Cycleport Racing Gloves

Gear ReviewI’ve been wearing the same gloves for several years now and they’re starting to show their age.  I stopped by the Yellow Devil Gear Exchange closing-sale and found some Cycleport gloves left over.  The price was right and they fit pretty well so I scooped them up.  I’d known about Motoport/Cycleport for a couple years, but only from their jackets.  A couple of the local guys had gotten full suits and jackets from them and were very happy.  I’m really picky about my gloves, but based on the price of these I felt OK giving them a shot.  Now that I’ve worn them for a couple months it’s time to make some observations.

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The Basics

Small note:  The company is called Motoport, the gloves are labeled Cycleport.  I’ll be using Cycleport as the name for consistency.  Just know for our purposes, we’re talking about the same manufacturer.

Cycleport prides itself on 100% Kevlar-blend construction of their riding gear.  What does this mean?  It breathes.  It abrades.  It can be washed without losing strength like leather does when it get wet.  It’s also pretty damn water resistant (riding 20 minutes through some rain, my hands were bone dry).  I can say with absolute certainty these gloves breath better than my Alpinestars SP2 gloves.  On brisk mornings going to work, my fingers are definitely cooler than before.  This can be good or bad, I suppose, based on your outlook.  More than anything, just be prepared.

The other part I’ve noticed, these moderate the temp pretty evenly.  While my leather gloves would get pretty warm in the summer, these seem to keep temps in the Goldilocks-range: not too hot, not too cold.  Cycleport claims a 70 degree temperature comfort range.  I certainly hope I’m not riding when it’s 120 degrees out.

So what we have is a pretty basic gauntlet gloves with a top-wrist strap, and a fat strap on the forearm.  Thermoplastic knuckle protector for the fist and some vents there for some forced air.  The ‘tops’ of the fingers also have some padding-unknown how effective it would be.  There’s a different blend of fabric on the heel of the palm and the pads of the fingers which provides good grip on the Pro Grips I put on recently.

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The Fit

Gloves for me are a challenge.  Usually if the palms fit, the fingers are way too long.  If the fingers are the right size, the palm is far too big.  These don’t fit me perfect, but they fit how I would expect a “large” size to fit.  When I compare them to my old gloves the fit is about the same.  The fingers on the Cycleport gloves are about the same, with the pinky being really long.  I have noticed these come off far easier than my leather gloves, probably due to the cooling, sweat evaporation.  The one thing I noticed is because of the fabric cuff, it doesn’t hold its shape very well when pulling over a jacket.  Leather cuffs tend to stay open, but the Kevlar fabric tend to close up making it harder to pull over the sleeves.  Not a huge thing, but it took some adjustment.

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The Features

I would consider these a ‘minimalist’ gloves.  Some folks like that, some like all kinds of stuff bolted onto their hands.  I can’t say if there’s really any science between glove armor or if most companies just bolt on shit that looks cool.  Under the TPU (picture above) there is some kind of padding, but in the event of a get-off, not sure what would happen.  I’d really rather not find out.  These gloves do flow some air, they are definitely cooler than any others I’ve worn, barring full mesh gloves or moto-cross gloves.  Whether that’s some function of the fabric or the vents in the TPU knuckle, I don’t know.

cycleport-gloves_0003They are most certainly not touch-screen compatible.  At least not with my Motorola Moto-X.  No amount of me angling my finger let me use my phone with them on.  Not a big deal for me, because my phone is usually just playing music for me over Bluetooth.  One thing I really do like, is the fabric.  Most people think textile gloves are bullshit and just explode on contact.  Maybe, but I’ve seen plenty of leather gloves do the same thing.  What I do like- unlike most textile velcro absolutely does not stick to these.  I’ve had other gloves where if you weren’t careful, the velcro closures would snag and rip any textile parts.  I actually had to retire a pair of Cortech gloves I loved because some of the panels got caught on the velcro and the stitching came loose.  Sucked.

The Bad

So now the bad.  And these things are minor, but one of them definitely took some getting used to.  First and foremost, I’d really like to have some reflective bits on these.  These come in blue and red apparently, but the black is absolutely Invisible Pedestrian-colored.  I think they’re actually made out of some kind of fabric that actually absorbs all light, they’re so black.  Not a huge deal, but I’ve gotten real conscious of conspicuity lately and I’d like a little reflectivity somewhere.

Second, there is a seam inside the throttle side that caused me some serious discomfort the first couple weeks I wore them.  You can just barely see below on my hand there a red line, and that was only from wearing them for a few minutes and gripping a broom handle to simulate holding the throttle for hours.  At the end of a long day, there is a decided line on the fat of my thumb from the seam.  It’d be better if the seam was relocated or redesigned.

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Lastly, the finger tips are slick.  Riding back with them from Yellow Devil, I almost pulled over to change back to my old gloves.  Pulling the clutch and brake was tough at first, but after a couple rides I adjusted how I pull and the problem went away.  Talking to Jon on my birthday ride, he said “I think if you sprayed some lube on the levers, you’d actually get more friction.”  If you’re not expecting it, the difference between this textile and leather is shocking.  What I do now, that I’ve tried to show  below in these pictures, instead of manipulating the clutch lever with my fingertips, I let my fingers slide down the lever.  So when the clutch is completely pulled, the tips of my fingers are hanging below, and the lever is held by the 3rd bone of the finger, closest to the palm.  It works for me, your mileage may vary.

Before-out
Before-out
Before-in
Before-in
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After-out
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After-in

The other thing that threw me for a loop was trying to take pictures on the fly while riding.  With the slick gloves, the camera was almost impossible to hold.  I would hate to drop my camera on the road.  Note: I never recommend anyone take pictures while you’re actually moving.  It’s dangerous and you might die.

The Verdict

I like them.  I especially like them for the price I paid.  They took a little getting used to, and the seam thing still bothers me a little.  If you’re a vegan rider who wont wear leather, these are one option (and they even use that as a selling point on their website).  These are the like standard motorcycle version of gloves – not flashy, super fast, or overly-pretentious, but they’ll definitely get you there.  Being so plain, I don’t have to worry about them getting stolen if I leave them on my bike – they just don’t look “expensive.”  They also don’t look like you’re trying to be  Rossi when you’re just trying to get to work.  Already a high quality gloves with good features, a little more protection (scaphoid, perhaps) and some reflective piping and they’d be even better than where they already stand.

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