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Knox Handroid Review

Discussion in 'Clothing, Gadgets & Equipment' started by Argonaut, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. Knox Handroid Review:

    I recently decided I needed a new pair of gloves, as my faithful Kushitani’s are getting on a bit and at 12 years old, they’ve served me well but it’s time to upgrade.

    After scouring the market to see what was out there, I decided on getting a pair of Knox “Handroid” gloves in black.

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    I’m sure most of us have heard of Knox before, as suppliers of body armour as-fitted in various brands of leathers and bike clothing. I’ve always found their products to be of sound quality, if rather unspectacular aesthetically. They appear to do their research and thus my choice of gloves was made on this sound reputation and the aesthetics of the gloves themselves (shallow? Moi?).

    My first problem stemmed from a lack of suppliers locally, so my first efforts to try a pair on failed miserably, which I must admit was a bit annoying as I’m not a fan of buying things without seeing them in the flesh first.

    Whilst the Knox website is helpful, all the local suppliers I telephoned said they didn’t stock any Knox stuff or they only had various bits of armour in stock and generally bought-in to special order, which wasn’t of much help. Why Knox would list suppliers who didn’t stock their products didn’t make much sense to me.

    It would appear that Knox have their prices much pretty pegged at the same level no matter what supplier you go to; so shopping around between suppliers only really found me savings on postage costs and a few random freebies included in the deal.

    After a few attempts at deciphering the sizing chart, which showed my hand size as either a medium or large, I decided to plump for the medium in black, to match my new leathers, and risk the sizing issue. This wouldn’t have been a problem if Knox had any suppliers local to me, but less about that for now.

    Anyway, I took the plunge and bought a pair on eBay from a supplier in Essex, who along with the list price also included a snood and pair of Moto-GP socks and free Royal Mail special delivery, which was a nice touch.

    First impressions:
    The next day the gloves arrived via Royal Mail special delivery, as promised, securely packaged in a thick cardboard box. Upon opening up the box I was surprised to see how large these gloves actually are. They are considerably longer than my old Kushitani’s (see photo below) and look like something out of a Terminator film.

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    The leather is supple and appears to be of a high quality, albeit in places it feels a bit thin, obviously aimed at keeping the glove comfortable and flexible. How this leather would fare in a crash is anyone’s guess, and personally I hope I never have to find out.

    Stitching quality is generally good, bearing in mind all I have to compare them with is my old Kushi’s, which are generally impeccable stitching-quality-wise.

    However the stitching on the outside of the forefinger, next to the thumb is a bit of a poor detail. Why they couldn’t wrap the leather around more ergonomically instead of having a flat seam is a mystery to me. This stitching is the only fly in the ointment really.

    The armour on top of the hand is thick; it feels solid yet still flexible. The armour either side of the BOA adjusting system (more on this below), is thick and well moulded to fit around your leathers, giving a reassuring look and feel of something that would do its job, should you take an impact in this area.

    The white “aerofoil” thing on top of the glove looks more for show than anything else, as it covers up part of the Exo-skeleton system. It’s just a cheap bit of plastic quite frankly, but it adds to the look of the glove quite nicely.

    The Exo-skeleton system itself did give me some reservations, but upon moving the fingers it appeared to operate very freely and not restrict mobility at all.

    There appears to be perforated leather on top of the fingers, which might help with ventilation on those hot summer days (now they are actually here!), so I’m hoping they won’t be as sweaty and grimey as my current gloves.


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    The BOA adjustment system will be familiar to anyone who has them on snowboarding boots and will confirm how cool this system actually is. You pull up on the adjuster wheel, which has a rubber outer edge so it’s easily gripped, and the wire tension is instantly released, you just pull adjuster further outwards and the glove is undone. Simples!

    Push the adjuster down and the wheel turns clockwise with a clicking action, slowly tightening up the BOA wires so you can adjust it to perfection. The benefits of this system are:

    1) No Velcro to wear out, look dog-eared or separate from the glove (if you catch the stitching continually)
    2) Infinitely adjustable down to a very fine margin
    3) Quick to release if you need to get out of your gloves in a hurry
    4) Unobstructive and compact
    5) The system is guaranteed for life

    I’ve got this system on my snowboard boots and it makes life a lot easier, as anyone with laced boots will testify!

