KEMIMOTO Winter Motorcycle Gloves…Review
So, a few months ago, I was contacted by KEMIMOTO to see if I would be interested in trying out their gloves, for FREE…only requirement was they wanted me to do up a review on my website. Of course, I was a little skeptical but figured why not. With these coming from China, and with this whole COVID-19 thing, it took a little time. The first attempt got misdelivered and they sent me a second set…again FREE!
When I got the second set, I immediately tried them on. Usually I wear a size SMALL but I’ve had issues with this size in winter gloves being a little too tight so I opted for MEDIUMS. I have several different pairs of winter gloves (Olympia, Cortech, Roadgear, Bilt, Teknic, and Roadcrafter), and each one, even my EXTRERMELY “bulky” Olympia gloves, feel light but each have their own issues so I’m constantly on the search for the “perfect” winter glove, for me at least. The exceptions are my Roadcrafter & Cortech gloves. Both are a little thicker and stiffer with the Cortech gloves being a little more “restricted” then all the others.
I’ve even installed heated grips on my motorcycle but they only work so well and I’m still finding a need of a good set of winter gloves. What do I expect in a winter glove? Simple…comfort, warmth, waterproof, and preferably a wiper blade on the left index or thumb for those foggy/damp/raining days. Crash protection is important but if I can’t feel my bars and have a hard time getting to my levers, it’s not worth it, in my opinion.
When KEMIMOTO reached out, I felt why not give them a try? The feel is what I hoped for from a winter glove…fairly light and not overly bulky. The cost for these gloves is really cheap, about $24 through their website and includes FREE shipping (you can also get these off Amazon.com but I’ve seen prices vary but shipping should also be free). With the exception of my Cortech gloves (Scarab 2.0 Winter Glove), I’ve paid roughly around that cost…give or take about $5-$10. My Cortech & Roadcrafter (brown gloves) sets are my only leather gloves, with my Cortech costing me $160 ($80 per set/normally about $95…first set was a small and way too tight, second set are size medium) and Roadcrafters were FREE (given to me by my dad who doesn’t ride anymore).
So, what makes me “experienced” enough to write up a review like this? Easy…I’ve been riding for 50yrs. I started riding back in 1970 when I was 4 years old (I’m 54yrs old now) on a lawnmower-powered mini bike. Since that day, I’ve ridden and raced out in the desert, did some mx racing in the mid 1970s then continued in the late 1980s through 2000s.
I’ve had LOTS of dirt bikes during this time. In the 70s I had a Honda MR50 (2 of them), Suziki RM80, and Yamaha YZ100. From 1988 on, I’ve own (and raced) a 1981 YZ125, 1990 YZ250, 1992 RM250, 1994 YZ250, and a 1995 CR250. I started riding street bikes back in 1986 on a 1981 Yamaha Seca 750. From there, I’ve owned several different sizes and kinds of street bikes: 1989/90 FZR600, 1991 FJ1200, 2007 Ninja 650R, 2007 KTM 450SMR, and 2017 Yamaha FZ-10.
I’ve ridden THOUSAND of miles over the years on the street…from being a weekend rider to commuter to weekend touring rides to long distant/weekly rides. One year I was riding year round, working 2 jobs, and commuting about 100 miles a day (rain or shine, cold or warm). I’ve also ridden in cold/windy/rainy weather to those hot summer weathers. So…do I feel I have the experience to judge motorcycle gloves and write up an honest review? DAMM STRAIGHT I DO!
For starters, here is what you get when you purchase these gloves, copied directly from their website:
1.KEEP WARM: Lined with soft-touch layer, warm and comfortable
2.WATERPROOF MATERIAL: The second layer is made of waterproof material,100% effective waterproof
3.SPECIAL TOUCH SCREEN DESIGN: Three fingers made with special materials (highly sensitive conductive PU leather) in both finger pulp and fingertip.
4.REFLECTIVE STRIP: Increase visibility, make your travel safer
5.FREE ADJUSTMENT WRIST BUCKLE: Wristband adjusts design, wears more firmly, is not easy to fall off, prevents cold wind from entering the glove, and achieves warmth effect.
6.ELASTIC DESIGN: Wind-proof, high elastic cuff keeps away from the cool wind. Simple and practical.
