Also: All wBW Rukka Glove Reviews
The Rukka Imatra gloves pretty much have it all.
Gore-Tex? Check. That means they're 100% guaranteed waterproof.
Leather? Check. Nice 'n' soft. Doubled on the middle knucks.
Knuckle protection? Check. Nice big carbon fiber unit over the mains and TPU cover the first three fingers.
Scaphoid palm slider? Check.
Secure wrist strap and large gauntlet? Check and check.
And the bonus: Outlast. I'm a big Outlast fan because the stuff works. Warmer in winter and cooler in, well, almost summer.
Also included are touchscreen-sensitive fingertips on the forefinger and thumb.
A smallish visor wiper on both the left and right forefingers and -- in the only faux pas -- a strangely non-functional finger connector between the pinky and third finger of both hands.
The sizing is nice and roomy and the Imatra gloves aren't too bulky (but you know they're for hard-core weather). They're comfortable as heck and if your hands get cold in these, it's time for a heated pair.
Bottom line? The Rukka Imatra gloves are the nicest pair of winter motorcycle gloves I've tried in a long time. Downside? 249 smackolas. But -- dare I say? -- worth it.
The Rukka Imatra gloves are new for 2014 and just in time, as what was a beautiful summer and fall has suddenly turned into a nasty winter. Riding a motorcycle below 10 C/50 F just is no longer all that much fun for me, sorry to say, due to old and tired bones.
But, I have to admit, modern motorcycle clothing is light years better than it was when we first started reviewing the stuff back 15 years ago.
There's no longer a need to wear layers of waffle "Long Johns", sweaters, vests and the rest. If you really want to ride in winter, this is where money buys you comfort and flexibility; spend it wisely for an ultra winter outfit and you'll be much better off.
Warmer and more comfortable. Protected from the wind. And the gear should last for years, if not decades -- cheap, when you amortize it.
The Imatra gloves are a good example. Yep, they're expensive, as you'd expect with the Rukka brand. But these gloves have everything you need until you get down to actually needing electricity for warmth. And if you consistently need that, you're a harder-core rider than I.
Heated grips? Fuhgeddaboudit. Remember my saying: "Heated grips heat your grips; heated gloves heat your hands." If your winter gloves are any good, the insulation is going to keep the heat from the grips from reaching your hands anyway, right?
And even if some heat does seep through, the backs of your hands will be cold.
That's why I think heated grips are, for the most part, a waste of time. I know -- controversial, eh? That's me. But try a pair of good battery heated glove (reviews) (or wired gloves, if you have the patience to mess with them) if you really want warm hands.
I've owned 4 bikes with heated grips and almost never used them. The grips, that is.
Anyway, the point here is that the Imatra gloves, working with the Gore-Tex windproof liner and the Outlast insulation, should do you down to any reasonable riding temp. Below that, get a heated pair.
First, let's check the waterproof claim. The Rukka Imatra gloves have a Gore-Tex liner, which makes them waterproof and breathable.
We put them through the webBikeWorld "Bucket Test", filling a bucket with ice-cold water and holding them under (while wearing them) for 4 minutes to see what would happen.
As we expected with the Gore-Tex guarantee, the gloves are completely waterproof. The leather will soak it up but nothing gets through.
I'm a big fan of Outlast, the "space age" material that pulls heat from your body when it's warm and releases it when its cold. And when I say "space age", I mean it: Outlast is a NASA spinoff product, originally developed to keep astronauts' hands and feet warm without bulk.
The Editor is an Outlast fan also; he still swears by his Roadgear Adaptive-Tec gloves (review) that he wears in a variety of weather conditions.
I know it sounds like fiction (science, of course) but it works. The "microencapsulated phase change materials" are some type of waxy substance in the insulation that pulls heat from the hands when warm and releases it when cold.
I don't know how or why, but I like it.
Of course, it's not like an added heat source. And it's not always readily apparent. It's not like you'll suddenly feel warmth or cold. But you will notice that your hands feel "normal" in different weather conditions.
Outlast is the true Goldilocks product; not too warm, not too cold but just right.
For the Imatra gloves, the Gore-Tex is a plus and the big bonus is the Outlast.
The Imatra gloves are mostly leather and it's the super-soft type like the leather found in the Rukka R-Star gloves (review) we reviewed exactly one year ago, going into last year's nasty winter.
Like the R-Star gloves, the soft leather in the Imatra gloves feels like dress gloves leather and it makes them feel completely broken in right from the start. The Imatra gloves also have a nice, boxy cut in the fingers, which gives plenty of room.