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    The palm is Kangaroo leather with a few ventilation holes which I’m not sure will be of much use where they are. The leather is a little thin; I get the impression if you crashed and skidded across the road in these gloves they wouldn’t be re-usable afterwards. Then again, would you want to re-use gloves you’ve already crashed in?

    There is a seam right across the palm, which is a weak-point in a crash, but it’s double-stitched, which is something I suppose. Personally, I’d have preferred to see this piece as one continuous section.

    There are various pieces of plastic armour on the palm, and I can’t help but think these may cause comfort issues when riding, depending on how you ride or grip the bars. We shall see, I’ll reserve judgement on that until I’ve had a blip down the road later tonight. Having read a little more about the protection in these gloves, they are a mix of protectors for bones that take the brunt of damage, and sliders, should you be unfortunate to end up sliding down the road on your palms.

    Secured at the wrist is a Velcro adjustable strap, which could be a little longer really, but I’m just nit-picking now. There is a leather padded flap over the wrist strap, which I’m sure serves some purpose, but initially the only thing that niggled me was the applied paint looked cheap and was badly applied. I’m sure this won’t last five minutes on the road and will probably end up ground into my grips.

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    Wearing the gloves:
    Thankfully I chose the right size. They are a very close fit, but I’ve been advised in the past to get gloves that fit quite tightly, and wear them in so over time they’ll be a perfect “second skin” fit. I’m sure there are various opinions to this theory, but it works for me and I think I’d rather have gloves that feel part of my hands, as opposed to having something lose and poorly fitting that might move around and cause friction burns.

    The Exo-skeleton system is free-moving and not restrictive in any manner, which was a relief. The padding/armour on top of the glove feels reassuringly solid and gives the impression it’s been designed and made very well indeed.

    The Exo-skeleton appears to be a flexible grade of plastic/rubber that feels like it’d give you some good impact protection, should the tops of your fingers take a hit. How this system would fare is again open to opinion although I’m sure Knox has done their homework. For me, it feels reassuring that there is a bit more protection than just a thin covering of leather. A gimmick? Maybe, but for me it’s a gimmick that gives some value, even if it may just be psychological at this stage.

    The leather covering the top of the fingers has an overlapping joint section which gives a bit more mobility and flexibility, to the point where my hand didn’t feel restricted in any manner. Knox has obviously put some thought into this, and thankfully it works well.

    The cuff armour on either side of the BOA system is chunky and gives the impression it’d do its job well in a crash. It’s going to make your cuffs look a little bulky, but then again a set of leathers are hardly streamlined!

    This armour sits well down from your wrists, to the point where on me it’s about halfway up my forearm. Like I said earlier, these gloves are long!

    For those with textile jackets, Knox makes a version of the Handroid with a different wrist/cuff system, which will fit under the jacket sleeves, which is quite thoughtful I guess.

    Generally, they are comfortable and feel like part of your hand, which for me is what a glove should be about.

    What Don’t I like:
    The white paint used liberally in various places looks cheap and quite frankly it feels like it’ll disappear quickly once you start using the gloves. Equally, the “Kangaroo” red paint on my gloves wasn’t applied properly on one glove and looks a bit tacky. Also, why is there a #1 on the forefinger I don’t know, it’s bit cheap.

    The seam on the palm gives me some concerns. I’m not an expert in how easy it is to make a glove, so I’m sure there is a reason behind it, but even then, it’s a niggle and potentially a weak spot.

    Plastic sliders/impact protection on the palms. I’m trying to reserve judgement on this, but I can’t help but think at some point I’ll be on the side of the road trying to massage some feeling back into my palms after they’ve been biting into them all day. I’ll report back on this later on, after I’ve been out on the bike.

    To Sum Up:
    If you are looking for a well made, good quality glove, which has some interesting safety features, yet still looks a little different from the masses, then the Knox Handroid may be the kiddie for you.

    For £160 (POD version for textile jackets is cheaper) it’s pretty good value for money, although i obviously can’t comment on it’s crash-qualities (and hope never to comment on that!),

    I guess it all depends on how much you value your hands, what cash you have to spend and what aesthetics you want to see in your kit.

