The new REV'IT! Bastion GTX, Alaska GTX and Orion GTX gloves are comfortable and very nicely made, with looks and features that match the new REV'IT! GTX jackets and pants.
GTX is Rev'it-speak for Gore-Tex and these winter gloves feature the new ripstop Cordura on top and leather on the palms.
These gloves include the waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex "Guaranteed to Keep You Dry" membrane liner with a waterproof guarantee by Gore-Tex.
The Bastion GTX is the current REV'IT! ultimate winter glove. It is a textile/leather hybrid, as is the Orion GTX. The Alaska GTX is all leather and choosing a favorite is difficult indeed!
The following review was written by Bill and it will compare the two new hybrid textile and leather Revi't winter gloves for 2010/2011, the Orion GTX and the new Bastion GTX, with the leather Alaska GTX glove.
The Bastion is the top-of-the-line REV'IT! winter glove for 2011, followed in the REV'IT! catalog by the Alaska, then the Orion.
The Alaska GTX gloves feature a buttery-smooth leather for riders who prefer hide over textile.
They include the Gore-Tex membrane and I can testify to the fact that they were completely waterproof in a couple of heavy rain rides we took a few weeks ago when it was still warm enough to rain and not snow!
Three of us have been swapping these gloves over the last several weeks and, speaking for the evaluators, I can say that there is no clear winner here.
Any of these new gloves would make an excellent choice for winter riding and, I think, they are decidedly the best REV'IT! gloves yet and better than any of the choices in last year's winter selection, described in 2008/2009 winter and waterproof gloves review.
Just by coincidence (and not meant as a comparison to the REV'IT! gloves), a review of the Cortech Scarab winter gloves by Brandon Jackson will be published subsequent to this review.
The set of reviews constitutes a good start for a look at the current crop of winter motorcycle gloves for 2010/2011. Enjoy!
The GTX suffix on REV'IT! clothing designates the item as a member of the special REV'IT! Gore-Tex clothing line.
The partnership between the two companies was covered on webBikeWorld in the summer 2010 REV'IT! Gore-Tex report, which described the REV'IT! clothing lineup for fall/winter of 2010 and 2011.
The REV'IT! Gore-Tex partnership was also explained in the REV'IT! Gore-Tex Motorcycle Clothing Preview and the news of the REV'IT! Gore-Tex Test Team; volunteer motorcycle riders who test prototype REV'IT! Gore-Tex products.
TThe first task for the Test Team, many of whom consisted of webBikeWorld readers and riders, was to provide feedback on the prototypes of the three pairs of gloves that we will be reviewed in this series.
The Editor saw the different prototypes used by the Test Team and the suggestions for improvement they provided and the evolution from prototype to production versions makes it clear that your feedback was indeed incorporated into the design.
For example, the face shield wiper on the forefinger of the left hand and the TPU (thermo-polyurethane) protectors on the Bastion GTX gloves are the direct result of your feedback.
The recent REV'IT! Defender GTX jacket and pants review is another example of your feedback creating better products, because that outfit is a direct result of rider feedback that has evolved the REV'IT! Cayenne (review) and REV'IT! Cayenne Pro (review) jackets.
In the Defender GTX review, we described the new ripstop Cordura fabrics that REV'IT! is now using in their higher-end clothing designs and this material is also used in the Orion GTX and the Bastion GTX gloves to good effect.
It's not only functional, but it looks great, as I hope you can see in the detailed close-up photos in the following lightbox slide show.
A built-in bonus comes with the purchase of the REV'IT! GTX jackets, pants or gloves, and that is the Gore-Tex guarantee.
I'm not sure how to calculate its worth in monetary value, but I can say that so far, based on our experience, Gore-Tex isn't going to have to make many payouts, because so far all of the GTX gear we've used has been as waterproof as they claim.
The Gore-Tex liner in the REV'IT! gloves is also breathable and the latest Gore-Tex membranes are much better than they were several years ago, when they may have sacrificed the ability to breathe for ultimate waterproof protection.
The one-two punch combination of Gore-Tex and the Thermolite insulation in the Bastion, Alaska and Orion GTX gloves, combined with a new REV'IT! standard handform for glove sizing, makes these gloves very comfortable.
