by Bill C. for webBikeWorld.com
Although I'm partial to wearing motorcycle racing style gloves with the highest levels of protection, I'm also a realist.
I realize that there are some motorcyclists who either wear no gloves at all (very foolish, in my opinion) or who can't afford or don't want a $175.00+ pair of high-end gloves.
Also, most motorcycle racing gloves can become very hot when the weather turns even the slightest bit warm.
And I'd be the first one to agree that race gloves don't really fit the cruiser image.
With that in mind, I set out to look through the myriad selection of motorcycle gloves that are available at just about any local or online dealer to find a reasonably priced pair with good hot-weather characteristics.
Tourmaster is a familiar name in motorcycle apparel, and my experience with their products has been positive.
They have a nice variety of functional and reasonably priced clothing and motorcycle accessories that are also stylish and have good quality.
For example, Tourmaster's Cortech overpants have been a staple of the line for years and are still one of my favorites.
Thanks to the various international trade agreements and the vibrant global economy, there are literally dozens of different brands and styles of motorcycle gloves from which to choose.
Any decent motorcycle dealer will probably have several flavors of basic vented leather gloves on display.
But these Tourmaster Summer Elite Vented gloves caught my attention, mostly because of the very secure fitting leather closure around the wrist.
This is one feature that motorcycle glove manufacturers (especially the makers of the inexpensive varieties) seem to have a hard time figuring out.
No matter how thick or protective the glove, if it flies off your hand during a crash, it's worthless.
And I've seen it happen also. Not to get into the gory details, but an acquaintance once hit a deer at about 70 mph on a local Interstate highway, and among many other problems, one of his gloves instantly came off in the crash.
Of course, this isn't to say that a good wrist closure is all that's necessary for protection.
There are many different qualities and features that make a good glove, and it's certain that the Tourmaster Summer Elite gloves do not have the highest quality leather, padding or stitching to offer anything more than the most basic (barely) level of protection.
But they're probably better than no gloves at all, and when the weather turns ultra hot and sticky, as it often does here in the Mid Atlantic in July and August, these gloves may be a solution.
The wrist closure on the Summer Elite gloves just have a nice feel -- the gloves can be securely fastened around the wrist using the wide Velcro closure, and the wrist flap is in just the right spot.
They actually feel like they add some support to my wrists when tightened, which is comfortable, especially on long rides.
I normally take a size large men's glove, as my hands measure about 8.5" around the knuckles. But I've also discovered that 8.5" is about on the borderline between a medium and a large on many glove manufacturer's sizing charts.
Some of the size large gloves have fingers that are too long for me, and I don't like the extra space at the tips of my fingers when I'm riding -- for some reason, it drives me nuts.
I've found that I can fit into most medium sized gloves, and since leather quickly stretches and assumes the shape of the owner's hands, this has worked out much better for me.
The size medium Tourmaster gloves are slightly difficult to fit over the widest part of my hand (the palm), especially if my hands are sweaty, but once they're on, they fit very comfortably.
Tourmaster claims that the back side of the gloves is made from Pittards goat skin, and the palm side is made from Japanese cow hide.
The gloves are actually very comfortable and have a large number of perforations on the back side, allowing about as much air to flow through as is possible.
The back of the knuckles have minimal padding and there is an extra leather patch over the heel of the palm with a touch of padding included there also.
The box-section fingers have solid leather wrapped over the tips and a few ventilation holes on the underside, but since this part of the hand is protected from the wind, they don't add much to the volume of air flow.
The Tourmaster Elite Vented gloves offer a minimal amount of protection and padding but with maximum air flow. They're comfortable and nicely made and the leather is soft and flexible.
The design of the wrist closure should ensure that the gloves remain on the hands during a crash, although the thin leather would probably abrade through very quickly.
The price is reasonable and the gloves are also available in a non-vented version (style #83-631) and in women's vented and non-vented sizes.