Best. Gloves. Ever. Were it not for the fact that I get paid by the word, that constitute my entire review of Racer’s High Racer gloves. Darn near perfect in all regards, and my advice is to simply buy them (ironically, that “simply” turns out to be one of their few imperfections; more on that in a minute) without further ado. Indeed, those looking to not buy these gloves are best to skip the rest of this review, so chockablock it will be with superlatives.
First off, let’s start with the look, just purposeful enough to say I’m serious about this sportbike thing, not so jangled with add-on metallic plates that one feels they’re auditioning for the new two-wheel Power Ranger. Available in basic black and a white/black combination, so there are no chartreuse/day-glo green combos to try to colour co-ordinate with both bike and leathers. Basic black goes with everything; if one must be stylish, one can throw in a little white overlay.
Then there’s the comfort, which, in a few words, is nothing short of amazing. Racer USA claims these are “the best fitting motorcycle gloves you can buy,” a heady statement to be sure, but in my opinion a marketing slogan wholly justified. At the very least, they are the best-fitting motorcycle gloves my money has bought in 46 years of motorcycling. Part of the reason is the soft, luxurious cowhide used in the glove’s uppers. Even softer, more luxurious and incredibly pliant is the kangaroo leather used in the palm. Yes, I know that other high-end glove manufacturers incorporate Australia’s favourite marsupial into their construction, but Racer must weave some magic that its competitors have failed to grasp because their hide is softer, uhm, more luxurious — that’s me running out of superlatives already — than any gloves my hands have ever had the pleasure to fit in. They even break in quickly!
They would also appear safe — I cannot be unequivocal about the following, having only crashed in them once — individual fingers sporting small carbon-fibre protectors while the knuckle area’s carbon-fibre protector is sufficiently robust to make brass knuckles unnecessary if you ever happen to be in a dust up. (This last is backed by soft foam to soak up any blows, accidental or pre-meditated.) There’s more carbon fibre over the back of the hand, a little dot covering the pisiform bone and even two more little slidey bits on the outside of the thumb. All in all, there are 12 bits of carbon fibre on each High Racer.
Unfortunately — actually, fortunately — I cannot attest to their efficacy. The bit I can vouch for are the plastic Know SPS sliders built into the bottom of each palm. Having fallen, palms first, onto some pavement, I can attest they prevent gloves from catching and rending scaphoid and other wrist bones asunder. Throw in some perfectly placed wrist straps and leather that binds pinky and ring fingers for more support and you have as much protection as you are likely to get short of an air bag mitten. And the Racers have also proven extremely durable. Besides the aforementioned get-off, the High Racers have been my de facto hand wear for the past four years, and the leather, straps, Velcro and carbon fibre have stood up incredibly well.
Not so the strips of silicon built into the upper palm area and the index and middle fingers. The only part of my aging Racers that looks tatty, the silicon strips are designed, I presume, to give you more purchase on the grip/throttle. Never having had a problem with gripping said throttle, I could easily do without them. All they’ve done for my old black High Racers is make otherwise still pristine gloves look old.
But that’s my one complaint about the High Racer’s performance. More troubling is the fact that the previous distributor has wound down its inventory of Racer gloves because, says Matt Dynes, CEO of Motorcycle Innovations, “Canadian dealers were a little resistant to what is, after all, a niche Austrian brand.” In other words, you just can’t walk into your local dealer and order up a pair of High Racers.
That’s truly a shame. The highest compliment I can pay the (US$219.99) High Racers is that they are worth ordering from the United States. Like I said. Best. Gloves. Ever.
High Racers are available through Racer Gloves USA — http://www.racerglovesusa.com — and the sizing chart is pretty accurate.