These gloves, although not crash tested, are comfortable and provide excellent tactile feeling unlike other ‘winter gloves’ I’ve owned and used. The quality of the gloves is excellent meaning the stitching is well done and consistent. I’m partial to kangaroo or goatskin leather gloves, as they have proven to be great in a crash. The warmth of the gloves is excellent since most gloves sacrifice feel for bulk by layering fabric on the palms. These gloves are heated on the tops of the fingers which provide excellent heat. They are advertised as waterproof, but I have not ridden in full rain with them as I write this review.
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Goat Skin Leather in abrasion areas
Battery does not interfere with comfort or operation
For me, motorcycle gloves are almost as important as my helmet. In 2001, I was looking at a pair of Held gloves at Helimot’s shop since Helimot sponsored our team. When I asked him the price and he said “Mark they are $450.00.”GULP WTF did he say!? When he saw my expression he simply stated in his very thick German accent, “Mark it’s only your hands….” and smiled. So out popped my Visa card and off I went with my new gloves, no escrow needed either!
That next weekend I was at Laguna Seca trying my best to keep up with a mid-pack AMA rider. In turn three, I low sided and my right hand got caught under the bar. As much as I tried to slide it out I could not until I hit the kitty litter. Got my bike up, restarted it and rode the rest of the race. At least I didn’t finish last.
When I got back into the pits I looked at my right hand as I removed the glove. The carbon fiber knuckle guard was worn flat all the way down to the Nomex liner. Horrified, I gingerly removed the glove fully expecting my hand to be toast and the only reason I didn’t feel anything must be due to shock. I even winched like a sissy when I removed the glove and guess what? Not an effing thing was wrong with my hand. NOT A SCRATCH. The following Tuesday I went back to Helimot’s and bought a new pair…
So after 20+ years of no street riding, I bought myself a Zero DSR. In the past, I’ve had heated grips on my street bikes. Even in the summer, the Bay Area can have occasional cold days so heated clothing is something most of us have. And although the DSR has a pigtail to use for heated grips I didn’t want to bother with wiring them. So I began searching for battery-operated gloves. That’s what took me to the Klim Hardanger gloves.
Even though warm hand comfort is the reason I investigated the gloves, my first priority is always how something may survive an actual crash at speed. So here’s what I found when I purchased a pair and did my “Mark inspection.” (not crashed with them yet which is the real test for me.)
The Klim Hardanger gloves feature CE level 1 protection that is not carbon fiber, but what appears to be an increasing density foam that hardens upon impact as it accelerates. The glove also features knuckle protection from middle through to the pinky finger.
Overall, I find these gloves medium in protection, but I am comparing them to full gauntlet road racing gloves which offer maximum protection. In dual sport riding, my view is these would offer a moderate level of hand protection at high speeds on pavement (above 60 MPH) and good to excellent protection while riding on dirt. I would like to have seen the gauntlet wide enough to allow it to fit over a jacket sleeve.
The palm of the glove has an ample pad on the heel of the hand which is especially vulnerable in a crash so it’s much appreciated. I am also a fan of the wrist strap which prevents being degloved while sliding either on pavement or dirt. Ask me how I know…. It’s also a nice touch that the wrist strap has a thick end to prevent the strap from coming out of the metal holder.
Comfort and Design
The feel of the glove in the palm is excellent since KLIM did not pad the palm of the glove for heat. I should state right now that the glove’s heating elements are on the outside of your hand, not the portion that touches the grips. If you hold your hands out in front of you, palms facing away from you, you are looking at the area which is heated.
I personally find this the smart way to go since I’ve found when cold air impacts my hands it’s on the outside of my hands rather than inside. For those who choose to use these with heated grips, you’d get the best of both worlds.
The left-hand index finger has a wiper strip for those times when you’re in rain or fog. Although there has not been much rain here in the Bay there is ALWAYS FOG.So I was able to try this feature during a dusk ride and it works very well. It’s always nice to have little touches like this incorporated into the gloves. I’d also like to see padding on the outer wrist bone area which is vulnerable during a lowside crash. Again I know what is vulnerable from first hand experience crashing.
