Welcome to my first installment of Rider Review!
I found it rather poetic, that the first review I am typing up be about gloves, those little pieces of gear we use to protect our hands from the elements that we travel through on route to our destinations.
So with that, lets take a look at how I hope to follow through with the Rider Review format in the future.
My plan is to not just write a review, have you read it, and that be it. So much happens between the time you read this, and the end of the life of a product. So many untold stories about the item, that I feel that a review is not complete until it is laid to rest at the bottom of the recycle bin or where ever it may rest. So with this thought, I plan on making this a “Running Review” of sorts.
The breakdown is simple.
We will start off with a description of the product and its intended purposes, the MSRP of the product, and some pictures of said product. Pretty much all of the standard stuff you would find on the Manufactures website.
The second part of the review will be the situations in what prompted me to purchase this product, my initial thoughts, and a review of how they have held up thus far, and if they have met my expectations. I will go over the pro’s and con’s of the item, and try and supply a good amount of pictures or short video’s along the way to show the current condition and how they have held up. With all that, I’ll list what my current guesstimate is of time used, and the type of conditions I have put it through. This part will be updated throughout the items life, and will post these updates to my blog.
The third and fourth parts of the review will be my final thoughts up until that point, and my final thoughts as the item gets retired.
So overall, these will not be your typical reviews. They will be mixed with Product Information, Personal Opinion, and little side stories throughout the products life.
So with that, lets go ahead and start our Review!
Manufacture: Cortech (by TourMaster)
Item Category: Riding Gear – Gloves
Item Name: Scarab Winter Glove
Manufactures Website: http://www.tourmaster.com/xcart/catalog/Scarab-Winter-Glove-p-262_29.html
In The Wild: $64 – $85
• Aniline drum-dyed cowhide leather construction with a HiPora® waterproof and breathable barrier
• Aniline drum-dyed goatskin palm with abrasion-resistant, titanium/carbon protection panels
• Schoeller® Dry Skin Keprotech® in the palm patch with titanium/carbon covered padding
• 3M™ Thinsulate® 100gm insulation
• Molded titanium/carbon knuckle, finger and wrist protection panels
• Pre-curved palm and fingers for form-fitting comfort
• Large gauntlet cuff with a leather closure flap that incorporates a titanium/carbon protection patch
• Soft brushed fleece interior lining
Recommended for cold and wet riding.
I purchased these gloves back in the winter of 2008. My initial reasons for purchasing this type of glove, was because I needed a glove suited for the cold and wet weather that we have here in the Puget Sound region of Washington State. The actual point in time that prompted me to start looking at a winter glove, really came in late November on the way to a bike night in the U District of Seattle at the Burger Master.
Typically, short rides in the winter (which I mainly did) never really bothered me a whole lot with my standard gloves. I only lived 10 minutes from work, and my winter riding consisted mainly of just that. Only on a few times have any of us really managed to get organized enough to get together for a ride in the winter months. So the need for such a glove was never really much of a concern, until that night.
I checked the traffic maps, and it seemed the 520 bridge was backed up like always. I decided to ride, as I would be able to get ahead of the pack by using the car pool lane to cut in a couple miles ahead before it merged into standard lanes. It was around 7pm, the temperature was near freezing, and everything was going well. I made it into the merge and traffic seemed to flow rather fine for a few minutes, then the red lights started, a huge chain reaction. I was now on the 520 bridge, stopped, in the cold.
The heat slowly dissipated from my hands, and they started to go numb. I am not sure what the cause of the slow down was, but what should have only been a 10 minute trip, turned into almost an hour and a half trip. I finally showed up to the Burger Master around 8:30 as everyone was starting to leave.
That night when I got home I decided I needed a few items if I was going to continue to ride throughout the winter. In the last couple years up until that point that I had been in Seattle, the winters were rather mild. In fact, the year before I can’t remember a single day that dropped below freezing. But here we were getting near or at freezing. I decided that I would need to be prepared and dress accordingly.
The next day stopped at my local dealership Eastside Motosports and talked to my buddy Patrick in Parts and Apparel about their selection of cold weather winter riding gear. Lucky me, they just received a new shipment of Jackets, Pants and Gloves. I decided while I was there, I should look at Jackets and Pants as well.
And so began the process of trying on gloves, seeing what fit, and what had the qualities I admired. It finally came down to the item I picked, the Cortech Scarab. It not only fit my price point (Under $100, I am after all, on a budget), they were leather gauntlet styled armored gloves, which I prefer an armored glove over a standard glove for safety reasons as we know, nothing smarts more than having your knuckles smack the ground, and when I tried them on, the liner was both comfortable, and instantly my hands warmed up, so they have great insulating qualities.
So I settled on these gloves, with what I felt were outstanding qualities at the time. They also seemed to be put together rather well, and the stitching looked to be acceptable, and the added benefit of the well placed abrasion pads meant this glove had many features that the other gloves I tried on just did not have.
So I went ahead, and paid for my items that day for new gear. I picked up the gloves, a 4 Season Jacket, and Over Pants. Because I already had myself a pair of Waterproof insulated riding boots, I was now ready for whatever mother nature could throw at me.
