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 Rukka Vauhti gloves have "adventure tech" styling and a boatload of features that make them a contender.
The short-gauntlet glove body is topped off with Superfabric, carbon fiber and TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer) sliders and a Gore-Tex X-Trafit liner.
That's right -- the Vauhti gloves are waterproof!
While the Gore-Tex membrane may hinder overall air flow, there's no doubting the good looks, very comfortable fit and build quality of the Vauhti gloves.
First on the block for our 2013 Summer Motorcycle Glove Review Series: the Rukka Vauhti gloves.
Vauhti apparently means "speed, velocity or momentum" in the Finnish-to-English Google Translator. We've stopped second-guessing Rukka naming conventions and a product name is probably irrelevant anyway.
What's important is that the Vauhti gloves go a few steps beyond first appearances, and that's a good thing.
While these gloves may look like your everyday run-of-the-mill textile summer type, on second or third close inspection, you'll start to notice the not-so-subtle differences.
For example, what looks like flow-through textile isn't. Indeed, a Gore-Tex X-Trafit liner is the surprise here and it makes the Vauhti gloves waterproof, a feature not usually associated with this type of short textile glove.
There's more, of course, so let's take a closer look...
As we did with the Rukka R-Star winter gloves review, let's start right off with the webBikeWorld "Bucket Test". This is the make-it-or-break-it real-world test of any manufacturer's "waterproof" claim -- many have entered and a few have failed...
The webBikeWorld "Bucket Test" involves filling a bucket with ice-cold water and wearing the gloves while giving them a full dunking for 4 minutes to see what happens.
I'm happy to report that like their R-Star sibling, this pair of Vauhti gloves are indeed 100% waterproof.
That is to be expected, however, with the dual Rukka and Gore-Tex branding -- and the rather hefty $189.00 list price.
Gore-Tex guarantees these gloves are "Guaranteed to keep you dry" (their quote) so you can be sure that W.L. Gore and Associates is not going to let Rukka cut any corners (literally) when it comes to manufacturing.
When you first inspect the Vauhti gloves, you may not realize they're waterproof. If you don't want or need the waterproof capability, there are several other "lookalike" gloves coming up in our 2013 Summer Motorcycle Glove Review Series that should suit you just fine.
But we like this feature and think it adds quite a bit of value.
Might as well get this topic out of the way, right away also: the Gore-Tex membrane -- besides adding the waterproofing -- means that you're not going to get ultimate "flow through" ventilation with the Vauhti gloves.
Which, some might say, sort of defeats the purpose of a short summer glove.
But so far, in the limited amount of warm (read: lukewarm to cool) weather that's been the hallmark of Spring 2013, the Vauhti gloves are perfect.
Modern Gore-Tex membrane technology does work in the vast majority of riding conditions.
Moisture from the hands is indeed transferred to the outside of the membrane, where the thinness of the textile outer glove body helps to dissipate it because there's not much to block the air flowing over the glove from moving that moisture into the atmosphere.
And a bonus of the X-Trafit liner (X-Trafit is something akin to the mcFIT liner system; a minimal design for maximum flexibility in the tight confines of a glove) is the comfort it provides.
The Vauhti gloves just may be the most comfortable in this batch of eight in our Summer Motorcycle Glove Review Series.
The X-Trafit membrane and its associated interior attached lining keeps the stitches from fouling the hands and fingers and, when combined with the right-on sizing and excellent finger shaping, these are the short gloves to be wearing on those long hauls.
The Gore-Tex liner doesn't provide insulation per se, but the Vauhti gloves are surprisingly cozy even in cooler temperatures. The only thing that might be better?
Perhaps if Rukka had added an Outlast phase-change liner, which might help keep the hands warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Outlast works well, in my fairly extensive experience and I've become a big believer.
But the bottom line here is that the Vauhti gloves are waterproof per Rukka's claims, and that isn't something you might expect with what at first blush appears to be a minimal textile short-cuff summer glove.
The Gore-Tex membrane transfers moisture which, somewhat ironically, keeps the hands warmer when it's cooler and cooler when it's warmer.
Also the aforementioned Rukka R-Star gloves; the Rukka Lobster gloves (review) and the Rukka Argosaurus gloves (review), all of which had some surprising faults, I can now say that the Vauhti gloves are my favorite piece of Rukka gear.
Something about the combination of styling, features and overal build quality -- and comfort -- hits all the buttons for me and makes the Vauhti gloves what I would consider to be a true Rukka product; that is, what I expect from this company, given their reputation.
Now that may seem strange or even silly, but the Vauhti gloves do sort of pull quite a few disparate features together in a way that works.
And I really like what I call the "adventure tech" styling of the Vauhti gloves, and the overall build quality.
The gloves are very nicely styled and stitched together very nicely as well.
The various bits and pieces seem to be more than that hypothetical everyday pair of (cheaply bought and cheaply made) "summer" short-gauntlet textile gloves.
I especially like the bright green accent slices on this pair; the Vauhti gloves are also available in black and white, but this black/green/white -- which Rukka strangely calls "high viz" (it's not) is my cuppa tea.
The silver, the black and the green textile bits have a very interesting waffle or marbled pattern that, I hope, helps resist abrasion, at least a little bit. It all works and everything has been stitched together carefully on this pair.
The gloves are instantly comfortable also, due to the fit, the careful shaping of the fingers and that rather comfy lining.
