Picking the right winter glove is no easy job, but having warm hands in the colder months is essential for maximising comfort and safety. So, we put six pairs of winter gloves to the test to make picking the right pair easier... Words & Pics: Zane Dobie

Throughout the winter of 2019, I thoroughly tested what I considered to be the top five winter gloves available on the market. I put each pair to the ultimate test in rain, hail and shine. By the time I’d chosen a winner,  the warmth of spring was already arriving.

Since most heat is lost through the extremities, having a warm set of gloves for winter is super important...

Since most heat is lost through the extremities, having a warm set of gloves for winter is super important…

The good news is winter always returns, and as we are in the coldest months of 2020, I’m ready to reveal the results of my test to help you choose which winter gloves will get you through the cold.

You would think that after many years of riding early mornings I’d be prepared for winter. Mostly I am, but I always seem to struggle to have a suitable pair of winter gloves to repel the freezing windblast of a dark 5:30am blast down the freeway. Strange, because I hate being cold on a bike, and cold hands are on my very short list of things I dislike about motorcycle riding in the winter.


BMW R18


Winter 2019 was no different, and as soon as the mercury began to slide towards low single digits, my fingers felt the first sting of cold air cutting through gloves not designed for dual tasks of digit warming and protection. Rather than suffer on, I hit up Mr. Google to advise me which winter gloves were most up to the task.

My research resulted in a shortlist of five pairs of gloves, all chosen based on promised warming ability, value for money and looks. My prior form of procrastinating meant it was a healthy bet it would be some time before I’d repeat the process of finding a new glove, so whatever gloves I chose would be called upon for winter duties well into the foreseeable future.

DriRider Summit Pro – $149RRP.

I decided a winter glove shoot-out format based on the World Cup round-robin preliminary rounds and elimination finals to determine a winner would be the fairest way to determine glove I felt delivered the best bang-for-buck. To ensure a fair fight in a mostly controlled environment, the testing process was as brilliant as it was simple. Each match-up would take place during my daily hour ride to work; with a competing glove on each hand, rated and then switched for the ride home.

Each glove was rated based on comfort, quality, value for money, looks and the all-important ability to keep my hands warm. Six pairs of gloves were chosen, and split into two groups, A & B, with each pair facing off against its group opponents in a round-robin competition.



Two points were awarded for a win, and one for a draw, and at the end of the round-robin stage the lowest-scoring glove from each group would be eliminated. The four finalists would progress to the elimination finals with the winner of Group A facing off against the second placed glove of Group B, While the Winner of Group B would challenge the runner up in Group A to determine the finalists.

The opening Group A match saw Five’s WFX MAX glove ($215) take on DriRider‘s Highway glove ($119). Within 30-minutes I realised the match-ups were going to be closer than expected. For $119 the DriRider glove put up an exceptionally good fight against its WFX Max opponent which retails for almost $100 more, but once the cold began to seep into the Highway glove, I realised that if a planned ride was more than 30 minutes long, and the extra budget available, the Five brand was the way to go.

Five takes the win in the first round against the DriRider Highway glove with their WFX Max.

Five takes the win in the first round against the DriRider Highway glove with their WFX Max.

Group B kicked off with DriRider’s Summit Pro glove ($149) taking on Macna’s Exile glove ($149.95). The minute I slipped the Macna Exile onto my hand I knew it was going to be a contender. The comfortable snug fit with a soft liner meant it had good feel straight out of the box. It also has a squeegee on the index finger which actually works, as well as a nice long cuff length.

The DriRider Summit Pro put up a great fight, courtesy of its great looks, high cuff and knuckle protection. What most impressed me was the easy-to-grab tabs on the Velcro straps – all gloves should have these. However, the Macna Exile got the nod to score two points.


Avon Cobra Chrome


The Five WFX MAX ($215) then defeated the Pro Continental from Ficeda ($169) to make it back to back wins and book the first spot in the elimination rounds.

Following a defeat in Round One, the DriRider Summit Pro ($149) bounced back in Round Two to defeat the Pro Kent ($129.95) glove from Ixon. The Pro Kent was always going to have a fight on it’s hands in this company, as it is more of a spring glove due to the lack of cuff to warm the wrists.

The Pro Kent – more of a spring glove – still did an admirable job of keeping the ol' mitts warm on a cold day.

The Pro Kent – more of a spring glove – still did an admirable job of keeping the ol’ mitts warm on a cold day.

With the DriRider Summit Pro ($149) and Macna’s Exile ($149.95) on a win in Group B, the Pro Kent could not mathematically make it though to the elimination round due to it’s last round match up with the Macna Exile which was a one-sided affair due to the Macna’s long cuff length and comfortable fit.

The final round of Group A saw the Pro Continental ($169) defeat the DriRider Highway to book it’s spot in the semi-finals where it would take on the winner of Group B, the Macna Exile. The $169 Ixon Pro Continental was impressing with its snug, comfortable fit that felt like a comfy pair of slippers straight out of the box. The squeegee on the left index finger was called into use in foggy conditions.

