With materials such as Kevlar and carbon fiber becoming commonplace, we see more synthetics being used in the relatively simple technological world of riding gloves. Most manufacturers are content at using off-the-shelf materials for their gloves and, for most people, this is an acceptable proposition. However, for those of you with a taste for the finer things in life, there is Kushitani. Makers of fine leather racing products, Kushitani incorporates the latest in technology in a seemingly simple product. This should not be taken lightly. After all, let's face it, on the motorcycle technology scale, gloves are fairly low on the mark.
When we first slipped on Kushitani's GPR II riding gloves, we were instantly amazed. They fit like a custom product. We understand that we may sound perhaps a bit too "spoogey" in this review, but it's hard to write about a product that is superior in every way without sounding like salesmen. Still, we'll try.
How does it all feel? In a word, fantastic.From the first time they were handed to us to the first time we put them on (a span of only a few seconds), we immediately understood what all the fuss was about. These gloves feel better. The GPR II is a snug-fitting unit, and after a few days of use, they broke in nicely. The supple, soft leather that is used is just that -- supple and soft. There is no special treatment used to get the leather that soft. Kushitani uses only leather from specially bred cows and they (Kushitani, not the cows) manufacture their own products, ensuring consistent quality and workmanship throughout.
While other manufacturers usually incorporate Kevlar for impact and high-stress areas, Kushitani uses their own proprietary fiber -- Zylon -- for all potential high-impact areas. According to Kushitani, Zylon is stronger and more heat resistant than Kevlar or carbon fiber. As for impact resistance, the GPR II uses another proprietary material that Kushitani has dubbed K-Form. This material is a shock-absorbent, acrylic-emulsified material that possesses no memory effect. This makes the impact areas very resilient, thus enabling the K-Form to absorb more of the impact rather than passing it on to the rider. The wrist, top of the hand and top of all the fingers of the GPR II contain the K-Form stitched on by Kevlar. The pinky and ring fingers have a layer of Zylon over them.The top of the glove has folds of leather with plastic panels as well as K-Form. Although some feel this is overkill, every extra piece of protection is there for a reason. When it comes to your hands you can't be too careful. After all, you only have two. The very tips of the fingers are thin so you can feel the grips and levers. There is also a strip of leather on the inside of the thumb and the index finger area for gripping and durability. The palms have an extra layer of leather and some K-Form, all capped off with Zylon. The GPR II contains all of this technology yet they're still lightweight, flexible gloves.
How does it all feel? In a word, fantastic. The leather is so soft and supple that it almost feels like thin, deerskin, automobile gloves. Through the gloves you can feel most all of the the ridges and bumps of the grips. They breath well, and offer excellent on-the-grip traction. The GPR II gloves have held up well and there is no sign of stress or fraying. Our only complaint is that the palm and gripping surface on our test glove was white. This made the gloves dirty much too quickly. Aside from that, there is the little matter of cost. With a retail price of $225, this is no chump change piece of leather. However, for those who see heavy track use, or for those who will only accept the very best -- irregardless of price -- the gloves are well worth the price. The GPR II gloves can be viewed at www.kushitani.com.
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