The VQuattro Squadra gloves are the company's top-of-the-line offering for 2012.
The Squadra gloves incorporate all of the excellent features found in the VQuattro Lazio gloves (review), plus a very unobtrusive battery-operated heating system.
The price is actually not out of line with other battery or wired heated motorcycle gloves, but you also get CE-approved safety, a waterproof and breathable liner, the mcFIT membrane attachment system and more.
Also, the construction quality and styling is second to none.
Please read the VQuattro gloves review introduction for more information on the technologies and features incorporated into VQuattro gloves and the background on the company.
The Lazio gloves are the top-of-the-line leather heated gloves in the VQuattro 2012 lineup.
In addition to the Primaloft ONE insulation and mcFIT waterproof/breathable liner attachment system (described in the introduction), the Squadra gloves are made completely from very soft goat leather.
Goat leather is claimed to be lighter weight and more abrasion resistant than cow hide. It is certainly softer and the Lazio gloves need no break-in.
The Squadra gloves also have the MCTECH Corporation "atadate" heating technology, described below.
The Squadra gloves have the same high-quality construction and styling found in the other VQuattro gloves. The hand portion of the gloves is nearly identical to the Lazio gloves, with the exception of the knuckle protector, which is covered in leather on the Squadra gloves.
The Squadra gloves also feature the Primaloft ONE insulation and mcFIT waterproof/breathable liner attachment system (described in the VQuattro gloves review introduction).
The gauntlet on the Squadra gloves is different; it's made from textile with a nice cross-hatched fabric on the top side of the outer wrist. The gauntlet also has an inner pocket to hold the Li-ion battery for the heating system.
The Squadra gloves have the MCTECH Corporation "atadate" [sic] heating element system. It is one of the lightest and most unobtrusive wireless heating systems we've seen to date.
A small lithium-ion battery fits into a pocket in the gauntlet of the Squadra gloves (photo below). The battery measures 53 mm by 35 mm wide and it's only 10 mm thick. It weighs 49 grams and has an attached connector.
The gloves come with two batteries (one for each glove) and each battery is rated at 2300 mAh, 3.7 Volts and 8.51 Watts. They are labeled as made in Korea. The battery life is rated at 3 hours at 60 C and 4 hours at 45 C. So far, the batteries have lasted for over 3 hours of riding without discharging on our gloves.
VQuattro also provides a nice charger with universal electrical outlet modules for anywhere in the world. It took about 4 hours to initially charge both batteries.
When the batteries are charged, the connector cord attached to the battery is plugged to a connector inside the battery pocket in the gauntlet of the gloves. Press the "whirlpool" logo and hold for a couple of seconds and two red LED lights will flash and the power is turned on for the heating elements at 60 C and both red LEDs are lighted.
Press again to reduce the temperature to 45 C and one LED remains lighted. Press again and hold to turn off the system; it will blink goodbye a couple of times and then power down. It takes about 5 minutes for the fingers to warm up; they don't get super-hot, but depending on your sensitivity, they should be warm enough to keep out the chill. Some of our evaluators found the high setting too hot after a few minutes while others didn't.
One of the unique features of the heating system in the Squadra gloves -- besides its inconspicuous appearance -- is that the heating elements are concentrated in the fingertips, rather than the glove body. This makes sense when you think about it, as the fingertips usually get cold and if they're warmed, the warmth will spread to the rest of the hands.
The heating elements can't really be felt in the fingertips; in fact, the gloves feel pretty much like any other quality winter glove. But turn on the heater and after a few minutes you can feel the warmth spread from the fingertips up along the tops of the fingers.
The 60 C setting can get too warm, at least in the mild winter temperatures we've had so far. The secondary 45 C setting is probably all that is required.
We think the heating system on the Squadra gloves is the best we've experienced so far. It's much more convenient than a wired heating system (does anyone still use those?) and the system is so unobtrusive and streamlined in the gloves that it's difficult to know it's there.
The VQuattro gloves are made in numbered sizes, and our Squadra gloves are labeled as a size XXL/11. They fit about like a size XL, so apparently the gloves are about one size smaller than listed. The finger length is correct to the XL size although the thumb length on these feels more like an XXL.
Men's gloves usually run about 9.5 to 10.25 for a size L and 10.5 to 11.0 for an XL, although different manufacturers may shade this one way or another.
Each of us normally wear a size large glove of around 9.5 to 10.0 and these fit just about perfectly, with a touch of room in the fingertips to allow enough room for the hands on the grips. The next size up would be too big and the next size down would probably be too small.
The Squadra gloves are designed for winter or cold-weather riding, so they're not ventilated. The waterproof and breathable membrane and the liner material do a good job at eliminating sweat.
The mcFIT liner attachment system, described in the introduction, works to keep the liner in place when the hands are removed from the gloves, although the membrane works well enough that our hands never got damp enough to worry about this problem.
The construction and the features of the Squadra gloves are similar to the rest of the VQuattro lineup and very similar to the Lazio gloves.
This includes the flattened accordion pleats on the first three fingers, between the main and middle knuckles. These are very nicely constructed with perfect rows of stitching.
The fingers of the Squadra gloves also have the touring style "box" construction, with two "walls" joined in the front and a "ceiling" and "floor". This provides plenty of wiggle room for the fingers and, when it's constructed properly, is the most comfortable fit.
Overall, the Squadra gloves are very comfortable, with the combination of the soft goat leather, Primaloft insulation and overall fit. The pre-curved fingers also help make the gloves feel comfortable and also to prevent bunching in the palms when gripping the handlebars. The knuckle protector and sliders are nicely shaped and very unobtrusive when riding.
The gauntlets on the Squadra gloves are slightly oversize to accommodate the battery. They are constructed from textile and are nicely sewn on to the body of the glove.
The gauntlet has the standard hook-and-loop fastener and there's enough length on the strap to secure it tightly. The gloves also have a secondary wrist security strap underneath, also a hook-and-loop type that runs through a square D-ring on the inside of the wrist.
The D-ring is attached with a leather strap. Once the wrist strap is tightened, the gloves can't be removed until the strap is loosened, even if the gauntlet isn't closed, which is just as it should be for security.
The Squadra gloves have an unbranded waterproof and breathable liner, attached using the mcFIT system. The gloves were waterproof in our "bucket test" (wearing the gloves while holding them under water for several minutes). So apparently the mcFIT system works, at least with regard to maintaining waterproof integrity.
This is more than can be said for some of the other "waterproof" gloves we've reviewed, some of which have leaked through the seams where the membrane attaches to the glove -- precisely the problem that the mcFIT system is designed to overcome.
The VQuattro Squadra gloves are very comfortable and they have the added benefit of wireless heat in the fingertips.
They meet the CE 13594 standard and they have decent, if not extensive, hard protection. The styling, fit, comfort and overall construction quality of these gloves is outstanding and difficult to beat.
The price is roughly comparable to the Gerbings Hybrid battery heated gloves (review), but the Squadra gloves are better looking, have CE approval, the mcFIT membrane attachment system and a much more streamlined appearance with an almost unnoticeable battery and heating system.
We can highly recommend the VQuattro Squadra heated gloves for your winter motorcycle riding adventures!
|wBW Review: VQuattro Squadra Motorcycle Gloves|
|Manufacturer: VQuattro Design||List Price: 279€|
|Colors: Black.||Made In: Unknown|
|Sizes: M (8); L (9); XL (10); XXL (11); XXXL (12).||Review Date: February 2012|
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