If you haven’t been keeping track, California has been a hot, dry state for the past several years. Which is a good thing when it comes to riding motorcycles year-round, but less so when you’re trying to test cold-weather gloves. Thankfully, that dry spell has come to an end this year, with bucket loads of rain bringing with it some chilly weather. Finally, a chance to put Joe Rocket’s Rocket Burner textile gloves to use.

Background Info

Constructed from Hipora nylon, which is a waterproof and breathable blend of nylon, the exterior of the Rocket Burners resemble ski gloves more than motorcycle gloves. That’s because a discrete foam padded area over the knuckles is the only indication of impact protection. Other winter gloves I’ve tried in the past have had their protectors more pronounced and plentiful – the Rocket Burners don’t have any impact protectors over the fingers, for example. However, what I didn’t like about my other winter gloves is the added bulk that comes as a result of all the different layers needed to keep the glove warm as well as resistant to the weather.

Apart from the red On/Off button near the wrist closure, it’d be difficult to tell these are heated gloves. Also note the padding above the knuckles, the only area equipped with impact protection.

Apart from the red On/Off button near the wrist closure, it’d be difficult to tell these are heated gloves. Also note the padding above the knuckles, the only area equipped with impact protection.

With the Rocket Burner gloves, the Hipora exterior fabric helps keep water at bay. Inside, battery-powered heating elements are adjustable to three levels, run along the backside of the fingers and hand, and are covered by a fleece liner. This reduction in layers compared to non-heated winter gloves means less bulk and more feel at the controls. The batteries themselves are two lithium-ion units (one for each glove) that slip into pockets underneath each wrist. Joe Rocket says they’re good for up to four hours.

Further helping the rider have more feel at the controls is the synthetic suede material lining the palm area, with silicone strips running across the palm, thumb, and middle finger tip for better grip, especially when it’s raining. As an added convenience feature, the Rocket Burners also have conductive material on the tips of each pointer finger, meaning you can use your touchscreen devices without having to take the gloves off. Other features include an elastic band around the wrist with a Velcro closure. There’s also a small accordion panel at the top of the wrist area for greater range of motion.

The synthetic suede liner on the palms, along with the silicone striping, help increase grip on the controls. Here you can also see the conductive material on the tip of the forefinger, allowing the wearer to use their touchscreen devices without removing the glove.

The synthetic suede liner on the palms, along with the silicone striping, help increase grip on the controls. Here you can also see the conductive material on the tip of the forefinger, allowing the wearer to use their touchscreen devices without removing the glove.

Do The Rockets Burn?

But the real question is: what are they like to wear while riding? I’m happy to report that the Rocket Burner gloves just might be my favorite pair of winter gloves so far. While they are definitely (and obviously) more bulky than non-winter gloves, the heft isn’t annoying, which is more than I can say about some other cold-weather gloves I’ve tried. The RB’s provide a good amount of feel at the controls for a winter glove, as advertised, while doing a decent job at keeping the windchill at bay.

For much of the time I’ve had these gloves the chill wasn’t enough to warrant slipping in the batteries. With just the fleece liner and Hipora exterior, riding in ambient temps in the 50s was no problem. However, for those mornings when you can see your breath through your nose and there was frost on the car windows, having the heated elements is nice. The slim batteries simply slip into their slots and plug into the glove. A Velcro tab keeps the battery pocket securely closed.

The lithium-ion battery pack slips into a slot just below the Velcro pad – the area in which the power cord is sticking out from.

The lithium-ion battery pack slips into a slot just below the Velcro pad – the area in which the power cord is sticking out from.

From there, an easy-to-read On/Off button atop the wrist controls the temperature, with three red bars indicating the level of warmth. Pressing the On/Off button is super simple with the gloves on. For most of the riding I’ve done this winter, the lowest of the three settings has been sufficient for me. The heating elements gently warm the backs of the fingers and hand, which I like because there’s less chance for my palms to get sweaty. The middle heat setting is noticeably, but not drastically, warmer than the first; while the warmest heat setting keeps the hands really toasty. So much so that I never bother cranking the heat that high when I ride – it just hasn’t gotten that cold around here.

