MO Tested: Icon 1000 Axys Gloves Review
Icon 1000's retro/urban gear is well styled, without compromising quality and value.
The Icon 1000 line has been around since 2012, though as retro styling continues to play a major role in new motorcycle design, the market for their “retro chic” urban inspired gear continues to grow. Traditional gear isn’t going anywhere any time soon, but having the option to suit up in something that still looks presentable/appropriate when at your destination isn’t a bad thing. I recently got my hands on an assortment of the Icon 1000 Varial collection to see how much (if anything) was sacrificed to develop the line with this more style-forward approach. Up first, the Icon 1000 Axys Gloves.
Icon 1000 Axys Gloves
Unlike the jackets, pants, and boots of the same collection, the stylistic touches of the Axys gloves are a fair bit more subtle. The perforated backs, ribbed sides, and textile finger sections of the gloves are pretty standard; however, the detailing of the palms features a more dramatic aesthetic. While the backs use a relatively supple black calfskin, the palms use a soft quilted goatskin in a tan/camel dyed coloring. Unlike calfskin, this material is more durable, as well as being water resistant, yet still supple to the touch. The added padding of the palms also gives the gloves an added layer of protection compared to some other gloves in the sub-$100 range. Though technically a short cuff glove, the Axys wear a touch longer than some of the other options out there, which was particularly beneficial when riding through temps in the mid-40s.
Upon initial fit/wear, a few details quickly came to light. Though the gloves feel soft to the touch on the outside, they definitely need a bit of a break-in period – especially the thumbs. Moving around to utilize controls, a pronounced and purposeful motion is required that takes a bit away from the otherwise mindless second-nature operation of signals, lighting, and other functions. Further to this, I also noted the thumbs on these gloves are cut a little long in relation to the fingers. I usually run an XL glove, and though the fingers all fit the way they should, I wound up with a touch of extra clearance in each thumb. Looking at customer reviews across a number of retailers, this seems to be a somewhat common observation. I wouldn’t call it a dealbreaker, mind you, but if you’re fussy about precise fit, this may be a deterrent.
Getting out on the road in slightly cooler conditions, I immediately noticed an improvement in warmth. Being a more casual fair-weather rider, I generally run a lightweight textile glove rather than heavy leathers, and I found the Axys struck a great intermediary point between my warm weather gloves and more burly options I’d ridden with in the past. If the intent is to be a fairweather rider without being ill-equipped should the weather turn sour, I’d be pretty quick to recommend these guys.
After a handful of days in action, one more detail came to light that’s worth noting. On the outside, the stitching and execution of these gloves is more than satisfactory given their affordable mid-range pricing, but on the inside, the stitching is a bit on the bulky side and can prove irritating on a long ride. Once again, I think, when properly broken in, this will be a non-issue, but for my four days on the road, the stitching on the inside of the thumb (especially operating the throttle) was a bit of an irritant. Also, I found my fingernails catching the end stitching of the fingers from time to time. The latter ends up being a bit of a catch-22, because sizing down to get a better thumb fit means snug finger ends, whereas sizing up to make the fingers more comfortable means an even more bulky thumb.
At the end of the day, I’m not going to call these a bust by any stretch, as they still have a lot of pros to outweigh the handful of less-than-ideal details about them. What’s more, and as expected, the Icon 1000 Axys gloves easily undercut pricing of their competitors – something to consider if you’re suiting up on a budget. To get into a similarly constructed glove from Alpinestars, Dainese, or others, you’re going to to be closer (if not above) the $100 mark. If you aren’t concerned about budget and want the absolute best-of-the-best, there are others to consider, but if you want quality AND good bang for your buck (and can handle a bit of break-in discomfort), I’d definitely give these gloves some thought.
More by Justin Mastine-Frost