By October 15, 2008

Teknic Speedstar full gauntlet motorcycle glove review

I bought my first pair of Held Ninja gloves a little over three years ago. They had a manufacturing flaw where the stitching around the fingers began to give way. I returned them to the Held distributor, who sent me a new pair that was sewn together by Igor. Less than a year later, the right glove began to deteriorate near the wrist. A small hole developed, which eventually grew into a larger hole. If the gloves fell apart under normal wear and tear, what would happen in a crash? I started looking for another glove.

I researched a few other full gauntlet gloves with the help of Web Bike World, ADVrider.com, and the FZ6 forum over on sportbikes.net. I was chugging the Motoport Kool-Aid and bought a pair of the kevlar motorcycle gloves. I tried two pair but the fit was off (omen), and I returned them.

I purchased a pair of Teknic Speedstar full gauntlet leather gloves from NewEnough and have worn them for about 1500 miles. Priced at $99 on closeout, the Speedstars won out against the Alpinestar SP-1, Cortech Adrenaline, and Shift Carbine gloves. I considered some of the Rev’It gloves, but the lack of full wrist protection steered me away.

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Unfortunately I was unable to secure a pair in black. The closeout price was tough to beat, and it looks like a lot of other people were shopping for full gauntlet gloves, too. I have come to like the silver and black motif of my Speedstars, it adds just a bit of color to my otherwise black gear (I know, I know, low-viz for the lose).

http://gallery.drfaulken.com/d/4992-2/IMG_7838.JPG
Note the heavy armor and padding on the glove. This is in stark contrast to the under-armored Motoport kevlar glove, and is an upgrade to the Held Ninja gloves. The glove has kangaroo leather on the palms and key slide areas. The top of the hand’s knuckles are protected by armor made by Knox, who also made the torso armor I sometimes wear
under my jackets. There is additional armor and padding on every finger, with even more material on the “slide-side” of the pinky/blade of the hand. There are several layers of kevlar in the glove under the leather.

http://gallery.drfaulken.com/d/4994-2/IMG_7839.JPG

See those black squares on the palm? That’s more Knox armor. These little bits are designed to absorb impact and reduce the possibility of “palm grab” in the event of a crash. Imagine: when you were a kid and fell off your bike, your hands go out. You slide. If you don’t slide on your palms if you eat shit at high speed, you may break your wrists. Or at least that’s the theory, and companies such as Held and Teknic are using palm-sliders of varying design to combat this possibility.

http://gallery.drfaulken.com/d/4998-2/IMG_7841.JPG

Speaking of wrist protection, check out the armor on both sides of the wrist. The wrist armor is also by Knox. I have purchased a few pair of full gauntlet gloves in the past, but this is the first pair I’ve owned with armor on the wrist.

All the armor, padding, and kevlar in the world won’t help you if your gloves come off during a crash. Like helmets, motorcyclists tend to buy their gloves big. They are more comfortable that way, especially right out of the packaging before the leather has had a chance to stretch. The Speedstar glove has a very robust closure system. There is a thin, hook-and-loop closure that goes around the wrist, and then a two-flap gauntlet that goes around the forearm. It is very secure, and you would be hard pressed to remove the gloves under duress.

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This system has a downside, however, and is my first criticism of the Speedstar. It takes FOREVER to get the gloves on and off. The second glove is always a bit of a pain, because the thin strap that goes around the wrist is hard to manipulate with the first glove on. There is a flap (also held down by hook-and-loop) that goes over the wrist strap. This part is very hard to manipulate with gloves on.

I don’t know if I would trade the level of protection the gloves offer for an easier on/off design, but it has annoyed me on occasion.

My second gripe is the gimicky “Air Blade,” which supposedly funnels air into the glove. The Air Blade doesn’t make a whit of difference, either in hot or cold conditions. I’ve worn the Speedstars up past 100°F with humidity, and as low as 37°F with wind chill. I would notice if the Air Blade was jetting wind into my hands at either temperature, and I can say that it flat doesn’t work. The little skull-shaped vents on the fingers? Pretty worthless, too.

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The Air Blade and skull-vents in inaction.

The Speedstar gloves have been exceptionally comfortable. I really enjoy putting them on and wearing them. There are no pinch or pressure points in the glove, unlike the Motoport kevlar gloves. The fingers are pre-curved, which means they fit the natural position of the hands while motorcycling.

I have yet to take the Speedstars in the rain. If I am concerned about rain, I wear my mesh/leather/armor gloves by FirstGear instead. There is a theory that leather may lose up to 25% of its abrasion resistance after it becomes wet for the first time, and I would rather keep my Speedstars dry.

The good:

  • The intersection of price point and features makes this glove an absolute bargain.
  • Plenty of armor, padding, and top-notch protective material, such as kevlar and kangaroo leather.
  • Highly effective wrist closure system.

The bad:

  • This glove may be hard to find. Teknic is changing distributors in the US, and their gear has been on closeout for about six or eight months. Supplies may be limited.
  • The Air Blade is a total joke. The glove isn’t particularly hot, but don’t expect this to be super comfortable at temperatures about 90°F.
  • Wrist closure system is a double-edged sword. Expect to teach strangers new swear words as you try to work the thinner velcro strap with one glove already on.

All in all, I am very pleased with the Teknic Speedstars. You would be hard pressed to find another feature-filled glove at the same price.

Highly recommended.

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Posted in: motorcycling, review

3 Comments on "Teknic Speedstar full gauntlet motorcycle glove review"

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  1. Hrvoje Blazevic says:

    A very nice review of speedstars. You sold me! They are on sail for 90$, an I’ll get a pair for sure. However there’s one issue that you do not mention in review. Sizing? I normally wear large in most gloves, but have read in some other reviews that speedstars run very small, especially tight in fingers. What is you experience with this? Are you using your standard glove size (as in Held Ninjas – I can use that as a comparison, cause I still own a pair of Held Phantoms), or you had to go one size up?

  2. DrFaulken says:

    Hello Hrvoje,

    If you have particularly long thumbs you might want to get a size up. I have long fingers, and my thumbs sometimes press up against the gloves.

    Now that the gloves are broken in this isn’t a problem, but I could feel the stitching on the inside of the gloves and it was irritating.

    If you can’t try the gloves on before buying them, make sure you get the Speedstars from a place with a good return policy.

    Thank you for your comment, and good luck with your gloves.

  3. Hrvoje Blazevic says:

    Thanks for the reply. I think I’ll be okay with what I ordered (a Large). After reading your review of Held Ninja (you say you had size 9), I realized that we probably have the same size/shape of hands…
    down to the wrist size :-)
    I have Held Phantoms in size 8.5, but it took a lot of breaking in before they were comfortable, so I guess my real size with Held would be a 9. Even now, I do not use them for ordinary street riding–just
    for the track, and there they have proven themselves–a good example of why we should always use the best protected glove we can afford. Had two similar crashes, at about the same speed. First in a pair of mid-range Suomi gloves resulted in four cracked finger tips, lost finger nails, and
    two fingers being very painful and without mobility for more than a month (pinkie and ring finger on both hands). Yes, and I almost forgot, a cracked wrist on the left hand.
    Second time with Phantoms, I walked away (limped, that is) without even a scratch on my hands. Even
    the gloves are usable again, as compared to Suomis that disintegrated during the crash.

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