The Vauhti gloves contain a mixture of leather and Cordura along with the Superfabric scaphoid sliders.
Superfabric knuckle protectors are also located on the tip and middle knuckles of the third and fourth fingers, where it's sewn on to separate leather "floating" pads.
TPE sliders are located on the first and second fingers, one on each and placed between the middle and base knuckles.
Overall, the leather and fabric feels slightly thin, so the Vauhti gloves may not provide the same levels of protection as heavy race gloves...but then again, they don't have the heavy feel of race gloves.
The light weight and good flexibility and tactility is the advantage here. The Vauhti gloves work very nicely as adventure-touring off-roading gloves, especially if rain is in the forecast.
The base knuckles are covered by a large carbon fiber protector, nicely padded underneath. The carbon fiber has a semi-matte sheen, which gives it a more purposeful look than gloss.
On the flip side, besides the Superfabric scaphoid sliders, the palm leather looks more like Clarino to me, but there's nothing about this in the Rukka Vauhti specifications, so we'll go with the "leather" that is listed there.
The Vauhti gloves shown here are size 10 and fit exactly as expected. I usually take a size large but I like just a tiny bit of room in my motorcycle gloves, to allow my hands some breathing space.
The Vauhti gloves are exceptionally comfortable in terms of sizing and fit when compared to the other seven gloves in this series.
Rukka gloves are usually sold in numerical sizes and the Vauhti gloves are available in a size range of 7 to 13.
The fingers are pre-curved and roomy enough, with the "two walls, floor and ceiling" construction technique giving plenty of room at the fingertips.
Again, the Gore-Tex X-Trafit liner and its thin fabric lining also have the effect of masking the stitches, giving a nice and smooth-feeling interior.
The lower Superfabric slider and the short gauntlet on the Vauhti gloves can make it a bit difficult to stuff under some types of jacket sleeve cuffs.
For example, like the beautiful Furygan "Fighter" leather jacket (review) we grabbed by chance off the rack to use for the "hands on" photos in the 2013 Summer Motorcycle Glove Review Series Preview.
But the Vauhti gloves will probably be worn with textile dual-sport style jackets, which have larger sleeve cuffs, so this shouldn't be much of an issue.
The single closure is a hook-and-loop strap across the inside of the wrist. The strap appears to be made from the TPE thermoplastic as the two sliders on the first and second fingers.
The strap is functional, and if correctly tightened it will more or less hold the gloves on the hand. But its location isn't optimal, pulling more on one side of the glove gauntlet than the other.
I think a strap across the back of the gauntlet would have been better and it appears that this would have been easy to do, based on the construction of the gloves.
But, this is Rukka, and we've come to expect a quirk or two in their products, so this checks the "quirk box" for the Vauhti gloves.
The Rukka Vauhti gloves are good-looking, stylish and surprisingly comfortable. They're also packed with a few features not usually associated with the short-gauntlet textile glove genre.
The addition of the Gore-Tex X-Trafit membrane makes the Vauhti gloves waterproof, also not something usually found in these type of gloves.
The membrane blocks direct air flow but it also helps transpire moisture, so it's a tradeoff and, we think, a good one.
The overall quality of the Vauhti gloves is excellent and the comfort level is definitely there, making these feel broken-in right out of the box. These gloves are especially useful for dual-sport adventures and I'd guess that's where they'll find an enthusiastic welcoming.
From "K.M." (August 2013): "I have no clue where I would turn for pre-purchase research, let alone simple gearhead reading, were it not for webBikeWorld.com.
There's simply no comparable offering on the 'net for solid, unbiased reviews. Ok, not totally unbiased, but when it's there, it's acknowledged.
On the author's first point beyond the introduction: I'm surprised these passed the webBikeWorld bucket test.
I was in search of a summer glove that could step in for my Roadgear Carbon Maxx gloves (review) during a summer rain storm; I'm not only an all-weather rider (except when snow or ice is present or expected), but I actually like riding in the rain!
I was so looking forward to these. I wore them a number of times in light rain, nothing more than spitting, really, and had no issues.
Then last week, I found myself riding from Boston to North Hampton, New Hampshire, when the skies opened up in a rain that was about as heavy as a summer storm can get in New England. Within about a half-hour, my hands were plenty wet. Now, in the summer wet hands won't get crazy-cold, but that soggy feeling is not real comfy.
I couldn't agree more on the ventilation vs. insulation statements.
They do their best, but when the heat is really on, there isn't much an ATGATT rider can do save sacrificing safety by peeling off gear. I'm guilty of this when it gets above 90, and realize it's just plain stupid.
But I just have to ride, and I'll accept the added high risk over the risk of heat stroke, which can creep up on you fast if you ignore the early signs; that would almost guarantee a crash, in my humble opinion.
On the features, gauntlet and fit, my experience with the first two mirrors the author's; on the latter, I found the fit perfect except the thumb is a little short. This is more me though, so I can't hold the manufacturer to it.
Gore-Tex guarantees waterproof performance, so I'll hit them first, or both them and Rukka simultaneously for some mitigation of my soggy experience. With this resolved, these gloves would be a huge hit with me."
Editor's Note: Very strange about the waterproof issue, the Vauhti gloves definitely passed the "Bucket Test" here. Are you sure the water didn't get in through the gauntlet? In any case, this will be a good test for the Gore-Tex "Guaranteed to Keep You Dry" promise...