The Racer High Speed gloves are the new flagship motorcycle race gloves for the Austrian-based company.
The High Speed gloves are made from cowhide with kangaroo leather palms for protection and feel.
A Pittard's "digital leather" overlay is used for grip on the palm of each glove.
The latest Knox SPS dual-compound slider system has been employed on the scaphoid and palm, with TPU used for the large protector at the wrist and for protecting the secondary knuckles.
The most distinguishing feature of the High Speed gloves is the large SuperFabric main knuckle protector, placed on a floating bridge for comfort, along with a dollop of SuperFabric acting as a slider on the outer part of the fourth finger.
The third and fourth fingers are attached with a bridge to prevent finger rollover and a secondary wrist strap over the back of the gloves and a generous gauntlet with closure complete the package.
It would be very difficult indeed to choose between the Racer R-Safe gloves (review) and the High Speed gloves; both are about as protective as they come and both are comfortable, but in the end, I do indeed have a favorite -- read on!
Cowhide is used for the top side of the High Speed gloves, along with the gauntlet and the thumb, continuing down along the heel of the hand.
The cowhide leather seems to have a slightly lighter weight than the leather used on the Racer R-Safe gloves (review), but I don't know that for sure. The leather on the High Speed gloves also seems more pliable than the leather used on the R-Safe gloves.
The palms of the High Speed gloves are made from kangaroo leather, which is supposed to be lighter in weight yet more resistant to abrasion than bovine leather.
The palms are unlined on the inside but there is a fabric lining across the top of the inside of the gloves.
A section of the Pittard's "digital leather" serves as a wear protection pad on the palm, just under the main knuckles along the top of the palm area.
Otherwise, the High Speed gloves have the features you'd expect on a full-on motorcycle race glove, with a large full coverage gauntlet and a solid wrist strap.
The fingertip construction appears to be the same style as the R-Safe gloves, which narrows down along the top of each finger with a minimum of bulk at the tips to provide good feel and finger response for the shift and brake levers.
But where the R-Safe gloves have a Kevlar lining inside for the fingers, the High Speed gloves have no lining, just the back of the kangaroo hide is used for optimum grip and lever feel.
Just as the huge "double bubble" main knuckle protector characterizes the Racer R-Safe gloves -- the Austrian company's previous high-end offering -- the big SuperFabric protector on the High Speed gloves is the main attraction.
We've been covering the evolution of SuperFabric since its beginnings way back in 2008 in the REV'IT! Cayenne Pro jacket review.
There are now many different types of SuperFabric in all different shapes, sizes and formats but the basic design is the same. As we described it, SuperFabric is like tiny ceramic shields bonded to a special backing.
It's perfect for use as abrasion protection on motorcycle gear, not only due to the protection it offers but also because it has just the right amount of friction characteristics so that it slides and doesn't catch (causing a tumble) during a fall.
The most recent versions of SuperFabric are much better-looking than the original and the small "beads" of ceramic on the SuperFabric main knuckle protector of the High Speed gloves even add a styling touch with a high-tech yet business-like look.
There's also a small SuperFabric slider on the outside of the fourth or "pinky" finger.
The new dual-compound Knox SPS (Scaphoid Protection System) is used on the lower portion of the palm to protect the wrist. These serve as abrasion resistant sliders but they're also claimed to help prevent hyperextension of the wrist during a crash.
The new SPS sliders have been designed to make it easier for the manufacturers to sew on to the body of the glove and the stitching appears to be closer and more consistent than with other types of sliders.
A large TPU slider is used for the outermost wrist protector and also as the secondary knuckle protectors over both knuckles on the index, second and third fingers. The fourth finger is attached to the third and does not have knuckle protectors.
The R-Safe gloves have a TPU slider over the thumb, but the High Speed gloves do not, using a section of pleated leather instead.
The large SuperFabric patch on the palm of the R-Safe gloves is not used on the High Speed gloves and the Knox SPS sliders are completely different on the two gloves as you can see when comparing the photos between the two.
The High Speed gloves have perforated leather along the back of the hand, but it's used in such a small area that it really doesn't make much difference for ventilation.
Since the gloves are made from natural hides, they have a certain amount of "breathability" anyway and since these are primarily designed as racing gloves, it doesn't matter much.
