Here’s a first-world problem for you: You’re out riding a new road only to realize you’re lost. You’ve got somewhere to be and now, not only will you be late but you also don’t know where you’re going. Luckily, you brought a GPS and your cell phone is fully charged (or, if you’re really fancy, your phone is your GPS). But having to take your glove off to use the touchscreen is annoying. What do you do?
Alpinestars has the answer with its SP-2 glove. Designed with the sporty or naked bike rider in mind, the SP-2 is a full-gauntlet leather glove primarily designed for the street that incorporates lessons learned at the track. The reason the SP-2 is the answer is simple: It features touchscreen compatible fingertips on the index finger of both gloves, so you can punch in coordinates on your GPS or call your friends to let them know you’ll be late. All without having to take the gloves off.
The SP-2 chassis is constructed from full-grain leather, with palm and finger sidewalls reinforced with goat’s leather. This helps give the rider both better feel at the controls and a better fit. Synthetic leather is then used to reinforce the tops of fingers and the cuff.
From a protection standpoint, since riders instinctually put their hands out during a fall, Alpinestars uses synthetic suede paneling throughout the palm area and landing zones to provide maximum abrasion resistance. A MotoGP-derived TPU slider on the palm is curved to fit the contour of the hand and is backed with EVA foam. The slider helps promote your hand into a slide during a fall, where much of the impact energy can then be deflected to other parts of the body instead of having it focused onto the hand and wrist. Up top, the ubiquitous carbon knuckle guard is also backed with foam to protect from both impact and abrasion. Lastly, Alpinestars’ patented finger-bridge prevents the little finger from excessive roll or separation.
On the comfort front, both thumbs on the SP-2 feature an extensive gusset opening to allow those digits to move around naturally. To that end, the fingers are pre-curved to reduce fatigue, and there are perforations on the cuff, the fingers sidewalls and just below the knuckles to help promote airflow. The large cuff opening is elasticized and features a large Velcro closure, making it quick and easy to take the glove on or off and keep it secure.
An Ideal Companion
Upon receiving the SP-2, the first thing I noticed was its comfort. The gloves felt like they were well broken in by the first ride. The large cuff opening makes the glove extremely easy to slip on over my jacket, even if my hands are already sweaty. Sizing runs true, and even after months of riding with the SP-2 I haven’t felt any noticeable looseness, as sometimes happens once leather gloves truly do break-in.
The SP-2 delivers fine feel at the controls, and despite the fact it doesn’t have truly floating carbon knuckle protection, I don’t feel it restricts my ability to grip or operate the controls in the slightest. Ventilation is decent for a glove that doesn’t claim itself as a highly-vented summer glove – the airflow is noticeable through the fingers, though I can’t say I felt much elsewhere.
Of course, what you’re dying to know is how the touchscreen-compatible fingertips work, and I’m glad to report they work like a charm – usually. No matter if it’s hot or cold outside, I can operate my smartphone or GPS without ever needing to take off my gloves to do so. My only beef is that small icons on my device are sometimes difficult to press, requiring multiple stabs before finally getting through. I haven’t yet put the SP-2 through the ultimate test – a crash – nor do I plan to anytime soon, but otherwise it’s safe to say I’m happy with these gloves. For all these reasons, the SP-2 has become my go-to glove whenever I head out the door.
Alpinestars sells the SP-2 for $129.95 which, to me, is a price worth paying for a three-season glove providing supreme comfort and touchscreen usability. It’s available in sizes ranging from Small to 3XL and in four color combinations: Black, Black/White, Black/White/Red and Black/White/Yellow. Learn more, or order your own, at Alpinestars.com.