7.PROTECTION OF STURDY KNUCKLE: Sturdy plastic knuckle guard, silicone finger protector, and multi-layer palm material protect your hands from impacts and abrasion injuries
8.ANTI-SLIP DESIGN: Increase the friction, so that the palm grips the handlebar more firmly
9.HIGH-QUALITY FABRIC: Durable
10.APPLICABLE SCENE: Skiing/Climbing/Cycling/On foot/Riding
- Warm & Waterproof: As I stated earlier, these gloves feel fairly light and not really bulky, which is nice. Much like other winter gloves, these come with a layer of 3M Thinsulate to help keep your hands warm and they do feel soft inside. The gloves, according to the tag inside, is made up of nylon (22%), taslon (18%), superfabric (15%…whatever that is?), PVC (15%), polyproplene (8%), silicone (5%), polyester (8%), TPU (5%…again, what?) and “other” (4%), all this, I’m guessing, to help make these gloves “100% waterproof” and maybe to help with keeping your hands warm.
- Anit-slip & Fabic Qualify: Website claims an “anti-slip design” to “increase the friction, so that the palm grips the handlebar more firmly” and made with “high quality/durable fabric”. The palms certainly give you the feel of having the grip needed but this “high quality/durable” fabric? Hard to really say, after all it’s NOT leather but a textile fabric. They feel much like my other winter gloves so I feel they are durable and will last under regular usage. With that said, how they will last in a crash is hard to say. I’ve never crashed in my other winter gloves, even my leather Cortech or Roadcrafter gloves. Since these aren’t leather, it will depend more on the crash itself and how far you slide. A slow, in-town crash…I’m sure they’ll be ok, at least little to no scrapes. A high-speed crash, like on the highway…they probably won’t do that well and your hands could get scraped up pretty good?
- Protection: These gloves have a “Sturdy plastic knuckle guard, silicone finger protector, and multi-layer palm material protect your hands from impacts and abrasion injuries”. Like your road racing gloves, these also have some sort of “knuckle guard”, these happen to be a hard plastic. How this actually works, again is hard since I’ve never crashed in them. The only way I see knuckle guards on ANY glove working is if you’re sliding with your hands upside down but I think they’re more for the “tumbling” effect the a slide. As for the material used in/on the fingers, it’s not leather so in a slow-speed crash your hands are probably going to be ok. In a high-speed crash, I’m not confident, much like my other winter gloves (excluding my Cortech & Roadcrafter gloves…these are leather), these would hold up. The fingers do have what look like small sliders but unless your hands are sliding upside down, I don’t see these really doing anything to help protect your hands.
- Touchscreen capability: The “special touchscreen design” (highly sensitive conductive PU leather) works ok and was a little “cumbersome” using my cell phone’s touchscreen but that could simply be because these gloves were slightly big for my hands.
- Wrist buckle & Cuff Design: The “cuff buckle” is more of a velcro strap that is just like most of the setups on all other gloves and has a lot of adjustment. The cuff is made up of an “elastic, wind-proof” design to help keep the cool air out. Unfortunately, the cuffs on these gloves really don’t feel “elastic” and I found it a little “difficult” getting them over my jacket sleeve, especially after getting one glove on. I thought this could be because my winter/spring touring jacket a LARGE (see pic above) instead of MEDIUM (I bought it like this a long time ago because I still wear a sweatshirt under it even with it’s liner). I decided to try my summer perforated jacket with it’s liner installed. Gloves went over slightly better but was still “a little effort” once I had one glove on…not as much effort with my larger jacket. With my larger jacket, it doesn’t feel like the cuff covers it enough but feels fine on my perforated jacket. This is something I’m finding with other gloves as well, especially my $80 Cortech gloves so you’ll have to be the judge.
- Wiper blade: Unfortunately, this is one feature missing but this isn’t a feature on all winter gloves…sadly
Real World Application:
So, how do these gloves work in the real world? After all, how can I do a decent/truthful review without testing them out in a real world application? Darn…guess it’s time to put on my cold weather gear and go for a ride…LET’S GO!!!
It’s a cold, cruel world out there…
After getting up and having a little breakfast and coffee, it was time to get my gear ready and head on out for a test ride. According to the weather app on my phone, it was 43 degrees and fog warnings throughout my area. Great…this should be a good test.
Once out on the road, I checked the air temp on my motorcycles dash (yes, it has one)…46 degrees. To start, these gloves ARE GRIPPY! I was quite surprised just how grippy these are, better then even my regular road racing gloves. Not once did I have an issue with my hands slipping on the handlebar grips. Working the controls was pretty easy and I felt like I didn’t have to grip my bars as tight. For those who have heated grips, you know these tend to be a little “smoother” then regular grips so sometimes, at least mine, your hands tend to slip a little…NOT with these gloves!
The ride I was going on was going to take me about 35 mins/36 miles down the road. As I started out, the only “coolness” I felt was at the cuff, which I expected because, like I mentioned, getting them over my jacket sleeve was pretty tight. With that said, the coolness wasn’t uncomfortable. About 15-20 mins into my ride I could start feeling may hands getting slightly cool, but again not uncomfortable. I also have heated grips so I turned them on, a a few minutes later, I could feel the heat coming through my grips…NICE!
