Gear: Dainese 4-stroke gloves

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The first pair of riding gloves I ever bought were a pair of old Alpinestars SP-Ss. I thought they were pretty cool and the price was right. After crashing in them (and getting lucky), I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something inherently un-safe about short gloves. What’s unsafe about short gloves? The simple fact that they almost always leave the pointy part of the Ulna exposed. If that part gets ground away or crushed, riding motorcycles would be just about impossible. Enter the Dainese 4-stroke. Dainese understands that people need this bone to ride, so they designed a plastic slider and padding to cover it. Awesome.

There’s more to the 4-Stroke than just wrist protection. From the wrist forward, the four-stroke is basically the same Full Metal Pros that Rossi wears. The hard parts protecting the knuckles and back of the hand are stainless instead of carbon and titanium, but they had to do something to get the price down to $169. Black leather ovals on the fingers have large pieces of hard armor with padding underneath. It never limits your range of motion, but if you like to use two fingers on the clutch lever, the the one on your left ring finger will probably get pretty beat up.

The micro-elastic panels are more than just another cheesy logo and because of them, one ride is all that’s needed for break-in. In a size large, the tips of my finger just barely come into contact with the end of the glove. Again, the stretch panels have just enough give for a perfect fit. In addition to stainless knuckles and a plate on the back of your hand, there’s a hard plastic slider that wraps around the outside of the palm. It’s not a CE-certified Knox scaphoid protector, but its position, shape and size give you the feeling it can take a pretty big hit.

But wait, there’s more! Hard armor that lives underneath the silver print and black suede on the pinky and a plastic slider form what Dainese calls distortion control. While its ability to control hyperflexion is questionable, more hard plastic between you and the ground is always a good thing, especially in such a commonly injured area (Jorge Lorenzo, Roger Hyden and many other racers end up with torn-off or ground-down pinky fingers).

It’s scary to imagine riding with hands protected by anything less than a fortress of leather and hard armor, but short gloves go on and off quickly and that makes everyday riding just a little bit more convenient. I’m glad someone finally made a pair of gloves that lets me have my cake and eat it too.


  • Edward

    I have a pair of these in the same color scheme and found that the white started to discolor somewhat rapidly. Also, stitching on the elastic around the wrist started to come undone after a couple of months. Fine gloves overall, but thought that the Rev’it Jerez gloves were much nicer in all respects other than pinky protection (though of course more expensive). My other gear is Dainese, which is generally fine, but I was somewhat disappointed by the build quality of these gloves. They do look good (depending on your tolerance for logos) and I think are a solid choice for protection in a short glove.

  • Gene

    Sigh. Anybody know of any that sells Dainese in Central Florida? They don’t even show up at the Bike Week vendor tents or bike shows.

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

      You can order the 4-stroke gloves from Revzilla, and if you don’t like them or they don’t fit, return them w/o a restock fee. Just don’t tell them that you actually wore them outside of your home, or they won’t take them back.

      (I mention and link to Revzilla here because our HFL hosts have done so too. I myself have no affiliation to Revzilla other than being a happy (and chronic) customer.)

      • Gene

        No. I’m really difficult to fit gloves because of my thumbs. I can only wear some models of Alpinestars and that’s pretty much it (but I’ve never tried Dainese)

        And I don’t generally mail-order apparel because I seem to be a really weird shape anyway. Means I miss out on stuff like Aerostich and Revzilla, but oh well.

        • Sean Smith

          Aerostich is laughably easy to deal with. Order stuff, guess on the size, and if it doesn’t fit, just send it right back. Buying stuff online like this can be scary, but once something goes wrong and you realize it’s no big deal, you’re hooked.

          • Gene

            Nah, I don’t want to deal with the hassle, because it’s too frustrating/inefficient and because I seem to be an odd shape/size. If I do end up with something that “sorta fits” then I always wonder if there was a size that would fit better.

            Fortunately I have “The Helmet Shoppe” a mile from home, and they’ll order jackets/gloves/helmet for me w/o my having to buy it. They don’t do Dainese or Revit though.

    • ontheroad
      • JP

        +1 on Eurocycles of Tampa Bay. Aaron and the rest of the staff are excellent. Not a shill, I just live 2 miles from the store and I’m always there.

      • Gene

        Cool… excuse for a road trip on the FJR this weekend. Thanks, I hadn’t heard of them.

        • JP

          While you are over there, Google map Patterson road, Boy Scout, Crawley and Wayne Rd. ;)

  • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

    In the first photo, these gloves remind me of vintage B&W cartoon characters!

    Thanks for the review Sean. I will definitely check these out when my half-gauntlet Alpinestars S-1 gloves wear out. Although my S-1 gloves have far more wrist protection than other summer gloves I’ve owned, the 4-strokes look to be better armored from your description of them.

