Dainese MX gloves, a love story

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As a fancypants motorcycle journalist, I can have essentially any uber-expensive piece of riding gear I want, for free. But half the time, I end up wearing stuff that’s years old and wasn’t all that expensive to start with. These Dainese MX gloves are one of those items. They’re probably a decade old, they smell like vinegar and, if my girlfriend would let me, I’d never take them off. Believe it or not, they used to be red, white and blue.
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Actually, I didn’t pay anything for these gloves either. They were a
hand-me-down from David at Death Spray Custom, although I can’t remember
if he actually gave them to me or if I stole them. Anyways, I acquired
them about five years ago when I still lived in London, they were
already heavily used. At the time, I’d never owned a pair of short cuff
gloves and didn’t think I ever would, put off by the supposed lack of
retention and coverage for the wrist. But, for city riding, this design
isn’t just near perfect, it is perfect.

Short gloves like this are so much easier to take on and off if you’re
popping in and out of places, they fit better stuffed into a back pocket
or inside a helmet, they don’t interfere with whatever kind of jacket
you’re wearing and they’re just generally more convenient in and around
town. You can even check the time while you’re wearing them.

Don’t let the “MX” name fool you, these gloves have nothing in common
with the thin little things you wear on a dirt bike. Solidly constructed
from an all-leather palm with double layers in all the important places
and a half perforated leather/half heavy-duty textile upper, Dainese
included knuckle protectors that are half carbon and half foam rubber
padding. There’s also foam padding covering the external blade of your
hand, meaning you could karate chop shit without hurting yourself. I
haven’t actually tested that.

What I have tested, multiple times, is the knuckles’ ability to cushion a
punch. They work well; taxi mirrors snap off without cutting your
hands, car hoods dent without breaking your knuckles, drywall crumbles
beneath them. They’re pointy enough that they’ll shatter the side window
of a London taxi, don’t ask me how I know that. What takes some getting
used to is that the carbon protectors over your two smallest knuckles
protrude further than your big knuckles, meaning your punches connect on
your pinky and the finger next to it. Not a problem since they absorb
the impact, but it can twist your wrist if you’re not careful.

In all the year’s I’ve had them, they’ve never shed a major stitch,
although one holding the velcro wrist patches on did fail, my buddy Sam
sewed it back on for me. Sam’s nose can also attest to their ability to deliver a punch, sorry about that man.

The Dainese’s ventilate well in even the hottest weather, dry quickly
after getting soaked by rain and are ridiculously comfortable to wear.
They also give your hands an incredibly sense of imperviousness; I keep
having to remind myself that I really shouldn’t wear them if I plan on
leaving town.

The synthetic material used on the uppers is similar to that used on
most MX gloves, but here it’s probably twice as thick and hasn’t frayed
the way most of my dirt gloves have. Compared to the Alpinestars SMX-2
AC gloves
, the Dainese’s feel much, much sturdier, are constructed of
thicker materials and cover the entire palm in leather.

A couple years ago, during a particularly hot summer, they began to
smell like an old jock strap. To kill the sweat bacteria causing that
smell, I soaked them overnight in diluted white vinegar. But then I
couldn’t wear them because they were even more rank, so I soaked them in
diluted peppermint oil. Neither smell has entirely disappeared, but
they sort of cancel each other out now. I have to remember to take them
off before going into meetings, shaking hands with a bunch of frou-frou
lawyers while wearing them is apparently a big no-no.

Overall, they’re a mix of time-proven construction, restrained looks (I
wish David had gone for all-black), comfort and practicality. Sadly,
Dainese doesn’t make ‘em anymore, the nearest equivalent looks to be the
$99 X-ile.

  • Jimboz

    I love favorite things like these. Not always the best tool for the job, but you can’t imagine doing, feeling, performing better even in something purpose-built and ten times as expensive. I’ve got a pair of thick jeans from a fly-by-night Vietnamese discount clothing store that I’ve owned since I started riding. They’re my low-side jeans; every time I’ve bitten the dust, they’re right there to get a new hole. They’re, uh, pretty holey.

  • http://www.deathspraycustom.com DSC

    Yeah I gave them to you, I thought I lost them on a photo shoot and liked them so much I bought another set, then got the original pair returned so I shared the love. Apart from the logo coming off they are still going strong, and they’re used for everything from downhill mtb to town riding & cycling.

  • Josh

    Loose one of the pair every damn year, and spend the next six months not paying the $80 (now $100) to replace ‘em before I break down. After six months of riding with one good glove, and one of whatever my next best glove is – ’cause apparently I can only loose the lefts – I always end up pitching in to Dianese’s bottom line. The truth of no other glove manufacturer making anything even remotely as good is the kind of small miracle that can keep a man atheist.

    x-ile is as good as a not broken in pair of yours. Might even be better around the wrist.

