Date reviewed: July 2022 | Tested by: John Milbank | RRP: £129.99 | www.bksleather.co.uk
The 2021 BKS summer gloves on review here draw on the experience of Brian Sansom, the Devon-based company’s owner and founder since 1986. Renowned for making some of the provably safest made-to-measure leathers and textiles, these gloves have been designed for emergency services riders – and indeed anyone else – looking for a convenient short-cuff glove that offers the highest safety levels.
I’ve been wearing them on a BMW S1000XR, R1250GS, VFR800 and ZX-6R for several months to find out if they’re worth the money…
While BKS leather is renowned for its very high-quality made-to-measure kit, these gloves are off-the-peg and made for Brian, rather than in his Devon workshop. This keeps the cost down, and makes sense as the fit can afford to be more generic across the six sizes of small to XXXL. Still, Brian recommends that customers send a photo of their hand pictured with a tape measure, to help ensure they get the perfect size; these might be off-the-peg, but you can still expect the same high levels of personal service.
I typically take a large glove, and this was the best bet for me. However, with a tougher construction than many gloves on the market, they do take some breaking in. They’re certainly not stiff, but I found them rather tight around the bottoms of my forefingers; there’s still a little pinching here for me, but this is something I’ve found with other gloves too, so is more down to my personal size and shape.
As with any motorcycle clothing, fit is entirely subjective, but I’ve found the finger length and size to be otherwise spot-on.
Despite having much tougher palms than even many race gloves I’ve used, there’s no problem with feeling the bike’s controls when wearing the 2021 BKS summer gloves.
A clever design touch of these gloves is the gripper panel on the bottom edge of the cuff, which is designed to help the sleeve of your jacket stay wrapped around them. For this to work of course, the arms on the jacket will need to be long enough to not pull back when reaching out; something that’s far more likely with made-to-measure kit, and these are of course a popular choice with many of BKS’ bespoke textile customers.
Personally, I like the small gap for air flow that I get with my off-the-peg jackets and these gloves, and in summer use it’s why many people prefer these to gauntlets (though keep in mind you can’t wear short-cuff gloves on track).
The 2021 BKS summer gloves do have some touch-screen compatiblity, but I found it rather hit and miss. To be fair, very few gloves work perfectly with the small ‘buttons’ often found on mobile phone screens, though Halvarssons / Lindstrands has done a pretty good job with the ‘Nudud’ nubbin that adds accuracy to the tip of the finger.
These are intended as a summer glove, and the perforations around the construction certainly allow a fair amount of air to flow through them, but they are thicker and hence slightly warmer than some short-cuff summer gloves. Not uncomfortably so, but there are lighter-weight gloves available for those not focussing as much on the protective qualities.
As is the legal requirement for all gloves sold in the UK and Europe, the 2021 BKS summer gloves are CE approved to Level 1 with knuckle protection under EN 13594:2015.
Any short-cuff glove can only reach Level 1; the higher protection standard of Level 2 – which has tougher abrasion resistance and burst tests – being reserved exclusively for longer ‘gauntlet’-style gloves. That’s not to say that all gauntlets meet Level 2 (I certainly haven’t reviewed any), but it does mean that a short-cuff glove could have the highest levels of construction, but not having that extra leather over the forearm will always restrict its rating.
I’m in no position to state that the BKS summer gloves are safer than other short-cuff gloves on the market that are also certified to Level 1, but I have no doubt that the layered palm construction – and the leather tabs that wrap around the fingers – help provide a real feeling of security and protection. A lot of thought has gone into every stitch and panel, and when compared to many of the other gloves I’ve tested, these are much more confidence-inspiring.
The palms each have a pair of Knox scaphoid protectors that add impact resistance, and help to reduce the chances of the gloves grabbing the road in a slide, which is what can cause a break in the scaphoid bone. There’s also a protector on the outside top edge of the cuff, which adds protection to the end of the ulna (the lump on the outside of the wrist).
For everything you need to know about the safety labels in your motorcycle kit, click here.
The 2021 BKS summer gloves are fastened with a single Velcro strap on the inside of the wrist. Equipped with a tab to stop it pulling through the buckle, and covered by an additional flap of leather, it’s an effective means of preventing the gloves pulling off, while being quick and easy to use.
These are not intended as wet-weather gloves, but they do have a convenient visor wipe built into the left thumb. This is an excellent touch if you’re caught out in the rain, especially as some manufacturers of even winter gloves still don’t bother fitting one. If the gloves do get soaked, as with all leather let them dry naturally and away from any heat sources like radiators or airing cupboards.
BKS does also offer a waterproof all-season version of these gloves for £149.99.
The 2021 BKS summer gloves have a lightweight lining that has prevented any colour leaching onto my hands (something some suffer with for the first few uses), but it does add a little to the warmth in high temperatures.
Overall though, the gloves slip onto the hands well when broken in, and combined with the ventilation holes, provide good comfort.
Short-cuff gloves have become hugely popular over the last few years, initially thanks to the classic and custom market, but now appreciated by a much wider audience thanks to their comfort, convenience and airflow. Here are three you might be considering:
There are plenty of CE-approved gloves available that offer some real classic styling, but very few that are so focussed on protection. BKS has been making gloves (including made-to-measure) since the early GP2000 model, and that dedication to safety shines through in the new 2021 summer gloves.
They are a little heavier, a little warmer, and require a little more breaking-in than some other short-cuff gloves, but Brian has found a good balance with these that means if safety is important to you, they’re well worth considering.
Do you have a pair of these gloves? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell everyone what you think of them…