Gear: Racer Sicuro Gloves

A new brand from Austria, Racer promises to rival more established brands on quality, fit and price. We dug the unique look of these Sicuro gauntlets and have worn them every single day for the last month. Good enough for you to switch brands?

Purpose:
“The best fitting gloves you can buy,” reads the tagline in Racer’s new ad campaign.

“Don't get me wrong, Held, AStars, Dainese, Rev It etc all make great products, it’s just that Racer is smaller (1-2 factorys) and does not have the variances of some larger brands,” the firm’s US importer, Lee Block tells us. “Those brands make millions of gloves in multiple factories. Pattern making, production tolerances etc vary. That is why you will find you are a different size across various models.”

The Sicuro’s are the 2nd tier race gauntlets in Racer’s new range, lacking the hard external wrist protection of the top-tier R-Safes.

I figured they’d make perfect street gloves. Gnarly enough to offer real protection, understated enough to wear with that Vanson. Lacking much in the way of perforation, they’re also good across a wider temperature range than some dedicated racing gloves, they’re comfy anywhere from 90 degrees on down to 60 or so. These have been my everyday go-tos for a month now and I even wore them to, from and during Taste of Dakar.

Protection:
Cowhide uppers with kangaroo skin palms. Titanium and plastic knuckle armor. Knox TPU scaphoid and palm sliders. SuperFabric overlays on the heel and sides of your hand. Ring and little finger bridge to prevent finger roll. All that’s pretty standard in a $200 plus race glove, but Racer does a good job combining all that into a cohesive package.

I had a very low speed lowside in the wet in these and, as you’d expect, suffered no damage to my hands. The gloves have a few scrapes on the knuckle and scaphoid sliders, but sustained no other damage. Perhaps more indicative of their ability to protect your hands is how solid they feel, all the armor and whatnot is in the exact right place and held tightly to your hands.

Fit:
Lee’s not bullshitting, these are some perfectly fitting gloves. When he sent them down, I just gave him my usual size in Astars and he nailed it. The Sicuros required no break in, delivering all-day comfort from the first wear. No hot spots, no pinch points, no finger armor restricting tight grips.

All the various armor pieces fit perfectly to the contours of my hands, even the scaphoid and palm sliders, resulting in zero loss of control, comfort or range of movement.

I’m not a huge fan of most Kangaroo-palm gloves, simply because the stronger-but-thinner material doesn’t feel as solid. I know that’s not borne out in reality, it’s just a feel thing. But not these, I was actually surprised by the Kangaroo spec when I looked it up for this article.

The large, rubberized cuff also manages to wrap itself comfortably and securely around any sleeve I’ve worn them with so far, from race leathers to the Vanson to a Dainese Terren jacket to my Roadcrafter. This is a more universal and comfortable solution than the hard, oversized, plastic cuffs found on high-end Alpinestars gloves. That solution works better with race leathers (facilitating easy rotation around the skin-tight leather) and not so well with textile or more casual jackets.

Function:
That I’ve been wearing these literally everywhere is testament to doing what they say they’ll do. They protected my hands in a silly little tumble, worked just as well off-road as they do on and are comfortable paired with any of my suits or jackets.

In that crash I had back in September, the plastic knuckle armor on my Alpinestars gloves was slammed back, badly cutting the back of my hand and resulting in a scar that’s still there today and restricted movement that’s only just worked itself out. I cracked my left knuckle for the first time since just last week. Part of the reason I chose these was due to the longer, lower-profile knuckle protection that should have a lesser tendency to focus impact forces. Because of the flatter shape and larger area of the knuckled protection, impact forces should be more greatly spread out and that protection extends across more of my hand.

After that trip out to the desert and daily use, the rubberized grip triangles on the palm and finger are beginning to wear off.

The Competition:
Alpinestars GP-Pro ($240): Similar in spec with their cowhide uppers, kangaroo palms and tons of armor, Racer has them beat in the use of SuperFabric anti-abrasion add-ons. The armored fingers also tend to pinch and the plastic cuffs don’t’ work with all sleeves. No scaphoid slider.

Dainese Steel Core Carbon ($260): Similar knuckle protection and cuffs and a solid slider on the outside of the palm, but again no scaphoid protection and, bizarrely, no kangaroo for the palm.

Rev’It Jerez ($290): Some of the nicest gloves out there right now, these have everything the Racer’s do, but still lack that Scaphoid protection.

Verdict:
Our only niggle is the heavy over-use of the “Racer” logo. There’s 28 on each glove, in addition to the Racer Triangle on the knuckle and silly-sounding “Titan Protection” scrawled across the back of your hand.

Other than that, these are essentially a perfect glove at a competitive price. Fit is excellent, protection is race-level, feature content is up there with more expensive rivals and they work in wide range of conditions on pretty much any bike.

Oh, and they defeated repeated attacks by my new wolf puppy Wiley with no adverse effects. Various items of furniture, ladies underwear and Apple power cords can not say the same thing.

RideApart Rating: 9/10

How to buy:
Currently, Racer sells direct through its website. You’ll also find them trackside during the 2013 season, with a planned contingency program and Lee hopes to put the brand in brick and mortar stores soon too.

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