    For me, i love how futuristic they look, and how they are a bit different, plus how Knox’s reputation seems to add to the appeal a little more (for me anyway).

    At the end of the day they are hundreds of choices out there, i just thought i’d let you know what i thought of these.

    Hope this review is of some use to anyone considering buying a pair.

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  2. Nice review - thank you for posting :upyeah:
     
  3. Really enjoyed your review and great photography too.
    I went over to my local bike shop a few years ago when these came out and tried them on. I too thought the quality of the leather was supurb and they feel very nice when on. I too go for a tight fit from new and i actually quite enjoy the breaking in period with these things.
    the thickness issue i think is more associated with the kangaroo skin but i am lead to believe it is far superior to cow hide when you really need it. I ended up buying a set of pro-sport gloves from hein gerek with the same sort if spec and it took a while to get used to the enhanced sensitivity which is really good obviously.
    The reason i didnt like them is because if the white knuck plate which i feel is far too fragile (you cant punch car windows in if needed) and also the plastic bits on the fingers & what they could actually end up doing to you in a crash. Years ago i was listening to a copper buying gloves in a bike shop and he was looking at & discussing "finger roll". No, its not a new cake but what can happen when you are sliding down the road. To me these additions to the tops of the fingers actually pose a risk as they create a potential anchor to the road surface and that doesnt float my boat as i like my fingers.
    Nice gloves and im sure they are excelent.
     
  4. I have a very different view of Knox Handroids. They fit very nicely, and the articulation of the fingers with the armour is excellent. HOWEVER, gloves 1st job is to protect your hands and wrists from injury in the event of a crash.

    I crash tested them at Aragon when I came off my track GSXR last year. The ratchet closure system is clever, but it has a major design flaw - and a design flaw that cause me about 6 months of painful recovery when the closing twist knob punctured/damaged my forearm tendons... you can see where the topside closure knob was impacted and pushed down rupturing my tendon.

    The pictures speak for themselves - here are the gloves after the crash (they were as new prior to the incident):

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    The finger seams burst open on impact, and it was the sensation of burning fingers against tarmac that caused me to turn my body (amazing how time seems to slow down surfing the tarmac at speed!). In short, I realised why Dainese and some other top manufacturers use Kevlar thread in their top-of-the-line racing gloves. Guess what gloves I now wear... Dainese Full Metal Pros that uses inside seams with double Kevlar stitching.
     
    #4 Spareparts, Jun 3, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  5. I had a pair and still do but they are in the back of the cupboard and after seeing these photo's that's where they will stay, i just found them uncomfortable and no matter how many times i wore them they didn't get any better.
     
  6. UPDATE:
    I went out last night for a quick spin (93miles) and had a good chance to evaluate the fit, comfort etc of the Knox Handroid gloves.

    I found them comfortable enough (not perfect), but a lot more bulky than my Kushitanis, and two-finger clutch changes were a bit more difficult due to the exo-skeleton getting in the way. Thankfully my RCS master cylinders are adjustable, so this was dialed-out pretty quickly to compensate.

    Palm armour/sliders didn't cause any issues so generally i have to say i'm relatively happy with them so far.

    Seeing Spareparts photos of his crashed gloves with the burst seems did raise my eyebrows a little, but from speaking to a friend of mine who had a low-speed (10-15mph) spill last summer, his Dainese gloves disintegrated to the point where one of them looks like a torn Chamois leather now. Another friend said his Alpinestars SP-1 didn't fare much better when he crashed at a trackday recently.

    As it's a natural instinct when we fall to put put your hands out, i guess gloves will always take the their fair share of abuse in a spill. I certainly wouldn't expect to re-use a set of gloves after an accident, although i would expect them to stay in one piece, depending on the factors of the crash (speed, distance you skidded on your hands, condition of the road surface etc).

    I think it's fair to say there are no perfect products, crashes have a variety of factors which affect if/how something will survive and to what extent and as ever, products are a compromise between safety, comfort and mobility.

