Race gloves with the addition of a Gore-Tex membrane and Gore-Tex guarantee.
Next in our five-part series on Eska products is this review of the Eska Indianapolis gloves, a not-so-distant relative of the Eska Indianapolis GTX gloves reviewed previously.
It's uncertain why Eska decided to also use the Indianapolis name for this part-mesh glove; one would think it might cause confusion between the two gloves which, in most ways, are quite different.
Eska gloves haven't become any easier to find, unfortunately. The retail distribution network appears to be rather sparse even in Europe and non-existent in the U.S. This is too bad, because these gloves are very interesting and they have some unique and functional features.
Based on our samples, Eska gloves appear to be of high quality and they meet CE safety standards. Also, the company makes a very wide variety of different glove types for summer, winter, sport and track riding.
But this scarcity just makes it that much more rewarding when you can actually score a pair! To make matters even more complex, the Indianapolis gloves described here and the women's Squadrato gloves have suddenly disappeared from the Eska Racing website since we started our review series, having been replaced on the website with a selection of winter and waterproof gloves. It must get cold rather fast in Austria -- it's 96 degrees Fahrenheit here today on the East Coast of the U.S.A.!
Availability or not, we'll soldier on and finish up the Eska glove review series, all in the interest of science and education. Hopefully, one of our readers in Europe will let us know about a good source for Eska gloves, preferably a retailer that will ship worldwide. I'll bet there's some money to be made...
Other than their shared appellation, the Eska Indianapolis gloves are related to the Indianapolis GTX gloves only in that they both are full-gauntlet sport gloves. The GTX variant is Eska's full-bore race glove, while the plainer Indianapolis version has all the characteristics of a street-oriented glove.
The Indianapolis is also distinguished by its small areas of mesh fabric, curiously placed near the tip of the third (ring) finger and fourth (pinky) finger, along with a section on the upper half of the gauntlet. While these sections probably reduce the overall weight of each glove, in reality they add only a minor amount to the ventilation levels.
The mesh used on the Indianapolis gloves is not backed by a fabric, so the air does flow through rather freely in comparison with other types of mesh and even the Eska H2 mesh gloves. The mesh on the fingers probably will not add much protection if it's needed, so we're not sure the tradeoff is worth it.
Otherwise, the Indianapolis gloves are put together with similar construction techniques used on the other Eska gloves we reviewed, although the leather feels a bit thinner, or perhaps "street-oriented" is a better term. It's just that the overall countenance of these gloves just seems a bit more oriented towards street riding than racing.
But that's not a bad thing at all; indeed, the Indianapolis gloves could be the best all-around choice in the lineup for street wear, especially for warmer weather.
The Indianapolis gloves have the standard array of protective features with a slight bias towards street comfort. As with the other Eska products we have reviewed, the construction techniques on the Indianapolis gloves also appear to be of high quality, with double-stitched seams at the most exposed seams or the seams that might experience the most stress.
The body of the Indianapolis gloves is made from a softer-feeling leather that appears to be slightly thinner than the Indianapolis GTX or GP Pro gloves. It's more of a street-style leather, which again isn't a criticism, but we're comparing these to the gloves in the Eska "Race" category.
The fingers of the Indianapolis gloves are yet another hybrid type of construction, with blind stitching used on the outside of the forefinger and pinky finger. The inside of the forefinger and the middle two fingers use the modified "floor" type construction with external stitches on the palm side, then the "walls" and "ceiling" of the fingers are curved around the top of the finger to meet the floor.
The palms, like the body of the gloves, are made from leather with additional Pittards "digital palm" sections covering the palm and between the thumb and forefinger for wear protection and grip. The thumb/forefinger section is separate from the palm section, which is cut in a way that allows the palm to curl without binding.
The thumb/forefinger section of the Pittards leather has three small "bulls eye" type silicone grip enhancers, similar to the Indianapolis GTX gloves.
The outer edge of the heel of each hand of the Indianapolis gloves feature a carbon fiber slider attached to a separate section of leather than also covers the outside of the wrist. Carbon fiber is also used for middle and first knuckle protectors on the forefinger and second finger and on the middle knuckle of the third finger. The tip of the third finger and the entire fourth (pinky) finger is unprotected other than with the leather and/or mesh.
An Eska gel protector is located over the scaphoid/capitate area. This is sewn into and surrounded by the Pittards leather covering most of the rest of the palm.
The outside of the thumb is protected by the Eska "Easy Flex" system; a separate semi-floating section of leather blind-stitched to the thumb seams on either side. It has a single small V-shaped cutout on either side at the middle thumb knuckle to aid flexibility. This is found also on the Indianapolis GTX gloves.
This section is also backed with a separate piece of semi-shiny leather to allow it to slide more easily over the thumb as it bends. There are three small kidney-shaped protective pads sewn into the top of this to protect the thumb. The Easy Flex design includes leather accordion pleats and the semi-floating thumb protector, both of which add to the flexibility of the leather and to provide pressure relief for the thumb.
The Indianapolis gloves feature the same main knuckle protector as the Indianapolis GTX gloves. It is made from TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane), a material often used as protection for motorcycle gloves.
The TPU used on the Indianapolis gloves is also a very large section that covers nearly the entire top of the hand. It has a low profile and its molded underneath for the knuckles, so it remains comfortable and out of the way.
