Racing motorcycles is a huge help in terms of road riding, not the least because racers tend to have a much greater feel for surfaces than their touring companions. The problem is that we are also ever so fussy and nit picking over riding clothing – and never more so than with gloves.
Try as I might, and I really have tried, I cannot manage to ride in thick, clumsy, road gloves which are the equivalent of making love whilst wearing ten prophylactics. You know that the handlebars should be providing a strong sensation of what the front wheel is doing but you’re so distant from the action that it’s of no interest.
This is why I have always insisted on riding in thin racing gloves in conditions which were patently too cold and too wet to be sensible. At one time, I simply suffered but then heated grips came along and so I still suffered – but a little less.
Then the Knox Covert glove was born and things changed forever…
Like many Knox products, the Covert glove is a complex piece of kit. It is made from 25% goat leather, 70% cow skin and 5% nylon. Bonded to the inside of the glove is Knox’s own “Outdry®” patented waterproof membrane. This system is hugely better, and I really can’t overstate the importance, than conventional waterproof membranes which move about inside the glove and take one back to the prophylactic analogy once again.
The palm is curved, although not so much as a full-on race glove, and there is the Knox scaphoid protection. These super hard, and very slippery, little pads on the inside of the glove palm really do work. I slid off at Donington a few years ago and, when I came to a halt, the scaphoid pad was worn almost to nothing but my wrist was fine. By contrast, my wallet was severely mangled paying for the damage but at least I could sign the check for the repairs without my hand hurting!
There is more protection on the knuckles but Knox have subtly hidden this beneath a layer of goatskin so that one doesn’t look like a wannabee racer arriving at the café for a coffee. Only a really astute observer would know that there is a covert race glove hiding under the touring appearance.
There are anti-slip areas on the palms and on the insides of the first two fingertips – the ones most likely to be used for braking and clutch control. Once more, these little detail touches increase the feel to the ‘bars and so to the tires. Knowing what the tires are doing is the golden key to riding safely.
Continuing with the touring theme, the glove is closed via a zip rather than the high-profile Knox Boa system which does work very well but is excessively complex for a road glove.
The Covert has an opening which is amply wide enough to allow a riding jacket beneath it or it can be fully closed and the cuff worn externally if you prefer.
A final level of adjustment can be achieved from the conventional Velcro strip which spans the inside of the wrist at its junction with the hand.
Overall, the glove oozes quality with little embroidered tags and micro badges showing that someone at Knox really cares about the product. Embroidery and badges don’t improve the quality of the glove but they do show passion – and I really like this.
So how do the gloves work in practice? First, the Covert gloves are a compromise, so don’t expect the intense, membrane thin feel of a race glove. Equally, the feel through the ‘bars will let you know what is happening in a way which no conventional touring glove ever does.
They are also windproof – but by summer riding terms. Riding in English summer temperatures of between 60-degrees and 70-degrees Fahrenheit, as I have done, they have been perfect.
The Covert gloves are also waterproof – but again within the caveat that, once it started raining, I rode the final hour to home in only light to medium rain. I might well deliberately go and ride for a couple of hours in winter rain and see just what their limit is. If I can motivate myself to do this, I will report back to you.
Finally, I raced with the gloves during a wet event and I felt like sending an immediate e-mail of thanks to Knox. Instead of being wet and cold – and this is the certain result of using conventional race gloves in the rain – my hands stayed dry and warm and I had much better feel. If you race, or attend track sessions, a pair of these Covert gloves ought to be in your kit bag – almost by law!
I have banged on at length about their suitability for racing and sports use but their discreet appearance would make them ideal for fashion conscious Cruiser riders who don’t want to be seen burbling round in their bad ass gear whilst wearing the quasi welding gear which touring gloves strive to be. Perhaps Knox could design a safe, smart colander or Nazi helmet to complete the Cruiser rider’s ensemble.
There is a range of sizes from small to XXL. The sizing really does cover a wide range of hand shapes so you will be able to find a glove which will fit you accurately.
To conclude, these are the gloves which I have been seeking for the last 40 years and I love them!
The price is very good value at: $139.95
Go to: http://www.knoxarmorusa.com/