Sitting down? You should be. I’m about to tell you something that’s going to upset you. The gloves you see here are some of the most technically innovative ever made. They’re probably the nicest-made pair of motorcycle gloves I’ve ever worn and they’re definitely the most stylish pair that actually incorporate real protection. D30 knuckle armor. Buttery leather. Killer details drawn from cult-following, boutique Japanese products and all at a price point that’s only slightly less shocking than the brand that makes them: Icon.
For years, I’ve had a maddening desire to own a pair of Harold’s Gear Gripping Gloves. But, they aren’t available in America. But, at $160, the price of a good pair of full-gauntlet racing gloves, they aren’t really attainable. But, they wouldn’t really protect me in a crash. So I don’t own a pair of Harold’s Gear Gripping Gloves.
Stylish as all hell, but would you want to crash in a pair of Harold's?
Those rare Japanese gloves are distinguished by one big detail: the tensioned elastic panels on the inside of the fingers. That’s there to eliminate bunching while gripping, hence the name and what makes them semi-good for motorcycle riding. Look on the inside of these new Icon gloves and you’ll find an identical detail.
The Rimfire's incorporate identical elastic panels inside the fingers, but will actually protect your hands if you go down.
The Rimfire’s have something else I’ve been wanting in a pair of gloves for a while: D30 knuckle guards. Impact protection in the knuckles is a good idea because I like to punch things — friends’ faces, car mirrors, walls, the usual — but also because that’s an important are to protect in a crash. A lot of short, casual, town gloves don’t include much in the way of knuckle protection. Thanks to the D3O polymer, these gloves are thin and stylish, but provide significant impact protection to the knuckles. D30 is pliant and flexible at rest, stiffening to a near solid when impacted, redirecting impact forces away from fragile bones. Punch a wall with the Rimfire’s on and the full force of your swing is directed to the wall, but not your knuckle, which is nicely cushioned. A neat trick given that the protectors add only a tiny amount of bulk to the knuckle. The presence of that high-tech material is signified by a flashy little panel that hides inside the floating knuckle. On it, there’s the D3O logo, plus a little brass-knuckle pattern; fitting.
Additional impact protection is achieved by padded panel on top of the hand, behind the metal icon logo, and foam-filled channels on top of the fingers. Underneath, on the palm, there’s double leather and metal studs to ensure the gloves slide on the road surface, rather than grip.
That detail is drawn from classic British racing gloves of the 1950s and ‘60s. But, I’m not entirely sure that the historical connection won’t be lost on people who didn’t grow up in England. Ashlee, for instance, saw Hot Topic belts, not cafe racers, when she tried them on.
Indicative of the attention to detail being applied to Icon products of late, those metal studs are backed by a panel of Nomex, meaning they won’t transfer heat created by friction during slides to your hands.
Icon says it used “drum dyed French cowhide” to construct the Rimfires. Regardless of its origin or process, it’s an incredibly supple, luxurious leather that look right at home on a high-end pair of designer fashion gloves, but is thick enough to provide protection on a motorcycle. Seams on the fingers are stitched externally. Remarkable at this price point — $90 — but it shouldn’t be. Moving the seems to the outside is a simple as simple can be, but transformative for comfort and feel. Both areas where the Rimfires really excel.
Short cuff gloves, ideal for in-town riding where convenience and style need to be married to safety, won’t be for everyone. But, for riders looking as much for a look as they are for functionality, these gloves are simply perfect. Excellent impact protection, decent abrasion protection, outstanding quality and understated style, all at an extremely affordable price.
The Rimfires are part of Icon’s new One Thousand collection of high-end, stylish, technically advanced riding gear aimed at city riders. We’ll be bringing you more on that soon.