UPDATED March 2023: Back in July 2022 we revealed how Carvenal was illegally selling potentially dangerous, uncertified gloves, how Euro Assessments and Certification Ltd was supplying potentially misleading safety certificates, and how Facebook apparently couldn’t care less that it was taking money to advertise products that could put motorcyclists at risk.
The original investigation is below, but we can now reveal the results of the testing we had carried out by an independent lab, and what happened when we spoke to the founders, Magnus Løver and Eirik Olsen…
The video below tells the full story, and in it you can watch our exclusive interview with the founders of Carvenal Co, where they told us that the reason emails went unanswered was that a contractor was looking after customer services, as well as – unbeknown to Magnus and Eirik – blocking anyone who questioned the CE certification on Facebook.
The reason for this, Magnus told us, was that they’d been led to believe by Euro Assessments and Certification Ltd that the certificate the company had sold them (for $1,200) meant that the gloves were being legally sold in the UK and Europe. This was untrue.
Proper certification of motorcycle gloves would only cost around 1,100 Euro, so it appears that Carvenal has been the victim of a scam. Watch the video to hear the full story.
As this updated article is published, Carvenal has stopped selling to the UK and Europe, as well as Australia, Canada and New Zealand. You can now only buy its products in the US, where there are no regulations about protective equipment having to be tested and certified.
To see how the Carvenal gloves performed in testing, check out the end of this article.
We've spoken again to the founders of Carvenal, who tell us that a new owner is interested in taking 80% ownership of the brand, which they say take it in a new ‘authentic’direction that they hope to grow into something much bigger.
They tell us that all the products will be improved and redesigned, with a new apparel store that has fully certified kit planned for the future.
Carvenal is very keen to stress that they want to turn their story into a positive one, and will be happy for us to review their future kit.
We’re excited to see what the company can become, as turning it around in the way they describe would be a fantastic move.
We wish them well, and will continue to keep you updated as they take the brand in a new direction.
If you’re a Facebook user, there’s a good chance you’ve seen adverts for gloves from CarvenalCo. Promising to be the most comfortable available, and with tempting discounts, the Carvenal Premium Performance Gloves, for instance, cost £42.95, down from £84.95. But a closer review of their ‘proof’ of safety, and revealing comments on the Facebook advertisements, indicate that these gloves may not be what they seem…
Despite being described as ‘leather’, in a reply to a comment on its advert Carvenal told one Facebook users that “We are against animal cruelty so we opt to use high quality PU leather.”
PU means polyurethane; a form of plastic with no leather in it at all.
Similar to this is something called ‘bicast leather’, which is typically the most fibrous and least protective bottom layer of a hide, coated with a decorative plastic layer. Neither of these constructions are leather as a motorcycle rider would typically consider it.
The proper leather used in decent-quality motorcycle kit is taken from the top of the hide, where the fibres are more densely packed and much more abrasion-resistant.
There are alternatives to leather though. While we’re not aware of motorcycle gloves using a ‘microfibre leather’, you will find this entirely synthetic material in some bike boots for instance, and it can offer a lightweight, flexible and tough construction. Perhaps this is what Carvenal is using, and the description of it is lost in translation. After all, what really matters is the level of protection offered by the garments, which is proven with CE certification…
Claimed to be certified to EN13594:2015, the purchase page for the Carvenal Gloves shows a ‘Certificate of Compliance’ that could quite understandably lead buyers to believe that these are properly certified and protective. Which is of course a legal requirement of any motorcycle clothing sold in the UK and Europe.
We asked independent PPE expert Paul Varnsverry to explain what the certificate means: “This document would reasonably be inferred as permitting the company to which it has been issued to affix the CE mark to the named product,” he told us. “However, Euro Assessments & Certification Limited [the issuer of this ‘certificate’] is not an authorised Notified Body. Nor could it be since, as a result of Brexit, no UK-based organisation can issue EU type examination certificates for CE marking.
“Furthermore, the document has a period of validity of one year. For genuine certificates it is five years.
“Finally, while it’s very hard to read, in the fine print of the certificate it states ‘The CE mark shown above is for reference only and does not indicate accreditation.’
“Euro Assessments & Certification Limited is only one of a number of companies I have come across that are selling these documents. I have reported them to the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), but I have no further information on whether this was acted on.
“Other companies to be aware of that are supplying these fraudulent certificates are Conformity ‘N’ Compliance Services of Nordhorn, Germany, and the Slough-based enterprise Quality Links International, although there are more. One common factor with these businesses is that the directors are often resident in a country with which the UK does not have an extradition agreement.”
Remember: ALL motorcycle clothing has to be, by law, certified as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); it must be tested and proven to be safe before being sold to riders. Fraudulent certificates are the equivalent of a dodgy MoT; paying someone to say something is safe when there have been no checks carried out.
The standard to which boots, gloves, jackets and trousers, helmets and airbags are certified are all different, but you can read about the labels you find in bike kit here. It’s interesting to note that when one person asked on Facebook if the gloves being advertised by Carvenal were certified to EN17092, the company replied that yes, they were. Unfortunately EN17092 is the standard to which jackets and trousers and certified. Gloves require EN13594.
Carvenal also sells jackets and boots, presumably made of PU leather, but these have no details of their safety certification, and no mention of any armour, CE certified (as it should be) or not.
