Many motorcycle gloves now come with pads on the index finger so the gloves can be used with touchscreen such as smartphones, GPS units and MP3 players.
Touchscreen sensors detect a tiny electrical charge transferred to the finger which completes a circuit and drops the voltage at that point on the screen, activating the button’s function.
While your finger will conduct electricity, most glove materials won’t.
Touchscreen-sensitive gloves feature an electrical conductive material in the finger tips.
However, you can quickly and cheaply convert any of your favourite gloves into touchscreen gloves.
We’ve come across two motorcycle products that do this, but there may be more: GloveTacts, Farkle Fingers.
GloveTacts are thin faux-suede stickers that go on the index finger and/or thumbs because many people use their thumbs for texting.
They are claimed to stick to “almost any glove”, old or new, so long as they are cleaned first. I’ve tried them and they do stick.
However, they pulled off my index finger with clutch use, so I switched to the thumb.
After just a few short uses, they stopped working.
I have contacted the company for comment.
A pack of two costs $US10 plus postage.
They are made of AX Suede Connect which uses organic compounds that mimic how the skin interacts with touch-screen electronics.
Farkle Fingers from Adaptiv Technologies are different.
They are little pouches that go over the fingers or thumbs of your glove. One side is made of stretchy nylon and the other is a conductive material.
They are claimed to be one-size-fits-all, so we tested them on thick XXL winter gloves and thin XS summer gloves.
As you would expect they are a little tight on the thicker gloves, but not uncomfortable.
They are a little loose on the summer gloves but not loose enough to come off.
They come with a convenient small tab on the inside to help pull them on.
Once in place, you don’t have to keep putting them on every time you take your gloves off and put them back on.
However, we did find velcro fasteners on gloves can accidentally grab the Farkle Fingers and dislodge them when you are putting your gloves on or taking them off.
Otherwise, the little glove puppets stayed in place on both hands even when working the levers and throttle.
Farkle Fingers are quite thin and don’t affect your finger sensitivity on the levers.
A pack of four costs $US20 and the advantage is you can swap them from your winter to summer gloves with the change of seasons.
If you want to do it yourself, you could buy some conductive thread and sew a few stitches on to the finger tips, but it is not always very effective or accurate.
You could also try Any Glove or Nanotips which are a black liquid that you paint on to the fingertips.
It takes a long time to dry, but once it’s on, it is claimed to be waterproof and will not wash off.
Even the USArmy uses Any Glove on their combat gloves, so it must be tough.
However, it will wear off in a few weeks and need reapplying.
A bottle of AnyGlove costs $US20 and $15 for Nantips which is contains enough for about 30 applications.
The accuracy of any of these products will never be as good as your finger because a glove is fatter than your fingertip and the touchscreen may get confused about what button you are touching.
While some touchscreen functions can be quickly and safely performed while riding, we advise that anything complex such as texting be done when you stop. At least now, you won’t have to remove your gloves first which is great for convenience and in cold weather!