AGV Sport Rider Gloves
Durable, Versatile Protection
There are several makes and models of everyday street riding/roadrace gloves, ranging from $4.99 Kmart special fingerless varieties to the $150 "racer replicas." Over my 25 riding years I've used many brands, some for only a few days, and others for several years. Among the best I have found are AGV Sport's Street Rider models. Price wise they are in the middle of the market, available from $35 to $89, and can be had plain or feature packed.
...with these AGV gloves offering very good quality, great protection and good feel, I think I'll have the last laugh.
The basic things to look for in a pair of gloves are protection, proper fit when your hands are hot and sweaty, a compromise of thickness and feel, how well the leather is stitched, and leather quality. I look for some padding across the backs of the knuckles and more palm protection rather than less. Color and fancy patterns add absolutely nothing to glove functionality and should be considered last, if at all. In my case this means I'm wearing gloves with that '90s racer look on my 1974 BMW, and I suffer the derision of some club members. But with these AGV gloves offering very good quality, great protection and good feel, I think I'll have the last laugh.
When you fall your intial reactions are instinctive, such as putting out a hand to save your head. As a result of a 115 mph-plus fall while racing at Sears Point, I am quite fond of rivets or kevlar in the palm. On one palm, over half the rivets ground down, but the skin on my hands emerged totally unscathed. Wearing most other gloves, with one or two thin layers of leather on the palm, the results would have been much worse.
My current pair of AGV Sport Riders have both rivets and a layer of kevlar in the lower palm. Overkill perhaps, and a bit stiff at first, but you quickly become used to them. The padding across the backs of the knuckles mean you don't even notice small rocks or other road debris. The AGVs are available in a variety of constructions, including no extra palm protection, one layer of kevlar without rivets, rivets only without kevlar, or both rivets and kevlar. Prices vary only slightly, so you can choose whatever you prefer.
These gloves have seen freezing rain, hail and more soakings than I can remember.
These AGVs are durable. I commute most non-rainy days and take long rides on the weekends, so they are used a lot. These gloves have seen freezing rain, hail and more soakings than I can remember. At the end of the riding season I coat them with mink oil. That's it for maintenance. (Don't do this during riding season or they'll be slippery!) The stitching is even, the fingers haven't puckered, and they have yet to tear. Compare these picturess of two-year-old AGVs with those of the three-month-old Nankai racing gloves reviewed previously and you'll see what quality construction is all about.
Of course, there is one tradeoff. The AGVs are made from slightly heavier leather, so they don't have quite the same precise feel as the Nankai's paper-thin material. Also, AGVs do not have the one-piece index finger/palm construction, but this doesn't compromise feel or control from the center of the palm up through the fingers, where you 'feel' the handgrips. I am a 'push-pull' rider and I have not found the extra stiffness in the heel of the palm to detract from control when I'm tossing a bike into a corner. Were I racing today, though, I might opt for rivets only, which would provide a lot more feel with only slightly less protection.
My favorite gloves of all-time were the Fox roadrace gloves that gave their all at Sears Point. The AGV's are a very close second. I have used many different kinds of street gloves -- from traditional brands such as TourMasters (great in cold weather, too hot in summer) and Castre (not sure if they even make these any more), to custom made down-filled deerskin gloves. These AGVs are by far my favorites for everyday use.
Motorcycle Online Rating: ****
AGV Sport Rider Gloves are available through your local dealer. Prices range from between $35 to $89 depending on features. Not all dealers carry all styles, so check with your dealer. Many aftermarket wholesale companies also sell them through catalogs, whereby dealers/retailers then stock one or two pair and special order the exact ones you want. Expect delivery on special orders to be seven working days.