The Racer Grip gloves are new for 2015.
They have protection for the aggressive street rider and they offer more protection than most commuting or touring gloves.
This makes them a good all-around pair of motorcycle gloves that offer a good balance of protection and comfort.
SuperFabric and CE certification, along with a proper gauntlet and wrist closure instill confidence that they will protect and stay on the wrist in a crash.
The downside is that these features add to the cost of the Grip gloves and it's difficult to find them at discount.
The Racer Gloves name may not be as recognizable as Joe Rocket or Alpinestars, for example, but this Austrian motorcycle apparel company should no doubt be familiar to regular readers of webBikeWorld.
About a dozen Racer glove reviews have been published so far on webBikeWorld, yet the Racer Gloves USA lineup keeps expanding, with quite a few options to offer motorcyclists -- now eighteen different gloves for men and nine styles for women. And counting...
The lineup ranges from lightweight summer mesh gloves all the way to full on race-worthy styles with comprehensive protection for the track rider, such as the acclaimed Racer R-Safe Gloves (review), a webBikeWorld Motorcycle Product of the Year Award winner.
In Europe, Racer offers a full lineup of motorcycle apparel, including jackets, boots and more.
The gloves weíre looking at today are the ďGripĒ gloves, which fall right in the middle of the Racer Gloves range. The Grip gloves offer good protection without the bulk (and price) of a full-on race glove. Letís have a look.
The Grip gloves are a smart-looking sport riding glove that at first glance arenít that distinguishable from many other sport riding gloves.
The white pair used for this review does stand out a bit compared to its black counterpart, but otherwise the Grip gloves look at home ripping up back roads as well as commuting to work and back.
Take a closer look at the Grip gloves and you can see they mean business; there are a lot of protectors and padding and extra patches of leather that go into the construction. Frankly, this is a rather complex item, considering what it must take to put all of the various pieces together.
The Grip gloves are available in black or white versions and the black version is almost entirely that color, save for a reflective strip on the back of the wrist and the perforated leather on the thumb.
Even the knuckle protector has an ďinverseĒ in the graphic pattern coloring. I chose the white version specifically, as it is summer here in the United States and lighter colors do tend to stay cooler in the sunlight.
Also, the white gloves with its graphic pattern are a little bit different from rest of the black gloves I have on the shelf at home.
White does have its drawbacks though, as it can become soiled after a few weeks or months of regular riding. Although Iíve only had these gloves a short time, I can already start to see some of the perforated white leather beginning to get a bit dirty. Enough about dirt though, letís get to the review!
The Grip gloves are by no means a simple design. Looking closely, you can see there is a lot going on, from the gauntlet to the fingertips.
The overall construction is goat leather and it is used for both the "chassis" or body of the gloves and the palms. Goat leather may not be commonly used in motorcycle gloves and may seem out of place on a relatively expensive pair like the Grip gloves.
Goat leather is used because it's thinner, yet provides good abrasion resistance with lighter weight than most cow hide.
Goat leather is also generally more supple than cow hide, so it gives a better grip feel than thicker leather. It also provides good heat transfer when using heated grips, which is a plus.
Moving on from the great goat debate, the gauntlet of the Grip gloves has a good sized opening of 15.26 cm (6 inches), which should accommodate the sleeve cuffs of most motorcycle jackets.
The closure for the gauntlet consists of a single large flap with a generous amount of unbranded hook-and-loop fastener that holds very strongly.
A 12.5 mm wide leather strap is used to secure the glove at the wrist and it runs under the wrist from near the base of the thumb to the other side of the palm. This strap uses the same strong hook and loop as the gauntlet closure and has a rubber pull tab sewn on to the end of it.
The palms of the Grip gloves have extra leather running from the heel and it continues up and around the little finger while at the top of the palm sits a patch of Pittards leather which runs up the inside facing side of the thumb.
Double stitching is used across most of the seams and all the stitching required does make the palm area look busy.
The finger boxes have a combination of outside and inside stitching and they are cut in a pre-curved fashion for the best position on a motorcycle grip.
On the top of the larger fingers are extra patches of leather and soft knuckle protectors covered with SuperFabric (more on those shortly). Also, the index and middle fingers get patches of white leather for the ring finger.
The three larger fingers also get a small amount of accordion-pleated leather as stretch panels at the base knuckle position. These sit just ahead of the hard, foam-backed knuckle protector that is double-stitched into place in the white leather back of the glove.
