Motorcyclists need the right kind of gear to experience the safest and most comfortable ride. Motorcycle gloves are an extremely important part of every motorcyclist’s protective gear. They provide safety and comfort to the riders. The gloves also create that amazing ride experience that every biker wants.
In terms of size, motorcycle gloves come in either Short Cuff style or Gauntlet style. The former covers the hand just to the wrist while the latter covers the hand and up to the first half of the forearm.
Depending on the use, riders keep one or several pairs of motorcycle gloves. Motorcycle gloves provide safety to the rider’s hands and proper grip on the handlebars. They come in a variety of sizes and materials. Each of them has a specific purpose and usage.
Both Short Cuff and Gauntlet-type motorcycle gloves are useful in different scenarios. Short Cuff gloves provide a comfortable ride during the hot season. The Gauntlet gloves cut off the cold air and rain from entering your sleeves.
Motorcycle road racers also wear long gauntlet gloves as they come up over the sleeves of the leather suit. We bring to you a comprehensive guide on Short Cuff and Gauntlet Motorcycle gloves. It will help you decide which ones to have.
Which is better: Short Cuff or Gauntlet Gloves?
There is no single answer to this. It all depends on what do you want the gloves for – your type of riding. If you need a pair of gloves for slow speed, within-the-city rides, you can opt for short cuff gloves. They also provide comfort and a better feel.
If you need to ride for a long time or at high speed, you will do well to select the Gauntlet gloves. These provide better safety and protect your hands from rain and cold weather. You can wear them inside the sleeves to allow for some air to enter them. Or wear them over the sleeves to completely cut off airflow into the jacket sleeves.
If you need gloves for a harsh climate, choose a fabric-based glove over leather gloves. You can even select add-on like hardened knuckles, webbing over the fabric, and so on. When aesthetic looks matter, select the gloves with vibrant meshing over them.
Motorcycle riders keep several pairs of gloves with them. For light riding experience especially in hotter climates, they may prefer to use Short Cuff gloves. And for more vigorous use, or in colder temperatures they will likely prefer the Gauntlet types.
Types of Motorcycle gloves:
You can classify the motorcycle gloves as per their size, use, and material they are made of. We bring to you the various types of motorcycle gloves as per the classifying criteria.
1. Motorcycle gloves as per their size: The motorcycle gloves are sorted into three categories. They are:
Short Cuff Gloves:
Short Cuff gloves cover the hand just up to the wrist. It is usually made of fabric and at times with leather. They may also have netting to allow for airflow. These gloves can have hardened knuckles and a single wrist strap to hold them in position.
The Short Cuff gloves are less expensive and comfortable in hot weather. They allow airflow to dry out any sweat and helps in having a proper grip.
The Gauntlet gloves cover the hand and wrist up to the first half of the forearm. They are usually made of leather and toughened fabric. Gauntlet gloves have hardened knuckles and two straps – one at the wrist and the other at the bottom end.
They are more expensive but provide excellent comfort during cold or rainy weather. These fuller gloves can be worn over the jacket sleeves to stop any airflow. You may yet wear them under your sleeves to allow for some air inside your sleeves.
These are in-between the Short Cuff and Gauntlet gloves. As the name suggests, they cover the hand and the forearm to a shorter length than the full Gauntlet gloves. They are safer than the Short Cuff gloves and are worn inside or outside the jacket sleeves.
2. Motorcycle gloves as per the use: As per the use, there are several types of motorcycle gloves. Some of them are:
- Summer Gloves: They are worn during the hot season and are made of mesh and leather. They are generally available in short cuff size as they do not need to prevent wind or rain. They are useful for less dangerous situations – in city rides where the speed is less.
- Winter Gloves: They are usually made of thick fabric having a thermal lining or waterproofing membrane or both. Leather is seldom used as the fabric is better suited for extreme weather. For the greatest protection from extreme weather, winter gloves are made in Gauntlet style.
- Dirt Bike Gloves MX: These gloves are made for airflow and tactile feel. They have basic safety features and are made of fabric and netting. As you would have guessed, dirt gloves are made in Short Cuff style.
- Race Gloves: As the name suggests, these gloves are used for motorcycle racing. They are Gauntlet styled to provide the greatest safety as these provide the most coverage and they fit very securely are the least likely style to come off in the event of a crash These gloves often have kangaroo or goat leather palms and covered outer seams. They also have hard armor knuckles for the greatest protection. These gloves are made to withstand impact and are abrasion-resistant.
- Dual Sports Gloves: These gloves are for riders who spend time both on the street and off-road. They are made from textile and leather. Leather is abrasion tolerant. These gloves provide better safety and airflow through them than do normal street gloves. Dual Sports Gloves are available in both Short Cuff and Gauntlet styles.
- Touring Gloves: These gloves are for long-distance travel, often in cool or cold weather. Glove makers use leather, fabric, mesh, or in a combination of any of them. They provide a relaxed biking feel and are usually Gauntlet styled. The Touring Gloves are made to provide a comfy feel at the expense of lesser safety.
3. Motorcycle gloves as per the material used: There are four types of gloves in this category. They are:
- Mesh Gloves: These gloves offer the greatest ventilation at the price of least protection. The mesh is made of nylon or blended fabric. These are useful for slow speed or within-the-city riding especially in high temperatures. Riders in hot climates will often use mesh gloves for all types of motorcycle riding. They look nice due to the vibrant colors they come in.
