Date reviewed: September 2018 | Tested by: John Milbank | Price: £79.99 | www.planet-knox.com
The Orsa MX gloves (not to be confused with the CE-approved all-leather Orsa road gloves) are designed for ‘high-performance off-road/enduro’ use. I’m neither high performance nor an enduro expert, but I’ve used these on and off for at least ten years. I’m typically a road rider, but any off-road work I’ve done has been in these. I’ve also worn them a fair few times on-road…
Fit and feel
The overall fit is very good, the finger length being just right for me. My only criticism (and keep in mind that these are the MkIs, not the latest MkIIIs) has been that the left thumb is a bit tight at the end. Otherwise, they fit snugly, thanks to the use of stretch material on the sides of the fingers.
I always find Knox gloves an excellent fit for my Size L hands
With a perforated leather upper, perforated fingers on the lower, and stretch fabric finger sides, these are extremely cool in the heat, giving plenty of air flow – exactly what you need off-road.
Protection and CE certification
The palms of these gloves is Clarino, a synthetic leather that’s claimed to be a high-performance alternative that stays soft even when it’s cold and wet. The material’s manufacturer claims it’s more abrasion resistant than leather; I’ve not had a serious crash on tarmac in these gloves, but I have fallen off several times (with enough force to crack ribs and tear my rotator cuff) on hard dirt, rocks and gravel. Despite this, all the fabric is intact.
There’s armour and padding on the top of the gloves, and the Knox Scaphoid Protection System (SPS) on the palm – this is a pair plastic sliders on each glove that help prevent your hand from grabbing as you slide on tarmac, which can cause the scaphoid carpal bone below your thumb to break. One of these pads has fallen off, but after many years of abuse. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve put these gloves through the washing machine several times, which has no doubt done them no favours. If anything, it’s testament to how well put together they are. I’ll be glueing them back on with Shoe Goo after I’ve written this review.
Now all motorcycle clothing is deemed to be PPE, and with CE-approved gloves a legal requirement in France, Knox clearly markets these as being for off-road use. The sides of the thumbs are soft terry cloth for a start, so they’d be unlikely to pass the required standard for the road – if you want that, the goat-skin CE-approved Orsa MkIIs offer improved protection in the same style.
I’ve worn these a fair bit on-road bikes at my own risk – generally on smaller-capacity stuff – thanks to their real comfort, but they are predominantly my off-road mitts. They’re a really good option for trail riders though, who’ll want the convenience of an off-road glove, with a good level of palm protection when they’re on tarmac connections.
From April 21 2018, all new motorcycle clothing sold in the UK is deemed to be Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). To meet this legislation, it must be tested to a recognised standard. For more information on the new laws, click here.
One of the SPS pads has lifted while the other has fallen off – no surprise though, given how long I’ve had them
The Orsas feature a Boa wrist fastener – lift the dial to release and slide the gloves on, then push it down and rotate to tighten them exactly as you want. Quick, easy and very secure – there’s no way these will pull off.
I was wary of this fragile-looking system when I first got the gloves, but it’s still as good as the day I started using them. The wire is plastic-coated metal, and hasn’t worn or frayed at all. And the button’s as tough as ever.
The Boa fastener on the wrist has proven very reliable
Wet weather use
Besides being through the wash several times, these have been soaked in the rain, as well as all the puddles I’ve fallen in. They dry pretty quickly, and although one of the smaller SPS pads has fallen off (and the other is coming away), they’ve been through a long, tough time, and the damage was more likely done in the wash.
The sides of the thumbs are made of terry cloth, so can be used to wipe mud from your goggles. Just keep in mind that any crud that dries on there will be dragged across the plastic next time, so be careful as scratching’s a possibility.
The wipe’s useful in the mud, but be careful
While there’s some soft lining, most of what you feel is the Clarino palm, which is very comfortable without being sweaty.
These are bulkier than some off-road gloves, but they’ve proven themselves realy tough over the years. I’m no motocross rider, so I haven’t been using them every weekend on a track, but given the time I have had them, and the abuse they’ve suffered, I’m very impressed.
For byways and green lanes they’re ideal – perfect for the dirt, but with a good level of protection when you’re riding on the road to get to the trails.