The protector uses the Eska "Airflow System" vent, which in this case does indeed allow air to flow through over the back of the hand, albeit in low volumes, due to the narrow vent opening. Obviously, the Indianapolis gloves are in no way designed to be waterproof.
Overall, the protectors and leather on the Eska Indianapolis gloves provides a high level of protection without compromising comfort.
The Indianapolis gloves secure on the hands with the Eska Race glove dual attachment system at the wrist. On these gloves, the TPU plastic gauntlet cover is replaced by a simple leather strap that seems slightly smaller than might be desirable for best protection.
The second wrist strap on the underside of the wrist uses a metal loop attached to a leather standoff that is sewn with a single row of stitching. The hook-and-loop material that is attached to the leather security strap is also stitched, rather than glued. So this assembly seems more robust than some of the other wrist straps we've seen.
The leather underneath the wrist strap is one piece; in fact, it appears that the entire section of leather on the palm, from the fingertips all the way down to the hem of the gauntlet, is all one continuous piece of leather. It has a section of elastic sewn in to the wrist underneath the security strap.
All of the Eska gloves we are reviewing carry the CE mark and Eska confirmed they meet the European EN 13594:2002 safety standard for motorcycle gloves and EN 340 for protective clothing standards.
The Indianapolis gloves shown here are a size 10 (XL), as are all of the men's gloves we have reviewed. These fit like a slightly roomy size large -- perfect for warmer-weather riding, where hand swelling and/or moisture is the norm. They have just enough extra room in the fingertips, although we'd prefer the thumbs to be a touch longer.
The Eska H2 gloves are probably the better choice for very hot weather riding, but the Indianapolis gloves provide excellent comfort up to perhaps 90 degrees F or so.
The lining material used in the Indianapolis gloves is minimal, with an emphasis on trying to coax as much air flow or air exchange as possible. Most of the seams inside the glove are designed to be hidden or made flat, so there isn't much that can chafe, other than a few internal seams near the fingertips, which are difficult to make flat on any glove.
One thing we've noticed about all of the Eska gloves is that the construction methods and techniques seem to be executed in a way that makes us feel that the company has an understanding of how the human hand moves when gripping motorcycle handlebars. This includes the Eska "Easy Flex" system for the thumb, which does seem to make a difference by allowing more freedom for the thumbs to move and curl around the hand grips.
Like the other Eska gloves we have reviewed, the Indianapolis gloves are
comfortable with no obvious pressure points on the hands.
The Eska Indianapolis gloves are a nice blend of mild race glove features with street comfort. The mesh fabric provides a little extra ventilation at the expense of some protection for the third and fourth fingers, but overall, the slightly lighter-weight materials and construction makes these a very good compromise between safety and comfort for warm-weather riding.
As with all of the other Eska gloves, it is unfortunately rather difficult to find Eska gloves for sale, but also like the others, the Indianapolis gloves are worth seeking out. Eska is looking for distributors and retailers, so anyone interested in an opportunity should contact the Editor at the address in the Owner Comments section below for more information.
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.
From "G.A.M." (9/10): "Congratulations Rick on stirring up a market for these gloves, and a way for us to purchase them!!! The Eska line appears to be one of the best lines of Motorcycle gloves out there. The attention to detail, design for real world motorcycle use, and protection is very impressive. And they are all good looking gloves as well.
If we can get them to add a wrist strap to the H2 gloves, I'm in for a pair for sure. The pricing of the others is a bit high, but "you get what you pay for" is an expression that will never lose it's deep and abiding meaning."
From "J.O." (9/10): "I always enjoy your
reviews. I have made a few purchases based on your
However, in the case of the Eska gloves, I don't see the value of reviewing products that aren't readily available here in North America (I'm in Canada).
Editor's Reply: Thanks for visiting webBikeWorld and for
your support. The short answer would be that we get about 12 million
visitors each year and they come from all over the world. In 2009, they
came from 223 countries. So we review products from many sources, thus the
name of the site: webBikeWORLD.
The idea is to provide information about all sorts of products, what-if's, nice-to-have's and what might be. The sharing of knowledge and information about products you don't know about is really what makes it interesting and exciting.
I have lost count of how many manufacturers have told us that they were
directly influenced by a webBikeWorld story to modify, create and improve new
products for motorcyclists.
For example, Eska has already started to sell and ship directly from the factory to North American customers, based on the response from webBikeWorld visitors.
So, I hope that explains it. To be honest, I find it much more interesting to discover all of the very obscure and unique products, figure out how to acquire them and then write about the adventure than I do about the common, easy-to-find items!
From "C.C." (9/10): "(Darn it) Rick, you're killin' me
with these gloves reviews!!!
I thought you might like to know that after reading some of the earlier reviews you did, I used the contact info on Eska's website and asked them about any US or international distributors.
Basically the reply I received from Doris at Eska was they will ship gloves internationally. You basically tell them what you want to order and they will send you an invoice with a total amount. Then they will ship the order out to you once they have received a bank transfer for that amount.
It seems like a pretty complicated process and since sizing would be an absolute dice roll, I'm not sure I want to mess with it. Which is really too bad since they have a couple of pairs that look very nice and I have a thing for gloves..."
Editor's Note: Make sure you ask for the 19% VAT reduction for gear shipped out of the EU!