    I think i'll stick with these gloves for the time-being, i've worn better but i've certainly worn worse. Maybe next year i'll be able to afford a set of Dainese full-metal gloves!

    Spareparts, sorry to hear about your injuries, i hope you are well recovered now mate :smile:
     
  7. Yes thanks Argo, fully recovered now. But the ratchet closure knob taught me that it was a design flaw to be aware of. That being said, the tpu palm sliders did their job as did the cuff armour. The stitching around the fingers are my biggest concern- the fingers should never have burst open as they did.

    LOL, Rossi has worn the Dainese FMPs for years, and I figure the gloves must hold up well given the number of times he's fallen off that GP bike!!! I can say the detailing of stitching and location of reinforcements on the FMPs are exactly where the Handroids failed.
     
  8. Wow, im not ever buying gloves with external stitching!
     
  9. Surely it's better for the stitching to give way rather than to tear your finger off?

    I'm no expert so do shoot this down, I was just working on dissipating the energy of the accident?
     
  10. No way. The leathers pimary and sole function is to protect your skin by providing an additional layer of higher abrasion resistance than your own skin. As soon as a seam bursts your skin is exposed and your are dust.

    Same thing for suits and why you see tripple stitched seams- to stop bursting and provide strength.

    I think some manufacturers moved to external stitching for comfort and aesthetics. Yes they are silky soft when you put them on but i think they are designed to be different just for the sake of it.

    The last time i checked wheels were still round.....:biggrin:
     
  11. I had some of those Kushitani gloves a few years ago and they were the most comfortable gloves I have ever worn great quality as well. I was going to go for the Handroid but no matter what size I tried when I made a fist my knuckes appeared to be hitting a hard uncomfortable piece of plastic somewhere. They looked great but I found them to be not very comfortable. Mind you the Dainese with the hard carbon knuckles were the same, hurting my knuckles.
    I have currently got Alpine Stars GP Pro and they are not bad at all, maybe a bit narrow which causes my hand to feel as though it is cupped slightly.
    If Kushatani had a new design out I would be tempted to try those again.
     
  12. The Kushitani's are lovely. The newer design isn't bad, but I couldn't find a supplier in the UK and the only ones I could find internationally were in limited sizes and colours.

    I bought my last pair from Hein Gericke, but they don't stock them anymore.
     
  13. Inside out gloves (with external stitching) works well on car/karting gloves as they do offer great feel allowing the leather to be flat against your fingertips. But they are not subject to the forces of a bike glove sliding against tarmac at speed.

    Held make some really good quality gloves too, and their stitching and detail reinforcements are some of the best I've seen. These aren't cheap, but after my experience with Handroids, I'm willing to pay a premium for top quality gloves. I like using my hands!
     
  14. +1 I found some discounted on Flea-bay a few months back got a bargain plus a brand new Kushitani suit for less than £200, sorted!!
     
  15. Love a bargain :upyeah:
     
  16. I'm going to try a pair of Nogs gloves next, but I'm a big fan of Dainese gloves. Firstly because they're really comfortable, secondly because they crash well and thirdly because size S fits my little hands perfectly and they're usually in a sale somewhere at massive discounts : )


    Ian, I have had two pairs of these and both pairs had stitching issues. Won't be buying them again.
     
  17. I've just bought a pair of Nog's Solo Corse Imola gloves. I looked long and hard at all options including some of the more expensive options but none looked particularly protective to me. Nog's gloves look comfortably the best for protection i have come across but still with plenty of feel.

    The irony is i broke my wrist in a crash at Mallory a few days before i received them and have not yet been able to try them out on a bike but i have to say for the cost, they look and feel the real deal to me and Nog tells me they have been extensively crash-tested by some racers in Superstocks and the rider has bought two more pairs after he crashed in them.

    As a foot note, the gloves i crashed in were a pair of Hein Gericke gloves. This is the second time i have come off whilst wearing them and they are still perfectly functional but they lack any wrist protection, a problem which most gloves seem to have but which Nog's gloves do address. Sadly a week too late for me this time.
     
  18. Excellent review. I know this thread is ancient. Just bought a pair of the CE version of these gloves and find them to be a huge improvement (in use on the bike) over the budget brands I used before.
     
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