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. 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. 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. 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! 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. 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.