The Racer Elevate gloves aren’t much like the other two Racer models evaluated — the Racer Advance gloves (review) and the Racer Race Carbon gloves (review). That is somewhat of a disappointment, although in retrospect, first impressions did count. We also had our doubts about how they would fare once exposed to the wBW “Bucket Test” and unfortunately the left glove passed but the right one didn’t, so overall a fail rating.
We can only hope this single glove failure is QC-related, but it does raise questions (and thank goodness for the Gore-Tex guarantee). Nevertheless, the Racer Elevate gloves work very well in keeping hands warm and dry overall while riding in the rain. However, all-day comfort just isn’t there; the cut, shape, sizing, bulk and the slightly leak all conspired to play a role in formulating the bottom line.
Not that the Racer Elevate gloves shouldn’t be an option for winter glove shoppers, but they just don’t and won’t stack up very well against the competition.
With all three pair of Racer winter gloves on hand and two riders (and multiple bikes), using all three pair of gloves interchangeably on a given ride revealed a lot about each. After closing out the Advance gloves review, the next focus was on the Racer Elevate Gore-Tex gloves. The Elevate gloves would seem to provide a winning combination of features, value and performance, but like so many things in life, a detailed look and use by multiple riders reveals much more.
With a cowhide and “stretch nylon Softshell material” outer shell, along with the Gore-Tex X-TRAFIT (report) membrane, the Racer Elevate gloves should be waterproof…but this pair was not, as noted above and in more detail below. Along with the Gore-Tex membrane is a Polartec fleece liner that combines with the same “DexFil” insulation found in the Racer Advance gloves also reviewed as part of this series, for a warm soft hand enclosure.
The enhanced protection features of the Elevate gloves come in the form of a hard knuckle protector and dynamic D3O impact protection and anti-abrasion SuperFabric pads, which are found on the palms. This gives the Elevate gloves their claimed CE rating.
The gloves feature a 11 cm (4.3 inch) zippered cuff (measured from the wrist gathering), which is not even close to being gauntlet style, although it does provide almost 25 mm more coverage than the Racer Advance gloves cuff.
Also, the zipper comes in handy when putting the gloves on over a heavier garment.
A hook-and-loop wrist strap is also provided, to seal and protect — especially important in keeping the gloves in place where they should be while riding. A feature that was noted in taking the gloves out of their packaging are the small round lightweight magnets found on the inner center of each cuff. These work to keep the gloves together when they aren’t being worn; useful, although be careful to avoid anything with a magnetic strip or core, like a credit card.
The Bucket Test
I must admit that despite the Gore-Tex branding, I didn’t have a good feeling about how well these gloves would perform when subjected to a bucket of cold water.
Sure enough, 30 seconds into the test it became evident that moisture was entering quite rapidly at the tip of the third finger on the right hand glove. The left glove remained totally dry throughout the test, however.
This might be an isolated incident with a faulty glove and while we might be inclined to give the Racer Elevate gloves the benefit of the doubt, there can be only one outcome here: a failure.
(Editor’s Note: Gore-Tex guarantees that the gloves will “keep you dry” for 5 years, so this would/should be an immediate warranty replacement. But Gore-Tex will not be happy about Racer’s manufacturing procedures that allow this to happen.
It’s the first time we’ve ever seen a Gore-Tex failure of this type and it can only be assumed that a sewing needle punctured the membrane during construction.)
Otherwise, cool and wet-weather riding for a couple of hours didn’t reveal any other weaknesses other than the one point, so the gloves will probably stand up to light to moderate moisture exposure while on the road.
What do you want? Ventilation in a supposedly closed cold weather glove? Dream on!
While the Gore-Tex technology is supposed to facilitate moisture management both in and out of the gloves, the liner and insulation in the Elevate gloves does really good job of keeping hand-generated heat in.
And as the gloves fit and feel tight, even with a smaller hand inside, air circulation seems non-existent.
Riding in 35 F to 45 F (2 to 7 C) temperatures revealed that the gloves do work well; all that bulk can be a positive thing.
But by the same token, when the outside temperature rises, so does the temperature inside the gloves, sometimes uncomfortably so…remember that lack of ventilation thing?
In general, a smaller pair of hands inside has more air space and thus air circulation, both of which serve to keep hands more comfortable under a wider range of riding conditions, wet or dry.
Liner and Comfort
The fleece liner and insulation provides a very comfortable and insulating environment — unfortunately, typically too much so, but the combination does work.
It is hard to ignore the relative bulk of the Elevate gloves, although they do have relatively good flexibility overall. Outside of the thickness, the smaller-handed rider found them quite comfortable in general.
Detracting from this relatively comfortable environment is a real pressure point found between the second and third fingers; no matter the size of the hand inside, it is hard to ignore after a half-hour or so of use.
The Elevate gloves are claimed to “fit true to size”, but in reality, the Elevate gloves in size XL (10) are the tightest-fitting of the three pair that includes the Racer Advance and Racer Race Carbon gloves.
Despite being slightly lighter overall with a thinner liner than the Advance gloves, the Elevate gloves just don’t have the same inherent comfort found in the heavier Advance gloves.
And the Elevate gloves are also way behind the comfort of the (even lighter-weight) Racer Race Carbon gloves that are being reviewed as the final entry in this series.
With a medium to large-sized hand, the Elevate gloves don’t feel too bad and there is some wiggle room, although the pressure point between the fingers is there, period.
But with my XL-sized hands stuffed inside they fit tight and feel tight. Admittedly some stretching has become evident with extended use.
So while the Elevate gloves have the same size and fit issues found with the Racer Advance gloves, the issues are more pronounced, despite the fact that the Elevate gloves have less apparent bulk than the Advance gloves.
Whereas the Racer Advance gloves pretty much rely on their bulk for protection, the Elevate gloves and the Race Carbon gloves do feature some good protection enhancements.
This comes primarily in the form of palm pads formed of D3O shock padding and the anti-abrasion SuperFabric that covers the lower outside portion of the palm and wraps around to the outside of the glove.
And lest I forget, another much appreciated protection feature comes in the form of a hard knuckle insert on the Elevate gloves, which is well placed and comfortable for both small and large hands.
So where the Racer Advance gloves are relatively unique, the Racer Elevate gloves are relatively mundane. They have the basic prerequisites for a winter glove and although the sizing runs small, they are quite comfortable with properly sized hands inside.
The biggest detraction is the pressure point between the second and third finger, that is just plain irritating, no matter what size of hands is occupying the gloves.
And of course, whether an isolated instance of poor Quality Control or not, the right glove couldn’t cope with the bucket test.
While the leak might not completely compromise its use for cold weather riding, it will have an impact — as webBikeWorld readers have noted, any weakness may be quickly and unrelentingly exploited by the elements.
On the positive side, the Elevate gloves do offer more protection than many other similar winter motorcycle gloves on the market; chalk up a plus for the Elevate gloves in this category.
But with lots of competition — some of which is provided by the other Racer winter motorcycle gloves described in this series –the Racer Elevate gloves come up short.
Like the Racer Advance gloves, some re-sizing to make the XL gloves comfortably fit a true XL-sized hand, along with more attention to really making sure each and every glove is waterproof would be two good initiatives to work on.