Riding a sportbike is incredibly fun, thrilling, fulfilling, and an adjective that describes the phrase “the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
Yet, with every pro in life, there are sometimes risks and responsibilities. Crashing is a high risk associated with riding sportbikes, and having the right gear is crucial whether riding on the street or racetrack.
Even though there is still a lot of ground to cover compared to men’s race gear, women’s specific race gear is slowly hitting the market. Unfortunately, there is still a lot more work to do when it comes to deciding which brand or style is right for you. Many brands make some race gear universal (allowing both men and women to wear it). What separates the two usually feature like:
When it comes to women’s race gloves, the palm and fingers are generally smaller than men's. So while trying a pair on, make sure it’s snug around your hand, but not too taut where you can barely make a fist without putting too much tightness on the tops of fingers.
A good test is to make a “C” shape with your hand. Again, it should be comfortable to make the shape: Make sure it's not tight around the tops of the fingers and there’s only a bit of leather protruding from the palms. There shouldn’t be too much room around the palms or have too much access material coming from the tops of the fingers. You shouldn't be able to yank the whole glove off once it is fastened around the wrist (yes, I’ve actually seen this. No Bueno).
There are few things to look for in a race-specific glove, one being a well-designed palm protector. This is useful because it reduces friction in case of sliding during a crash. The secondary is knuckle protection for tops of hands and to help soften the blow to that area when it comes to immediate ground contact. Also, all gloves should be made of leather whether it comes from a cow or kangaroo and the stitching of the material should be of high quality (aramid stitch, double stitching, etc.) to make sure it doesn’t fall apart during a crash.
Any additional padding around fingers and/or palms is always a plus too. Finally, perforation is important since you want good airflow if riding in hot weather, or very minimal airflow if you’re riding in chilly conditions.