by "Burn" for webBikeWorld.com.
Typical REV'IT! high quality, fit and protective features in a high-end winter glove.
Frequent webBikeWorld visitors know about our fondness for REV'IT! gear.
The company offers an excellent combination of quality, performance and technology, but unlike some other high-end motorcycle gear manufacturers, REV'IT! products are readily available through a worldwide retail network.
And before you ask, the answer is "No". We never get bored of reviewing more REV'IT! gear.
I've chucked most of my old gear because now my entire riding outfit, including boots, pants, jacket and gloves, is REV'IT! branded. Even REV'IT! socks! If they made REV'IT! helmets, I'd probably be wearing one too...
So Number 4 and 5 (in our seemingly never-ending 2008 comparison of winter motorcycle gloves) is devoted to two brand-spankin' new REV'IT! products for 2009: the Kelvin H20 gloves described here, and the REV'IT! Tempest H2O gloves that I'll cover next.
Can they beat the Alpinestars Storm Rider gloves I reported on in our installment Number 3? Let's see...
REV'IT! publishes a hard-copy catalog each year, overstuffed with photos, descriptions and specs on their entire product line. Massive is the only word for this thing -- it's kind of like the Encyclopedia Britannica of motorcycle gear.
At 1.1 kg (2 lbs. 8 oz.), the catalog costs about $25.00 to print and probably as much to mail. Good thing the pages are printed on thick glossy stock -- it keeps the paper from curling from drool!
I'm not sure if most motorcyclists realize the huge array of gear that REV'IT! pumps out each year. Most of it is either new, upgraded or revised to include the latest technology and techniques.
How they make any money doing this is beyond me -- perhaps there's a behind-the-scenes benefactor that does it all for fun?
For instance, the 2009 catalog lists 42 pairs of gloves in every size, shape, color you can imagine. Summer, winter, women's, men's -- even "lobster claw" over gloves. And pure race gloves, like the "Jerez" model worn by Randy de Puniet.
I'm not sure if Randy wears Kelvin gloves when he's out for a ride on his Honda Ruckus, but he couldn't do much better.
The Kelvin gloves passed our waterproof bucket test, so no problems there. All of the gloves in this comparison have nearly the same level of comfort, which makes it rather like splitting hairs trying to pick a winner of the comfort category.
But I'd say the REV'IT! Kelvin gloves are similar to the Alpinestars Storm Rider gloves in terms of feel and fit.
The Kelvin gloves fit exactly to expected size, in my opinion, but I probably could use just a touch more room in the fingertips.
This is only because I always cover the front brake lever when I ride, and I usually need a bit of extra room to account for this. Motorcyclists who keep both hands on the grips for the majority of the time will probably find that the REV'IT! Kelvin gloves will be just fine.
[ADDENDUM: The Kelvin gloves are also available in a women's version, the Kelvin H2O Ladies' Glove, in sizes ranging from S to XL. They are shaped specifically for a woman's hand; all other specifications are identical.]
REV'IT! uses their own "Hydratex" liner, so the Kelvin gloves don't have that "crinkly paper" sound or feel when I'm wearing them that can be caused by the Gore-Tex or other waterproof membrane liner.
The Hydratex liner is also used in the new REV'IT! Infinity suit.
According to REV'IT!, the Hydratex liner in the Kelvin gloves has been tested to resist a 5,000 mm high column of water in the standard waterproofing test (see the webBikeWorld REV'IT! Infinity suit review for details on this test), and it works.
The Hydratex "Z-Liner" also meets the REV'IT! breathability tests, passing 5,000 grams of moisture per square meter over 24 hours.
These facts and figures may make your eyes spin, but the vast majority of other motorcycle glove companies probably don't even know what this means, much less make and test their gloves to the standard.
REV'IT! wouldn't be REV'IT! if they didn't figure a high-tech angle for the Kelvin gloves; the insulating liner is Schoeller "PCM", for Phase Change Material, which works very well.
WWe've reported on Phase Change Materials in the past. Known generically as materials offering "active thermal regulation", this type of modern insulation is used in products like the Roadgear Boss gloves, the BMW windproof vest and more.
Phase Change Materials are designed to "actively balance out too cold or too hot temperatures", according to Schoeller.
The material actually goes through a transmogrification (how's that for a word?) where it "changes (it's) state of matter at a certain temperature: from liquid to solid and vice versa".
In the vernacular, heat is sucked off and stored when the temperatures are higher and released when the temperatures are lower.
It may possibly due to an overactive imagination, but it sure seems to me that if I keep the Kelvin gloves indoors before going out for a ride on a cold day, my hands feel more comfortable.
It's certainly not anywhere near the level of warmth provided by a heated glove, but I have noticed a higher level of comfort when I'm wearing any one of the PCM garments I've tried. Very subtle, but it's there.
The Schoeller PCM is a bit schizophrenic when it comes to bulk though. Although the Kelvin gloves don't feel as bulky as the Held Freezer gloves (review) or the Olympia Ultima 1 gloves (review coming) in this comparison, they seem to blunt my feel for the grips more than I'd expect.