Racer Gloves markets itself as "The best fitting gloves you can buy", which is quite a claim. To be honest though, I'm not sure that the gloves fit any better or worse than other motorcycle gloves I've tried.
Also, I have experienced some issues with the Racer Gloves size charts, as most of the Racer gloves we've reviewed seem to run about one size small.
The R-Safe gloves were very comfortable on my pretty much standard size 9 hands, which usually take a size large. The High Speed gloves don't seem to have quite the same fit.
They feel tighter in the fingers and the finger construction seems thinner along the top.
Also, there's an external seam on the inward section of the fourth ("pinky") finger that joins another horizontal seam just at the point where my finger bends.
This area causes a slight binding when my hands are in the grip position and this results in some discomfort on that finger on both hands. I think the horizontal seam is the culprit; it needs to be repositioned so that it doesn't bind right at the bend of the knuckle.
The finger length on these size large High Speed gloves also seems slightly shorter than the R-Safe gloves, so I can feel the seam at the fingertip just under my fingernails.
Perhaps all of this will reduce over time as the gloves become broken in, but I didn't notice this with the R-Safe gloves, which were comfortable right from the start.
The High Speed gloves are very nicely made, as are all of the Racer Gloves products we have reviewed. The stitching and overall construction quality is excellent, as is the detailing and the construction around the fingertips.
There's a lot going on in terms of features and detailing on a pair of motorcycle racing gloves and to a certain extent, all gloves of this type are pretty similar-looking.
But the parts that matter -- the stitching that attaches the knuckle protectors and other sliders -- indicates excellent quality, which should bode well for protecting the racer's or rider's hands when it counts.
Like the R-Safe gloves, the High Speed gloves have nice, big gauntlets that fit over any motorcycle jacket I have tried.
The hook-and-loop closure on the gauntlet is large enough to do the job and there's a secondary wrist strap on the preferred top side that holds the gloves firmly in place, which is crucial for any glove, especially a glove designed to protect a motorcycle racer.
Locating the wrist strap on the back of the wrist obviates the need for a SuperFabric or other type of flap to protect it.
This is another main difference between the R-Safe gloves and the High Speed gloves: the wrist strap on the former is located on the bottom of the wrist and has the SuperFabric flap to protect the strap.
I've pretty much covered this (is that a pun?), but to summarize, the R-Safe gloves have the large TPU main knuckle protector, along with separate TPU (I think) knuckle protector/sliders on the main knucks.
The first, second and third fingers have large-ish TPU sliders over the tip and middle segment knuckles, and these are bonded and sewn into a secondary layer of leather, double-stitched at the edges.
The fourth or "pinky" finger doesn't have the sliders but it is protected on the outside edge by the large SuperFabric section that runs up from the rear of the palm.
The third and fourth fingers are also joined with a single section of leather that on the third finger holds the middle knuckle slider, then joins the two fingers.
It then folds over to add some protection to the outer edge of the fourth finger (see the pics in the Slide Show). The thumb has a single slider over the middle knuckle.
While not counting as a protective feature, the R-Safe gloves also have large sections of silicone "grippy" traction pads on the inside of both hands where they meet the grips.
These have a cute little Racer logo embossed, as illustrated in the photo above.
To be honest, I'm a bit puzzled as to why the Racer High Speed gloves are now the top-of-the-line motorcycle racing glove in the Racer Gloves product lineup.
Why? Because I think after all is said and done, the R-Safe gloves seem to be more race-oriented and if I'm looking for ultimate protection, I prefer them as one of the most protective motorcycle gloves we have ever reviewed.
Also, the R-Safe gloves fit me more comfortably with a bit more room inside. They also have the SuperFabric palm protection, plus the large TPU main knuckle protector and thumb slider.
Although the SuperFabric main knuckle protector on the High Speed gloves looks cool, I'm not sure it makes a difference in protection.
On the other hand (!), one of the best features of the High Speed gloves is the new Knox SPS slider system. I'd really like to see this on the R-Safe gloves.
As the new top dog in the Racer Gloves lineup, the High Speed gloves also have a higher list price ($279.99) than the R-Safe gloves at $259.99. Actually, I think the prices should be reversed.
So in the end, although the High Speed gloves have a lot of nice features and are well-suited for racing or other two-wheeled endeavors that require top-notch hand protection, I prefer the R-Safe gloves instead.