They have kept our hands warm when riding in the Ice Age winter of 2010 which has blasted into the U.S. from Santa-land -- perfect conditions for evaluating winter gear (but I'll still take summer any day!).
As was mentioned in the Defender GTX outfit review, Gore-Tex is very strict about the licensing and use of their name, which is understandable, seeing as how they're the guarantors.
REV'IT! had to pass all sorts of tests and inspections for everything right down to the manufacturing procedures to obtain the Gore-Tex license. All of the REV'IT! GTX branded gear comes with the "Guaranteed to Keep You Dry" guarantee directly from Gore-Tex.
The guarantee states "If you are not completely satisfied with the waterproofness, windproofness or breathability of our Gore-Tex outerwear, we will repair it, replace it or refund your purchase price".
So factor that in when you're comparing the cost of competing gloves, because there aren't many other motorcycle jackets, pants or gloves that give you a guarantee like that.
The Orion GTX gloves and the new Bastion GTX gloves both make a great match for either the Defender GTX outfit or the upcoming Everest GTX outfit.
Or any other outfit from REV'IT! (or anyone else, for that matter) because both of these gloves are made with the same type of ripstop Cordura used on that higher-end REV'IT! clothing.
The 1000 denier ripstop Cordura used on both pairs is Teflon coated, and the ripstop waffle pattern is obvious in the detailed close-up photos in the slide show. The pattern adds a really nice texture to the gloves and sets them apart from other gloves in terms of styling.
I never was much of a textile glove fan, but these have definitely won me over. Besides, leather is used on the palm side of the hybrid GTX gloves, so you can have it both ways.
The leather used in the Orion GTX is goat skin with a water-resistant finish, along with some very nice black suede leather on the upper part of the outside of the wrist.
The Bastion GTX gloves use the same type of goat skin, but more of it.
The leather continues along the underside of the gauntlet and around the outside of the heel of the hand. The leather on both gloves is very soft and feels instantly broken-in, right out of the package.
The Bastion gloves have an addition along the top of the glove.
This is constructed from Schoeller "Dynamic With Nanosphere" material, claimed by Schoeller to "add key water and stain resistance and breathability" along with "reducing overall bulk and enhancing mobility with ... mechanical stretch".
I'm not sure how this translates to a difference in winter motorcycle gloves, but higher tech must be better, right?
The styling of the hybrid GTX gloves is very nice, with enough features and different textures to make winter motorcycle gloves, which usually have a utilitarian and boring look, into something that is both visually attractive and stylish.
This is enhanced by the light reflecting off the ripstop material and the various contrasting yet harmonious fabric patterns.
The all-leather Alaska GTX gloves are slightly more sedate in their styling, but they seem to have about the same technical specifications as the Bastion GTX version. The major difference, of course, is the goatskin leather construction.
The goatskin is of very high quality and it's like buttah; very soft and comfortable. The hide is treated with a water resistant finish and it completely covers the "hidden" main TPU knuckle protector, a nice touch.
All REV'IT! GTX gloves are waterproof, but the outside shell material will absorb various amounts of water. The soft leather on the Alaska gloves may be a slight disadvantage here.
Although the leather doesn't seem to absorb any more water than similar leather gloves, it takes longer to give it up and the leather can feel damp even 24 hours after a severe soaking, while the Cordura on the other gloves seems to dry very quickly.
The insides of all GTX gloves remained dry, however.
Conclusion: The extra leather used on the Bastion GTX gloves and perhaps the Schoeller material give the Bastion GTX gloves a slight edge between the two textile hybrids, but it's difficult to say how these features translate to motorcycle utility.
So in the end, I'd say this is a draw.
If you're textile-phobic, the Alaska GTX gloves are for you, with the caveat that the leather may absorb more water than the textile versions. They have the features and similar performance to the textile GTX gloves but with a beautiful leather finish and they also have the Gore-Tex waterproof guarantee.
The Alaska and Orion GTX gloves use a Thermolite liner and the Bastion GTX gloves use Thermolite Plus. Thermolite was originally invented by those wizards at DuPont and it is claimed to provide the "most warmth at the lightest weight".
