Gear: Alpinestars 365 GoreTex gloves

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If you ride in all weathers, you’ll be familiar with the motorcycle glove conundrum. Race gloves provide huge levels of protection and intuitive feel, but your hands will get frostbite if the ambient temp drops below 60. Winter gloves are occasionally capable of keeping your hands a tiny bit warmer, but they tend to lack impact protection and bulky insulation removes all feel. Is there a third way? That’s what these Alpinestars 365 GoreTex gloves set out to achieve, employing new laminated membrane technology and ditching the insulation to enhance feel, while adopting the knuckle protectors off the flagship Astars GP-Pros.

May might seem like an odd time to be reviewing a set of winter gloves. I’m doing it now because I’ve been using these all winter. The 365s, as the name suggest, aim for versatility beyond winter too. That’s because they don’t have any insulation. Instead, a GoreTex membrane is laminated to the gloves’ shell. They call that “X-Trafit” technology and it’s supposed to reduce bulk, enhance feel and keep water outside the whole glove, not just trapped between the shell and the membrane.

There’s no ventilation on the 365s but, sans insulation, they’re comfortable up to temperatures in the 70s. The neat thing is, I’ve comfortably ridden in them for hours at a time, at highway speeds, in the low 40s. That lack of insulation also makes them an ideal pairing for heated grips, which are free to transmit their heat to your hands without having to pass it through bundles of polyester or whatever cost-cut, ineffective material they stick in winter gloves. Riding up to Laguna Seca in early January, temps dropped to the mid-30s, but the Triumph Tiger 800 XC’s heated grips and these 365s were enough to keep my hands warm. I’ve used them in torrential downpours too, my hands were kept completely dry.

When I’ve needed a little more warmth, a cheap pair of silk glove liners has proved a great addition, adding appreciable insulation without bulk. The two together are now my preferred solution for cold-weather riding, giving me equal warmth to dedicated winter gloves with much more feel.

Pull the gloves on and they are stiffer and thicker than race gloves. Instead of a single layer of leather, goatskin or kangaroo, your hands meet a soft cloth liner inside sturdy leather with that Gore-Tex membrane laminated to it. Feel is nowhere near as good as a set of race gloves, but nowhere near as bad as most winter gloves either. Once broken in, it’s a happy medium that still allows you to achieve fine control for things like trail braking or delicate throttle inputs.

Very long gauntlets, the 365s also do a great job of sealing out the elements. A two-part wrist closure and the relative lack of bulk mean you can easily cinch the gloves inside a jacket, or loosen them up and wear them outside. That two-part flap is actually an awesomely versatile solution we expect to see trickle down to more gloves in the Astars range. It works extremely well without adding awkwardness, time or volume.

Quality too is up there. Alpinestars now has something of a segregated product range — extremely high quality, technically innovative products on one side, cheaply made, but overpriced on the other — with no real way to tell on which side a product falls unless you can get your hands on it. These gloves definitely fall into the high quality, technically innovative category, still looking and functioning as brand new after a full winter’s riding. Looking at the materials and construction, we expect them to last a long, long time, easily justifying the lofty $230 price tag.

So decent feel plus functionality across a broad range of real-world riding conditions. Winners right? There’s one area where we feel the gloves are a let down: protection. Those knuckle protectors are great, but are the only real weapon against impact on the whole glove, fingers, palm, scaphoid and, most importantly, wrists are left to fend for themselves with the occasional smattering of foam in place of the plastic sliders and armor on a proper set of race gauntlets. As a truly versatile, practical piece of riding gear, we’d like to benefit from real impact protection while riding in dicey conditions. At least protection for the vulnerable scaphoid and wrists. Taking a look at the entire range of waterproof Alpinestars gloves, there’s nothing there that truly brings GP-Pro-level protection to a glove you can wear while it’s raining. Until there is, we’re left choosing between comfort or outright safety. That’s a shame, because these 365s come very close to perfection.