  • Craig

    I’ve been wearing a variation on the MX for a number of years now (3-4yrs) and can’t praise them highly enough, an impulse purchase they’ve been a true find and bargain. They tend to stink (all that absorbed sweat) and regularly get doused in downpours (UK!) which freshens them up every few weeks. With handguards fitted I tend to hang on to wearing these in ridiculous conditions, either far too cold or wet, just because they feel like a second skin and I’m loathe to lose that.

    My only comment would be that it took a while to find the right size, my years model seemed to have short fingers so I had to go up a size to get the right finger length, but after a week or two they were fine.

    Pretty horrible drab sandy colour, but … http://bit.ly/9pPGM8

    These have been supplemented in the last year or two by a set of Five Stunt Black, which I must say are probably as comfortable, flow a little more air and seem as robust when on the bike.. I think the Dainese have them for quality as the airtex material on the back of the Fives gets caught/snagged on any velcro and they look a little tattier around the stiching, but they’ve not deteriorated in any functional way yet.

    I love both sets for the convenience and comfort and swap them regularly, even mid ride if its wet … all told I probably have 40-50k in the Dainese and maybe 15-20k in the Fives now … have to look into the X-ile too.

  • AadmanZ

    Yep, I have the old Dainese/Kawasaki gloves.. Looks like the same model..getting pretty grubby by now, but still haven’t found a replacement.

  • Scott

    waiting for Wes to post his pictures of his socks.

  • http://muthalovin.com the_doctor

    Jesus Wes, maybe lose the tight jeans and you would be less punch-y.

    • Spytech

      Haha, wes jeans were so tight it looked like they were painted on.

  • brettvegas

    Aww, look at that pair, they are perfect for each other.

    Yesterday I left my new gloves somewhere at the coffee shop.
    Rode the guzzi up the hill, to see a friend in need, no gloves(i always roll atgatt).
    Went back to the coffee shop, somebody found my new pair. My old worn-in MX gloves had been in my jacket pocket the whole time. Now I am driving in the rain with two pairs in my jacket, just in case.

    Not sure what the moral of the story is, I guess be prepaired(sp?

    Heh.

    Brett

  • brettvegas

    Crap, Here i was thinking I had two pair of gloves, when I was rolling with one pair the whole time.

    Sorry about that!

    Brett

  • http://leovinceusa.com jonb

    Amen. The Dainese Short Track Gloves are my favorites. I own two pair. I was wearing a pair when I was ‘doored’ on the bay bridge, which broke my hand. The gloves show almost no evidence of ever being doored. Dainese gloves FTW.

  • vic

    make sure they are dry.
    put 2 spoons of baking soda inside each glove.
    then put the gloves in [preferably] a vacuumed bag or alternatively a zip lock .leave them like this for 48 hours at room temp then put them in the freezer[still sealed] for 8 hours
    next open the bags and vacuum the inside of the gloves so you get rid of the baking soda.
    it should help a lot with the smell

  • kat

    i had a pair of the MX (known as the moto-x in the US) gloves for several years, and they were absolutely the best gloves ever. i even wore them on the track (shh, i wasn’t supposed to). if i ever find the jerk that stole them from me i would put them on and test your punch theory, a lot. i’ve gone an entire summer without, and i think i’ll be breaking down and getting a pair of the x-iles. it’s funny that my least expensive dainese item was my favorite!

  • alex

    Ha, I guess Dainese used to make gloves that could last a decade. They no longer do. My $350 Full metal racer bought last year had a hole in them (between the wrist and the palm) after 5 track days (and no fall), Another Ducati co-branded “Ducati Motard” gloves bought last year lets my index finger through as the leather has disintegrated on the side of the finger. True garbage.

  • griso guy

    For those interested it looks like extremesupply.com still has the moto-x model in stock. Get em while you can. *Vinegar smell not included.

  • brettvegas

    I like my old fox MX gloves, they don’t smell bad to me, not yet anyway.

    Brett

  • SpeedTriple

    I have a pair of these in all black they do make you fall in love

  • http://twitter.com/marshallhaas Marshall Haas

    These are probably a much better replacement than the X-ile.

    http://www.dainese.com/us_en/motorbike/guanto-blaster.html?gender=2&destinazione_uso=43&cat=5

    I owned a pair of these when I had my worst accident at 70. They’re the best fitting gloves I’ve ever owned.