Olympia 4298 Gore-Tex "2in1" Commander Gloves
by H.B.C. for webBikeWorld.com
Somewhat innovative in design but execution is less than perfect.
Sizing is restrictive; all that bulk overwhelms the functionality and feeling that a glove, no matter what its intended use, should provide.
Obviously weather-proof and warm, the glove is better suited for ATV or snowmobile use, rather than daily use as a motorcycle glove.
Bad news, Good News. With one local dealer giving up the Olympia product line, just when the consumer market was building up nicely, a void was created.
So it was great to hear that the Canadian sales representative had reached an agreement with the Ottawa Goodtime Centre (or OGC) to become the new Olympia reseller in the Ottawa area.
Whether some lobbying did any good or not is hard to say, but regardless, most of the new for 2008 Olympia Glove products were received during November.
As the weather was declining into winter quickly, an XL pair of Model 4298, Gore-Tex 2in1 Commander Gloves were procured. These gloves seemed to be the warm and dry ticket to comfort.
Olympia Sports has been manufacturing quality performance gloves for over sixty years and are particularly well known for their motorcycling oriented products. My wife and I own various Olympia clothing and Olympia glove products – they are typically at the top of the pile when it comes to design, quality, function and durability.
The 4298 gloves are advertised as using the latest in Gore-Tex technology. The "2in1" (their spelling) liner system allows the rider or user to choose between maximum grip, or maximum warmth, by inserting their hands into either the thin (grip) layer glove portion or into the thicker (warmth) portion of the dual-layer glove.
The shell is typical Olympia – a combination of soft and supple deluxe drum-dyed cowhide leather along with abrasion resistant nylon. Other features include the Gore-Tex layer, PrimaLoft insulation, reflective piping, palm patches, extended length cuffs with a draw-string hood, padded knuckles and reinforced nylon stitching throughout.
While not a new design approach for gloves, this "2in1" construction seems to be a new approach for Olympia - the glove is touted for its ability to handle a variety of situations, which in reality, it should.
The thin or grip layer forms the palm-side portion of this dual-layer glove, while the thick or warmth layer is the back-side portion. The respective sides of the glove are clearly marked on a highly visible tag stitched onto the dividing material between the two sides of the cuff.
The typically excellent product record of Olympia Gloves notwithstanding, after two weeks of use I have retired the pair from motorcycle use. As an all-season Gore-Tex glove they have some good features, but their overall form, fit and function leaves much to be desired for motorcycling use, in my opinion.
The bulk of the glove is the biggest detractor in trying to use them (safely) on a motorcycle. When one inserts the hand, with some difficulty, into the "warmth" portion, finger movement and overall hand control becomes very limited. Manipulation of controls with any accuracy and feeling is compromised.
If the rider was only undertaking occasional basic clutch and brake actuation, these gloves might suffice. The "warmth" layer does a good job of keeping the hand warm, but not as well as other all-weather single layer (and thinner) gloves I've worn.
The "grip" portion of the glove does provide good feeling and control similar to other good multi-season or all-weather gloves, but, this "thin" layer does not provide much warmth, especially when compared to the Olympia 4150 gloves (wBW review), a favourite.
The main culprits are the industrial cut of the glove, particularly in the finger and thumb pockets, and the inherent bulk due to double layering and the insulation. It all adds up to one bulky and inflexible glove.
The XL sizing was a tight fit, even though this rider typically wears a size L or sometimes an XL (which provides some breathing space or allows for a thin pair of glove liners). Judging from comments provided by other individuals who tried the same model in different sizes, the tight fit is common.
A final observation is the cuff. As an all-weather glove it is important that a good seal be provided and maintained between the glove and any outer or inner garment. The cuff on the 4298, even with its secondary hood extension (that can be tightened), is just plain short.
To be fair, this observation is not just restricted to these gloves – other gloves that have very good potential exhibit this same shortcoming. Depending on the outer (or inner) garment worn, and riding style, a short cuff does not and can not provide sufficient coverage to function properly as a gauntlet, which serves to keep everything well sealed and well protected.
The 4298 gloves did not live up to my expectations -- a first for this rider, a long time and enthusiastic user of Olympia gloves. I would recommend that Olympia re-visit the design, hopefully facilitating a roomier cut and use of more efficient, and effective, insulation material. The Gore-Tex layer is not an issue.
|wBW Review: Olympia 4298 Gore-Tex 2-in-1 Commander Gloves|
|Manufacturer: Olympia Gloves||Suggested Retail Price:: $79.95 CAD; $64.95 USD|
|Colors: Black with silver reflective piping.||Made In: China|
|Sizes: S to XXL||Review Date: January 2008|