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I'll admit: When it comes to the cold, I'm not the bravest of souls. I try and ride all year round, even in Toronto, and there's a few months where it can become unbearable.
The worst was a ride back from my cottage a couple of years ago in November. It was 12C when I set off, but by the time I hit Toronto, it was -2. I was wearing my old (now gone) Alpinestars GP gloves with a silk liner underneath but even with the liners, I simply could not feel my fingers. If traffic was heavier, I am sure I would have been dangerous.
And so, knowing what the cold truly felt like, I tried a variety of options. The first was a "heavy duty, waterproof" motorcycle glove that was supposed to be Thinsulated and fully waterproof. Guess how that turned out? Yup. Wet hands at the first sign of rain and no warmer than the GP gloves.
My next step was heated grips on my Tiger 1050. That helped; Well, at least it helped my palms. My fingers were still freezing. In other words, grips didn't cut it - helpful in an emergency but just not enough.
The next step was heated kit, which, as the local bike store was having a sale turned into a heated jacket and gloves. The jacket was good, but the gloves were a revelation.
The jacket is a Gerbings, but the gloves are Tourmaster. While they do come with their own wires and controller, I prefer the fact the plug right into my jacket and are controlled from the Gerbings thermostat. While it's not complicated, it's still nice to see companies NOT using custom connectors so you can only connect their stuff.
In use, the gloves are everything you want. They're soft, supple and slim enough that they don't get in the way of riding. Sure, they a little more bulky than the Handroids I also use but I expected that and you never feel isolated from the controls. Even without heat, they are pretty warm though sadly not waterproof. Heating is provided by micro-wires that run through the gloves, palms, fingers and backs of hand and another nice touch is a thumb squeegee that allows you to clear rain from the visor. Unlike some others, it also actually works.
Plugged in, the story completely changes: The heat is pretty even, and with decent thermostat (mine is continuously variable) it's easy to find a temperature that suits. it's also amazing just how much even a little heat helps. Even on the lowest setting in the spring and fall it lets you continue to feel the controls. And they work so well, I was able to ride in -28C last year, though that was with a windchill. They were, at this point, at their limits, however.
I did have problems with my first pair however. On one rain-soaked ride (where the gloves at least kept my hands warm from the icy rain, if not actually dry) the liner seemed to have broken. Granted they were on full heat but the exposed wire actually burned my knuckle to a blister. A call the Tourmaster saw a new pair arrive inside two weeks however with no questions and I've not had a repeat problem.
There's a reasonable padding on both the palm and finger and I can say that it actually works. A few weeks ago, I dropped the wife's STriple whilst wearing them (below) and they completely protected my hands from any scrapes.
As you can see, the left hand palm tore but there was no damage to me. The gloves were toast, but after two years and plenty of K's that what I needed and happily went out to buy a replacement pair.
Even without the heating, I would recommend these gloves to anyone. And while I know heated gloves aren't everyones thing, I personally wouldn't be without them. In the absence of owning any other brands, it's hard for me to be objective, but I still wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to everyone who rides in the cold.