ALPINESTARS GP PRO GLOVES
Hand protection, crash tested
THIS SET OF GP Pro gloves has all of the things you would expect from a high-end roadracing apparel: bovine, goat, and kangaroo leather, knuckle protection, armored wrist guards, perforated panels for airflow, and a price of $280. Basically, all of the things a set of mitts should have to keep my hands in one piece should my day go pear shaped.
Luckily (for the sake of testing), I am prone to mistakes. I entered Sonoma Raceway’s blind turn 3A with a bit more ambition than skill and pretty soon was sliding on my backside at around 60 mph. I kept my wrists and fingers in as I hit the ground—a technique I adapted over decades of club racing—but as soon as I was sliding securely I put my hands out to steady and slow my trajectory. In doing so I whacked my left thumb on the pavement and sustained the only injury to my hand: a small blister on the outside of my thumb knuckle.
I abraded the puck on the heel of both gloves and scuffed the bottom of both thumbs. There’s also a thin, slightly stretchy insert that covers the fleshy bit between your thumb and index finger that I wondered about. An area of the thumb nearby hit the ground but not that fabric.
I was most impressed with the little flap of leather that drapes over the wristclosure strap, which took some heat in this crash. And it did the job it was meant to do—don’t let asphalt cut the strap and allow the glove to come off.
A step down from the Motogp-spec Supertechs but terrific protection and comfort. Minus half a mark for the price.
My favorite part of the protection these gloves offered is that I would use them again. There are no busted seams, no leather that’s worn through, and no reason not to let them keep protecting my hands. It’s a lot of money to pay for gloves, there’s no question. Would cheaper ones have worked just as well? Maybe. But here I sit, happily typing. That’s got to be worth something.