It uses hollow core fibers that are supposed to have a large surface area, which "allows for faster evaporation by speeding moisture away from the skin to the surface of the fabric where it can evaporate more quickly".
Advansa, the current manufacturer of Thermolite, claims that the insulation "dries 20% faster than other insulating fabrics and 50% faster than cotton".
The charts shown above compare Thermolite to other fabrics typically used in outdoor performance clothing. The graph on the left shows the moisture vapor transport index (fabric weight/time/area/fabric density).
The center graph compares the wet fabric warmth in orange to the dry fabric warmth in brick red. The graph on the right compares the drying time (in minutes) of a fully saturated fabric sample of various fabrics.
Advansa is a bit vague on the differences between Thermolite and Thermolite Plus, but the Plus version appears to be an enhanced version that is claimed to be "warmer than down when wet" and they also hint at greater durability of Thermolite Plus.
For more information, here's an article published in Textile Web, an industry trade magazine, entitled "Tests Show DuPont Thermolite Base Performance Fabrics Leave Competition Out in the Cold".
The fabric liners in each version of these gloves are said to be the "Push-Pull" type, which I believe means that they are bonded to the inside of the gloves so the liners won't turn inside-out when moist hands are pulled out of the gloves, as happens with some winter motorcycle gloves.
Although the Thermolite Plus insulation in the Bastion GTX gloves may feel just a bit thicker than the standard Thermolite insulation in the other two, it may also be my imagination.
The GTX gloves all provided excellent warmth (i.e., protection from the cold) and they are better than we expected and better than any of the previous winter gloves of any brand we've reviewed.
Conclusion: Another draw, with all three versions providing excellent comfort, warmth and moisture control.
The use of extra leather on the hybrid Bastion GTX gloves doesn't make that much of a significant difference when comparing the two textile/leather gloves, in my opinion.
But the Bastion GTX gloves include something the other two don't have: a large section of Superfabric on the padding that acts as the main knuckle protector, along with a small padded Superfabric protector sewn into a leather addition over the outside of the thumb.
Superfabric is the miracle stuff discussed several times in webBikeWorld reviews; it's a type of highly abrasion- and puncture-resistant material that looks like (and is) tiny ceramic shields or plates.
Apparently it's very expensive and REV'IT! was the first to use it in motorcycle clothing. It looks good and complements motorcycle gear because it doesn't stand out yet it offers a different texture.
The Bastion gloves and the leather Alaska gloves also include a TPU slider on the outside of the heel of the hand, an addition recommended by REV'IT! Gore-Tex Test Team riders for both versions.
Another very small triangle of TPU is located at the outside on the base knuckle of the pinky finger on both versions. It seems too small to have much of an effect, but I'll have to assume it's designed with a purpose in mind.
In fact, the prototypes of the Alaska and Bastion GTX gloves originally excluded external sliders, using only Superfabric and internal padding or protectors for abrasion protection. But the Test Team feedback indicated that hard armor would be appreciated on the top-line glove.
Each of these gloves are designed for touring, and the idea was to minimize the hard parts on the outside to provide better comfort and flexibility for cold-weather riding.
There's a place for hard armor to be sure, but on the other hand (pun intended), softer gloves are more appreciated in winter riding and I wonder if they may actually keep the hands warmer, because the absence of hard armor leaves more space for insulation. Totally theoretical, I know.
But in our admittedly crude trials, it sure seems like this current batch of REV'IT! winter gloves are warmer than the previous REV'IT! or other types I've worn in the past.
Both pairs of the hybrid gloves have leather on the palms and underside of the fingers, with the Bastion GTX gloves having the leather continue up on to the underside of the gauntlet where the Orion GTX gloves have a 500 denier Cordura.
The Bastion and Alaska GTX gloves also have a larger section of "digital" leather across the inside of the hand for grip and wear protection.
This section is significantly larger than the smaller area used on the Orion GTX gloves, where it only covers the area underneath the first and second fingers near the thumb grip area.
Conclusion: The Bastion GTX and Alaska GTX gloves have a definite advantage here, with more leather (all leather in the Alaska), TPU sliders and, what could be the most critical feature for daily use, the larger section of extra leather across the inside of the palm.
REV'IT! GTX gloves include 3M-brand reflective material bonded to the surface.