  • Campisi

    Where do people get these silk glove liners?

  • Jeromy

    I still like my Icon Patrols better than anything that Alpinestars has put out for winter gloves. I can’t say they offer more protection then these 365′s (about the same, except the icons have less leather), but they offer better rain features, like reflective bits, quick straps to close the wrist to stop water from running down your arm, and a little lens wiper on the left pointer finger (which I use all the time). They have kept me dry in heavy rain, keep my shield clear, and my hands warm, all for 75$. I don’t care if Alpinestars are better quality, as far as I can see it Icon Patrols function better. Normally I wouldn’t make a fuss like this, but I really think the Patrols can’t be beat.

    • Tony T.

      Seconding the Patrols, though I find the wiper thing to be a ridiculous gimmick now. Much more efficient to just use the inside of your index finger.

  • http://twitter.com/JamesLeeFoley# jamesleefoley

    I’ve ridden through snow and freezing temps with the BMG Thermosports for a few years and they’ve kept me dry and warm. They aren’t very thick after they break in a bit and are holding up well. I consider them a steal at $80.

    • mike

      Thanks for the tip. THe PNW was freezing through all my gloves this winter/spring.

    • Ax

      I love my Thermosports but they do soak up some rain, which my Olympia Cold Throttles never did.

  • http://www.firstgenerationmotors.blogspot.com Emmet

    Let me suggest a cheaper alternative, the Alpinestars Apex Drystars. They’re a perfect fit, plenty warm over 40 (under that, I use SmartWool liners, but my hands still get chilly) and I haven’t gotten wet in the rain with them. They go for ~$95, great bang for the buck

    • Gene

      I have a pair of these too. They’re the first winter gloves to not feel like boxing gloves.

    • Sean Smith

      That’s what I wear and I agree. They’ll eventually soak through in heavy rain, but it’s not terrible. And they crash better than you’d think.

    • Ankur V

      I’ll vouch for these too. I’ve worn mine into the 30s without a liner but my hands do get chilly after a while. Next winter, I’ll grab some liners. Mine had a seam on the index finger come apart after just a few months but A* replaced them with a brand new pair which are holding up much better.

    • DavidMG

      +1 on these too. They’re taking a long time to break in but they do have very nice insulation and protection.

      My favourite gloves right now are Alpinestars Arctic Drystar. Despite the name, I’d hesitate to call them “insulated.” In freezing temperatures I had to wear the liners I mentioned above with a little heat on the grips to be comfortable. They’re great for feel and very good protection for a short glove. They just feel fantastic and they fit my comically small hands great.

    • http://www.twitter.com/wessilerfanclub Sean MacDonald (the other Sean)

      +1

      been riding these all winter. i hate bulky gloves and these have felt good from day 1.

      not the warmest for those of you who live places that actually have a winter, but they made my 630am 25 mile in 45 degree weather commute bearable. not too bad up into the low to mid 70′s either.

      • Pete

        “630am 25 mile in 45 degree weather commute” – sack up, hipster.

        • http://www.twitter.com/wessilerfanclub Sean MacDonald (the other Sean)

          im really really skinny. and really really hipstery. sacking up isn’t part of my DNA.

  • Devin

    Held Warm N Dry was my choice in this category. About $30 less, Goretex, great feel, and a soft scaphoid slider make me feel much better about riding in the wet and cold. As a bonus, the liner isn’t separate from the glove, so putting a damp hand into the glove won’t lead to pulling the liner out later (a problem I had with my previous Rev’It gloves).

  • aristurtle

    Only in southern California could these be considered “winter gloves”.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      You know, because we don’t have mountains and none of us ever travel anywhere…

      • Ben NYC

        I got these gloves this fall. It was fairly warm in NYC this winter, but there was a time I road to CT in November. It was perhaps 45-50 degrees. My hands were freezing.

    • Gene

      Hey, don’t be dissin’ Florida… it nearly got below 65 last winter. I had to get heated grips and an electric vest.