The logical conclusion to draw is that Carvenal is illegally selling uncertified motorcycle clothing with no proof of the protection it can offer.
An interesting response from Carvenal to this question on the advert for gloves, given that EN17092 only applies to jackets and trousers
Good question. We emailed Carvenal a week before the production of this article, and while receipt was acknowledged, there was no reply. Paul Varnsverry had previously attempted to contact the business, but he also got no reply.
Trying to contact Carvenal by commenting on its numerous Facebook advertisements has got no response for us or others, and has in some case led to being blocked.
UPDATE: The founders of Carvenal got in touch in November – you can watch the interview in the video above
We verified the certificate on the Euro Assessments website, then contacted the company for comment. Googling the Companies House correspondence address of 128 City Road, London EC1V 2NX reveals a service that offers a ‘Director Business Address’ for £28+VAT/year, though Harshavardhan Reddy Galigutta, the director of Euro Assessments, resides in India.
The address on the Euro Assessments website is Kemp House, 160 City Road, London EC1V 2NX, which – according to the website CompaniesHouseData.co.uk – is an address it shares with 3,952 other companies.
Euro Assessments replied quickly to our request with “Please be noted that the certificate was not issued on testing. It is a certification of compliance/third party verification issued based on test reports submitted by the manufacturer. Euro assessments & certification is not a notified body and it has been clearly communicated as well. You can reach out to the applicant for test reports & necessary documents.”
In response, we asked Euro Assessments the following questions:
What is the purpose of your documentation compared to that of an EU type-examination certificate and the manufacturer’s declaration of conformity?
How does the certification of compliance/ third party verification issued by your organisation support the company to which it has been issued, in terms of that company meeting its legal obligations under the PPE Regulation?
Since certificates of compliance issued by your organisation are being incorrectly used to misrepresent goods as being certified through the official type-examination process, what action can you take to stop this?
Test reports up to five years old can be used to support EU type-examination certification. Given the certificates of compliance issued by your organisation have a validity of one year, when a company seeks renewal what additional checks do you conduct to ensure their goods remain compliant?
Would you care to share with us a few details about your company; how long it has been established, what the backgrounds of the principal personnel are, what experience they have which enables your company to provide the service it does?
To which they replied “Applicant will be immediately contacted and asked to stop using the certificate. Also the certification will remain suspended and will not be available to use.”
Advertising on Facebook and other social media channels is covered by the Advertising Standards Authority’s UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (CAP Code). We’ll be sending our findings to the ASA.
Here’s what we sent to Facebook last week:
We’ll shortly be publishing an article about the sale of illegal motorcycle PPE online, with CarvenalCo being a company looked at.
This is just one of many that use Facebook advertising to promote products that have not been certified as per the legal requirement in the UK and Europe.
We’re looking for a comment from Facebook regarding what processes are in place to protect its users from potentially dangerous items sold via the platform.
We’d also like to make people aware how they can report advertisements and posts that are breaking the law, and how quickly Facebook will take action.
Finally, we’d like to know if any plans are in place to ensure illegal items are not advertised in the first place, rather than relying on users to identify and report them after the advertisements have been paid for.
Facebook has not replied.
We also contacted Facebook about the sale of illegal motorcycle PPE on its platform in May 2021. It has not replied.
Without evidence of proper certification, it’s impossible to say how protective any motorcycle riding kit is.
There are plenty of CE-certified gloves, boots and jackets available for sale by legitimate sellers across the UK at similar prices to the Carvenal gloves (check out our reviews here), but what you choose to spend your money on is your choice. Given though that you’re buying motorcycle kit to – at least in part – protect you from injury in the event of an accident, we always recommend properly certified kit from a brand that isn’t breaking UK and European law.
We paid to have the pair of Carvenal gloves we bought tested by an independent lab that specialises in motorcycle protective equipment. There wasn’t enough material in the single pair of gloves we sent to have the seam strength tested, though when they arrived I tugged on the fingers, only to have them split. Not a scientific test, but something that highlights a weakness.
Our main concern was that, as the Carvenal gloves are not made of leather – they use PU ‘leather’ (so polyurethane) in the shiny areas, and synthetic microfibre on the palm – they wouldn’t offer the required abrasion resistance.
And they didn’t.
While the knuckles absorbed more than enough energy to easily pass the higher Level 2 of the gloves standard EN 13594, the impact abrasion resistance was 50% lower in a single test than is necessary to even scrape through the lowest standard demanded of all motorcycle gloves sold in the UK and Europe. With more gloves, we’d have carried out more testing, but it’s worth noting that when multiple abrasion tests are carried out, a mean score is produced that has to be ≥ 4.0 seconds. Based on this testing, the Carvenal gloves fall way short and should not be relied upon to protect your hands in a crash.
Test requirements EN13594
Knuckle impact resistance
Palm impact abrasion resistance
≥ 3.0 seconds
≥ 6.0 seconds
2.00 seconds FAIL
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At the end of November 2022, Carvenal emailed us and apologised to the motorcycle community. You can watch the full interview in the video at the top of this page. We never received a reply from Facebook, and while Euro Assessments and Certification Ltd were again approached for comment, they’ve never got back to us.