The Roadgear Cheetah gloves are for sport riding.
These are leather gloves that offer a good combination of protection and comfort.
The Cheetah gloves are well suited to the aggressive street rider as well as the touring rider who wants better protection than many touring-specific gloves provide.
Roadgear gloves are no stranger to the scrutiny of the webBikeWorld.com review process.
The company may not be quite as popular as it once was with motorcyclists.
But it still falls into the “Made for motorcyclists by motorcyclists” category and while this approach doesn’t always guarantee the best gear, in the case of Roadgear, it has led to some excellent motorcycle apparel.
This includes the Roadgear CarbonMaxx gloves (review) for summer that I rode with for about four years.
webBikeWorld readers may recall that I had a particular affinity for the original version of the Joe Rocket High Side gloves (review) -- a terrible name for motorcycle gloves!
These were an excellent all-around glove at a very good price.
However, they released a new version (Joe Rocket High Side 2 (review))that was only a shadow of the original and as such, I needed to find something new.
Enter the Roadgear Cheetah Gloves.
The Cheetah gloves look like what you would expect in a leather sportbike glove: a full gauntlet, hard knuckle protectors, and lots of little protective bits scattered about the surface are typical of the breed.
How all these aspects come together though are what separates good gloves from “also ran”.
And these gloves have some very good points -- with very few not-so-good.
The pair shown here are in the “Black with White Accents” color scheme but they are also available in an all-black version. The white accents are in place on the top of the first three fingers and the thumb.
The little finger does without the white leather but there is an additional white “slash” running on the back of the gauntlet at an angle.
The shell of the glove is completely leather with additional materials added to the shell for additional impact/abrasion resistance in key areas.
There are no perforations in the leather shell which is good for abrasion resistance but does reduce the hot weather use of these gloves, but your mileage may vary.
Break-in is hardly necessary, as the leather on these gloves is very soft right out of the package. This and the spare use of hard protectors make these gloves very easy to fold up and store in small spaces.
The split hard knuckle protector makes this even easier.
Branding is actually pretty hard to spot, with just the Roadgear logo embossed in the white leather on the gauntlet.
The Cheetah gloves are pretty stealthy on the looks front and this goes double for the all black version.
The downside is that there is no reflective material present for additional night-time visibility though the white parts do help some.
Like many sport and race style gloves, the Cheetah gloves are constructed from multiple panels and layers of material.
Cowhide leather is used throughout the gloves and was soft right out of the package.
The leather thickness is not specified but they seem to strike a nice balance between durability and flexibility, while the overall suppleness of the leather makes them seem thinner than they are.
The gauntlet is what I would call average as far as the opening size goes, at 30 cm (12 inches) in circumference. It is fastened using a thick strap of leather sewn onto the top lateral side of the glove.
That strap then wraps underneath and fastens using a large patch of hook-and-loop material.
The gauntlet strap itself is nicely finished, with a nylon welt running through the edge. The gauntlet opening is finished in a similar fashion and this adds a nice touch for a glove in this price range.
In addition to the gauntlet strap, there is an 11 mm wide leather wrist strap that runs on the underside of the wrist and fastens via more hook-and-loop material.
We find these wrist straps essential for any riding gloves to provide security so that the gloves stay on the hands during an unfortunate slide on pavement (or dirt or rock, etc.).
Across the top of the palm and base of the fingers is a textured rubber-like material.
This finds its way over onto the thumb and up along the index finger for a short distance. It is placed so as to provide some extra grip where the hand contacts the throttle.
The stitching is tight and evenly spaced around the gloves and it is comprised of a mixture of single- and double-stitched runs.
Those double-stitched areas that are visible are rather far and few between and I personally would like to have seen more of the double stitching present.
While the stitching is mostly neat, there are a few spots where a thread end is sticking out. However, I can say that over the last eleven months or so, the stitching has remained in place and no additional pulls have appeared.
Speaking of stitching, the finger boxes use a combination of blind and external stitching with the upper port on the top of the fingers being blind.
The use of external stitching on the underside eliminates seams that can bunch up as the fingers curl around a grip or lever.