The 3M retro-reflective material is more expensive than the less effective "no name" versions used on other motorcycle gear, and this is often skipped on motorcycle gloves to save money.
The material shows up very brightly when illuminated, as you can see in the photo above.
The "hash mark" pattern on the outside of the gauntlet of the REV'IT! GTX gloves matches the pattern used on the GTX clothing, as seen in the webBikeWorld Defender GTX jacket and pants review.
On the Orion gloves, the reflective material is sewn in as small strips across the outside three fingers at the second knuckle, where it actually shows up fairly well at night, at least on motorcycles without hand guards or a fairing to block the view of the hands.
On the Bastion and Alaksa GTX gloves, the middle two fingers have a slice of reflective material placed vertically along the outside halves at the fingertips. This may not the best location for reflective material because it becomes hidden when the hands are curled around the grips.
The larger section of angled stripe hash marks is located on the outside of the gauntlet of the gloves and the surface area have an equal amount of surface area.
Conclusion: The Orion GTX gloves have a (theoretical) very slight advantage here because the reflective material on the fingers is more likely to be of use.
All three pairs of new REV'IT! gloves have a wrist security strap closure underneath the wrist, using a new type of REV'IT! connector that features a trapezoid shape in a doubled-over section of rubber that holds the leather strap with hook-and-loop underneath.
This is an excellent design that should provide much better tear resistance than simply sewing the metal loop into the body of the glove, while also providing some flexibility in this crucial area.
Each of the new gloves also has a small leather flap that covers the under-the-wrist security strap. Each pair also has a gauntlet flap that secures the gauntlet with hook-and-loop. The Alaska GTX and Bastion GTX flap is leather, while the Orion GTX flap is made from the ripstop Cordura.
The gloves use the new REV'IT! handform for standardized sizing, and they have what REV'IT! calls a "Tour" fit. The box-section fingers are roomy, as are the gloves themselves.
All of the gloves in the comparison are size XL and while I think that in general they're true to that size, they may be just very slightly small, although I haven't tried an XL in some time for comparison purposes, and glove sizing across brands seems to vary more than any other type of motorcycle clothing.
REV'IT! glove sizing in the past has been erratic, so hopefully their use of a new standard will stabilize the glove sizes and fit across the product line.
The construction of the gloves is outstanding, with very high quality in the materials and design also. The fingers are especially well made, with a single un-seamed section of leather forming the entire shape of the "V" between each finger.
The only place the leather is sewn is at the fingertip, where the "walls" of the box section meet at the very tip of the finger. A blind seam is used here, as well as along the bottom "floor" and top "roof" of the box section finger construction.
Conclusion: All of the gloves stay on the hands when properly secured, but the Bastion and Alaska GTX gloves take another razor-slight edge due to their thicker leather gauntlet flap. Quality of construction is equally good across the line.
The Bastion gloves have a zipper (with red teeth!) along the back of the gauntlet, but I didn't find this of much use.
That's because it only opens the gauntlet up about an extra 7 mm when measured across the width, which then brings it to the same overall width as the Orion GTX gloves are without the zipper. But I'm not too keen on riding with the zipper open -- it looks strange to me.
By the way, as usually happens, we found the gauntlets on the Orion GTX and Bastion GTX to be narrower than we'd like, especially when fitted over thick winter jackets like the Cayenne or Defender GTX.
The gauntlet on the all-leather Alaska gloves seems to fit better over winter jacket sleeves for some reason, even though at 65 mm across, it's about the same width as the Bastion GTX gloves with the zipper opened.
The wrist security straps on all of the REV'IT! gloves form a sort of stop for the jacket cuff.
And since the cuff on a winter jacket can be quite thick with the insulating and waterproof liners, a gauntlet needs to be extra wide and extra long to fit over the top...although REV'IT! told us that the gauntlets are designed to wear under the sleeve.
Conclusion: The design of the all-leather Alaska GTX gloves yields a more usable gauntlet when wearing thicker winter jackets. As the thickness of the jacket sleeve diminishes, however, this advantage disappears.
After wearing the gloves on and off for the last few weeks, I'd have to say it's a more than a little difficult to decide which to buy.
