|03-26-2013, 06:22 AM||#1|
Joined: Apr 2012
Held's best gloves yet: first impressions
For many, Alpinestars 365 was the glove of choice for comfort across the widest range of conditions. Until now. Arriving under the radar, Held launched its Akira-Evo Tex gloves. These take all-season glove protection and comfort to another level. All for a similar price to Alpinestars 365 gloves. Held's Akira-Evo Tex offers a big step-up in protection and performance, when compared to much-loved gloves in the Held range like the Steve II.
I had been through a wide range of gloves purporting to offer year-round comfort in changeable conditions, before finding Alpinestars 365 gloves. I bought a pair soon after they were launched. What a revelation! They proved comfortable almost year-round, with decent protection. Only in deepest winter, or at the very height of summer, did I need alternative gloves. After a few years service, I thought Iíd try Heldís new Akira-Evo Tex gloves, because they claimed to offer more. Here are my first impressions.
Summary: Held Akira-Evo Tex offer outstanding protection, outstanding waterproofing and outstanding comfort for riding in changeable conditions. (Changeable conditions being spring, summer rain, autumn and mild winter in the UK.) The Pittards WR100 leather is by far the most water-repellent outer leather Iíve found in a glove Ė a genuine innovation. GoreTex X-Trafit gives good Ďfeelí for a waterproof glove. Whilst I havenít crash tested a pair, the Akira-Evo Tex seems to offer even better protection than most race gloves! Robust wrist protection means that the gloves wonít fit under your jacket if it has very tight sleeves. These gloves arenít cheap, but you are paying for the very best. Akira-Evo Tex gloves really are on another level, compared to Alpinestars, Dainese, Rukka, Revíit, etc.
Construction and first impressions: Held Akira-Evo Tex gloves have a sports-touring styling, with an understated sporty look. They are only available in black. Although not apparent to the eye, what truly differentiates these gloves in the materials used. The palm isnít just kangaroo hide; itís what Held term Ďgrip oiledí kangaroo. In practice, Iíve found that normal Ďroo hide can absorb a lot of water in the rain. Not so these Ďgrip oiledí palms. So far, they have shrugged off water and not soaked at all, even after the odd 2-hour downpour. The upper glove is made of Pittards WR100 leather. This is amazing stuff. The WR100 leather simply doesnít soak. Pittards claim that it will absorb less than 6% of its weight in water after 100 minutes of drenching. Iíve tried various supposed ďwater resistantĒ leathers before, as well as all manner of waterproofing potions. None worked terribly well until now. Iím a Pittards WR100 convert. Other manufacturers take note: this leather works and word of mouth will get around.
In terms of protection, Held had added a generous use of Superfabric for greater abrasion-resistance, which I like, under which there is Suprotect padding to lessen impact damage. There is A LOT of Suprotect in these gloves. Iíve not crash tested it, but Suprotect certainly feels reassuring. Thereís also hard impact protection on the knuckles and wrist. The wrist protection appears better than most race gloves and found it had a side-benefit too: reducing drafts going up my sleeve. In summary, Held has used outstanding and innovative materials to good effect. Consequently, Akira-Evo Tex gloves feel on a whole new level, even compared to Heldís other gloves. Unfortunately, like most gloves, the Akira-Evo Tex isn't CE certified as PPE for motorcycling. Held take note: please start making gloves that achieve this certification!
Held has used a good amount of double stitching. However, I had to exchange my first pair of Akira-Evo Tex because one glove had visibly imperfect stitching. Held take note: please watch your quality control! Stitching looks good on my new pair, although uneven in parts. Perhaps this is because itís hard to stitch together gloves with such a lot of Suprotect padding, but Iíd like to see flawless stitching at this price. To date, however, not a stitch has come loose.
Sizing is normal for Held, although the gloves fit snugly due to the protective padding. I happen to like a snug fit, because loose gloves reduce Ďfeelí and can damage your knuckles in a crash. The gauntlet is large and a proper length, thankfully going against the trend for ever-shrinking gauntlets; this is one reason that I bought the Akira-Evo Tex in the first place. However, you may wish to consider if your sleeves open wide enough to fit these gloves underneath them. Those who wear gloves over their sleeves wonít have a problem, but obviously donít live anywhere with lots of rain! The wrist strap is good.
The Akira-Evo Tex gloves have Heldís well known visor wipe, which the best Iíve tried.
Iíve found the Akira-Evo Tex extremely comfortable, but they do need a little wearing in. (My Alpinestars 365 gloves needed no wearing in.) Goreís X-Trafit membrane works as well as in my old Alpinestars 365, providing waterproofing and decent Ďfeelí. Moreover, itís never pulled out when wet. However, GoreTex does mean thereís a limit to how much gloves break in.
Regarding warmth, these gloves arenít insulated. They are summer rain gloves, which should cope well in British spring and autumnal conditions too. Heated grips mean that Iíve been able to wear the Akira-Evo Tex for short rides in winter. However, Iíve certainly needed full-on winter gloves when conditions hovered around freezing; the Akira-Evo Tex gloves arenít built to cope with this. I havenít worn the gloves in the height of summer yet. However, they feel very similar to my Alpinestars 365, so I expect to need fully-vented gloves for very hot weather.
In terms of durability, I havenít had the gloves for long enough to comment. I expect they should be as good as any other Held gloves. Interestingly, Pittards advises that its WR100 doesnít need leather food. Indeed, leather food might actually damage Pittardsí original treatment. Time will tell whether the leather really is permanently waterproof, as Pittards claims. As usual, Held hasn't reinforced the fingertips, which is an area that can wear a lot from normal use. It's a shame Held doesn't reinforce this area, which is something that Racer does very well.
In conclusion, I love these gloves. Iíve tried a bunch of different Held gloves, as well as Alpinestars, Racer, Dainese, Revíit, Belstaff, Hein-Gericke, Richa ... Nothing touches the Held Akira-Evo Tex glove currently, which is on another level because of its innovative materials and breadth of ability.
Itís just a shame that Held hasnít marketed this glove properly, because it sits unfairly below the radar. With a more memorable name and proper marketing, Held could have a winner on its hands. If you ride in temperate or changeable conditions, get a pair! At the time of writing, the Akira-Evo Tex is Heldís best glove yet.
Available in Germany from FC Moto, among others, and in the UK from Get Geared:
Valentino screwed with this post 03-26-2013 at 12:46 PM
|03-26-2013, 02:33 PM||#4|
Joined: May 2008
Location: Va. Beach
1970 Honda SL100 (my 1st bike in 1972)
1972 Yamaha Enduro 360 (loved this bike)
1977 Yamaha RD 250
1978 Suzuki 250TS
1982 Kawasaki GPZ 550
2007 BMW F800ST
2009 BMW R1200GS (Current)
|03-26-2013, 03:33 PM||#5|
Joined: Oct 2008
Location: Brisbane Australia
Held should pay you as their marketing executive - ad people couldnt have done a better job.
an observation, please do not take it as sarcasm.
|03-27-2013, 06:55 AM||#7|
Joined: Aug 2009
Location: Twin Cities MN
Nice review, I've never even looked at them before reading your review, they look excellent.
Love all the Held gloves I own/owned
I've had a couple pair of Phantoms and currently use Rain Storms, Steves and Air Heros.
Other than my heated Gerbings I have no need to ever ride with non-Held gloves again.
|03-27-2013, 05:07 PM||#9|
Joined: Mar 2013
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