I'm not sure why this is, but it's really only a matter of tiny differences, as basically any of the gloves in this comparison would make an excellent choice for cold- or wet-weather riding.
This demonstrates the amazement at how far motorcycle gloves have come in such a short time.
The Kelvin glove liner material is comfortable also; it has what I can only describe as a very "neutral" feel. When my hands are in the gloves, I don't really feel the lining material at all, which is a bit different than some of the other gloves in this comparison.
I guess it's a combination of the material "hand" and the nap, which somehow meshes very closely with my skin.
[ADDENDUM: Here are a couple of interesting comments on PCM from REV'IT!: "With the PCM insulation it is vitally important to have the gloves warm when you put them on. I made a mistake of leaving a pair in my top bag and they never warmed up!
However, I got in the habit on really cold days (30 degrees and less) of putting them on my radiator for a few minutes (not too hot, or you'll ruin them) and they stayed extra warm for the whole trip. It's also vital with a PCM glove to have a close fitting shape.
Otherwise they will get cold. When used the right way, they rock. Give the preheating a try...you'll love it."]
So overall, I'd place these REV'IT! Kelvin H2O gloves among the "most comfortable" group in this comparison.
The Phase Change Material really does seem to work to maintain warmth, with only the very ends of my fingertips starting to feel slightly cold, but not uncomfortable, after about 45 minutes at around 6 C (42 F) on an open bike with no fairing.
The other feature of note is that the Kelvin gloves seem to have excellent windproof qualities. In fact, I'd say they feel like they let in less air than probably and other glove here.
I believe this results from the combination of the quality construction, the Hydratex wind/waterproof liner and the near-perfect fit, which doesn't allow room for leaking air.
Much of the stitching on the REV'IT! Kelvin gloves is "blind", which I think is the term for "inside-out" stitching.
So the stitching is nicely hidden along the fingers an nearly all over the glove, with the exception of the outside double-row stitching on the additional leather wear patches.
It's difficult to say that this gives the gloves a sleek look, because gloves have many different parts that make up the complex design, but it certainly helps give the gloves a "professional" look.
Also, you don't have to worry about any loose stitch worms hanging off the seams, because there are absolutely none.
The fingers are constructed and sewn together with what I think is probably the highest level of quality I've ever seen in a motorcycle glove.
The pinky finger is the one that gets me -- the leather on the inside of the ring finger and pinky is all one-piece, and it continues around the tip of the pinky in a half-moon dart shape, providing the necessary room for this small finger.
TThe method used to cut the leather, piece it together and blind stitch it along the pinky is pretty remarkable. You'll have to excuse us I guess -- we get excited about details like this, especially on gloves, where details mostly go unnoticed.
Here's an extreme close-up of the pinky finger, taken from about 75 mm distance (below).
This show the high-quality stitching around the tip and the beautiful incorporation across the tip of the single piece of leather that starts at the tip of the opposite finger and wraps around, ending in this wedge.
By the way -- those white dots you see are dust specks! :
The leather on the Kelvin gloves is, according to the REV'IT! catalog, a combination of cow hide, "Pampas" cow hide (according to REV'IT!), goat skin and suede leather with a water-resistant finish.
The Kelvin gloves have near-race glove styling and design, much like the Alpinestars Storm Rider gloves, with a big hard main knuckle protector that appears to be covered in matte-finished leather.
TThe Kelvin gloves include stiff-feeling polyurethane injected into the padding on the backs of the second and third knuckles on each finger and an additional large section on the heel of the palm and back of the wrist.
On the backs of each finger, between the second and main knuckle, REV'IT! has constructed one of these complex flex areas that also will go unnoticed unless you're inspecting the gloves carefully.
This type of dart adds a lot of time and complexity to the construction of a glove finger, but it's worth it in the end for the added flexibility and also the added style.
As you can see in the detail photo above, the leather on the palms and underside of the fingers has a texture. I believe this is the Schoeller Keprotec abrasion-resistant material -- either that or goat skin -- and it yields excellent grip.
The palm also has the obligatory extra leather wear patch sewn in one piece up and on to the thumb.
The Kelvin gloves have a Velcro attachment at the gauntlet and a strap that secures under the wrist. I can not pull these gloves off after they are properly secured, so they pass the security test.
There is also a slash of reflective material along the outer edge of the gloves for added safety at night.
The REV'IT! Kelvin and Tempest gloves have the second narrowest gauntlets in this comparison at a 145 mm width. This unfortunately makes either pair difficult to fit over the worst-case scenario REV'IT! Cayenne jacket cuff with all liners included.
TThe gauntlets on both pair are long enough, but they could definitely use additional width or circumference, possibly with a dart that adds about 40 mm at the end.
Now there's a bit of a controversy as you may see in the comments section of several webBikeWorld glove reviews, with some riders preferring to wear the gauntlets inside the sleeve, while others wear the gauntlets on the outside.
