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Function Follows Form: Good-Looking Gear that Works Well
The leather on the backs of the gloves is perforated and there are doubled layers of leather and double stitching throughout. There's a Velcro cinch strap as well as a Velcro closure panel for the gauntlet. There's even a neoprene
comfort panel in between the knuckle guard and your hand. This is a very complex and elaborate glove for this price category.
The glove is undeniably comfortable. The leather is soft and supple and makes use of external seams to prevent finger irritation. I noticed minimal bunching, although the fit wasn't perfect; the fingers were the correct length for me (I'm around an 8.5 in glove sizing, somewhere between a medium and large for most brands) but too wide. Shift's size medium model has a very skinny body and big fat hands, which I'm sure is attractive in some circles. If that doesn't sound like you, try them on before you buy them.
I've enjoyed using these gloves at track days. They're not too warm (although the venting is barely noticeable) and are comfortable enough to not irritate-- the loose fit doesn't cause bunching. I feel pretty confident that they will provide decent protection, thanks to plenty of double stitching and other high-quality features.
The only issues I have with these gloves are the graphics peeling off on one finger and the loose fit. Otherwise I think these gloves provide good value at $129.95, considering the comfort, protection and features they provide.
Dyer Hybrid Gloves ($99.95)
If it makes sense to wear hybrid jackets and pants -- clothing constructed of leather and textile -- to get the maximum benefit of multiple types of fabric, then why not a glove? Shift answers that question by offering the Dyer Hybrid glove.
This glove is actually a similar pattern to the SR-1 glove, but uses synthetic fabric for many of the panels less likely to require abrasion resistance. Also, the knuckle guard is made of a plastic-backed foam material Shift calls "TPU", with an additional TPU panel added to the outboard side of each gauntlet.
Although the patterns are similar, the Dyer has a more snug fit, thanks to the stretchy material in the fingers. However, I don't like them quite as much as the SR-1; I prefer the feel of leather on my hands than the synthetic stretch stuff. However, they do feel cooler, and the titanium-look plastic of the TPU is pretty tough-looking. Also, they boast most of the same safety features as the SR-1, so I'm confident they would provide much of the same protection, too.
At $100, the Dyer Hybrid is a good summer glove that offers a lot of comfort and safety features for the money. If it fits your hand and is comfortable for you, I would recommend it.
Shift's size medium model has a very skinny body and big fat hands, which I'm sure is attractive in some circles.
Stealth Hybrid Gloves ($24.95)
So sometimes you're just running around town at low speeds, it's hot out, and you want gloves that are light and simple to wear that will stuff easily in a pocket when you're not using them.
Shift provides the Stealth gloves for this purpose, and I'm surprised to say that I use them a lot when the weather is hot and I'm making a short, low-speed trip. They were particularly useful for riding a scooter around in Rome, where it's hot and humid in the summer and traffic rarely exceeds 40 mph.
The Stealth Hybrids look like a motocross glove, except with a leather palm. The backs of the gloves are made of nylon, neoprene and some plastic. I don't know if they'd survive a high-speed crash, or even a medium-speed crash, but wearing them is like not really wearing a glove, comfort-wise, and that means that those of you in hot areas will at least be wearing something when it's time to bail out. However, the fit is very good; there's minimal leather and maximum stretchy stuff, so they fit like a pair of stockings (not that I know anything about that), and flow a lot of air through to the back of your hands.
As a light-duty scooter or around-town glove the Stealth Hybrids are a really good deal at $24.95, but I would avoid them for high-speed commuting, sport riding or touring. Still, for this category, they are well-made and comfortable and deserve some consideration.
Airborne Jacket $99.95
The review for the Airborne jacket is going to seem mighty familiar if you just read the review for the gloves. Again, wearing a mesh jacket is a Hobson's choice; better than nothing, but not as protective as leather or Cordura. However, if you are going to be riding around town, or in extremely hot weather, this might be the way to go.
The Airborne is made of some kind of polyester mesh that probably isn't as strong as a jacket completely constructed of ballistic nylon (Cordura). However, the elbows and shoulders are beefed up further with CE-standard armor. The cuffs are secured with Velcro and there are Velcro adjusters in the waist. There's also a pocket for a back protector, a 3/4 zipper for those non-existent pants, and the now-familiar anti-plumber's butt loop. That's a lot of features for $99.
As mesh jackets go, it's one of my favorites. It fits well and doesn't bunch up anywhere, and you look like a semi-normal person wearing it. The pockets are handy, and even though it doesn't have a back protector, the solid construction and CE armor elsewhere give me confidence to ride at highway speeds. The windflow is incredible; you might as well be wearing a t-shirt. It's so light it
feels like wearing nothing at all. The only thing I didn't like was the Velcro cuffs; Velcro gets old and wears out, and I don't like ripping and re-closing them every time I don or doff the jacket.
Many mesh jackets in this price range are cheap pieces of crap. This one breaks the mold and is a high-value piece of riding gear.
Shift Denim Kevlar Street Pant $69.95
Our street-riding gear is a balance of comfort, convenience and protection. It's easy to say, "I only ride wearing full protective gear", but it's hard to rigorously follow that rule. Sometimes it's too hot or just a big pain to wear a full textile or leather suit, especially if you are making multiple stops or have nowhere to change or stash too much gear when you get there.
The response from apparel manufacturers has been to take casual denim jeans and reinforce them with abrasion-resistant materials like Kevlar. Shift's version of this product is the Denim Kevlar Street Pant.
They are baggy-cut jeans available in a dark wash and in even waist sizes 28 to 40 inches. If you have shorter than a 34" inseam you will need to find a tailor -- remember tailors? -- and have them hemmed. Don't tell them about the Kevlar or they will probably charge you extra; it's tougher to cut than leather.
Wearing them feels like wearing a very heavy pair of blue jeans. The Kevlar panels are in the leg (below the knee) and in the seat, and probably add a pound to the weight of the garment. There is a soft stretch material in the crotch and the backs of the knees for a comfortable fit.
These work well as jeans. They are stylish (The Wife says the editorial bootie looks fetching) and comfortable, if hotter than regular jeans. The stretch panels make sitting on bikes and moving around a less, shall we say, binding affair than regular jeans as well, and when you are off the bike you just look like a guy wearing jeans instead of moto-warrior boy.
As protective motorcycle clothing I would say they are okay if that's your decision. They will probably offer some kind of abrasion resistance at the speeds you are most likely to experience in a street crash -- under 30 mph -- and they are cooler and more comfortable to wear than leather or textile riding pants.
However, they have no impact-resistant qualities and they tend to flap around a lot because of their baggy cut, especially if you are riding a cruiser. I guess cruiser guys wear little garter thingies.
So we have a good-quality, stylish product that is more protective than jeans, but still not a real substitute, in my opinion, for real motorcycle apparel. Still, we make our choices, and I choose to wear them pretty frequently for their style, comfort and convenience, and have a little more peace of mind than if I was just wearing jeans.
-Gabe Ets-Hokin, Senior Editor
At press time, Shift claims they are on the verge of releasing an entirely new range of products. You can keep updated at the Shift Racing website.