Arguably the most important part of your riding gear after your helmet is your gloves. Protecting your precious digits means wearing purpose-made motorcycle gloves and, like helmets, there’s a vast selection to choose from.
If you’re looking to buy a pair of riding gloves you’ll have to decide between multiple lengths, different materials, the amount of armour you want and what riding season/s you would like the gloves to be suited to. In 2020 we saw some impressive gloves hit the market along with a few updates to models we already love.
To help you fast track your glove selection process here’s our 10 best cafe racer gloves of 2020 list.
ROCR X Goldtop England Predator Gloves
Goldtop has been around since the cafe racer movement emerged in the fifties. As a result, their classically styled range of riding is about as genuine as it comes. Earlier this year Return of the Cafe Racers teamed up with Goldtop England to create these special edition Predator Gloves.
The ROCR x Goldtop Predator Gloves outer shell is made from 1.0 mm premium drum-dyed Aniline cowhide leather. The new design uses panels of contrasting black and tan-brown leather to create a unique style that’s proved a huge hit with our readers.
A mix of different finishes including perforations, cross stitching and accordion panels contribute to the glove’s unique appearance along with adding both air-flow and flexibility of movement to the design.
Embossed onto the back of each wrist you’ll find our Cafe Racer Rider emblem and a brass Goldtop button on the hook and loop closure. Peer inside and you’ll find a luxurious red silk liner that wicks moisture and feels as good as it sounds.
When we teamed up with Goldtop we weren’t simply looking to create a good looking glove. We wanted a glove that offered the kind of protection we demand from the gear we choose to ride in.
That’s why the ROCR x Goldtop gloves feature a floating Knox Microlock knuckle protector, gel-padded fingers, double-reinforced palm and fingers and triple stitching in high-stress zones. The result is a genuine CE safety rated summer riding glove that’ll look right at home wrapped around the handlebars of your cafe racer.
Features: Special Edition design / CE certified safety/silk lining
As the name hints the Joe Rocket Cafe Racer Gloves are aimed at the cafe racer segment. To achieve this they’ve designed a retro-inspired glove with a unique backhand zipper design.
Although we’re not sure how much better a zipper on the back of the hand is as opposed to a traditional wrist closure, there’s no denying it looks good. If you then add to that the flexible accordion detailing on the wrist and fingers, perforations on the padded knuckle and a clean fuss-free palm you’ve got yourself a smart-looking bit of riding clobber.
The Joe Rocket Cafe Racer gloves are made from soft Nappa leather. The backhand opening utilizes sturdy YKK zippers and the knuckles and thumb are covered by high-density impact foam. An elasticated cuff guarantees a snug fit, each little finger features a ROCKET embroidered emblem and the gloves come in either a timeless black or brown finish.
Features: Retro styling / unique backhand zip closure
The combination of the Oscar Gloves perforated airflow panels and a pre-curved cut offer all-day riding comfort. A tough synthetic palm keeps things intact during a spill while EVA foam inserts soak up any hard knocks to the knuckles and fingers. These no-fuss, classic riding gloves secure using a velcro wrist closure and feature the iconic Alpinestars Oscar spiral emblem on the fastener.
Features: No fuss styling / comfort-focused design
Created by part of the team behind Revzilla, REAX riding gear benefits from over a decade of experience testing other brands. With their Tasker Classic Leather Gloves REAX set out to create a cafe racer glove that offers everything you need and nothing you don’t.
The REAX Tasker Classic Leather Gloves come in either all black or a brown/black combination. The gloves are cut for an ergonomic fit and feature flex ribbing at the knuckles and back of the hand. This design helps to minimize fatigue in the hand and fingers while you ride. Touchscreen inserts in the index finger and thumb allow you to operate your device easily and padding on the palm helps to dampen vibrations through your handlebars.
REAX knows what it takes to make a sturdy riding glove and they’ve injected that knowledge into the design of their Tasker Classic Leather Gloves. The gloves backhand is constructed from tough 0.8 – 0.9mm leather while the palm utilizes supple, yet highly abrasion-resistant goat hide.
All of the outer seams are reinforced to reduce the chance of bursts and TPR inserts on the knuckles add additional crash protection. On the inside, you’ll find a moisture-wicking poly tricot lining and the gloves secure in place using an adjustable hook and loop closure. Best of all REAX is so confident in the quality of their gloves that they offer a 2-year warranty.
The first pair of motorcycle gloves I ever purchased was a set of short cuff Icon Pursuit Gloves. That was almost 20 years ago. So these gloves aren’t exactly new to the market. Icon has, however, updated the design of the Pursuit gloves for 2020 and they appeal to me just as much today as they did all those years ago.
The riding gear gurus at Revzilla label the Icon Pursuit gloves as ‘the best-fitting glove on the market’ and we couldn’t agree more. The Pursuit gloves feature a simple, unlined design that provides a beautifully snug fit that improves over time.
