Review by Andy Saunders
[This Tour Master Gel Cruiser Motorcycle Gloves Review was originally published in the November 2006 issue of Rider magazine]
Hot weather and motorcycling go hand in hand, but not usually hand in glove. When the temperature soars, so does the temptation to go without gloves-ride barehanded. Sure, you know it doesn’t make sense. One mistake and your hands likely will suffer road rash, and even if you don’t fall you can still damage your hide. Sunburn may strike way before the end of the day.
So, what to wear when it’s too hot for heavy gloves? Here’s one offering from Tour Master that combines protection with ventilation, and has features usually only found on full-coverage gauntlets. The Gel Cruiser motorcycle gloves are short, wrist-length glove with a leather skeleton, fleshed out with “Armor-Link” ventilation panels.
There’s a ribbed, padded area over the knuckles and suede covering for the index finger of each hand (good for a quick face shield wipe in damp conditions). There’s also a suede patch under the surface of each index finger and thumb, for more positive bar gripping. On the palms, stretching from thumb to index finger, there’s what Tour Master calls Clarino, a rubbery-feeling synthetic material like you might find on mechanics’ gloves, insulated from the leather of the palm by a layer of thin, resilient gel. Rounding out the list of gauntlet-type features, a hook-and-loop leather strap across the top of the wrist guarantees positive closure.
I have large hands, so I ordered the XL size, which fit my paws just fine. Usually, I’m at the end of the range of gloves—especially European and Japanese models—so I was surprised to find that sizing goes all the way to XXXL. Compared to the elaborate glove-donning ritual that’s sometimes necessary in these days of armored hand-shoes, the Gel Cruiser goes on easily, yet securely. One twist of the leather strap fastener is all you need to do.
The amount of ventilation is impressive, too. At any speed you can feel the airflow through the Armor-Link panels, enough to feel like you’re not wearing gloves at all. Too much air? Just close your fingers together to reduce the flow, and you’ll only feel it on thumb and index finger.
Quality of construction is fair, for an inexpensive glove, although the double-stitched seams on the palm were a little irregular. More annoying was the single seam that joined four panels—two vented panels, one upper and one lower leather panel—on each finger tip. In use, each seam couldn’t decide whether it wanted to ride under or over its respective fingernail. It’s the kind of thing you either soon learn to ignore…or not. If not, you’ll probably want to use the gloves for short rides only.
It may not be the kind of glove you’d wear on a long sport-touring trip, but these may be the gloves you pack away in your pocket for warm-weather use during the trip. Or for the trip down to the drugstore, any time of year. Tour Master Gel Cruiser Gloves retail for about $30, at your local dealer.