Whatever the season, the glove is an essential accessory when traveling by bike. It's not just a question of comfort, as traveling with suitable gloves improves rider safety. Protecting the extremities is essential.
That means that gloves are an absolute must. So which should you choose? There are two macro families on the market, namely gloves with a waterproof membrane and those without. The first are ideal for colder climates, the latter for mild or hot weather. Now let's take a closer look.
During the warmer months, wearing a pair of lightweight, breathable gloves is better than riding with bare hands. In addition to the safety issue of course, protecting your skin from prolonged exposure to the sun can make all the difference. And let's not forget other types of hidden danger, like insects. Anyone who has had the pleasure of finding a bee or wasp on their ‘uncovered’ knuckles knows exactly what we are talking about.
Useful in higher temperatures both in the city and on longer trips, summer gloves serve as short-cut protectors, with a perforated fabric construction to ensure better air exchange between the hand and the outside. For reasons relating to both safety and riding comfort (for example, to improve handlebar grip), they feature leather inserts or rubber reinforcements in the areas most exposed to abrasion.
The intermediate solution involves gloves that have a waterproof membrane but are not padded. These are better suited to spring/fall use and when tackling variable weather. Most have a fabric construction, although there are also leather gloves that answer to these characteristics.
Slimmer and thinner, unpadded gloves are the best solution for off-road riding or light off-road trails, such as dirt roads, as they allow for greater sensitivity on the handlebars and controls.
These represent the ultimate for travelers in cold climates and those tackling the worst conditions. Most of the solutions on the market are long gloves made of technical fabric, which are usually worn over the jacket, to prevent cold air and water from the outside from entering the sleeves. Despite this, there is no shortage of padded gloves with a short-cut membrane. These are designed to facilitate wrist mobility without compromising the performance of the protector itself.
Gloves should not be considered any less important than the helmet and jacket, for example. And it's not just a question of comfort, as a glove that can keep your hands warm and dry also provides active safety. In the winter months, hands are the first to be affected by the cold and this can become dangerous in certain situations. Movements become slower, the rider has less sensitivity on the controls, and having frozen hands tends to distract from riding.
The most important protections on gloves are the knuckle protectors, of which there are various kinds. These range from the carbon and titanium composite material of the most extreme racing gloves to the metal or polyurethane of the touring gloves considered here. The most advanced Dainese technology goes into the Ergotek knuckles, created from studies conducted on the gloves of MotoGP™ riders, through which the areas most subject to impact have been mapped to develop a new protection that allows greater freedom of movement, without compromising safety.
Other rigid protectors are then present on the outer side of the palm, to help with sliding once hands are on the ground. Equally essential are all those reinforcements in leather or other abrasion-resistant materials on the palm and other areas that may rub against the bike’s hand grips.
When traveling by motorcycle, it’s often impossible to predict all the weather conditions you will face. If you are preparing for multi-day trips to areas with wide-ranging temperatures or variable weather, it’s a good idea to carry two pairs of gloves, one light and one heavier and waterproof, to be worn depending on the weather.