    BTW, I’m surprised you didn’t ask Dainese to send you the all-black version for review. You wearing these gloves is like a Stealth Bomber with Mickey Mouse nose art painted on it.

    • Edward

      Now I can’t get the mickey mouse hands image out of my mind — next time I wear these, it will probably be all I think about.

      Dainese has a pair of “Scalpel” gloves in the $270 range that have supposedly moved back toward the full metal pro without the gauntlet concept. Given the drastic price difference between those and these, I wonder where the cost-savings have gone. It can’t just be aluminum for titanium and other more minor details (for instance, the flex material above the fingers is textile here rather than leather). Does that really equal another $100? I feel like there’s something I’m missing. Their pricing always feels somewhat arbitrary.

      • Sean Smith

        Ha, pricing almost always has more to do with marketing than costs. It’s just the way things are.

        • Edward

          Right, I was wondering if there was some (expensive) technical difference I was missing, like kevlar stitching or similar. But as you say, probably not.

          • Chris Davis

            In addition to the carbon fiber components on your Scalpel gloves you’re also getting much better leather. The palms on your gloves are constructed with Pittards leather which is a significant upgrade to the generic goatskin on the 4-Strokes. Pittards has a unique process which improves flexibility and uses ceramic particles in the leather for much better abrasion resistance. Pittards is the real deal, not just marketing. The only other major feature you could throw at a glove like the Scalpel is a Kevlar liner which would likely add another $75-100.

            An interesting part about these 4-strokes is the Clarino (synthetic suede) pinky wrap. Clarino is the best of the synthetic suedes, but not close to any leather hide for abrasion resistance – a major consideration in this area of the glove in the event of a low-side. This a concession to comfort over protection and somewhat reasonable for it’s length and price point.

            • Edward

              Helpful explanation. Thanks.

  • contender

    Nice review, and I very much appreciate Edward’s input. I wish you guys would test some Spartan Leathers gear. I’m itching to buy some.

  • Frosty_spl

    All of Dainese gloves feel cheap to me, even the $300 ones. I dunno.

    • Sean Smith

      Go for the $310 Kushitani GPR-6s. Not a single cheap thing about them. Or the $270 Rev’it Jerez gloves. They’re so nice they won a freakin design award that has nothing to do with motorcycling. Also, those hard knuckles and the wrist slider are aluminum. Nice.

      Dainese’s stuff probably feels cheap to you because of the waxy, stretchy leather (which I like because it helps with fit) and the simple fact that they’re mass produced.

    • Case

      Try the Knox Hand Armor gloves for $200. Excellent value for money, excellent protection. The Jerez gloves are great but the throat of the glove is so small they’re a pain to take off and on, and I have small hands.

  • smoke4ndmears

    My issue with this type of glove (and I had a pair of Held’s that were at least the equal of the Dianese) is that they never stay comfortably around the end of the jacket sleeve.

  • zipp4

    I bought a pair of Dainese short gloves after your last review, I must say I don’t regret that one bit.

  • Braden

    I ended up getting the Full Metal Pro gloves and they’ve been nothing short of fantastic so far. Had I done my research a little better, I probably would have gotten these since they come so close in so many areas to the next step up.

  • Raubert Van Harris

    Beautiful pictures and nice overview. But 1.) My Dainese gloves (hellfire evo’s) turned to dust after about a year and a half (~10,000 miles) The leather on the index finger tips was completely worn through and multiple stitches had come loose. 2.) White leather looks disgusting after 5 rides and 3.) Short gloves serve no purpose unless you’re riding in short sleeves …bad idea. Sure, these gloves look amazing in a photo shoot but I’m willing to bet that most of your audience would be pretty disappointed with them in the long run.

  • Rick

    Something I find odd about Dainese is that they offer jackets and suits which accomodate taller and lankier builds like mine but no gloves that fit! C’mon now, a size 9.5 hand is large but not gargantuan.

    And a little rant not aimed just at Dainese, but almost all “name” brand manufacturers of protective gear today: out-sourcing of production to China and Cheapistan is hurting quality and your reputation. My last pair of gloves, Kushitani GP Pros made in China, arrived with stitching nowhere up to par with earlier gloves made in Japan, and don’t even get me going about Held gloves made outside of Germany.

    Such is life these days.

    • Kay

      That’s a shame with Kushitani. I was very disappointed at the recent Held gloves as well. It seems like everybody is making gloves with planned obsolescence.

  • JP

    Not to thread jack, but I have several friends who have nothing but great things to say about Heroic racing, and the gloves they put out. They’re damn near custom at OTC prices.