The Pro Continental impressed Zane with its snug, comfortable fit that 'felt like a comfy pair of slippers'.

The Pro Continental impressed Zane with its snug, comfortable fit that ‘felt like a comfy pair of slippers’.


Round Robin Results

Group A

  • Five WFX MAX – 4 points
  • Pro Continental – 2 points
  • DriRider Highway – 0 points

Group B

  • Macna Exile – 4 points
  • DriRider Summit Pro – 2 points
  • Pro Kent – 0 points

Semi Final One

Five WFX Max versus DriRider Summit Pro
The DriRider Summit Pro proved to be the Cameroon of the tournament, giving the much more expensive Five WFX Max a serious run for its money on one of the coldest days of the winter, with the temperature gauge at a finger-numbing two degrees. While the Summit Pro won plenty of admiration on the value-for-money scale, Five’s offering took the points with the superior build quality, fit and look that comes with spending the extra $66.



Semi Final Two

Macna Exile versus Pro Continental
The first big upset of the tournament came in the second semi-final where the winner of Group B, the Macna Exile, faced its more expensive opponent, the Pro Continental, and what a mighty clash it was.

With the mercury still hovering low in the single digits, nothing could separate the pair on hand warming ability, the cold wind blast barely able to cool the digits on either hand. It was also a draw on build quality, but the Macna Exile claimed the win during the penalty shootout, courtesy of its soft leather palm and better feel on the controls.

The Macna Exile goes head to head with the Five WFX Max to determine which is the better glove...

The Macna Exile goes head to head with the Five WFX Max to determine which is the better glove…

Final

The stage was set for a thrilling final between the Five WFX Max ($215) and the Macna Exile ($149.95), both undefeated throughout the tournament.

The weather chart was consulted, and the ultimate finger-freezer route chosen for a pre-sunrise shiver-fest that would determine the winter glove champion.


BMW Q3 Ride


Three hours of head-to-head competition failed to separate the pair, forcing the match up into extra time and then into a penalty shoot, with the more affordable Macna Exile gloves defending constant attacks from the Five gloves – matching the French-made glove for warmth, quality and safety features when the $65 price variation was taken into consideration. Both gloves went blow-for-blow through the penalty shootout and into sudden death.

Finally, it came down to comfort and how much feel on the levers each glove delivered – a truly personal opinion that could see the victory go either way on any given day based on the tester’s personal preference. In this instance the win went to the Five WFX Max by the narrowest of margins. After just a few wears, the Five gloves felt like a well-loved pair of slippers, while the Macna Exile took a little longer to break-in.

By the slimmest of margins, Five's WFX Max glove takes the cake as the best pair of winter gloves from this selection.

By the slimmest of margins, Five’s WFX Max glove takes the cake as the best pair of winter gloves from this selection.

What at first appeared to be a straight-forward test to determine the best winter glove turned out to be anything but. All six gloves tested – even the Pro Kent with it’s short cuff, provided a high level of warming ability and comfort. Every pair revealed a quality build that should see them last a number of winter hidings. All gloves also featured a high-level of safety features. To put it into football terms, the highest winning margin of any game throughout the tournament was a single goal, with a number of matches forced into extra time.

At $215 Five’s WFM Max gloves are the most expensive gloves tested, but the value for money is equal to, and in some cases a little better than some of the more affordable gloves on offer. If you’re on a budget, any one of the six tested gloves will see you through cold winter months.


Security Gear Jan


Group A

Name: Five WFX Max
RRP: $215
Sizes: S – 3XL
Distributor: Moto National

Features

  • Neoprene upper and leather palm.
  • One-piece carbon knuckle shell, outside mini shells on fingers and palm.
  • Lateral vented PU injected wrist panels.
  • Double closure system.
  • Easy-on/off system
  • Neoprene sleeve base layer
  • Wide over-jacket cuff
  • Hipora breathable-waterproof membrane. lining

Likes
The quality build with its inner and outer layer and nice high cuff kept out the cold for all but the longest of rides on the coldest of days. Despite looking a bit cumbersome, the twin layer design does not impeded access and egress of the hand, and if you need to adjust the inner liner it is fitted with a big red tab, easy to grab with gloved fingers. The hard-shell protection on the wrists and knuckles do not make the glove uncomfortable, helped by the quality Velcro tightening straps.

Dislikes
No visor squeegee on the index finger.  XL size is closer to a large so think about going up a size.

