Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Crash and Burn (Part 5)

Spidi Carbo Track Gloves Reviewed

Photo borrowed from Spidi

Along with my jacket and helmet, my Spidi Carbo Track gloves were nearly new, with only a couple rides while wearing them.

Riding Impressions


I've been through many pairs of gloves over the last thirteen years.  I've worn out a few, and got tired of others.  Finding gloves that I really like has always been a struggle.  I tend to be happy with either the finger or the palm fit, but seldom both.  During my gear refresh this year, I decided to give moving upmarket a try.  I ordered in both the Spidi Carbo Track and Knox Biomech gloves to a local retailer so I could try them on.  The Knox turned out to run a full size small, but the Spidis fit very well.  I really liked the look and feel of the Carbo Track gloves, so I went ahead and coughed up the dough. 

Here's why I like them:

  • Feel:  The super-soft cowhide leather is great from a tactile standpoint.  These gloves do improve feel at the bars, throttle, and levers versus other gloves.
  • Looks:  Without a doubt, the coolest looking gloves I've ever had.  The real carbon fiber armor, "warrior armor", and great colors really add up to a unique and sharp looking glove. 
  • Fitment: The gauntlet closure system is great.  It allows easy adjustment, and always felt secure but never felt restrictive.
  • Ventilation:  The Carbo Tracks breathe well for a full-on racing glove.  There is a perforated layer that air flows between the fingers to reach..
  • Fit and Finish:  These gloves are a really big spend at $300, but they do look the part.  No rough seams, cuts, etc. 

Here's what I don't like quite as much:

  • Tough Break In:  The armor on the pinkie finger is cool, but it is extremely uncomfortable until the gloves loosen up.  That said, they were much more comfortable after one all-day ride.
  • Slow to Put On and Remove:  You don't want to have to take one of these off and put it back on at a red light.  Between the relatively complex closure system and a tight wrist opening, it took me at least twice as long as most other gloves.
  • Cost:  $300 is a lot of money, especially for a pair of gloves. 
  • Hard to Find:  Dealers don't normally stock them.  Luckily Competition Accessories in Rock Hill, SC allowed me to order some in to try on before buying.

After the Crash

Like my boots, only the left glove sustained any damage.  My right hand hit something, but i think it was part of the bike, since there were no marks on the right glove.
I've been putting this review off  in hopes of hearing back from Spidi, but it's been a week and a half with no response to my request for contact.  More on this in a moment.  If I hear back, I will include the response in my final post in this series, detailing manufacturer responses.

How I Fared

When it comes to my hands, to put it bluntly, not as well as I think I should have.  I dislocated my right index finger and jammed my left wrist, thumb, index finger and pinkie pretty well.  I understand that hands and especially fingers are fragile, so I'd be inclined to let this slide.  What I do have a problem with is that I came up from the crash like this:
I recreated the scenario for this photo.  My pinkie came through the leather, and was sticking out just like this after the crash.  No seams failed, just the leather on the inside of the finger.  
Sorry for the crappy photo, this was taken while under the effects of the super-strong meds they shot me up with before I left the ER.  This was the only road rash I sustained in the crash, there's a pretty large chunk of meat missing from the back of my finger, the nail is smashed up, and there is a smaller abrasion on the fingertip.  I feel like I'm lucky it wasn't worse given how exposed my finger was.  Thankfully I wasn't sliding on asphalt for long at all. 

How the Gloves Fared

Aside from the aforementioned failure, the rest of the glove fared very well indeed.  They look like they might have been able to stand up to another crash of the same magnitude if it weren't for the pinkie failure.

The carbon armor took most of the slide.  It was visibly damaged, but protected well.  The other leather areas that touched down on the back of the left hand all show minimal abrasion damage. 


This review would have been very positive overall had it not been for the one failure.  With a $300 price tag and the MotoGP pedigree, I feel like it's a failure that should not have happened.  I'm also quite disappointed in the lack of response.  I have had a next day response from a manufacturer I had nothing but praise for, and a same-day after hours response from the one other manufacturer that I notified of a defect.  I will be posting a follow up on all of the manufacturer responses after I get my last review done.  Maybe by then I will have heard back from Spidi.  Late would be better than never.

As it stands, I cannot recommend these gloves.  I will be replacing them with something different.  I will probably give Knox another try in a larger size, and take a look at Held, Hazardous, and maybe a couple of others.

Thanks for reading, and safe riding to you all!

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