On the back edge of the protector on each glove is a small reflective strip with the Racer logo on it.
There is a lot of work to manufacture and overall Racer has done a good job, but itís not perfect. For instance, the stitching is mostly good and tight but there are a few spots where it looks a bit rough.
This is most noticeable on the additional leather patches on the tops of the fingers where it looks a bit crooked. It makes me think that the main seams are stitched by machine while the additional pieces are hand sewn.
Along that same line, I found a thread that appears to have pulled at the point where one of the soft knuckle protectors is attached on the middle finger of the left glove. Also, the leather patches on the fingers seem a bit rough. Perhaps these pieces are cut by hand as well?
Over the back of the wrist is a section of perforated white leather that connects to the adjoining section with a segment of accordion stretch panel. Right behind that is a rubber piece marked ďAir ControlĒ.
It has two holes in it with what looks like a patch of screen underneath.
If by "Air Control" it means to reduce air flow, than it works well. Much more air flows through the perforated sections than through the two tiny holes in the air control piece.
The gauntlet strap on the back bisects the white perforated leather at an angle and within the strap is a soft, leather covered protector for impact protection.
Moving to the inside, the entire interior uses a thin polyester liner which provides a nice smooth surface for slipping your hand in and out of.
The liner is thin enough to flow air though where the out leather is perforated and one can easily see light through the perforations when holding them up.
Besides the perforated sections of leather on the thumb and the back of the wrist, there are a few perforations on the sides of each finger. Stretching my fingers out will induce a small volume of air to flow through, but these arenít dedicated summer gloves. Racer calls them three season gloves.
Still, having worn them this summer they are pretty comfortable up to 30 C or so (high 80ís F). The white color on the gloves also seems to help reduce heat buildup in the sun.
The Grip gloves do not suffer from a lack of protective features; the most obvious is the large main knuckle protector.
Racer doesnít actually specify what material the protector is made from but it is very strong and stiff, so we'll guess it's thermoplastic polyurethane, commonly used for protectors on motorcycle gloves.
This protector also has a unique texture and feel that was puzzling to me at first, but it turns out that the protector is covered with leather. This is a nice touch but Iím not sure why this was done.
I would think that having a low friction surface would be better that the more ďgrippyĒ surface of the leather covering.
Either way, the protector appears rather durable and is backed with a thick foam padding for additional impact protection and comfort. It does well at both.
The palm has a patch of Pittards leather running near the base of the fingers and up a portion of the thumb that provides additional abrasion resistance for that area.
The tops of the individual finger knuckles, except the little finger, have soft protectors (foam?) that are covered with SuperFabric.
The SuperFabric used in the Grip gloves is the "bead" type (there are many types of SuperFabric) and the beads give the protectors the appearance of a blackberry (the fruit, not the smartphone).
The SuperFabric beads make the surface feel slick and in addition to abrasion protection, they should allow the protector to slide longer before wearing down or catching on a surface.
The protectors covering the top knuckles behind the fingertips have some type of smooth nylon-like surface. The thumb has two protectors, one looks like leather and the other is SuperFabric.
On the heel of the palm are two more somewhat thicker versions of SuperFabric bead protectors that are placed well to allow the hand to slide in the event of a crash.
There is one more soft protector on the gauntlet strap to protect the pisiform bone covered with leather and has the Racer graphic screen onto it.
On the back of the hand at the wrist is a trapezoid-shaped section of rubber that should provide additional impact protection. As mentioned earlier, this area is marked ďAir ControlĒ but the vents in it provide little to no air flow, especially compared to the perforated leather area around the piece itself.
All of these protective aspects add up to a ďCE certifiedĒ claim from Racer Gloves. For more details on what exactly this might mean check out our recent webBikeWorld article entitled CE "Certified" vs. "Approved"? There Is a Difference.
Racer Gloves claim their motorcycle gloves are ďThe Best Fitting Motorcycle Gloves You Can BuyĒ. In fact, they offer a money-back guarantee if the gloves donít fit, and that includes return shipping for exchanges.
Thatís quite a bold statement and it demonstrates their commitment to getting a good fit.
So how do the Grip gloves fare? After measuring my hands using Racerís method and chart, it appeared that a size large would be right for me. If youíve read my other glove reviews over the years, you may recall I typically wear a size medium in most brands.