Well, that is except for the 12 inches of snow that decided to come down that night.
Yup folks, irony at its finest.
So with the snow, and winter vacation inching nearer and nearer, the use of these gloves would have to wait until I returned from after the New Year.
After the New Year, I rode to work pretty much every day. The gloves, I came to realize, were a much welcome addition to my growing collection of motorcycle related gear. Having comfortable hands for an entire ride to work was much welcomed, and the seemed to hold up rather well in the light drizzle we were having as opposed to the monsoonal rains we were usually accustomed to. So my initial thoughts on the limited time spent with them, was that they were holding up as expected a winter glove should with a couple of minor inconveniences I will note on further down.
Now, we need to fast forward. As the air began to warm, I went back to my standard gloves, and so the Scarabs took a place on the shelf until Fall of 2009.
Fall came, and so did the rains. My gear was brought out of storage, and once again it was time to make that trek to work and back, the daily commute that I really don’t mind due to the fact I go the opposite way of the rush hour traffic. They are coming into Bellevue, I am leaving to Kirkland. It works out wonderful.
So starting in October, as the days got a little cooler, and the rains started to come, I decided it was time to start wearing the Scarabs once more. Now mind you, prior to putting any of my leather away, I always treat it with Obenauf’s Leather Treatment in order to make sure that there is no dry rot that takes place with the leather, the major cause of leather wear and failure is by not replenishing oils back into the grain.
The worked, as I remembered, and the comfort was nice to have on the commute to and from work. But as the rains continued, so did some apparent issues with the gloves.
The first thing I took notice to, was something I noticed prior, but when it’s not even raining, it seems the fleece liner does well with wicking away moisture from my hands, but does not do really well with getting rid of said moisture. It seems that the mixture of Fleece, Thinsulate, and HiPora was not doing it’s job well enough in transferring body moisture out and away from the skin. This isn’t terrible for me, but for people who have a higher level of perspiration may find this to be an issue.
The other apparent issue, that I had come across prior in the year, is mainly a result of the inefficiencies of the wicking of perspiration, is that the liner can get bunched up inside the glove. The two most common digits I have an issue with is the thumb, and the pinky. The other digits seem to be attached to the main glove. This issue is my biggest pet peeve I have of the glove to be honest. The liner sticks to you when you pull the glove off, there in turn pulling this digits and bunching them up a little. This becomes a problem when putting your glove back on, because with the damp liner from your perspiration, it makes it hard to wiggle your fingers to remove the bunched up liner. Then, you get it all on, take off, and down the road you realize that there is a knock of fabric at the tip of your digit and it is starting to annoy you, taking up some of the sense perception that should be spent on the environment around you. But so long as the liner stays dry, the glove will slip on and off with ease. I simple solution to this would be two things. One, solve the wicking issue, the second would be to pin the thumb and pinky so that they cannot be bunched up inside.
The third issue, comes in the form of the wear that the gloves have taken.
With only being used now for just over a year, and that not even being the full 12 months, the gloves look much older than they really are. Granted, I have to add points for the fact that the gloves are primarily used in adverse weather, but the issues are not in the materials as much as the stitching.
Lets take a look at a couple pictures here.
As you can see from these pictures, we have some stitching starting to come undone.
The palm, is where the majority of wear is going to come, as it is usually always in contact with another surface causing friction, which are area’s you would expect some reinforced stitching or heavier thread being used. It seems they have just used the same thread throughout the glove.
The Second area’s around the fingers however, this just seems to be degradation of the stitching or where the stitching meets, and there may have not been enough overlap. Small holes are starting to be apparent around the fingers form where the stitching is going, and you can see what must be the HiPora liner.
Like I said above, I do have to give points on the fact that the gloves are used for adverse weather, but that is what they are specifically made for, and I would expect these apparent problems to creep up for at least 2 years. I still wear a pair of summer gloves I bought 4 years ago. None of the stitching has gone on them, and the palm stitching is reinforced in area’s with 3 passes of heavier material it seems.
However I will give credit to the actual shell of this glove. The leather is holding up exceptionally well for the overall abuse these gloves do take. With my routine care, and putting the gloves on my Peet Dryer every night, they are always ready for me the next day.
The gloves, so far, have held up ok. These being my first Winter Gloves, and them being sub 100 dollar gloves, I do not have to much to compare them to. I have however, purchased the Replacement Gloves. Not because these are bad, but because I need something to keep me warm for longer rides that I can depend on.
So how am I going to rate these gloves? Well the rating system is easy. It all boils down to, would I buy them again, and would I recommend them to a friend? The answer to both those questions is yes. I would buy them again, as they are a small investment for the comfort they do provide, even if not entirely rain resistant, the insulating factor of these gloves is worth it for colder days.
I have already recommended them to friends, and I have friends who have already purchased them and are happy with the choice.
My final thoughts are, with a couple little quality control area’s out of the way, and a more secured, better wicking liner, these gloves could potentially be not just good, but great.
But for less than a 100 bucks, the satisfaction I have had riding, far outweighs the issues that have crept up.