While stitching is well done in most places, the leather panels are cut a bit “wonky” in spots. It is most evident in some of the close-up photos of the fingers.
This has not been the source of any issues and they look exactly the same now as they did when I took the photos when the gloves first arrived.
It is worth mentioning though, because it takes away a bit from the overall neatness of the construction.
Roadgear has placed two rubber protectors on the index and middle fingers with what look like might be vents or perforations.
Try as I might however, I could feel no air flow through these areas. In fact, these gloves do not have any perforations for ventilation.
Even the rubber-ish protector on the back of the hand with its twin openings does not appear to allow air to flow through, despite the metal “mesh” in each of the openings.
I can not see a bright light through the openings nor can I feel air flowing through them.
This doesn’t mean however that these gloves are not warm-weather friendly, but we’ll get to that shortly.
The Cheetah gloves offer quite an array of protective features. To begin with, there is a floating knuckle protector made from a silver-colored flexible plastic with a carbon fiber-like weave appearance.
I assume it is not truly carbon fiber as the material is more flexible than I would expect from real carbon fiber.
The knuckle protector consists of two sections instead of the more typical single piece, which makes the gloves more comfortable and easier to fold and stow in small spaces.
Moving forward to the fingers, the first three fingers are covered on top with an extra patch of leather, which is white in the case of the black and white gloves.
On the first knuckle of the index and middle fingers are rubberized protectors while the second knuckles are protected with a button of Keprotec backed by a stiff base that appears to be some type of plastic.
The ring finger uses the same Keprotec protectors on both knuckles. The little finger gets by with an extra layer of leather, black in this case, with one foam padding backed Keprotec protector.
The thumb gets an additional leather patch and padded leather protectors over the knuckle joints.
More Keprotec is present over the heel of the hand as well as the base of the thumb. These spots are backed with soft foam padding.
Two more longish pads like this are present on the lateral side of the wrist and ulna.
Rounding out the armor bits is a thick plastic protector over the pisiform bone. I have to say that for my hands, Roadgear really nailed the position of these protectors, as they seem to fall in just the right places, which improves comfort.
This very comprehensive roster of protective bits is balanced by the fact most of them are of the flexible variety.
While this may sacrifice ultimate impact protection like that find in a full-on racing glove, the level of protection here is still impressive for a street glove, especially one offering the level of comfort which we'll look at next.
As I alluded to above, the comfort of the Cheetah gloves belies their appearance, which is covered with protectors.
Details like the two-piece knuckle protector and semi-rigid backing on many of the Keprotec areas make these gloves feel more like touring than sport gloves.
Nylon fabric lines the interior of the gauntlet as well as the upper portion of the remaining interior.
The palm and the lower (grip facing side) of the finger boxes is unlined to provide a more tactile feel at the control surfaces, while the thumb is actually fully lined.
The lining makes the gloves easy to slip on and off and also helps keep a thin breathable space between the rider's skin and the leather shell of the glove. This is important as there are no vents or perforations on the Cheetah gloves.
That being the case, the liner and the cut of the gloves still allow for use on warmer days.
Roadgear recommends the Cheetah gloves for use in temperatures from 60-90 F (15-32 C) and I would agree. In fact, I wear mine down to temperatures close to 40 F (4.5 C) in conjunction with the heated grips on my bike.
When the temps do get into 90 F (32 C) and above range, I will typically switch to a dedicated summer glove.
However, I have ridden this past summer wearing the Cheetah gloves and even in higher temperatures, my hands never felt hot and sweaty.
The lining does help a bit in managing temperature and air flow, but I also feel the fit has a hand in this (pun intended).
The Roadgear Cheetah gloves have a slightly generous fit. It is hard to describe exactly, but I wear a size medium in many gloves including Joe Rocket and Alpinestars to name a couple and those have a snug fit for me.
The fit of the Cheetah gloves is just a bit loose, but not to the point of being sloppy.
My fingertips (and thumb) can all reach the end of the finger boxes but the box width allows a bit of air space around the skin.