I'm an outside guy, and about the only place I've seen motorcycle riders wearing a gauntlet on the inside of a sleeve is in Europe.
I find it very difficult to put on a jacket, then the gloves, then try and fit the cuffs over the glove gauntlet and zip everything up. I'm not sure why glove manufacturers would put long and wide gauntlets on gloves if the gloves were meant to be worn under the sleeves.
In any case, it would be nice to have larger gauntlets on the Kelvin gloves, although this is only an issue on heavy, thick sleeves and jacket cuffs.
[ADDENDUM: REV'IT! USA also send these comments on the gauntlets: "We make all our winter gloves to be worn under the cuffs, therefore we keep the cuffs slender". They said that the gauntlets also have to be long enough to fit up under the sleeve to keep out the water.]
AAs described above, the REV'IT! Kelvin H2O gloves (the H2O designation in a REV'IT! glove means it's waterproof) passed the "bucket test".
[ADDENDUM: Be careful when removing winter motorcycle gloves that have a waterproof liner. To maintain the waterproof integrity of the membrane, the liner is not normally attached to the body of the glove.
It is possible for the lining and the waterproof membrane to turn inside-out if the hand is pulled out of the glove too quickly, especially if the hand is moist or sweaty.
To help prevent this from occurring, remove the glove by gently pulling on each fingertip of the opposite hand as the glove is slowly removed by loosening one fingertip at a time.]
The REV'IT! Kelvin H2O gloves list for about $30.00 less than the Alpinestars Storm Rider gloves, their closest competitors in this comparison.
Either of these gloves would make an excellent choice for a solid, long-lasting quality winter motorcycle glove with high levels of protection (for a winter glove), but the REV'IT! Kelvin gloves I think have a better fit and, perhaps, better styling.
From "K.W." (12/09: "I've had a pair
of these gloves for the past month, through some of the wettest UK November
weather in years. My commute is 140 miles per day, 3/5's at Motorway speeds
with the rest A-road and some urban traffic. It takes up to 90 minutes for
each leg. I ride an FJR1300, so there is no wind protection for the hands.
Firstly I'd agree with most of your comments in the review. Fit, finish
and style are very good and I've had no problems with overall quality so
Top marks for waterproofing, as long as you remember to put the jacket
'over' the gloves, otherwise water runs down the jacket and into the glove.
I was disappointed with the thermal qualities. In temperatures down to 5C, my hands, especially the fingers, end up feeling cold after a journey. I can live with that. However, when it rains, the outer leather shell of the glove gets sopping wet and this seems to drain all the heat out of the PCM layer.
On an equivalent 5C journey my hands and fingers are numb with cold afterwards
- not good. I note in your reviews you mentioned the PCM feeling cold, this
is especially noticeable when the outer shell is wet and you curl your hand.
The glove is noticeably cold and you end up trying not to curl your hands
around the bars/clutch/break levers. Again, not good.
So, I can't honestly recommend these gloves if you ride a lot in the wet and cold. After paying 100 pounds I am very disappointed. I have a 15yr-old pair of gloves with a Thinsulate layer and these are just as 'warm', even though they leak and are ancient in comparison."
From "C" (9/09): "After reading your review of the REV'IT!! Kelvin H2O Gloves, I decided to get a pair, and let you know how I got on with them.
I really like them, they are comfortable, even though the lining is a bit odd at first, I find you get used to it quickly. They have nice padding on them to take the strain off of your wrists if needed.
I was wondering what the different fabric on the left index finger was for, then it hit me. Literally... a bug hit me - I used the smooth fabric to wipe it off of my visor, I think it's intent is for wiping water off, but this is a nice feature in either case.
I do 130 miles a day on my bike, and my hands haven't gotten cold or wet yet, hopefully these gloves will keep me warm in the months to come.
Oh, only point I've forgotten to mention is I think they are made for people with longer fingers, either that or I have stubby fingers (probably the latter), so I have a bit of excess at the end, but they are still comfortable. I found that I didn't have to order a size up like with other brands of gloves.
Thanks a lot for your review!"
From "F.M." (12/08): "Regarding the manufacturer's statement that the gauntlets are designed to fit inside the rider's jacket sleeve: That is completely wrong for a wet-weather, winter glove. Water and the wind propelling it will force its way up the rider's sleeve.
It's like overlapping shingles on a roof in the wrong direction on a roof -- you will end up wet, cold, and unhappy."
From "R.B." (12/08): "I just read the article about the Rev-it Kelvin H2O gloves. Burn likes to wear gauntlet gloves on the outside of the sleeves of his jackets, and suggests that he's only seen that in Europe.
As a rider who did 48,000 miles last year, primarily in Ohio, I believe I can explain why wearing the gauntlets inside the sleeve is better. Unless you are riding with ape hanger bars, when it rains, your arms are aimed down, and water can actually fill your gloves. Water is not a good insulator when it's cold and dark.
Maybe this will help clear up the mystery as to why gauntlets are worn inside the sleeve in Europe, and by some people in Ohio."