Over the last couple of years I have tried and used race gloves from several different manufacturers. Some have held up in crashes and some have not. There is one pair I will discuss here, that I gave away after a crash (A*'s GP Pro), but all the rest have photo's. I will use pricing from one souce (www.kneedraggers.com
) for comparison. Obviously, you can probably find them for less at some other site, but this is just for general guidelines.
Okay, I will start with what is, supposedly, some of the best stuff on the market. The Dainese X-Metal gloves. Let me begin by saying that these gloves miss the mark on many aspects. In comparison, I owned a pair of Dainese T-Age gloves (see pic below the X-Metal) a couple of years back and you can tell, that although some things have gotten better, a lot of this glove has gotten worse. (I crash tested both as well.)
Dainese X-Metal Gloves:
First off, they say it has incorporated MotoGP technology with polyurethane inserts, D-Stone fabric inserts (whatever that is), etc... Well, that's all good, but in a recent 50mph low slide, the glove ripped apart where those supposed polyurethane inserts hold the titanium in place. (See 3rd pic of the X-Metal Rossi rep glove.) In contrast, I was run over by a car a few years back wearing the T-Age gloves and they barely had a scratch. (See pic of the silver and white gloves.) First problem I noticed, is that the X-Metal are now made in Vietnam, whereas the T-Age was made in China. (It would appear that craftmanship goes downhill when you leave China and head to places like Pakistan and Vietnam.) The T-Age boasted of kevlar triple stitching throughout, compared to the X-Metal which makes no claims on stitching at all. The X-Metal now only uses one wrist closure via velcro and no wrist protection what-so-ever, while the older T-Age had double velcro closures and a small carbon wrist protector. For $300 to buy the X-Metal gloves, I would expect more from Dainese. As a result, I would not buy these gloves, especially at that astronomical price!
Dainese X-Metal Gloves
Dainese T-Age (no longer available)
Alpinestars GP-Tech Gloves:
These gloves are extremely good. Nice hard plastic (thermo-injected) protecting the wrist and lower forearm, pinky and 3rd digit fingers are sewn together to help prevent your small finger from getting bent in the wrong direction (see 3rd pic), kevlar stitching throughout, and a kangaroo leather palm for better feel and more strength. I like these gloves much better than the A*'s GP Pro's that they replaced. I crash tested both the Tech's and the Pro's, and where the Pro's stitching failed in the middle finger, the Tech's stayed tried and true. However, like the Dainese X-Metal, this glove is also made in Vietnam, but they must not be made in the same way, cause the Tech appears to use double stitching in the fingers, compared to the X-Metal using single stitches. The Tech also feels thicker, and since I crash tested both, I know that the Tech survives far better than the skimpy Dainese glove. At $215, this glove is worth every penny, and def worth buying.
Icon Merc Gloves:
Taking a step down on the money ladder is the Chinese made Icon Merc glove. I tested these gloves out recently while attending a trackday at Buttonwillow Raceway in California, and although not crash tested, I was impressed for a $90 glove. First off, like the Tech's, these gloves have large wrist and lower forearm protection, but it's not a hard molded plastic like the Tech's. It's a soft padding. The gloves don't say if they use kevlar stitching (and for the price I doubt it) and they also appear to be single stitched. How will it hold up in a crash? Probably not any better than the Dainese, but at a third of the cost, and if I had a choice between the two, I'd go with the Icon. Basically, this is an entry level glove, with upper class protection (albeit the softer padding stuff) like larger wrist protection, goatskin palm and carbon knuckles (which actually bend away from the glove see second pic below), but hey, that's more than you get from a lot of gloves. It's a deal if you are just starting out and on a budget.
Spidi Penta Gloves:
These gloves are by far the best I have ever owned. Take a look at the pics and you will notice that these truely are a racers best friend. I have not crash tested these gloves yet (I actually think they are my lucky gloves and I wear them for each race now), but I have all the confidence in the world in them. These gloves are also made in China with a price tag (not sold at kneedraggers, only on www.motonation.com
) of $249. They offer the most protection out of all the gloves I have owned. They have a large thermo-injected plastic wrist and lower forearm protector (like the A*'s Tech glove), extremely large tough plastic on the back of the hand and knuckle area (see second pic below), double velcro closure around the wrist and a personal favorite of mine, an optional removable pinky and ring finger link device (See 3rd pic below.) The only downside is that it appears that the ends of each finger are only single stitched, and the site makes no claimes of kevlar stitching or not?
AGV Exocet Gloves:
This glove is not very comfortable to wear when you are gripping the clip-ons (very tight and puts a lot of pressure on your knuckles), so I don't use them anymore, but it does have a lot of protection and does state that the "seams are stitched with high-tensile nylon thread." But this glove also appears to have single stitching in the fingers like most of the ones written up here. The Exocet does have a crap load of carbon protection all over the place too (see the pic). Only has one velcro closure around the wrist and a very small velcro wrist adjuster! I think all that carbon is what made the glove feel uncomfortable and tight. I wouldn't buy this glove for that reason alone, but it does boast a cheap price of just $135 and does have a lot of protection. I just don't like to come off track with my knuckles feeling like they have been in a vice.
Held Krytpon Gloves:
I bought these gloves on sale at NewEnough.com for $140 (normally around $250). It was a good deal and everybody always raved about how great Held is. Well, the Krpton isn't as comfortable as the Spidi Penta's, but has a crap load of protection, but not the usual carbon fiber or titanium. Held uses this abrasion stuff that is kind of soft but supposedly as hard as diamonds. Don't ask if it works, cause I haven't crash tested these gloves. I use them as back ups to my Spidi's. The palm is Kangaroo and soft, but the gloves just don't seem to fit comfortably when you have your fingers wrapped around the clip-ons. I thought maybe I had the wrong sized gloves and went with the next larger size, but those were too big. All and all it is a glove I will trust to take a severe crash and not fall apart, but I need the comfort level when racing 20 laps. Plus, I just don't feel the bike like I can with other gloves. If you can get these gloves for $140 they are worth it.
Lastly, I bought the cheapest pair of gloves I could find at a motorcycle show in England. These are called the ProSpeed gloves, are made in Pakistan and retail for $40 US Dollars equivalent. I don't know if ProSpeed makes this glove anymore, but it's absolute shite. I wore them once and the stitching is already falling apart. Now ProSpeed looks to have more products now (these gloves are 2 years old), but since they are based out of England, I can't compare them to a newer model.