Likewise, the palm area is generous enough to allow outstretching of all the fingers and thumb without reducing the mobility of the thumb.
This can be a contentious issue that I’ve run into on other gloves that end up restricting finger and thumb movement.
As one may have surmised, my Cheetah gloves are a size medium and they fit me like I expect a medium to fit. I have long thin fingers which might explain the slightly looser feel to the finger boxes, but the length is perfect for me.
They are a closer fit than my previous summer gloves from Roadgear, the Carbon Maxx gloves. Those gloves felt a little large, as if they were nearly a half size over what I expect a medium to fit like.
Roadgear also does a good job of catering to a wide variety of riders, sizes of riders that is, by offering sizes from XS all the way up to XXXL. That’s quite a variation!
The Cheetah gloves have become my new “go to” gloves for daily riding. The mix of protection and comfort beat my old (and now discontinued) favorites, the original Joe Rocket Highside gloves.
And the Cheetah gloves go one better by upping the ante with more comprehensive protection.
The only nit I can pick is that lately the Keprotec material has started “tufting”, leaving fine stray threads atop the protectors. This has been easily remedied by a fabric groomer, however, after which they look nearly new again.
These gloves could be mistaken for racing gloves at first glance but I feel that most riders, including me, would want a thicker and more substantial (and likely less comfy) pair of gloves for regular track duty.
This is not a knock against the Cheetah glove but rather proof that Roadgear hit its target by making a very good glove for the sport/sport touring street rider.
Over the months I have worn them, I really haven’t given them much thought -- in a good way. They just do their job without complaint or do anything to prevent good feel at the controls even after hours on long rides.
Finally, I’d say the asking price of $99.00 is just right for the what you get and this includes a two-year warranty as well.
This gets even better if you create a free account on the Roadgear website, as members will receive coupon codes for up to 25% off (or more) on occasion.
My Cheetah gloves were purchased using one of the specials and I’ve been very pleased with that purchase ever since.
From "A.R." (April 2016): "I will agree to most of your comments about the Cheetah gloves and I have a few of my own after owning them since about 2010 and probably 18,000 miles... (FYI they are now ready for replacement).
Here's my experience:
Firstly I did initially have some issues with fit to be aware of. The palms on my first pair were a little loose in a weird way and caused a "fold" or "crease" that you could feel when grabbing the grips.
Roadgear were kind enough to send a replacement pair without any hassle.
The fixed replacement pair (and first pair) also fit fairly tight upon first use but that was a good thing as they did stretch considerably and became much more comfortable over time, and are now quite comfortable.
I also noticed a fair bit of dye transfer that took quite a while (maybe a year or two of regular riding) to go away.
The first thing to go on the glove however was the rubber "mesh" on the palms. After about 3 years this grippy surface starts to come off and by about year 4 or 5 is about completely gone and exposes the backing (see pic below).
First it started to detach in places then eventually came completely off. I think this is the biggest weakness of the glove. they should remove the rubber grippy material and synthetic backing.
Instead, find a different way to get good grip on the palms. A different cut of leather perhaps?
They still work somewhat, just look and feel raggedy.
Also, the fabric underneath has started to detach from the leather as you can see. Also the pinkie knuckle non-leather fabric has blown out on one glove. It isn't functionally detrimental to the gloves; it just makes them look tattered.
Generally in my opinion they should have just gone with an all-leather approach for longer-term durability as this is the reason they are being replaced at this time.
Luckily the hook-and-loop has remained well intact (usually the long term Achilles heel of most gloves I have owned) and still works about as new as the day I got them despite probably thousands of uses.
Other than the durability issues, after all these years I do think they could use more ventilation.
I also (luckily) haven't crash tested them, so can't comment there but I think they would hold up fine in most situations on the road should you find yourself in that unfortunate predicament.
I liked the gloves but will probably try something else this time around to see what is out there with better ventilation and hopefully longer lasting.
Thanks for the review and I look forward to more.
(BTW, I take back the hook and loop comment...while it does still work well enough, it definitely doesn't have the grip it once did. perhaps everything has a useful life and these are now at the end.)"