- Leather Gloves: Leather provides the most abrasion resistance. Thus, glove makers use leather when the rider needs the greatest protection. They are the number one choice for racing gloves and usually are Gauntlet styled. Leather motorcycle gloves can be made from many different types of leather such as Cow, Sheep, Goat, and Kangaroo.
- Textile Fabric Gloves: Fabric gloves protect from extreme weather conditions. It is either blended fabric or thick natural fabric. Fabric is used to make both short cuffed and Gauntlet gloves.
- Hybrid Mesh and leather or Mesh and Fabric gloves: Often, leather or fabric gloves have mesh included in them. It is done to increase airflow and the aesthetic looks of the gloves. It is at the cost of reduced safety.
The importance of using proper gloves:
Gloves are an important piece of accessories for any bike rider. It serves the following purposes:
- Protection from crashes: Gloves protect the fingers, knuckles, and wrists during an accident. A rider tries to break the crash momentum using his hands. Well-padded gloves are especially important to minimize injury during an accident.
- Adjust to the weather conditions: Depending on the type of gloves, the rider can feel comfortable in hot weather. Or be protected from rain and cold climate. This increases the riding comfort. The gloves have passive ventilation and insulation. At times, they also have battery-driven heating coils in them.
Which type of gloves is more comfortable?
This is a debatable question. It depends on personal preferences. Some people find the short cuff gloves comfortable. This is truer as these gloves are made for style and comfort.
At the same time, these gloves offer lesser safety features. Riders may need to bike long distances or at high speeds. They choose between Gauntlet and semi-Gauntlet-type gloves.
How do gloves provide safety to riders?
We have been talking for a while those gloves provide safety to a rider. In the event of a crash, the rider falls off the bike and is slides forward on the asphalt or road surface. This is due to the sheer speed and momentum of the mass of the rider and the motorcycle.
In such situations, the rider tries to stop himself by using his hands. Palms, knuckles, and wrists are the most worn-off places during such events.
If your gloves are well made and padded at the right places, you save your hands and wrists. You also reduce the momentum at which you are getting dragged. So, a well-selected pair of gloves go a long way in saving your hands and yourself from a motorcycle crash.
Safety standards for motorcycle gloves:
The protective gloves must conform to European standard EN 13594:2015. If a glove is protective, it will have the CE marking on it. There are two performance levels – level 1 and level 2 for this purpose: level 2 being safer than level 1.
The gloves are checked for harmful chemicals ergonomics, sizing, and restraint. Additionally, they are checked for tear strength, impact abrasion resistance, and knuckle protection.
Specifically, the gloves follow EN ISO 21420: 2019 standards. It defines the standard size of the gloves. Glove sizing is done as per this standard. Following these standards makes motorcycle gloves safer and durable for the users.
How to care for your gloves?
If you care for your gloves, they will last a lifetime. You find that your hands have turned smelly after using your riding gloves. Or you may at times find deposits between your fingers. All this and more state that your gloves need cleaning.
The best way to clean your gloves is to check the wash instructions on its label. Usually, fabric gloves are washed and dried as per any other similar fabric. For leather gloves, soak the gloves in a water-detergent mix for 10-15 minutes. Clean out any dirt using a small brush or hands.
Then simply rinse the gloves to remove any soap from them. Wear the gloves in wet conditions and clench your fists to bring them back in shape. Air-dry the gloves in a cool place.
Gloves may have a waterproofing lining. Use a waterproofing solution to re-charge the gloves after every use. If your gloves are wet and you want to dry them quickly, stuff them with dry newspaper.
Change them frequently. Also, do not store your gloves in closed compartments after use. Give them time to breathe and dry out. If you dry your gloves in the sun, this will fade the colors.
Other features of Short Cuff and Gauntlet gloves:
There are several features to consider while selecting the right kind of glove for you. These features add to your experience while making your ride smoother and safer. Some of them are:
- Pre-curved fingers: Several gloves, especially the racing gloves come with pre-curved fingers. Since while riding a bike, your fingers are curved, the gloves come with pre-curved fingers. The glove manufacturers reinforce the fingers to withstand crashes.
- Visor wiper: Gloves come with a plastic visor wiper on one of their fingers. You can use it to clear the helmet visor during rains. It is useful for riders who cannot stop during a downpour.
- External stitching: Several high-performance gloves come with external stitching. The stitching is visible from the outside. This is to give a smoother feel while wearing the gloves.
- Touch screen compatibility: Glove makers coat the tips of the index and thumb fingers with a special material. This enables the rider to use their mobile phones and GPS without having to remove their gloves. This in turn helps them navigate without having to stop. Or reply to calls and messages quicker.
In the end:
We understood that the Short Cuff gloves and the Gauntlet gloves have different use. They are suitable for different purposes, and you should select them accordingly. Short Cuff gloves are good for low-speed rides during the hot seasons.
Gauntlet gloves are suitable for high-speed driving and winters and the rainy season. Leather gloves are more abrasion resistant whereas fabric gloves are climate resistant.
We recommend you keep a couple of different types of gloves as per your riding needs and keep switching in-between them. This will not only maximize your riding experience but keep you safe and comfortable.
About the author: Michael Parrotte was the Vice President of AGV Helmets America, and a consultant for KBC Helmets, Vemar Helmets, Suomy Helmets, Marushin Helmets, KYT Helmets, Sparx Helmets. In addition, he is the founder and owner of AGV Sports Group.