For 2020 Icon has upgraded the gloves chassis with their tried and tested Battlehide goatskin leather. Integrated plastic knuckles and finger plates protect the hands against hard knocks and the gloves are available in 2 styles of perforated or not.
Features: Super comfy design / Upgraded materials / Touchscreen enabled
Another of the great designs to come out of the Alpinestars 2020 vintage collection is the Oscar Brass Gloves. These classically styled leather gloves are both supple and tough thanks to a 100% goat hide construction.
They fit snugly offering plenty of tactile feel and thanks to accordion panels on the fingers and a stretch panel on each thumb there’s plenty of room to move. Touch-screen index fingertips allow you to use a mobile device without disrobing and a rubber grip zone on the palm bolsters the gloves abrasion resistance. The svelte appearance of the Oscar Brass gloves is thanks to the use of low profile, 3mm impact absorbent padding on the knuckles rather than TPU alternatives.
For us, the stand out feature of the Oscar Brass Gloves is their styling. The diamond-stitched leather on the back of the wrist will look right at home on your classically styled ride. The mid-length cuff sets them apart from the other gloves on this list and we love the subtle gold Alpinestars logo printed across the knuckles and brass Oscar button detail on the wrist closure.
While we’re on the topic of snug fits check out these new gloves from Aussie riding gear outfit Akin Moto. The Akin Moto Blip Gloves are all about maximizing feel and comfort. So much so that they call them their ‘second-skin’ gloves.
Akin achieved this fit through the use of premium goat leather. The single-layer design maximizes tactile feel so you can decipher every bit of feedback your motorcycle sends your way.
Along with creating a very unique looking glove, the full accordion stitched backhand design conforms to the shape of your hand perfectly for totally unrestricted movement. The Akin Blip gloves secure in place using a traditional hook and loop closure embellished using an embossed Akin emblem.
Features: Second skin fit / unique styling / touchscreen enabled
Riding in cold weather can be downright unpleasant. And when your hands get so cold you can’t feel the grips it can get dangerous too. Quality purpose-made cold weather riding gloves are worth their weight in gold. Most winter gloves use liners to stave off the cold, but these clever gloves from Racer take things one step further.
The 2020 Racer Connectic 4 Heated Gloves keep your digits warm in even the most extreme of temperatures. Using a thermo-regulated heating element integrated into the design of the gloves, Racer has created a glove that warms the back of each hand and the full length of each finger.
The gloves offer 3 different heating levels which can be easily switched between using a controller on the back of each hand. There’s even a boost mode for when you really want to turn up the heat.
Our favourite feature of these hi-tech gloves is the lack of any wires. Unlike other heated gloves the Racer Connectic 4 are powered by rechargeable batteries that are housed in each cuff. The battery level is displayed on the controller unit and they can stay warm for up to 10 hours on the lowest setting. A Fiberfill insulating liner helps to retain the heat and there’s a Polymax weatherproof membrane to keep out the rain.
These gloves aren’t just about warmth. The Racer Connectic 4 gloves feature a softshell design with accordion leather panels in high flex and impact regions. The inclusion of a goatskin palm means the Connectic 4 are a CE certified riding garment. Although these gloves don’t feature armour, Racer also offers the higher-spec Racer Heat 4 gloves.
Features: Cable-free heating / full insulated / 10 hours of heating
The last 2 gloves in our 10 best cafe racer gloves of 2020 are designed to tackle foul weather head-on. First up are the REAX Ridge Waterproof gloves. These purposeful gloves offer all the benefits of wet weather gear without the plasticky appearance.
Featuring a cowhide backhand, goat leather palm, Superfabric palm inset and knuckle armour they pack all the protection a good riding glove should. Beneath their extra tough exterior lies a 360-degree waterproof membrane that keeps water out while still letting your hands breathe.
The gauntlet design sits high over your sleeve to keep the wind and cold out and subtle reflective details increase your visual presence in low visibility situations.
The Rev’it! Hydra 2 H2O Gloves are a worthy addition to your wet/cold weather riding garb. The Hydra 2 H20 Gloves keep your hands safe with the aid of a tough goatskin palm that offers excellent tactile feel on your controls.
A mix of Rev’it!’s PWR|shell cut, tear and abrasion-resistant fabrics cover the back of each hand providing freedom of movement without sacrificing safety. To round things out knuckle guards and Temperform shields protect the fingers, knuckles and palm against hard knocks.
As for protection against the elements, the Hydra H20 gloves will keep your hands warm thanks to a Thinsulate G and polar fleece liner. To keep the breeze out Rev’it! have added an elasticated ribbed cuff and waterproofing is managed by a high-tech Hydratex Z-liner. Last but not least these great looking gloves are available in either black, khaki green or a smart looking navy blue.