The lining on the inside is also very soft and all told, the Imatra gloves are among the most comfortable winter gloves I've tried.
The Imatra gloves are also very nicely made. There's not much one could point to that defines the difference, but you'll notice as soon as you pull them out of the bag that these are a quality piece (as they should be at this price!).
The fingertips use the same "two walls, ceiling and floor" construction technique found on the R-Star gloves, which is appropriate for this type of touring/street glove and gives plenty of room in the fingertips, despite the added insulating layer and the Gore-Tex membrane.
And in another bonus, the tips of the forefinger and thumb on both the left and right have the special touch-sensitive material that allows the gloves to be used with cell phones and other touchscreen devices.
Although it's harder to touch those tiny fonts with the big fingertips...
We've reviewed almost all of the Rukka motorcycle gloves in the last couple of years and can say with confidence that the sizes run pretty true. The gloves shown here are a size 10 and that's exactly how they fit. I'd call it a slightly large size large; my hands measure for a size 9.5 glove and these 10's fit with a bit of extra room.
This again is similar to what we found in the Rukka R-Star gloves. The fingers in the Imatra gloves feel proportional however, neither too long nor too short.
The main knuckle protector on the Imatra gloves is a beautiful carbon fiber piece. It's wide enough to feel comfortable and it has the right contours. It does not sit on a floating section over the gloves, yet it's still very comfortable due to its design.
There's no SuperFabric on the Imatra gloves; instead there are large TPU sliders on the scaphoid/heel area. It wraps around the side of the hand and it's set on a separate section of leather that is sewn to the body of the gloves.
The finger protection on the Imatra gloves is much better than the R-Star gloves.
The first three fingers of each hand have a TPU slider over the tip knuckles and extra leather sections over the middle knuckles.
The absence of a hard slider over the middle knuckles shouldn't be much of an issue with the extra leather and the benefit is more flexibility in the hands -- crucial for winter riding. And, as we know, flexibility means comfort.
The palm has an extra section of leather sewn over the wear points and the thumb also has some extra leather with a TPU protector on top.
One Rukka safety feature is the underside wrist strap, which can be secured very tightly on the Imatra gloves to keep the gloves on the hand.
It's nicely designed on these gloves and the hook-and-loop is long enough so that the strap end doesn't hang off the side of the wrist like it does on too many poorly designed pair.
The gauntlet on the Imatra gloves is yet another improvement over last year's R-Star gloves. Could it be that Rukka is actually listening to us? I'd like to think so, because we've noticed several improvements recently based on webBikeWorld critiques of Rukka clothing.
For example, the Rukka Armaxis jacket review noted several improvements over previous similar Rukka jackets we reviewed. So there is indeed hope!
The gauntlet on the Imatra gloves is big enough and wide enough and has a separate section of leather that covers the top and wraps around the outer part of the wrist to secure with hook-and-loop underneath. No zippers on this one, thank goodness!
Bottom line? Nice gauntlet, works well, protects and no complaints.
Rukka added a visor wiper to the forefinger on both gloves, but as you can see in the photos, like the R-Star gloves, it's still very short.
Also, the thumb of the Imatra gloves also has the complex accordion pleat in the leather, which is a nice design detail, probably difficult to sew and works well.
The reflective material -- if it is that -- used in the piping on the Imatra gloves doesn't "pop" at all in the camera's flash, so not sure what's up with that.
One problem I will note with the connected pinky and third finger, the connector strip made of leather is too wide, so it doesn't really keep the fingers together the way it should. Don't know how that got by the design staff...
The Rukka Imatra gloves are the Finnish company's best yet. They are very nicely made and very warm. This pair has also proven to be completely waterproof and just as warm when wet as when they're dry.
Like other Rukka gloves we've reviewed, the quality of the leather and the construction of the Imatra gloves is first rate. Somehow, without a lot of fancy design features, the Imatra gloves really look the business and impart an overall look and feel of very high quality.
Bottom line is that these are very nice, warm and dry winter motorcycle gloves.
The Outlast lining is a real and practical bonus. Again, if these don't keep you warm, then probably nothing short of heated gloves will.
Yes, like other Rukka gear, the price is high. But in this case, commensurate with the quality and performance I think.
Noting that the Editor's relatively cheap Roadgear gloves see a lot of use and have lasted going on 8 years now, the Rukka Imatra gloves may very well last as long as you're able to still climb on board a motorcycle.