However, this is the second pair of size large -- not medium -- gloves Iíve reviewed recently which fit me. Are my hands growing? I donítí think so. It must be that the motorcycle glove industry standards have changed!
Kidding aside, when I first received this pair of Grip gloves I thought they fit ďOKĒ. They were rather stiff out of the package and the fingers didnít seem to feel right. The fingers were long enough, but the area where they meet the palm seemed to put a bit of pressure on the space between my fingers.
So they didnít impress me as the best-fitting gloves Iíve ever worn.
But over the next three or so weeks of riding with them, they finally did break in and now they are more comfortable. After several more weeks, they have softened up even more and they do feel pretty soft.
Even after a thorough break-in, the Grip gloves are a bit of a compromise in the way they fit. They are designed for motorcycle riding, so they fingers are pre-curved for holding the hand grips. This means that there is some restriction felt if I stretch my fingers out straight.
Likewise, the thumb is restricted in its movement, as it is designed to be holding a grip, not stretched wide open. These compromises really arenít surprising though.
Unless a company is making custom fit gloves for every customer, they arenít going to fit the best for everyone so it is good that they offer a generous exchange policy.
In addition to the various impact and abrasion-resistant features, the Racer Grip gloves have two separate reflective areas. There is one large strip on the back of the wrist and smaller tab sewn on the rear edge of the knuckle protector.
The Racer Grip gloves are good all-around pair of motorcycle gloves that offer a good balance of protection and comfort.
The protective features are comprehensive and having a proper gauntlet and wrist closure instills confidence that they will stay on the wrist in a crash.
The CE certification rounds out the safety aspects well.
After several weeks of wearing them, the gloves have softened up considerably but I still would not classify them as the best fitting gloves Iíve worn.
Iím certain that for some, Racer gloves may very well offer an excellent fit and I applaud their return/exchange policy. If their gloves are going to be the best fit for some people, their exchange policy gives the buyer some confidence.
Finally, Iím not completely convinced on the value factor. The materials and construction are good but at the retail price of $159.99 (USD) they seem a touch expensive for what they deliver compared to some of the competition.
From "S.B." (November 2015): "Further to your article on these gloves and the linked article about CE certified/approved, etc.
I note on the label attached to my UK supplied Racer Grip gloves that it says:
"CE English Advice - These gloves do not guarantee a specific shock reduction." and
"General Information These RACER gloves are considered as PPE category 1 as per directive 89/686/EEC. Category I classified gloves protect against minimal risks such as minor impacts which do not affect vital parts of the body.
EN 13594 has been used as guidance to prepare the Cat I technical file for these gloves.
The RACER gloves are designed to ensure good grip when riding your motorbike, to protect against wind, cold and rain and vibrations during riding."
Ah -- so not designed to provide any impact or abrasion protection then!?
I don't know if Racer are any better or worse than others and if one reads the EEC directive all motorcycle gloves would likely fall into Category I.
This means that no EC inspection or approval is needed and no quality system needs to be in place. The same category applies to gardening gloves and thimbles.
What would be good to see would be greater transparency from all manufacturers. Why do we have to wait until we've purchased a product and can read the CE label to see this detail?
The marketing material is full of claims about protection and CE certification etc,, but they are all being economical with the truth.
In truth there is no sign of testing for protection in products like these. I don't see why a good manufacturer would not test and state the shock and abrasion protection their products can offer under limited conditions. Magazines sometimes test for this.
What we can say is that CE marking is of no value in this context and should not be relied on in any way."
From Racer USA (August 2015): "Racer is a small company which doesnít produce the quantities of some of the bigger brands. Thus, production costs are higher.
The goat leather may have been less expensive than cowhide, but it also has certain stretch characteristics that cow hide does not have and goat is also softer and more supple.
In this case, the Grip glove is based off the popular Limes glove (review) pattern and has been updated. SuperFabric in the finger knuckles and palm slider; printed leather-covered knuckle with reflective "Racer" logo and other reflective strip on gauntlet.
Pittards leather patch on palm aids in grip and wear. These, along with the molded vent on top of the wrist and molded logo on the wrist strap added to the cost.
Also, the Limes glove was designed and produced several years ago and the cost of leather and overall production has increased since then. The SuperFabric and creating the mold for the protector and air intake, along with the reflective strips account for the pricing."