They all provide an excellent fit for my hands; each has the Gore-Tex membrane liner that includes the waterproof guarantee and, in a surprise to me at least, the Orion GTX, Alaska GTX and Bastion GTX all kept my hands warm.
That includes temperatures down to a low of 28 degrees F with heavy winds, which is way below my usual tolerance for winter motorcycle riding.
Those conditions usually call for heated gloves.
And while I'm certainly not saying that the unheated REV'IT! gloves are the equal of a pair of heated gloves like the Gerbing Hybrid gloves (review), I can say by way of example that one day I rode for about two hours in strong crosswinds and 28 degrees comparing each of these gloves and other than the tips of my fingers, which started to get chilled, my hands were comfortable.
That motorcyclists can now ride in these conditions is amazing (to me anyway), and all of us have commented that motorcycle gear on the average has noticeably improved over the last year, which helps to extend the riding season for those of us unfortunate enough to need all the help we can get.
The new collection of REV'IT! winter gloves for 2011 is excellent and it's nearly impossible to choose between the three, so we give them each a coveted 5-Star rating. If you really want leather, the choice is simple: it's difficult to do better than the Alaska GTX.
When it comes to the hybrid textile/leather versions, as in most decisions, this probably comes down to money. The list price of the Orion GTX gloves is $149.99 USD, while the top-of-the-line Bastion GTX gloves list for $189.99 USD.
The leather Alaska GTX gloves split the difference at $169.99 USD.
All things considered, with the understanding that when the weather gets really cold you're more likely to run into snow than rain, I'd choose the Alaska GTX gloves.
They have the protective features of the high-end Bastion gloves and what feels like a larger and more usable gauntlet that fits even over the very thick sleeve cuff of a winter-ready original REV'IT! Cayenne jacket.
The surprise of the group is the Orion GTX. You're giving up the Superfabric main knuckle protector and TPU sliders, but the gloves will keep your hands about as warm as the others.
So if you want to save $40.00 but still get the ripstop Cordura and other features, this may be a good choice.
From "T.C." (02/11): "There were several mentions that the gauntlets on the Orion and Bastion were a bit small. Hard-core all-weather riders find that rainwater can run down the outside of their sleeves, collect in the gauntlet, and then leak into the glove.
So they put the gauntlet inside the jacket. The red-toothed zip on the Bastion would be zipped down over your mid layer, then the jacket cinched over the slim gauntlet.
I'm not that hard core - I ordered the Alaska, on your recommendation a size large. Thanks for the amazingly detailed test."
From "D.C." (01/11): "I bought XL REV'IT GTX Alaska gloves after your article. Unfortunately, I thought your good dexterity comment = snug is OK, and wore them for a trip in 45 degree F weather and my fingers froze! (Goldwing w/ heated grips too).
I have never worn a glove larger than XL in my life and in hindsight I have to say that the Euro styling commands a size larger than U.Ss (you forgot to mention this).
After a tiring 3 weeks of appealing to the distributor and then to REV'IT for an exchange or refund, I'm taking it up the wazzoo to sell a pair of $170 gloves on EBAY.
REV'IT doesn't publish a fit guide on their website and their distributor ... and REV'IT finance guy (... yes, they referred to me to their finance guy for customer service) are totally LAME!
Seriously, it looks seems an awesome product if you have the right size but service sucks and I wish there would have been some sort of fit guide for such an expensive pair of gloves."
Editor's Note: Sizing was discussed in the fit section.
From "T.H." (12/10): "Enjoyed the review of the new REV'IT! glove line. I've been wearing a pair of Alaskas since the weather turned cold and soggy here in Seattle and second your overall assessment of the gloves. They're warm, comfortable, and completely waterproof.
I do have one beef with the gloves, though: The little index-finger wiper strip is completely useless!
Sounds like a minor quibble, and in some ways it is, but compared to the very effective wiper strip on the BMW Atlantis 2 gloves (which I wear most of the year here), it's a huge disappointment.
Too small and stiff to conform properly to the shape of the helmet visor, it doesn't do much to clear rain or do anything else except give REV'IT! a little more room for branding.
It looks like they use the same pathetic little piece of plastic on all their high-end gloves. Given Revit's usual attention to detail, it's kind of disappointing. Still love the gloves, though."