the very soft rubber sliders found on some less expensive gloves and they appear to be of higher quality, but this isn't our favorite type of knuckle slider material. It seems like it might grind away pretty quickly in a crash, although we have no data to prove that.
The middle knuckle protectors are open with what appear to be mesh-covered vents, oriented towards the fingertip side of the protector. But these are nearly impenetrable to air flow and since the fingers are backed with a liner, very little air can get through anyway. They may have been added for styling purposes, and we'd suggest that Eska use a harder, more solid material for the sliders and forget the pretense of ventilation.
The outside of the hand right up to nearly the tip of the pinky finger is covered with an additional section of leather for reinforcement, also double-stitched to the base layer. This holds padded leather sliders along the outside and heel of the hand, along with a gel slider insert at the scaphoid.
Each of the Eska gloves we are reviewing carries the CE mark, and Eska has now confirmed that the gloves meet the European EN 13594:2002 safety standard for motorcycle gloves and EN 340 for protective clothing standards.
In addition to the large TPU gauntlet cover that also acts as a slider and protects the outer wrist, the GP Pro gloves have an inside wrist strap with a full backing of hook-and-loop material for adjustment.
The strap threads through a square metal ring that is securely attached to the inside part of the wrist. When it's secured, this strap ensures that the gloves stay on the rider's hand, but it's comfortable due to the careful design and relatively supple leather underneath that prevents binding at the wrist.
The GP Pro gloves shown here are also a size 10, marked "XL". They fit with slightly more room than the Indianapolis GTX gloves we reviewed, probably because the GP Pro gloves don't have the Gore-Tex membrane.
Eska sizing must be slightly smaller than normal, as these gloves fit more like a size large than an XL. They provide enough room in the fingertips where they feel just slightly too big until the hand is on the grips, where the extra room at the fingertips is desired to allow for stretching.
The GP Pro gloves are minimally lined, with excellent feel. Other than some internal stitching that can be felt near the fingertips, the gloves wear comfortably and the leather felt like it became broken in very quickly and will continue to feel softer over time.
The fingertips of the GP Pro gloves use the same stitching technique found in the Indianapolis GTX gloves. To repeat what was written in that review, this is a hybrid internal and external seam system where the tops of the fingers meet the two "walls" of leather on either side of the fingers at the fingertip.
The "walls" have a very small (approx. 2 mm) height at the very tip of the fingers, and the two halves of the leather are very tightly sewn together here, forming a seam. See the close-up photo above for an illustration.
This is a unique system -- or at least one we haven't seen before -- because the "walls" created by the leather come together with an overlap of the outside wall over the inside. You have to look very closely to see the construction and we'll have to assume it's a technique learned from the 100 years or so of Eska glove making.
The "floor" of the gloves under the fingers is then sewn with an external seam in race-glove fashion. This system is a cross between the "box" type of construction consisting of "two walls, ceiling and floor" found in touring gloves and the razor-thin fingertips found on many race gloves. It provides more room for the fingertips but with a thinner profile.
The Eska GP Pro gloves check all the right race glove feature boxes and they have a few features that aren't always found in other gloves in this price range, including kangaroo leather, Kevlar thread in the palms and the CE approval, .
They're comfortable and feel protective, yet they provide good feel and the leather feels softer and more comfortable over time.
As we mentioned in the previous Eska glove reviews, unfortunately it's not easy to find Eska gloves at retail, even in the online stores in the UK, France or the rest of Europe. But they're worth seeking out as a comparison to the other major brands. Next up is the Eska Indianapolis glove review, so stay tuned!
Buying Eska Gloves: Due to the strong response from the webBikeWorld reviews, Eska is now taking email orders for gloves shipped worldwide, directly from the factory. They said that an online purchasing system with shopping cart will also become available soon! For more information, contact Eska directly through their website.
|wBW Review: Eska GP Pro Gloves|
|Manufacturer: ESKA Lederhandschuhfabrik||List Price: €129.00|
|Colors: Black, Black with green or white.||Made In: Unknown|
|Sizes: Menís 8 to 12||Review Date: September 2010|
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