2013 Summer Glove Series:
▪ Rukka Vauhti Gloves
▪ Racer Guide Gloves
▪ Racer Mickey Gloves
▪ Racer Summer Fit Gloves
▪ Racer Limes Gloves
▪ Racer Stratos Gloves
▪ Racer R-Safe Gloves
▪ Rev'it Sand Pro vs. Striker Gloves
▪ 2013 Summer Glove Preview
The Racer "Summer Fit" Gloves have a 100% leather (goat skin) outer shell and a full-sized gauntlet.
The goat skin makes these gloves lightweight and comfortable.
Soft padding knuckle protectors means the gloves are very flexible, another plus for hot-weather riding.
The palms are lined with Kevlar and the Summer Fit gloves feature double stitched construction and accents.
The only drawback is the absence of a secondary wrist strap, which doesn't provide as much security as I'd like.
This is Part 4 of our eight-part 2013 Summer Motorcycle Glove Review Series. The Racer Summer Fit gloves are the first pair of Racer gloves in this series with a full-length gauntlet, a feature that many motorcyclists demand.
As noted in our previous reviews, Racer is an Austrian-based company noted for adding something special to each of their gloves. For the Summer Fit gloves, the difference is in the use of an outer shell made from 100% very soft and pliable goat skin.
The full-sized gauntlet is also an added attraction, although wearing the gauntlet over or under a motorcycle jacket sleeve has some effect on the ventilation.
But the goat skin outer shell and very thin but comfortable liner, along with perforations along the back of the hand and wrist, make the Summer Fit gloves a good choice for summer riding.
The Racer Summer Fit gloves could very well be the most comfortable of this series so far.
Goat skin usually does that, because it feels very lightweight and pliable compared to thick cowhide. It is claimed that goat skin has a different microscopic structure that gives it tremendous strength and abrasion and tear resistance for its thickness, so thinner, lighter-weight goat skin can provide the same or more protection than an equivalent in leather.
The lighter weight and naturally thin shell provide another benefit; they breathe better than thick bovine leather, and this helps to make the Summer Fit gloves feel perfectly suited for hot-weather motorcycling.
Racer apparently tried to emphasize this fact by not over-doing the protection on the Summer Fit gloves. They left off the hard padding or protectors, with only some additional leather and thin soft padding over the knuckles. But the additional abrasion protection is fairly extensive and the absence of hard protectors is another factor that makes these gloves feel like old friends right from the start.
Like the Racer Mickey gloves (review), the Summer Fit gloves have a big "Kevlar" label sewn on to the wrist that I could probably do without. And also like the other Racer gloves in this series, there isn't very much technical information provided with the gloves or on the Racer website. Marketing ain't their forte, apparently...
One thing's for sure: I'll take goat skin over the synthetic Clarino leather found in the other Racer gloves reviewed so far in this series any day of the week.
Once more, there's a compromise here between ultimate ventilation and ultimate protection...as there is with any motorcycle glove designed for hot-weather use.
Maybe there's a full Kevlar mesh or something glove out there somewhere that has perfect 100% flow-through ventilation. But even then, the gloves would have to incorporate some type of fabric lining, because Kevlar is pretty scratchy stuff. And that lining would impede some of the air flowing through.
So there's always a compromise -- and don't forget, many times your hands will be behind a fairing, windscreen or brush guards that effectively block much of the cooling air flow anyway. So the ability of the glove to transpire air and moisture is also important, and goat skin seems to be a natural for that.
The light weight of the Summer Fit gloves also helps; they really do feel very light, especially for a glove with a full-sized gauntlet.
The goat skin used in the sides of each finger are lightly perforated, and this helps. It's a single row of 4-5 perforations (holes) in each finger, starting on the inside of the first finger.
Starting in back of the main knuckle protector and running all the way along the complete top of the gauntlet, the goat skin is fully perforated and the air can be felt flowing through this section. In fact, if the weather turns a bit cool, there's not much here to keep the hands warm.
As I noted, the Summer Fit gloves are exceptionally comfortable, due to the soft goat hide and soft padded knuckle protectors.
Racer added a very thin liner inside the gloves; it is cut in a few sections with what appears to be a reinforced or slightly thicker section around the thumbs, which is a heavy wear area. There is no lining on either side of the fingers, to allow as much air to flow in through as possible via the single row of perforations.
Some of the seams can be felt but it's not annoying and since the overall fit and feel is one of lightness and comfort, there really aren't any "hot spots" or chafing points.