While it’s true that it has been raining quite a bit in Southern California, I haven’t worn the gloves during the worst of the rain storms. Instead, I opened the valves on my kitchen sink, wore the gloves underneath the running water, and watched the cold water bead right off the Hipora fabric – all the while the heating elements kept my hands nice and warm. That said, there was one weak spot I found: the seams connecting the conductive material to the forefingers of each glove. While I didn’t feel any water penetrate the stitching, the tips of my forefingers felt a distinct temperature difference.

Joe Rocket claims the battery packs can last up to four hours, after which they can be charged together with this included charger.

Joe Rocket claims the battery packs can last up to four hours, after which they can be charged together with this included charger.

As for the conductive material themselves, I’ve had mixed luck while using the gloves with my smartphone, but it might be an issue with my phone rather than the gloves. After the kitchen sink test, I had no problem using my phone with the gloves on. However, if the phone is cold, say, after being blasted by wind during a cold morning ride, the touchscreen isn’t as quick to react to my touch. Otherwise, the conductive material works fairly well and the phone reacts normally to my commands; though because of the thickness of the gloves compared to my bare fingers, deliberate button presses are required to access the information you want.

After riding, I usually disconnect the batteries and top them off simultaneously via the included dual-port charger that plugs into any standard outlet.

Running water beads right off the Rocket Burners, while the heated elements maintain their warmth.

Running water beads right off the Rocket Burners, while the heated elements maintain their warmth.

All-in-all I’m happy with the Rocket Burner gloves. I expected them to carry more bulk than my standard pair of riding gloves, but it isn’t dramatic, and for the comfort they provide on cold rides, it’s a tradeoff I’m happy to make. Not having to use the motorcycle itself as a power source is a big convenience benefit, too. Available in a leather version as well, the Rocket Burner gloves are only available in black, in sizes ranging from Small to 2XL. Pricing starts at $159.99. Visit JoeRocket.com for more details.

  • Gruf Rude

    Can they be charged using the bike’s 12volt system?

    • TroySiahaan

      The included charger is meant to be used in a standard wall outlet, but if you can find the correct cords and connectors, I don’t see why not.

  • HazardtoMyself

    Joe Rocket claims 4 hours battery life. Curious how long were you able to use them before the batteries died?

    I was looking at these for this winter, but it has never really got cold enough to switch from my regular winter gloves.

    It seems the biggest complaints are the battery life. A lot of online reviews claim they don’t last more than 30 minutes which is the biggest reason I didn’t pick them up yet.

    Anonymous online reviews are one thing though, so curious for your impressions.

    • TroySiahaan

      I have not ridden with them for four hours straight, but I’ve definitely ridden for much longer than 30 minutes without any issues. And when the battery does die, it’s not like your hands suddenly turn cold. The fleece liner does a pretty good job insulating the inside of the glove, keeping the residual heat around for a little while longer. And since you say it hasn’t been cold enough to switch from your regular winter gloves, it sounds to me like these will work well for you.

      • HazardtoMyself

        Thank you, I think I will give them a shot. If they last 1 1/2 – 2 hours or so I would be happy.

        Never cold enough for full heated gear, and didn’t want to bother adding a 12 volt system just for gloves, or add a heated grip controller to the bars for occasional use.

        Tried to find them in a few local shops, but nobody carried them.

        Love your guys gear reviews. Very in depth and really helps when trying to make a decision on gear you can’t find in a physical store to try.

        • Old MOron

          What Hazard said. You MOrons do good reviews.

  • BDan75

    Any information on abrasion resistance, esp. in the palm area? Seems like that could be a weak spot…

  • azicat

    I’m not too keen on the idea of my gloves doing a Note 7 impression next to my hands in a crash situation.

  • C.S.

    I have a pair of these and can only find fault with the battery charger. After one or two uses the batteries won’t charge. I’ve used two sets of batteries thus far with the same issue. Good to go for a 30 min commute at 40 degrees Fahrenheit sans batteries. Good gloves alone, would be fantastic if the batteries were reliable.

  • Hammerli

    I commute year-round in the Seattle area. I have a pair of very bulky Widder gloves I’ve used a lot over ten years. The Widders are great, but they are powered from the bike’s system and require you to wear a harness which goes under your jacket, up your back and down the arms. These battery powered gloves are much lighter and less bulky. They’re easier to use, no harness, and they they’ve kept my hands warm when the temp’s in the 30’s and even upper 20’s. I can use them for two days (4 hours riding) between charging, on setting 1 and 2, so far they’ve worked as advertised.