Of all the appendages on the human body, the hand and fingers are probably the most complex, fragile and sensitive-yet also the most exposed when riding a motorcycle. The hand has (depending on the individual) approximately 29 different bones, 29 major joints, at least 123 named ligaments, 34 different muscles, 30 recognized arteries, and among the human body's densest concentrations of nerve endings in the tip of each finger. In other words, it's easy to damage-and when you do damage it, you will feel it as pain more than nearly any other part of your body.
Properly protecting a sportbike rider's hand and fingers isn't as easy as throwing on a set of old rancher gloves. A riding glove needs to have enough armor in the right spots to protect against impacts, yet still offer a good amount of flexibility to freely operate the controls. It needs to be constructed from material thick and/or strong enough to protect against abrasion, while also allowing the rider to feel the controls so that the proper amount of pressure or movement can be applied. And it needs to be fastened securely to prevent it from slipping off your hand in a crash.
We've gathered a good cross-section of the racing/sport-glove market in this particular buyer's guide, but it should be remembered that most of the manufacturers listed have many additional models that we didn't have the space to showcase here. Be sure to check out their websites and catalogs for other choices that might be better suited to your individual tastes.
We've also rated each glove for comfort, fit and quality. In addition to SR's staff, we had numerous people try on each glove model in the size that fit them best and give us their feedback. So check out our selection of digital protectors, and hopefully you'll find one that fits your needs and pocketbook-as well as your hand.