The index fingertips on both sides can be used to swipe a smartphone screen. Keep in mind that they are not the most accurate or allow the same agility as a normal non-gloved finger swipe, but is better than having to remove your glove to do any screen navigation.
All seams on the glove are very well stitched and comfortable. Rather than tapering the fingers, KLIM uses full gussets on each finger which adds comfort as well as being more protective in a crash.
Doing so reduces airflow into a jacket sleeve during cold weather.
Sizes range from XS to 3XXL and I found the gloves fit my hands well based on their sizing chart.
Each glove uses a 14.8wH 7.4v 2000mAH battery to heat the glove. The gloves come supplied with a carry bag which also holds the AC wall charger.
The listed rating for the battery to last according to KLIM is:
Up to 8 hours on low heat (green light)
Up to 3 hours on medium heat (blue light)
Up to 1.5 hours on high heat (red light)
The battery connections use a 5.5mm female connection which mates to the male battery connection. The charger conveniently charges both batteries at once.
To activate each glove, you must press the button for around 3 seconds. This prevents the heating from accidentally activating when you don’t wish to have heat. It’s also necessary to press the buttons for 2-3 seconds to turn the gloves off. Again this prevents accidental turn offs or ons.
The system will automatically take the gloves from red to blue after ten minutes. I tend to use that feature since I only use the heating if my fingers are getting cold. Having them revert to medium is a nice feature. If you want to take them back to high temperature you simply press the buttons until the red appears again. I find the heat which warms the outside of your hand, meaning your fingers is a great method.
Even when I’ve used heated grips, I found that the tops of my fingers are what had a tough time withstanding constant cold temperatures. For those who have heated grips this combination would keep your hands very warm.
The gloves come with a pair of batteries, one for each glove which is held in a nifty velcro pocket. I place them horizontally in the pouch and at no time do I ever feel the battery intruding or restricting the grip of my hand.
The gloves are waterproof and utilize Gore-Tex lining as do most rain gloves. I have not ridden in the rain with them. The interior of the gloves are lined with a very warm and comfortable microfiber fleece lining. Even without the battery operating, I find the gloves warm and often use them without the battery heater until night falls or the temps here in the Bay necessitate its use.
On the Road
I live and ride in the SF Bay Area. Our microclimates are incredible and simply going 10 miles can change temperatures 20 degrees. On those occasions when I feel the need to wear the KLIMs I often start off without any battery power.
Once the temps drop to 50F (without windchill), I activate the gloves to Red and then take them down to Green which is their lowest setting. Although I have not measured the temperature with the wind when I’m traveling at an average of 70 MPH, the temperature appears to hover around 38-45F.
And my hands are never cold.
I also have not ridden long enough to deplete the batteries. One thing I would suggest to those who are iron butt riders on ICE bikes who travel 4+ hours at a time, buy extra batteries for these gloves.
Because I have not fallen using the KLIMs I cannot attest first hand to their level of protection. I will say that I have crashed on the racetrack with both kangaroo and goat leather gloves which protected my hands well. The KLIMs use goat leather on the palms and fingers and the stitching looks solid.
Features I Like
For those who want to have the comfort of heated grips, but do not want to install them on their rides, I find the KLIM’s a great alternative. One of the absolute positives for me is the feel of the glove. Many of my past heated or winter gloves were very bulky in the palm and remind me of wrapping a pool noodle around my grips!
These gloves maintain what I consider to be a normal glove feel while being heated. That’s a huge advantage for me. Even more so that the gloves can be used off the bike which for me is also important. There are times when I am camping or conducting night photography when my hands can get very cold. Using these even when I’m not on a ride allows me to do double duty.
The overall comfort of the gloves is excellent. Not only are they well insulated, but the stitching never irritates any portion of my hands. Goatskin leather gives me peace of mind since I’ve had first-hand experience using that material in high-speed racetrack crashes.
At the start of this article, I explained why I felt $450USD in the early 2000’s was a justified price to save my hands. Keep in mind that I was using those gloves for a purpose; to race. By comparison, $280USD is a bargain especially since these gloves are not designed to race in, but to protect my hands in the event of a crash. Even better they keep my hands comfortable in cold weather which gives me better control over my bike. So are they worth 280 bucks? To me, they are because better control in inclement weather means I can ride longer. And we all know riding longer is so much better.