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Icon Merc Gloves
by "Burn" for webBikeWorld
A few weeks ago, we published our review of the Marsee "Primatista Gaunto" Race Gloves and I proclaimed them as my new favorite.
Call me erratic, inconsistent or mecurial, but I call it adaptable. This only proves that change happens, and it pays to be on the lookout for new trends, technologies and styling.
Besides, "favorite" doesn't necessarily mean "perfect"! I'll never stop searching for something new, different and better. Maybe perfection is out there somewhere, just waiting to be discovered.
Which brings us to the "new for 2006" Icon Merc glove.
As we related in our recent review of the Icon Mainframe helmet, it appears that Icon is a brand name for a large collection of globally sourced items of motorcycle clothing, helmets, gloves and other accessories. The Merc is the latest example; one of several glove styles offered by Icon.
The Violator Pro gloves are (or were, as they are no longer manufactured) an uncomplicated design that fits well and the large gauntlet is easily big enough to cover the bulkiest motorcycle jacket sleeve cuff.
I'm pretty certain that they don't offer the same level of protection as, for example, the Marsee gloves, but they're easier to use when I'm in a hurry.
My pair of Icon Merc gloves seem to fit narrow hands and fingers best.
This is fine with me, as I have slightly smaller than normal hands for a person of my size. But those with slightly larger than normal fingers or wider palms may have some problems.
The Mercs have a dual-layer cuff, which seems to be all the rage in motorcycle gloves lately. The outer cuff peels off and is attached at the back and inside wrist only. To put on the gloves, the owner's hand must first enter the inner cuff.
The wrist is especially narrow; I can barely squeeze my smaller sized hands through this area, although once through, the palms and fingers, which also seem narrower than I expected, are comfortable.
The wrist has an extra cinch strap on the palm side of the glove, secured by Velcro.
The combination of the narrow wrist opening and the wrist cinch help make the Merc gloves fit very securely. The Icon Merc gloves are almost as difficult to pull off my hands as the Marsee Race Gloves.
The Merc's outer cuff wraps around the outside of the wrist and secures with a Velcro fastener underneath. The idea behind a double-layered cuff is to offer more protection for this sensitive region of the body.
But unless carefully designed, motorcycle gloves with a double-layered cuff can be fussy to put on one's hands.
The inner cuff of the Merc gloves seems to be smaller in diameter than expected, and I found that this can interfere with some motorcycle jackets, especially a winter weight jacket or a jacket with its liner installed.
The inner cuff just isn't wide enough or long enough to go over several of my jackets without bunching. This is unfortunate, because otherwise the gloves feel comfortable, they seem to be well made and my guess it that they would offer good protection in a crash.
The knuckles are protected with a carbon fiber molding that is mounted on a "floating" section of leather that appears to continue down over each finger, offering a double layer of protection.
Each of the smaller knuckles down the fingers have their own section of padding attached to the top of this secondary layer.
The fingers have a tapered fit with hidden stitching. Although the internal stitches can be felt inside the fingers, the stitching is nicely trimmed and it doesn't interfere with my hands or fingernails.
The gloves are lined with a thin type of fleece or flocked material that is relatively comfortable and seems to offer a small amount of insulation against the cold, although these are by no means cold-weather gloves.
I'm hoping the lining will help absorb moisture during warmer weather.
Icon claims that the Merc gloves are made from cowhide, with goatskin palms. There is an extra section of material across the top of the palm near where the fingers start, and this material has sections of a kind of sticky synthetic material that is designed to help the rider hold the handlebar grips.
Another section of what feels like synthetic material covers the "Y" between the thumb and forefinger on both hands. This is designed as an extra wear surface for the part of the hand that contacts the motorcycle grips.
The heel of the hand is also covered with a couple of sections of padding, as is the outside of the thumbs and the outside of the pinky fingers.
The back of the wrist has an articulated section of leather with several flexible ribs, but again, the wrist opening seems narrow to me.
The Icon Merc gloves are available in several color combinations.
We ordered the solid black, and they're rather subtle, which is OK by me. A cool-looking laser-etched Icon logo is located on the back of the wrist, with a holographic carbon-fiber look background. A similar logo is located at the end of the external wrist flap.
My feeling is that the Icon Merc gloves are good-looking; they're well made and would seemingly offer good protection to their owner.
But if my size large example (purchased anonymously from an online retail store) is a good indication of Merc sizing, those with large or even slightly large hands may have problems with fit.
As mentioned above, I consider my hands and wrists to be slightly smaller than normal, and my fingers are also relatively thin.
I have trouble fitting the Merc gloves over my wrists, although they feel comfortable once I get them on, and the narrow wrist and the wrist cinch strap make them feel secure.
Also, the problem with fitting the inner cuff over a thick motorcycle jacket is an issue to consider.