by Bill C. for webBikeWorld.com
Teknic Speedstar gloves offer what is probably the latest and greatest thinking for motorcycle race gloves.
They fit my slim fingers and although they're snug, they are comfortable because of the extra care taken on the lining and internal stitching.
We've always been impressed with Teknic motorcycle clothing and accessories and we even gave the Teknic Sprint Jacket and Pants our "Men's Motorcycle Clothing of the Year" award in December of 2006.
Teknic is a different type of motorcycle clothing manufacturer.
They seem to have realized the importance of distinguishing themselves from the competition and of avoiding the pitfalls of commoditization by developing some unique products.
Now it's not enough to be unique just for the sake of being, well, unique.
Any product designed for motorcycle use must be functional, and Teknic seems to live in the sweet spot when it comes to unique but functional designs.
By the way, Teknic's design philosophy and many of their products seem similar to those of Rev'it, another one of our favorite motorcycle apparel manufacturers.
Rev'it claims to have real motorcyclists on their engineering staff roster and I'll bet Teknic does also. Both companies have a knack for innovative products that are truly useful to motorcyclists.
The Teknic Touch is obvious on the newly redesigned te hand protection...and that's all of us, right?
In fact, the Speedstar gloves can be favorably compared to any other "full-on" race glove we've reviewed (see the wBW Motorcycle Glove Reviews page for the full list) for protection and comfort.
One thing's for sure: the Speedstars are definitely more comfortable (and about $125.00 cheaper) than the $300.00 Hurt Schizo race gloves we reviewed not too long ago.
Gloves is gloves, and when you get right down to it, all motorcycle race gloves look about the same. But the one thing that sets the Speedstar gloves apart though is Teknic's so-called "Airblade" movable knuckle protection and venting system.
The Airblade is a sort of airfoil that floats above the knuckles, attached over the top of the knuckle armor with a couple of hex screws. It hits all the right buttons: it's cool-looking, it protects and it allows lots of air in to the gloves.
The air is guided through the Airblade and into a flexible vented area that widens as the rider's hand bends to grip the handlebars.
Flexibility in this region is crucial for comfort, as we discovered with the Hurt Schizo gloves, which are so painful in that area that they're basically unusable.
The Teknic Speedstar gloves are lined on the inside from the knuckles back and an extra section of padding is sewn inside as a buffer against the hard knuckle armor.
There are other bits of padding and even "memory foam" strategically placed in wear and flex points on the gloves.
The fingers are protected with little sections of hard plastic external armor above each joint. Each section has a miniature front intake and rear exhaust vent. Cool -- both literally and figuratively!
Moving up the palm, the Kangaroo leather over the pinky continues up across the heel of the hand. It's all surrounded by double stitching and crisscrossed with single rows of stitching here and there for support.
Sticking up through the leather on the heel of the hand are two large plastic sliders that feel rather like the stuff used in knee sliders.
These sliders incorporate the Knox "Scaphoid Protection System" (patent pending), which is claimed to reduce the likelihood of scaphoid (i.e., wrist) injury.
"Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to scaphoid injuries because of the 'grab effect'", claims Knox in a June 7, 2006 press release.
"During any fall, the immediate reaction is to put out the hand, with the palm down. In many cases, on contact with the road, the leather palm grips and the forward momentum carries the body over the palm, either breaking or increasing the likely hood of a stress fracture of the scaphoid.
"The Knox Scaphoid Protection System consists of two carefully shaped polypropylene panels placed on the palm of the glove. This eliminates the Ďgrab effectí and allows the outstretched hand to slide along at the same speed as the rest of the riderís body..."
The upper palm features another section of black dyed Kangaroo leather, below the ends of the fingers.
This helps protect against wear from holding on to the motorcycle hand grips and this section is also bordered by double stitches and crisscrossed with single rows.
That piece of Kangaroo extends around the outside of the thumb, to add some wear resistance and also some extra protection. The outside of the thumb is protected by padded knuckle patches.