The fingertips use the fourchette construction, with an "X" shape formed by the tops and the sides, which come to a point at the center of the "X". This isn't really a touring construction but it works fine with the Summer Fit gloves and I can't feel any of the seams at my fingertips, which is good.
The Summer Fit gloves are nicely made, with double stitching employed nearly throughout. The white stitching also serves as a stylistic focal point on the gloves, which I like. As with just about every other motorcycle glove we've reviewed, it would be nice to know what the thread is made from -- hopefully Kevlar or something stronger than plain ol' cotton.
All of the Racer gloves reviewed so far in this series have some variation of silicone "sticky" pads on the underside. For the Summer Fit gloves, it's a cool star pattern on the underside of each of the four fingertips.
Once more, the Racer Gloves size chart seemed a bit off. These Summer Fit gloves are also a size XL and they fit more like the standard size L I usually take. I'd say these are in-between an L and XL when compared to other gloves.
So if you're borderline size large to slightly smaller than that, the size L Summer Fit gloves should work. If you're shaded to the borderline XL side, get the size XL. The Summer Fit gloves also come in an expanded size range of XS to 3XL.
I think summer or hot-weather motorcycle gloves work a little better when slightly large anyway, as this provides a bit more room for air circulation and helps to make the gloves easier to put on and take off with sweaty hands.
The finger length on the Summer Fit gloves feels proportional and even with the tapering fingertip construction, there's enough length and room to feel comfortable, at least with my proportional shaped fingers.
One of the main features of the Summer Fit gloves is the full-length gauntlet, which is nicely proportioned and adequately sized to fit over a summer jacket sleeve cuff.
The closure or flap starts at the top of the wrist and continues down around the outside of the wrist to attach on the bottom with a large section of hook-and-loop. This also acts as a double layer of protection for the outside of the wrist...as long as it stays in place during a crash.
But this brings up the one fault of the Summer Fit gloves. There is no secondary wrist strap, and this is a problem with these gloves because the wrist does not have enough elastic to keep the gloves securely on the hand. I can pull the gloves off my hand and that is usually a fatal flaw, because you definitely want the gloves to remain on your hands during a crash so they can do their job and protect.
Normally this would be a deal-breaker for me, but I'm giving these some slack (reverse pun?) because of the slight oversize of the XL pair I have. In all fairness, Racer recommended a size large for me and perhaps those would have a more secure fit at the wrist.
But on the other hand (another pun), I would much prefer a second wrist strap, added along the bottom of the wrist. There's already a hanging flap that is part of the additional piece of leather that serves as the palm slider/protector; it's the type of flap that usually covers a secondary wrist strap. I think Racer should add the secondary strap to the Summer Fit gloves, which would raise my rating quite significantly because I do like all of the other features on these.
The Summer Fit gloves have no hard protectors at all. The added protection comes from extra layers of goat skin covering the palm; the outside of the fourth or "pinky" finger and the backs of the tip and middle knuckles on all five fingers.
The finger knuckle protectors have a figure 8 shape, with a very nicely styled additional break or seam in the center of the 8 that adds some flexibility at that point.
The main knuckles are covered by a padded section covered with goat skin, but it doesn't appear to be an additional piece. Instead, the large area over the main knuckles is cut out and the padded section is inserted -- or at least that's the way it appears.
Also, small pads are sewn into the rounds of the figure 8 on each of the tip and middle knuckles on the fingers.
Some motorcyclists may prefer hard knuckle protectors (I'm one of them) but I do think the extra sections of goat skin and the padding are adequate on this type of summer glove.
The Racer Summer Fit gloves are probably the easiest to wear so far of any of the gloves reviewed so far in this series. The goat skin makes a big difference by giving the gloves a lightweight and flexible feeling, along with the natural moisture transpiration and ventilation that is a hallmark of this material.
The perforations also help, as does the thin lining on the inside.
The only problem is the absence of a secondary wrist strap or something that would give the gloves a more secure placement on the hands. This could easily be solved by adding a thin strap along the bottom of the wrist, covered by the hanging flap that is already there as part of the palm slider, and which appears to be designed to cover a strap anyway.
Bottom line is that the Racer Summer Fit gloves are a good choice for hot-weather motorcycle riding, depending upon your individual preferences or criteria for hard vs. soft protectors and short vs. long gauntlet.
|wBW Review: Racer Summer Fit Gloves|
U.S. Distributor: Racer Gloves (U.S.A.)
|List Price: $99.99|
|Colors: Black.||Made In: China|
|Sizes: XS to 3XL||Review Date: June 2013|