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Don't let cold weather keep you from riding your classic motorcycle. In this installment of Gear Driven motorcycle gear reviews, the editors tested eight pairs of cold weather motorcycle riding gloves:
1. Alpinestars Storm Rider Gore-Tex gloves feature leather construction, an insulated liner, excellent knuckle armor, and padded inserts along the palm, fingers, top of the hand and wrist for added impact protection. This is serious sport-touring gear, and while the knuckle protectors look a little goofy, they also provide peace of mind. For being a sportier cut they’re quite warm, and one of several great choices here if you’re combining an insulated glove with heated grips. Price: $179.95.
2. Cortech Scarab Winter gloves feature cowhide leather construction, goatskin palms, a waterproof and breathable HiPora fabric barrier, Thinsulate insulation, titanium/carbon knuckle, finger and wrist protection panels, a gauntlet cuff with a leather closure flap, and a soft fleece interior lining. We found these gloves to have a nice, secure, sporty fit. Though these aren’t the warmest gloves here, their relative lack of bulk provides more dexterity than some of the thicker, warmer gloves we’ve tried, and we like their armor. Price: $84.99.
3. Aerostich Luxury Cowhide Winter gloves are top-quality, made in Japan with a beautifully understated, vintage style that we just love. Soft and extremely comfortable, they’re not bulky, but they also don’t have a sport glove cut like the above-mentioned Alpinestars and Cortech gloves. The shell is constructed of 1.2mm waterproofed cowhide leather, with a waterproof and breathable layer below, and the wrist and cuff are adjustable with hook-and-loop closures. They also feature reinforced palms and a neat diamond-pattern quilting across the top of the hands. We’ve found them to be quite warm, and they’re probably the most comfortable glove here on first wear, though they do lack the armor of some of the sportier gloves. Price: $149.
4. Held Freezer gloves are a traditional winter cut with a cowhide outer shell, a waterproof, windproof and breathable Gore-Tex membrane and a soft, Primaloft lining. They feature hook-and-loop adjustments at the wrist and cuff, and a visor wiper on the thumb. These have a more trim, modern fit (and appearance) than the vintage-look Aerostich gloves and provide similar warmth. Comfortable, well made and not too bulky. Price: $149.99.
5. Tour Master Winter Elite gloves have been the favorite of many cold-weather riders for years, and after a bit of time with the pair we tested, we now know why. Featuring goatskin and sheepskin leather construction, a HiPora waterproof and breathable liner, Thinsulate insulation, a thumb-mounted shield wipe and nylon polar covers that store in the zippered pockets on the long, warm gauntlets, these gloves have it all — except armor. As usual, the Cortech gloves provide a sportier cut with more armor, while the Tour Master’s provide even more comfort. These may be the warmest (non-heated) gloves we’ve tried, and they’re priced less than almost all of the other pairs listed here. Price: $109.99.
6. These StormShield gloves from Exo² use an internal piping system to deliver heat to your hands. Waterproof, windproof and made of breathable Porelle fabric, they’re warm, comfortable and stylish, and that’s before you plug them in for electric heat. They also feature good knuckle protection. The Exo² gloves come with a set of lead wires, complete with a fuse, that you attach to your battery. A Y-splitter cable plugs into the lead wire, giving you the ability to run the gloves and another piece of heated gear with one lead wire. A long set of wires runs from the splitter to the gloves. The good part here is all your wiring comes with the gloves, but for anything more than on/off temperature control, you’ll need the $59.99 StormRider Controller. Price: $199.99.
7. Firstgear Heated Carbon gloves are made of Grade A cowhide leather with a Porelle breathable, waterproof membrane, and they feature carbon fiber knuckle protection and a faceshield wiper. You have to buy a Heat-Troller before you can plug them in, which gets you a wiring kit that attaches to the battery, plus the wiring you need to attach to the gloves. The most affordable Heat-Troller is the $69.95 Single, Portable Heat-Troller, which allows you to control one heated piece of gear. A $99.95 Dual, Portable Heat-Troller, among others, is available, which gives you the ability to control two separate pieces of gear independently. Price: $169.95.
8. Tour Master Synergy Electric gloves use electronically controlled carbon fiber heating elements. Made of Grade A aniline goatskin leather with a Rainguard waterproof and breathable barrier, and Polyfill insulation to increase warmth and heat retention, they also feature a soft, comfortable Bemberg interior lining. The Synergy gloves come with a set of lead wires, complete with a fuse, which you attach to your battery. A Y-splitter plugs into the lead so you can run the gloves and another piece of heated gear with just one lead wire. A long set of wires then runs from the splitter to the gloves and a temperature controller equipped with low, medium and high settings. Though we like both the Exo² and the Firstgear heated gloves, the fact that the Tour Master gloves come with a temperature controller and are the most affordable pair of heated gloves here gives them the nod if shaving bucks is important. Price: $169.99.
A new twist: Gloves for heated grips
Held Warm n Dry gloves are the only gloves here that are actually marketed to be used with heated grips. They feature a goatskin palm that’s thin enough to allow good control feel and to allow the grip heaters to warm your hands while the lightly insulated back helps hold in heat and protect your hands from cold, rain and wind. We like their secure, comfortable fit, their hard knuckle armor, visor wiper, and the X-TRAFIT waterproof liner that also wicks perspiration away from the skin and lets it “breathe” outward through the lining. Price: $199.99.