HMK designs and sells outdoor gear, specializing in winter sports like snowmobiling.
The company recently started developing a line of motorcycle-related products.
The small lineup includes motorcycle gloves and some crossover products such as protectors, backpacks and goggles.
There are even a few HMK-branded off-road helmets now available.
HMK is an established name in the winter sports and snowmobiling markets and success with the new motorcycle gear could mean an expansion of the lineup.
The HMK motorcycle gloves are specific to this sport and not simply re-branded snowmobile gloves.
Their glove selection currently consists of the top-of-the-line “Intimidator” gloves we’re reviewing here, with a list price of $119.95.
Next is the “Pusher” gloves at $99.95 list; the “Contraband” gloves at $79.95 and the short-gauntlet “Team” gloves rounding out the lineup at $49.95.
All of these gloves are made with goat leather.
The outer shell of the Intimidator gloves is made almost entirely from leather, while the rest of the lineup includes goat leather in varying degrees, mixed with other protective textiles including Kevlar.
All of the current HMK gloves can be classified as “street/sport” types, designed for comfort and protection in the real world.
If it looks like you’ve seen the Intimidator gloves before — or portions thereof — that’s because you probably have.
But, that could be said for just about any pair of motorcycle gloves in this price range.
So I was a bit underwhelmed when they first arrived and I pulled them on over my mitts.
They feel pretty stiff at first, but after about three rides, the goat leather started to soften; that’s one of the nice features of goat skin.
Goat leather feels thinner than thick cow hide and it has a sort of natural resiliency that, when combined with the thinness, usually makes for a comfortable glove after break-in.
We had a second unworn pair here and just for fun, I pulled them out of the bag and put them on and I can immediately tell the difference between the new pair and the worn pair. The latter is “glove soft”.
So don’t despair when you first pull the Intimidator gloves over your hands and they feel stiff.
The best thing you can do with them is go for a ride and you’ll probably be amazed at the difference post-break-in.
The Intimidator Difference
Granted, the Intimidator gloves seem a bit generic in both looks and features.
But there’s one feature that does make a big difference and it’s something I didn’t even notice at first: the accordion pleats.
Many different motorcycle gloves have pleats; some are more successful than others at doing what they’re supposed to do, and that’s making the glove more flexible as your hands bend and move.
The Intimidator gloves have a huge accordion pleated section over what it probably the most important area on the glove for flexibility: the main thumb joint.
This pleated section covers the entire width of the base of the thumb and the length almost up to the middle joint of the thumb.
It provides a large amount of flexibility in this crucial area — something missing from too many motorcycle gloves at any price.
There are also accordion pleated sections on every finger, although these miss the actual middle knuckle due to the foam-backed padding over that joint.
But the pleats (4 on each finger) add flexibility to the length between the middle finger knuckles and the fingertips.
So the important difference with the Intimidator gloves that might not be recognizable at first glance is the generous use of those accordion pleats.
They really do make a difference in comfort, especially after the gloves are worn a few times and the leather gets past the break-in stage.
Stitching and Construction
The stitching on the Intimidator gloves is the typical mix of single, double and hidden.
The overall quality of the stitching is very good, with just a couple of tiny and hopefully minor loose threads here and there.
Most of the seams around the fingers have hidden or inner folded stitching so the threads aren’t exposed.
The outer portion of the fourth finger has a single narrow strip of leather that requires two seams, one towards the palm and one towards the top of the hand.
This construction bothers me a bit because of the two seams and there’s no other protection or slider on this outer section. I’d like to see either an extra section of leather or some type of hard slider here.
Otherwise, the gloves seem to be nicely constructed with adequate stitching and attention to detail on how the leather sections are assembled, which appear to be mostly done to avoid having a seam at an initial impact point.
There are small sections of extra leather double-stitched over the palm and between the thumb and forefinger to help prevent wear.
Also, the large main knuckle protector is double-stitched on to the floating “bridge” and the bridge is attached with single hidden seams on either side of the top of the glove.
The fingers use the “box” type construction, which gives adequate room for the fingers. The finger construction is tapered, so it can be a tight fit at first but this becomes looser after break-in.
The padded sections over the fingers don’t seem to do much but the leather covering the padding is placed under the leather of the fingers and the stitching goes from the outer finger leather down through the pads.
I’m not sure how good that is as a construction method and if the padding really does anything other than add some style.
But this seems to be a fairly common construction method on many street gloves that don’t include hard protectors.
The Intimidator gloves do have a very good security system, with a wrist strap under the wrist that attaches with hook-and-loop.
There’s a separate section of leather that locates over the top of the end of the strap for added protection and the wrist is tapered with a “Coke bottle” shape, including some elastic.
The wrist diameter feels tight at first but this is important to help keep the gloves on the hands.
Once the wrist strap is tightened, the Intimidator gloves feel like they will remain in place; I can not pull the gloves off even with quite a bit of force. That’s a good feature, in case you’re wondering!
