I am very picky about the gloves I wear, having experienced the road rash that accompanies a gloveless dismount from probably every skateboard I stepped aboard as a kid. I have no desire to relive the excruciating pain of trying to do anything with wrecked hands as an adult.
While I hope to never crash test the latest pair of gloves to come across my desk here at World Headquarters, Racer’s new Carbon II winter gloves, they seem to be up to my high standards.
The Carbon IIs are constructed of a 45% leather, 35% polyester, 15% nylon, 5% SuperFabric outer shell, with a 100% polyester lining. The leather bits are where you would hope to find them: on the palms and fingertips, as well as the back of the hand. The SuperFabric (a flexible textile with tiny armor plates) makes up one of two palm sliders, and poly-nylon parts fill in the blanks.
The gloves get the “carbon” portion of their name from the carbon fiber knuckle protection and the second set of palm sliders, on the heel of each hand. The II is because these gloves are a rework of a set that hit the streets, or rather the market, in 2013.
Following Racer’s extensive sizing instructions, I ended up in a large that fit me just about as well as the same size from seemingly every other manufacturer. I have stubby fingers, so I almost always have about a quarter-inch of unused space at the tip of each finger.
Like the Racer Tour FHH gloves that Editor Surj reviewed last month (“Gloverboy” – New Stuff, January 2018), the Carbons IIs feature varying thicknesses of Dexfil insulation: 2oz on the palm, 6oz on the back of the hand. The idea is better heat transfer from heated grips, and that also translates to pretty decent feel on the controls for a colder-weather glove.
An AquaPoint-branded breathable and waterproof membrane fights off Mother Nature’s tears decently enough. As usual, we haven’t had much rain lately, but I have always arrived at an acceptable level of dry. The cuffs utilize two real-deal Velcro closures—one at the wrist and one at the end of the gauntlet—as well as an elasticized drawstring to cinch things snug for further weather protection. The drawstring is very easy to operate, but I did have one of the plastic grab points come off in my hand the first time I put them on. I was able to clip it right back on, however, and it seems to have been an isolated incident.
A non-impact safety feature is the reflective piping on the backside of the gauntlet, and a non-safety feature is that the gloves can manipulate touchscreens, albeit with a little struggle.
The touchscreen magic only exists on the tips of the index fingers, which isn’t realistically convenient for much more than unlocking the device or answering a call, perhaps because the portion of the index finger that works with screens is just a wee bit beyond the reach of my stumpy nubbins. It might work a bit better for those with proportionate phalanges.
Anyway, I’ve found that if I am on the moto, I’m usually hooked up to my Sena and need to pull my glove off to get my phone out of my pocket anyway, so the limited touchscreen functionality is not a deal breaker.
Winter is a subjective term, it seems, as the Carbon II gloves are not hardcore enough for a true winter, something I’ve heard still exists outside the Bay Area. I found my hands craving heated grips and a hot toddy when temps dipped below 50 degrees, and this time of year that’s just about every ride.
Overall, Racer’s Carbon IIs are reasonably protective, comfortable “California winter” gloves offering good dexterity, that will work well if you’re running heated grips or just have a little thicker skin than me.
$159.99. Learn more and grab a pair of your own at RacerUSA.com.
This story originally appeared in our February 2018 issue, which you can read in all its original high-res glory here.