By August 26, 2008

Motoport / Cycleport kevlar motorcycle glove review

I think gloves are probably the third piece of protective gear typically purchased by a motorcyclist. First the helmet, then the jacket, then gloves. Boots are probably fourth, with most bikers never getting specialized pants. I wear all of these things (and sometimes more) every time I ride. I use a keyboard and mouse to make a living, so I am even more paranoid about my hands than most.

Leather is typically the best protective material for abrasion depending on the quality, thickness, and type of leather (cow vs kangaroo vs goat, etc). Leather forms to your body’s peculiarities over time, which made my otherwise questionably-made Held Ninja gloves a fantastic glove to wear.

Unfortunately, leather’s protective qualities fade over time due to exposure to the elements. I am not sure how violent the quality degradation is, Cycleport founder Wayne seems to think it can be up to 20%, especially if the leather has been exposed to rain.

I purchased a pair of Cycleport (also known as Motoport) kevlar full gauntlet kevlar racing gloves. The gloves were $129 before shipping, which pits it against the upper tier of racing gloves from other manufacturers. Here’s my review.

Blah blah blah, skip to the summary.

http://gallery.drfaulken.com/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=4595
The first thing I thought when I took the gloves out of the box was, “why the fuck did they send me an extra large,” but we’ll talk about Cycleport’s measurement marketing strategy later. The second thing I thought about was how well-made the gloves were. I think Motoport is a company basically run by one man and a few dedicated helpers. They are FAR better made than the Held Ninja gloves, which had offset, asymmetrical stitching on the outside of the glove, and irregular stitching in the inside finger boxes. My middle finger on my right hand sometimes pushes up on the inner seam of the Held glove, and it’s uncomfortable. The Cycleport gloves fit just like a typical winter glove when I pulled them on. Immediately comfortable.

The Motoport / Cycleport kevlar gloves do not have the typical protective features I’ve come to expect from a motorcycling glove. Here’s what you get:

  • There is a knuckle protector up top. The knuckle protector has little holes in the front for venting, but similar to most other manufacturers this is for more show than performance. There is additional armor along the tops of each finger.
  • http://gallery.drfaulken.com/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=4598

    The palms of the gloves are covered some extra protective material in the high-contact areas (palm, fingertips). Leather gloves typically have extra padding and leather here.

  • They have a wrist strap and forearm strap with a hook-and-loop (velcro) closure. The wrist strap to be too narrow for my tastes.
  • The gloves went probably an inch and a half past my wrist, part of an increasing phenomenon Web Bike World has identified as the “missing gauntlet.” In contrast to some other gloves I own, the Cycleport glove does not have the longest gauntlet, but it’s not the shortest, either. For $130, I’d want this to be the last glove I ever bought. It needs a longer gauntlet.
  • I felt that the gloves were under-armored and reinforced. I think Motoport is depending on the abrasion resistance of the kevlar to protect the rider, whereas other gloves use a combination of the material plus armor and padding. I was aghast that the gloves did not have more protection around the wrist, the thumbs, and the blade of the hand. The product picture on the Cycleport Web site is too small to properly discern what levels of protection were in this area, but had the product pictures been of better quality I would have rejected the gloves immediately.

    http://gallery.drfaulken.com/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=4600

  • I had to send the extra large gloves back because they were too big. The fingers were long by about three-quarters of an inch across the board and I couldn’t get the wrist strap tight enough to be safe. My replacement pair arrived in about a week, and unfortunately they just didn’t work out once I wore them in a riding environment.

    After about twenty minutes the gloves started to pinch across the top of my hand and cut off circulation to my ring and pinky fingers on both hands. I could relieve this by taking my hand off of the grip and extending my fingers. I have a forty-five minute ride to work each way, and by the time I arrived at my destination I couldn’t wait to take the gloves off. EVERY pair of gloves I’ve owned started out tight in some areas, but after two hundred miles of use I called Wayne at Cycleport.

    While the gloves are made of Motoport’s “stretch” blend of kevlar, Dynatec, and Lycra, Wayne said they would never really conform to the shape of my hand. If I was having such pain points with the large, I’d need to go XL … which were too long. I wound up sending them back for a refund.

    The Cycleport gloves aren’t pre-curved like most motorcycle gloves. Other gloves are slightly curved like the position your hands are in when you are gripping the handlebars. Hold a true motorcycling glove up, and the fingers will bend forward slightly. The Motoport gloves are cut more like ski/winter gloves: the fingers lay flat. I think this has a lot to do with why they were uncomfortable in my case.

    I’d also like to take a moment to beef with Motoport’s marketing strategy of not allowing you to order by traditional letter sizes. You have to go through an elaborate system of measuring yourself before you place an order. In the case of the gloves, I had to trace each of my hands and then email the scans to Motoport. To me, this means I am getting a custom pair of gloves based on the peculiarities of my hands. This made me feel comfortable spending more money than with another manufacturer who had “off-the-shelf” sizing. I was very disappointed to receive my gloves in size extra large. I would have NEVER ordered an XL glove, having owned four other pairs of gloves from three different manufacturers in size medium or large. The Held gloves are number sized, which is great for people like me who could fit in one or two size ranges.

    Come on, Cycleport. If you are going to make me take measurements and trace my hands, at least provide me with custom-fit gear. If you are going to send me letter-sized gloves and use letter-sized jacket and pants as a starting point for your products, just ask me what fucking size I wear. The measuring games are a farce, and insinuate that your products are custom when they are not.

    I was disappointed with the Motoport / Cycleport kevlar motorcycle gloves. Since my hands are a size 9 (and thus borderline between medium and large) the lack of pre-curved fingers contributed to the fit issue. I would expect more protection for $130, especially when compared to less expensive leather gloves that offer wrist, thumb, and pinky protection.