Five WFX Max - $215RRP

Five WFX Max – $215RRP


Name: DriRider Highway
RRP: $119
Sizes: S to 2XL
Distributor:  McLeod’s Accessories

Features

  • Leather, high tenacity fabric & none slip microfiber
  • Visco Lab Impact knuckle protectors
  • Waterproof and breathable liner
  • Comfortable Tri fleece liner
  • Thinsulate 6oz insulation back and 4oz on palm
  • Thermoplastic palm slider
  • Accordion stretch flexibility panels
  • Elasticised wrist with dual strap closure
  • Touch screen compatible Smart Tip on forefinger

Likes
For just $119, it’s a glove with excellent value, featuring a quality leather palm and ample protection across the knuckles. The liner has a comfortable feel helped by the stretch panels once the glove has been worn in. Good feel on the handlebar controls. The Touchscreen Smart Tip on the forefinger works as well as a bare finger, great news for riders who like to use a bar-mounted smartphone.

Dislikes
Took a bit of effort to get them broken in, very tight at first especially with a clenched fist. A great urban glove, but struggled to repel the cold wind blast of an early-morning winter run up the freeway. The adjustment straps are hard to grab with a gloved hand. People with long arms may find the shorter glove cuff leaves a slight gap between the jacket and glove.


Name: Ixon Pro Continental
RRP: $169.95
Sizes: S – 3XL
Distributor: Ficeda Accessories

Features

  • Knuckle protector on backhand
  • Slider on bottom palm
  • Reinforced sidewall
  • Goat leather palm and synthetic suede with softshell backhand
  • Primaloft One insulation
  • Waterproof and breathable with integrated membrane
  • Touch screen compatible index finger

Likes
Good-looking goat leather glove with quality stitching, a high amount of protection on the knuckles and palm for CE rated protection. The palm also features synthetic suede providing a high-level of grip. The visor squeegee on the index finger was one of the best on the test. The adjustable Velcro wrist strap allows a comfortable and snug fit around the wrist.

Dislikes
The adjustable wrist strap makes the glove feel tight around the thumb area.

Ixon Pro Continental - $169.95RRP

Ixon Pro Continental – $169.95RRP


Group B

Name: Macna Exile
RRP: $149.95
Sizes: S to 3XL
Distributor: Link International

Features

  • Claimed to be suitable for hot or cold conditions
  • Tough Goat leather and Durylon outer
  • TPR knuckle and finger protection
  • EVA palm and thumb reinforcement
  • Waterproof with breathable RAINTEX liner
  • Bemberg and Isofur thermal insulation layers
  • Throttle control ergo-thumb design
  • Smart screen friendly with touch tip technology
  • Index finger screen cleaner ensures easy clearance of water

Likes
A comfortable, easy-fit glove that took just one wear to break in. Soft outer and even softer liner belie the Exile’s level of safety features. Easy on and easy off with a nice snug fit assisted by well positioned Velcro tightening strap – although grab tags on the straps would have gained a few extra points.

A generous cuff length that overed the arm of the jacked with ease assisted with warming duties. One interesting feature is the squared off finger ends; other than looking good I wonder if they have any real purpose. One thing that does have a purpose is the squeegee on the index finger.

Dislikes
The squared-off finger tips make picking up a bike key a little tricky.



Name: Ixon Pro Kent
RRP: $129.95
Sizes: XS-6XL
Distributor: Link International

Features

  • Quality knuckle protectors
  • reinforced sidewalls
  • Waterproof and breathable with integrated membrane
  • Primaloft One lining
  • Short cuff with tightening strap
  • Touch screen compatible index finger
  • Made from goat leather and polyester

Likes
The Pro Kent was always going to have a fight on its hands in this company, more of a spring glove than a straight up winter glove due to its lack of cuff to keep your wrists warm, however it still impresses with its ability to repel the cold. Made from supple leather, it’s a super stylish glove that was comfortable straight out the box. Good knuckle armour and feel on the controls was one of the best on test. Will be back for a spring glove test.

Dislikes
The short cuff not suitable for freezing winter riding.


Name: DriRider Summit Pro
RRP: $149
Sizes: S to 2XL
Distributor: McLeods Accessories

Features

  • Leather and Kodura 500D construction
  • Visco Lab Impact knuckle protector
  • Nylon palm protector
  • Leather reinforcement on palm & side of hand
  • McTex waterproof & breathable liner
  • McFit Tri Fleece liner
  • MCFILL 6oz back and 2oz palm
  • Accordion stretch flexibility panels
  • Touch screen compatible forefinger & thumb
  • Elasticised wrist with dual strap closure

Likes
The top of the range DriRider winter gloves impressed with value for money. A really good-looking glove, and the only glove in the test with a zippered expansion panel on the cuff which provides a slightly tight fit over the top of the jacket. Also has Velcro adjustment straps, good knuckle protection and a rubber squeegee on the index finger

Dislikes
Has a layer of synthetic leather protection up the outside of the hand and up the pinky but could do with a little more visible protection on the palm. The fit is quite tight so if you are considering the Summit Pro, it may be worth going up a size. The break-in period was also quite long.

DriRider Summit Pro – $149RRP


Link Macna Q3


 

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