Roughly 36 miles down the road and my hands stayed relatively warm. The only thing was the tops of my hands did start getting cool but not uncomfortable. I’d imagine using these on my regular 1hr commute, when the weather drops down to 35 degrees, I would certainly NEED my heated grips, but at least I’d feel the heat on my palms. This would be another test, but based on what I was feeling, I think they would be ok. If the cuff was slightly larger and not so tight fitting trying to get them over my sleeve, I feel just getting a heated glove liner and I’d be SET!
100% Waterproof you say…???
Since I didn’t have any rain to deal with, I decided to test this a couple ways to see just how waterproof these are: running water from a sink faucet over the gloves and submerging them in a bucket of water for about 10-15mins (for the sake of making things easy so I could also get pics, I just used 1 glove…the same glove).
Faucet Running Test…
First, I decided to run my faucet and stick my hand, with the glove on, under running water to simulate a rain ride. I also did this because the fingers appear to have vents on the knuckles to help the gloves breath so your hands don’t sweat inside. I ran water directly over these, as well as all over the glove for just a few minutes. I turned off the faucet and removed my hand…WHALLA…DRY!
The Dunk Test…
This “dunk test” is to simulate constant water pressure. If my hand gets wet during this test them they probably won’t hold up too long during a heavy rain? So, I took a bucket and filled it with cold water from the tap then put my hand in the glove and dunked it. I kept it under water for about 10-15 minutes then removed pulled it out. As you can see in the picture, water beaded off the glove and my hand stayed dry. Even after ringing it a little, putting pressure on the fingers, didn’t cause the water to soak through…inside nice and dry!
Based on these two tests I did, these gloves certainly are 100% waterproof as listed. Of course, the only real way to test these is during a good rain and nice long ride. Would I trust these? Sure but I would bring a 2nd pair just to be safe, which is something I always do with new gloves, until I’m confident these will hold up. If I’m going on a weekend or longer motorcycle ride, I’ll always bring a couple pairs of winter gloves just to be safe. Trust me, you DON’T want to be out on the road and be stuck with a soaked glove. Remember, these gloves don’t have a wiper blade so you’re going to be wiping your shield with your hand, palm side, and even my really thick winter gloves eventually tend to start letting water through to my hand.
As stated, these gloves are pretty cheap and you do get what you paid for. Are these going to protect you like road racing gloves do or like the higher-end manufacture’s winter gloves? Probably not but again it just depends on the type of crash you have. For me, when it comes to winter gloves, comfort and applicability are higher on my list then protection. Sure, I’d LOVE to have the complete package but, from what I’ve seen, you start to suffer in the comfort area. If my hands aren’t comfortable, make it hard grab my levers, or get tired really quick then all those PLUSES don’t do me any good….in my opinion.
If you plan on riding in weather colder then say 45 degrees, I’d certainly look into adding heated grips. On the day I tested these gloves, my phone app said it was 43 degrees but the air temp on my bike got no lower then 46 degrees AND it was a mixture of sunny and fog, which makes the air maybe not as cold. To give you an idea, a few days later, my same phone app said it was 43 degrees outside and it was really foggy so the air was much colder, much different then my test ride. Would my hands have stayed warm? Hard to tell, initially yes, but I’d probably start feeling it about 15-20 minutes into my ride. Knowing I have heated grips I probably would be fine, but if not and my ride was much longer (say an hour) then I’m sure I’d start feeling it more than on my test ride.
With all this said, I’d say these glove did what they say and would be a good pair to have. They worked much like my other winter gloves, and if you do have heated grips, then I think you should be fine. If you’re on a budget then I’d 100% give these a try. FYI…using my $80 Cortech gloves, when the temps dropped down to below 40 degrees, I couldn’t really feel my heated grips and my hands got cold, which made it more difficult to grab my levers. I have better feeling with these KEMIMOTO gloves then my Cortech gloves AND I can feel the heat from my grips, hence, I’d be more inclined to grab these gloves before grabbing my Cortech gloves. In a crash, would these gloves hold up? Again, hard to say and hopefully I won’t have to find out.
In the end, it’s a choice/decision you have to make, after all it’s your hands. Heated gloves are even better, which KEMIMOTO also sells. Their heated gloves are battery powered and not plugged into your bike’s batter…good for say commuting but probably not good for a weekend or longer ride…again, my opinion…that would be up to you.
Give KEMIMOTO a shot, I think you’ll like them!