    • Kevin

      Every ride I’ve been on since November has had sub-45 degree temperatures at some point. I don’t care where you live, that’s effing cold when you’re on a motorcycle. Much colder than that and you risk ice, which is crazy to be around on two wheels.

    • http://rider49er.blogspot.com Mark D [EX500]

      Hey, on my ride from LA to SF during spring break this year, it was 35 at night in San Louis Obispo. With 30-40 mph gusts of wind. That’s like New England in May!

      Glove liners were a life saver that night, but a nice pair of actual winter gloves like this would have been very welcome.

      • ike6116

        It gives me such joy to have you as a fellow commenter here Mark. Someone who also did the whole “Motorcycle is my main transport” here in Boston.

        • http://rider49er.blogspot.com Mark D [EX500]

          Yeah, it wasn’t easy in Boston, and I did have my subie for transporting band stuff.

          Its so, so, SO much easier in SF though. Its like if you took the best 20 motorcycling days of the year in Boston, then just put them on repeat for 365 days. Plus lane splitting. And more dedicated MC parking.

          • http://twitter.com/metabomber Jesse

            This Boston face is jealous.

      • Campisi

        I rode in Seattle (almost) daily last winter with my A* GP Pros. My hands would freeze on any trip farther than ten miles, because I was an idiot and wouldn’t plunk down for dedicated winter gloves.

  • David Dawson

    Or just go electric.

    http://www.warmnsafe.com/heated-gloves/

    Its almost like cheating but better, with heated grips they kept my hands warm into single digits. The wires do get fussy though, still looking for something warm enough for long all day winter rides that work with my heated grips and offer some feel.

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

      I consider the wires a plus. You can take off your gloves and let them dangle by the wires while you pay for gas or unzip to take a pee.

      Kind of like the mitts we wore as kids that had the lace connecting the L and R mitts through the sleeves.

  • gaudette

    These gloves also work with the iphone’s touchscreen. No more taking off your gloves to make a call.

  • Aaron

    I have the Triumph branded version, they work really well, the hands barely get chilly on our lovely +4c spring mornings, gotta love the great white north.

  • http://www.ninja250blog.com R.Sallee (Ninja 250)

    Where are these gloves made?

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

      When I looked at these gloves last year, the pair I tried on was made in Indonesia.

      BTW, what’s up with Alpinestars glove sizing? I normally wear size M, but with Alpinestars, I wear XL for some models, L for others.

      • http://www.twitter.com/wessilerfanclub Sean MacDonald (the other Sean)

        they and dainese have the same issues. why do you think revzilla has their exchange policy?

      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

        Multiple factories and multiple suppliers. Sucks, but you gotta try shit on first.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Mine say China.

      • http://www.ninja250blog.com R.Sallee (Ninja 250)

        Thanks.

  • Jim Bloomfield

    I’m all atwitter about the Guzzi the gloves were on!

  • AHA

    I’ve used these gloves for the last two years in the UK and I’d agree with most of the article. A few proviso’s however.
    Temperature regulation is their weakest point IMHO. I use them in the weather range low 40′s to high 60′s. Below that I use Dainese Scout gloves – much warmer & OK on feel http://www.dainese.com/uk_en/motorbike/guanto-scout-gtx.html
    Heated grips are the way to go – you got that spot on. In high temperatures, your hands sweat & the Goretex lining comes out with your fingers so instead I use Rev’it Dirt airflow gloves. I think three pairs of gloves is excessive even if my riding range is mid 30′s to mid 80′s. These would be the first to go.

    The Xtrafit refers to the double cuff closing not the Goretex lining, I think. It’s a super secure system but your jacket needs cuffs that will fit either under or over & many won’t.

    When Ride magazine did one of their lab tests on winter gloves interestingly these came out top on protection so there may be more there than you think. Def. no scaphoid protection however.
    6,000 miles on & they don’t look much more worn than the ones in your photos so I suppose the quality matches the high price.