On test at OVERDRIVE: BMW Motorrad GS Dry gloves
If you keep an eye on motorcycle gear, you will quickly realise that while premium brands like Dainese or Rev'it are highly regarded, BMW Motorrad's gear is spoken of in awed, hushed tones. Not only is it usually a fair bit more expensive, it also happens to be extraordinary in function. Yes, styling isn't always BMW Motorrad's strongest suit in moto-gear term, but they most certainly do know how to make gear that works. So it isn't often that you will find BMW gear hanging in the discount end of a moto-store. But that is precisely where I found these. In fact, the store staff politely pointed out that I was looking rather chuffed, but was wearing the ladies version of the glove. Um, oops.
What is it?
It isn't rocket science. The gloves are basic waterproof gloves. They fit well, have an elastic wrist retainer as well as a velcro cuff flap that closes them off. Protection is a hard knuckle protector with soft inserts over the fingers. A Super Fabric scaphoid protector, double layers of leather here and there... it's a simple glove. And then you notice the yellow elastic band that holds the gloves together in the packaging. It has Gore+Grip emblazoned on it. What's that?
Turns out that at least in idea terms, it isn't rocket science. The usual problem with waterproof gloves is the liner. The construction places the waterproof membrane between the outer glove - with the protective materials and a comfort liner. The inner liner also protects the fragile-ish membrane from you accidentally piercing or breaking the membrane. But for effective waterproofing, the trio are only attached at the cuff - minimal stitching. You know what happens next - you wear the glove the first time, all is well. The next time onwards, you have pulled the inner layers askew as you withdrew you hand and now you can't get back in without considerable struggle and fiddling. And at some point, you will rupture the membrane in this struggle too. At least, I always manage to do this. My solution isn't perfect - I wear waterproof gloves one size larger than my usual leather, street gloves.
What Gore+Grip does is use the same construction but it adds layers of tape that stick all the three layers together. This means that even with insulation, the glove feels thinner. It means that the trio of layers does not move against each other which promotes feel. And most importantly, no matter how many time you put your hand in and pull it out, the glove stays together, just like a regular street glove. Very nice. Great. Awesome. Worth it?
I don't have sweaty hands or feet so I can get away with pretty well-insulated waterproof gloves and boots even in humid Mumbai weather. This is my superpower because most gear makers design waterproof stuff for cold rain and snow. Which means they have to keep your hands dry as well s warm.
The GS Dry gloves, compared to say, my pair of Alpinestars Valparaiso gloves, feel thin and almost uninsulated. Putting them on is easy and even once worn, they feel like thick street gloves rather than puffy or chunky insulated gloves. This is interesting because it means I can feel the bike considerably better than almost every waterproof glove I have ever owned. And going by my average of one every two years, I've owned many.
Second, I would go round the bend trying to avoid having to deglove in the middle of a ride - you never knew if you could get back in! Solved. The BMW Motorrad GS Dry gloves are easy to wear and take off and perhaps the only problem I've faced on my handful of rides is that I cannot feel the D-rings on my helmet well enough to thread them through, something I could easily do with my previous Shima RS-1s or the stunningly good RS Taichi GP-X street gloves.
The actual price of the BMW Motorrad GS Dry glove isn't germane to this story. I bought them on discount at a BMW motorcycle store in Montreal for Rs 6,000. The actual list price is Rs 10,000. As I noted right at the beginning of the story, BMW Motorrad's gear is great, but it's also extremely expensive. And the list price, for a waterproof glove with such a basic spec is a bit out there. But what I've learnt from the GS Dry glove is that if you're looking for a waterproof glove that brings insulation and feel together and the ability to wear it easily every single time, you must look for the Gore+Grip yellow elastic band. Whatever the expense, to me, this sets the standard for usability in waterproof gloves.