In fact, this type of wrist security is an important safety feature that is indeed often missing from gloves in the mid-price range.
So if you’re comparing gloves, be sure to check for adequate wrist security or you’re comparing apples to oranges, no matter the price.
There are no hard protectors on the Intimidator gloves; there is a (very) large rubbery-type main knuckle protector on top.
It’s the “floating” style and it has a fairly thick application of memory foam underneath for comfort.
It’s also “3D” molded with four individual sections, which provide some lateral flexibility across the top of the hand.
The only other protective features are the padded sections, two on each finger and one over the thumb. I’m not sure how much added protection these provide compared to some type of hard material.
The gloves have something that looks similar to the Schoeller Keprotec on the outside of the wrist on the gauntlet and also at the base of the palm.
The HMK marketing collateral for the Intimidator gloves lists this as “Kevlar heel and wrist slide pads” although there is no official Kevlar printed information included with the gloves.
I know that DuPont is pretty sensitive about using the Kevlar trademark, because they have contacted webBikeWorld in the past about this.
So I’d have to assume HMK is using genuine Kevlar, otherwise DuPont will soon be in contact!
If it is genuine Kevlar, that’s good news for protection. This grayish material is backed by the same type of soft padding used in the finger and thumb pads.
Again, I’d prefer to have some type of hard TPU or similar protectors used in these locations, especially considering the list price of the Intimidator gloves.
But on the other hand (always have to use that pun when reviewing motorcycle gloves!), the soft protectors do add to the comfort level, making the Intimidator gloves more flexible and comfortable.
So considering the streetbike target market for these gloves, and comparing them to other gloves in the $79.00 to $139.00 price range, the level of protection is about average.
The Intimidator gloves have no specific vents or mesh for ventilation, but the natural porosity of the goat leather does a pretty good job at keeping the hands reasonably comfortable.
Cooling or warmth is as you would expect for a pair of solid leather gloves, so not much more to say here.
The gloves are lined with the typical thin polyester lining found in most motorcycle gloves and this helps the hand to slide in and out reasonably smoothly.
Also, I would think this is obvious but the Intimidator gloves are not waterproof.
The Intimidator gloves are available in an expanded size range, from XS to 3XL.
The gloves shown here are size L and as I mentioned, they first feel about 1/2 size small but the leather does break in relatively quickly.
And after wearing them for some time, I think they’re about a true size L to maybe just a touch tight, which isn’t a problem because of the flexibility of the accordion pleats.
Riding With the Intimidator Gloves
After that initial “as new” period, where I wasn’t sure the Intimidator gloves fit me or would be flexible enough, they quickly became broken-in and they feel good.
The goat leather does feel a bit thin overall, which sort of gives the gloves a slightly low-rent feel, but I’ll have to go with the consensus that goat hide will protect as well as other types of leather, despite being thinner.
The finger length also seemed slightly short at first and the fingers have a tapered construction similar to some of the REV’IT! gloves I’ve tried.
I thought that might be a problem also but again, the broken-in flexibility of the Intimidator gloves has come to the rescue there also and I have no problem now holding the hand grips without feeling constrained.
The HMK Intimidator gloves are a good overall choice for street riders looking for a non-textile construction with adequate protection and comfort.
Don’t be alarmed when you first wear these gloves, because the goat leather will quickly become soft and pliable, making these a close-fitting yet comfortable pair for just about any non-track use.
The only real issue I think HMK might have is the pricing.
The $119.95 list price range is the meat of the street glove market and HMK’s pricing on the Intimidator gloves seems a bit ambitious to me; perhaps at something like $89.95, these would have meant a real bargain.
For comparison, if you go to the webBikeWorld affiliate RevZilla and search for men’s gauntlet gloves in the $60.00 to $124.00 range, you’ll find many gloves from top brands, some with hard protectors and more.
But not everyone likes hard protectors, either because of the comfort issue or simply because they don’t want to look like “boy racer”.
Also, the Intimidator gloves do have a different take on the accordion pleat feature, which works very nicely on these gloves.
And don’t forget the excellent wrist security, an important safety feature often missing from gloves in and around this price point.
Bottom line, the new HMK Intimidator gloves could easily serve as your every-day go-to pair of gloves that will become a favorite because they’ll take the shape of your hands and feel very comfortable while providing a good level of protection.
UPDATE: HMK is offering a special deal for webBikeWorld readers:
“Please enjoy 30% off (ONLY $83.96!) on us and get yourself a pair to see what they can do! Use coupon code “WEBBIKE” at checkout for 30% off and free shipping on your pair today!
(The coupon is valid for either the Intimidator or the Pusher glove).”
From “G.G.” (October 2016): “As always excellent review and appreciate discount offer. Looking at the gloves it seems they are not iPhone or other touch screen compatible? Seems this should be standard today.”
Editor’s Reply: There’s always Nanotips (review), a liquid coating that makes any glove fingertip touch-screen compatible.