    I do not recommend the Motoport gloves.

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Posted in: motorcycling, review

8 Comments on "Motoport / Cycleport kevlar motorcycle glove review"

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  1. Chris says:

    Thanks for the review, a friend of mine was considering these, now I’ll make sure to tell him not to get them!

  2. senwah says:

    Love, the straight up review. I have been looking at this company for a while because the products they offer seem pretty cutting edge and actually cheaper in some ways compared to good leather, but i have heard hit and miss stories with their customer service. Any other experience with their products?

    I really want to get into biking in the next year or so and protective gear will be probably my first big purchase along with a used “beater” bike to learn on.
    Cheers!

  3. Bob Cram says:

    I bought Motoport jacket, pants and gloves last year. This summer I rode a 9,000 km trip using all of the above and had some regular temps above 90F and even 100F some days. The pants and jacket were wonderful. The gloves would have had similar praise except that there was a weird pressure point on the end of my middle finger, left hand. By the end of the trip I’d lost all feeling except a dull numbness down to the first knuckle and it was a full 2 months before I got normal feeling back. The gloves were great in the heat though. Motoport makes incredibly high quality stuff, but there new gloves need some more development. I was annoyed when I didn’t even get a reply to my email telling them about my problems with the glove.

  4. drfaulken says:

    Hey Bob,

    I am sorry to hear about your fit issues with the Motoport kevlar gloves. I type for a living, so having nerve damage on my finger for two months would have been really horrible. I am glad you are back to normal.

    As you noted, Motoport is not very good about receiving critical feedback. I am not surprised you didn’t hear back from them once you had something to say that wasn’t 100% positive.

    I hope you never need to test your protective gear, and thanks for reading.

  5. Will says:

    Hello,

    Your review on the glove confirmed my suspicions.

    I recently purchased a Motoport kevlar Air-Mesh one-piece suit. For all the talk of “custom made”, the extensive measuring, etc… the $1200 suit came with a sizing tag like a cheap t-shirt.

    I don’t believe they ship actual “custom fitted” gear, as the term is usually defined.

    From what I can tell, they prefer to grab a suit off the rack and modify it (if absolutely necessary, i.e. hem the ankle).
    For instance: I requested NO elastic side panels on more than one occasion during the ordering process. Called back many times, to confirm my request. Of course… I received elastic side panels.
    Professional measurements of my thigh and calf were completely disregarded. Below the waist, I seem to be wearing a firefighter’s turn-outs. “Room for insulation” would be an understatement.

    I had suspicions after Wayne tried talking me out of the one-piece. Who does that? And, why? Do they cost more to make?

    You speak correctly about their extreme reluctance to accept criticism. He shuts down completely and assumes an immediate negative tone, as if he stopped maturing somewhere around 16. It’s not just nerd-anger or old-geezer frustration… kinda weird.

    Pulling apart a few scraps of their Kevlar mesh material has also proven interesting. Only 1 in 6 threads are actual Kevlar. The other 5 threads melt easily, which he markets as an impossibility. (I used my naked bike’s header as it was warming up. About 200 degrees, using an infrared thermometer.) Melted exactly like para-cord or any other nylon.
    He swears by his gear’s superiority over others using nylon-coated thread… yet his melts just as quickly.

    The standard armor is decent for its size, but not great.
    The thicker upgrade is just simply too expensive for its construction (it’s simply another layer glued onto the standard stuff, then trimmed to size).

    The zipper stops about 4 inches below the neck snaps. About 3 inches below my collar bone. The liner’s zipper stops even lower. It’s a pet-peeve of mine.

    But, oh well… too late now…

  6. Yuri says:

    Something that draw my attention here,they claim that the glove is made “from racing grade Stretch Kevlar. (Kevlar/Dynatec/Lycra blend)”. If by that, they mean just schoeller keprotec fabric, which I assume is right, as the brand is stitched to the glove, that probably means that all they kevlar gear is made from the same material.
    Do you know how much of kevlar there is schoeller keprotec? 14%. They claim that they gear is made from stuff much more resistant than leather, but a fabric with only 14% of kevlar is probably worse than leather, if it was better the suits the real pro use wouldn’t use it only on the fews areas that leather is not flexible enough.

  7. Rob says:

    I know this is an old discussion but for those of you who do not like your Motoport gear, what did you replace it with?

    I bought an Ultra II pant and jacket set in January of 2007 and have been very happy. I had problems with the measurements when placing the order though. I sent in what I thought were correct but Wayne called an said those (measurements) were not posible for my weight and height. We fixed it over the phone. Two weeks later my stuff arrived. Three years later and still happy.

    So, did you guys decided to just live with the “problems?”

  8. BMW K12Rebel says:

    I bought the Ultra II jacket last year!
    I had some issues with their sizing, but after speaking to Wayne on the phone and he said they can adjust the sizing but for a charge.
    They reckon since it was tailored to my measurements I gave them which I did not agree with, they can not take it back but only alter it if I pay for the alterations.
    I decided to just live with it, since after already spending over $670 for the jacket I didn’t want to invest another cent into that jacket!
    Overall, I must admit, the quality seems decent, one feel well protected wearing it!
    What I like, it really is an all-season jacket… so I have no need to buy several different jackets for hot weather or cold.
    I wore the jacket in summer heat of 95F and was comfortable.
    During winter travel, wearing the 2-part liner I bought with the jacket from them on a 45″ non-stop trip in about 30F I was toasty, the only part of my body that was freezing was my toes… the nice thing was, no layers and layers of clothing, only the jacket with 2 part liner over a dress shirt and long thermal underwear.
    I’m considering now ordering the new Kevlar winter gloves they have… just still doubting a bit since I gets sceptical spending $199 on gloves…

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