I'm not 100% crazy about the two-piece wraparound "Cuff Safety Wrap System" gauntlet used on the Speedstar gloves; it's a bit clumsy to attach and I'm still not convinced that having the Velcro closure under the wrist is a good idea.
But this system does offer a thin, flexible cuff surrounding the wrist with the extra wear sleeve on top and two layers on the underside, so who knows.
Because these are real race gloves, they have an extra cinch strap that closes underneath the wrist, secured with Velcro and with an extra leather flap covering the strap.
Cinch the gloves up tight enough and you'd be hard pressed to pull the gloves off your hand, which is exactly the way it should be for race or street gloves.
They can't protect you if they fall of your hands in the crash.
The back of the gauntlet wrist protector has a couple of lumps of padding and large plastic sliders, one on the outside of the wrist and one on the inside.
Teknic says that the body and the palms of the Speedstar gloves are made from 0.8mm thick Kangaroo leather and the multiple sections of Kevlar have DuPont's approval for "correct use and function" of the material.
By the way, the knuckle and cuff protection is claimed to be provided by Knox and is TP2 rated.
Let's see, what else? Teknic also says the gloves have a "racer cut", which, according to their marketing collateral, means that the first and second fingers are straight and the third and fourth are pre-curved. I haven't noticed the difference, to be honest.
I do know that these gloves fit very tightly. I have what I would categorize as slender fingers and I have to really push 'n' pull to get these babies on. So anyone with thicker digits may not be able to fit -- try before you buy is the watchword here.
If they fit, the Teknic Speedstar gloves offer what is probably the latest and greatest thinking for motorcycle race gloves.
They do fit my slim fingers and although they're snug, they are comfortable because of the extra care taken on the lining and internal stitching.
I like having all of the protective features, even though I only ride on the street.
The ability of the Speedstar gloves to flow lots of air is an overall plus, but it's been very cold here lately and obviously the gloves are not designed for this type of weather. But that cold air that I can feel should be just the ticket come July.
Overall, I'd have to say that the Teknic Speedstar gloves are a winner.
I just came back from a winter trip to Florida and I brought the Speedstar gloves with me to try them out. They do seem to flow a lot of air, but the plastic protectors that also act as air vents over the second knuckle are a problem for me.
The gloves fit very tightly, especially around my knuckles and it hurts when I bend my fingers around the grips.
I have very thin fingers and the gloves are still very tight -- not sure what Teknic was thinking, but like Bill said, if your fingers are anything other than pencil thin, watch out.
I suggest you try these on first and make sure you bend your hand, preferably around a real handlebar grip as you're sitting on a bike. These gloves fit tight!
Also, the Kangaroo leather on the palms is nice, but feels very thin. It gives an incredible feel for the grips, but I just hope it holds up in a crash.
From "Rc51iwish" (3/09): "Got a chance to try them on, after seeing your initial test report. Iím a large glove/9 for fit. Bought the X- large size. Put 16 gram CO2 cartridges (larger size) in the fingers, and conditioned with Lexol.
Two weeks later they fit great and are so much better than the previous Speedstars, for hot Sacramento summers. Protection is excellent.
My first Speedstars, (2006) with Knox CE 2 armor, had problems with a loose Kevlar interior thread in two finger tips that really made them un-wearable, they were replaced without any questions.
Even though these are the best hot weather racing kangaroo glove Iíve found, Iíll be buying the stretch Kevlar glove this year from Motoport."
From "K": "I wish I had found your review of the Teknic Speedstar gloves before I bought them off e bay. I have small hands but my fingers are thick from years working on cars and bikes and everything else.
I did find a sort of solution for the narrow fingers. I soaked the gloves in warm water then pushed a few deep well sockets, about 1/2 times bigger then my fingers, into the fingers then let them dry. It stretched them out enough to wear the gloves with out pain. Thanks for all the info I have a feeling the next pair of gloves will fit well."