It’s winter. That might seem like a strange time to tell you about our favourite summer riding gloves. But actually, it’s the perfect time to bag a bargain while dreaming of the warmer weather returning and the roads drying out. Here’s what you need to know:
The all-important E-number is EN 13594:2015. There should be a pictagram on the label. Beneath the picture will be a 1 or 2. Level 2 is the highest rating. Both levels involve resistance to being pulled off in a crash; tear strength; seam strength; cut resistance; and abrasion resistance. But… knuckle protectors are mandatory for Level 2, optional for Level 1 (if Level 1 gloves have them, they’ll be labelled 1 KP). Just to finish off, cuff length also affects the rating. Got a short cuff? They’ll be Level 1 regardless.
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What’s the difference between a summer glove and others? By definition, a summer glove is purpose-built for riding in warm weather. Typically they’ll have far more ventilation than other gloves, either by perforations in the material, mesh panels, or both. Shorter cuffs are common (though not exclusive).
As they’re built for riding in the warm, they usually do away with things like thermal and/or waterproof layers. They’re all about feel, so lighter materials will be employed.
What if it goes belly-up?
Just because they’re thinner and lighter, they should still protect your skin. Like we said above, all summer gloves will protect you, but it’s up to you whether you want knuckle protection and a longer cuff to protect wrists. It’s not mandatory, but look for gloves with scaphoid protection – that’s a long bone in the wrist that allows movement and keeps things stable.
Anything else I should look for?
They need to fit! Summer gloves especially are snug (no layers), so make sure they’re comfortable, fit properly, and give you enough span to reach controls (can you reach the indicator switch with hands on the bars, for example?).
As regards the wrist restraint, can you do it up so it’s holding them on, but it’s still comfortable (you don’t want the blood flow getting cut off!)?
When it’s hot, your hands get sweaty… it can be hell getting them off and on again. Some gloves have a silk lining or similar that helps, and they feel much nicer.
Oh, and little things like screen-friendly strips on the index finger are handy.