Date reviewed: September 2023 | Tested by: John Milbank | Price: £99.99 | www.oxfordproducts.com
The Oxford Nexus motorcycle gloves on review here are among the safest you can buy, yet cost a fraction of many on the market. I’ve been wearing them on a 1999 Kawasaki ZX-6R, 2001 Honda VFR800 and a 2019 BMW R1250GS for several months to find out if they’re comfortable and worth the money…
Made predominantly of goat leather with a small amount of cowhide, the Oxford Nexus gloves are available in the black and white reviewed here, all black, or black and red.
Small concertina panels on the thumb, first three fingers and behind the knuckles help flexibility, while the soft aniline leather required no significant breaking-in and the fingers are pre-curved.
Fit is of course very subjective, but I found my usual large size to be perfect, with the fingers just the right length. The thumb is perhaps a fraction bulkier than on some other gloves, but not to any detriment of feel, comfort or control.
While there are no rules in the UK about having to wear gloves when riding a motorcycle, it’s very strongly recommended that you do, not least because they’re often the first thing to hit the highly abrasive road if you’re unlucky enough to come off.
There are rules though about what can be legally sold, and all motorcycle gloves MUST be tested and certified as Personal Protective Equipment. That’s a good thing, as it means that if you choose to buy motorcycle gloves, they’ve been proven to offer some form of protection, so you know you’re investing your money wisely.
ALL gloves sold in the UK must, as a minimum, meet EN 13594:2015 Level 1. This covers the vast majority of gloves on the market, but there are a few – like the Oxford Nexus – that meet the higher Level 2, which means they have been PROVEN to have better abrasion resistance, impact resistance, seam strength and burst strength than those that have met Level 1. Some gloves use fancy marketing, but only certified laboratory testing can promise the highest levels of protection. There will of course be gloves that are better than others within Level 2, but the performance to meet that level has been shown.
Level 2 gloves must be of a long cuff (gauntlet) design, and they’ll always include knuckle protection.
There’s more to buying the right gloves than just a test certificate of course: they need to be comfortable to ensure you can use the bike’s controls entirely unrestricted, they must have effective restraints to keep them in place, and they need to be within your budget. Fortunately Oxford seems to have done a good job with the fit, and the price is very competitive.
Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) protectors are fitted at the knuckles, first three fingers and at the outside edge of the palm, with a thermoplastic rubber (TPR) protector on the cuff. The outside edges of the palm, little finger and thumb are reinforced with an additional layer of leather.
There’s also a DuPont Kevlar lining on the palm for increased abrasion resistance that accounts for 40% of the lining, and the little finger is linked to the ring finger to help reduce the chances of it being broken in a crash.
You can find the provably safest kit by looking for the Bennetts High Performance Award, and we’re pleased to report that the Oxford Nexus have achieved the Gold standard.
All motorcycle clothing sold in the UK and Europe is deemed to be Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This is a good thing for riders as it can help them choose kit that has provable levels of safety as to meet this legislation, it must be tested to a recognised standard. To fully understand the labels found in all bike kit, click here.
The Oxford Nexus gloves are ideally suited to the average UK weather. They’re not winter gloves of course, but for much of spring and autumn – plus of course all of summer – they’re ideal. When it’s really hot they can feel a little clammy across the top, which is a tad thicker than some other summer gloves.
The sides of the fingers that join the front and back of the gloves (I just learned that they’re called ‘fourchettes’) have ventilation holes pierced in them (don’t Google fourchette piercing) to allow some welcome air in, but it would have been good to have had some vents in the front of the knuckles to drive air through. There are small slots in the backs of the knuckles, but they don’t seem to be effective.
If the Nexus gloves were too hot in summer they’d be flawed, so it’s important to stress that they’re very comfortable despite the slightly thicker padding in the top and the relatively small amount of ventilation.
The Oxford Nexus gloves don’t have any form of waterproofing. If you do get caught out in the rain with them, leave them to dry naturally in an airy environment – don’t ever force dry any leather on a radiator.
The wrist restraint on the Oxford Nexus gloves is tucked under a flap on the outside edge to help protect it in a slide, and it secures well, preventing them being pulled off in a slide. The end of the Velcro strap is also flared, stopping it from pulling out of the buckle during use.
The cuffs have plenty of room to fit over most leathers and jackets, with the fastener adding little bulk when cinched over.
The aramid palm lining of the Oxford Nexus gloves adds no noticeable bulk, and the lining along the top and in the cuff is smooth and comfortable. As mentioned, the upper lining is a fraction warmer than some others, thanks mainly to what seems to be some additional foam padding that may well contribute to the Level 2 certification, but these remain comfortable and light enough for the vast majority of riders.
The tip of the first finger of both gloves on the Oxford Nexus is touchscreen-compatible, and I’ve been very impressed with just how effective they are. The conductive pad – which wraps all the way around the sides – seems perfectly placed to make tapping even the smaller buttons on your phone much easier than with many other gloves.
There are surprisingly few Level 2 gloves available, but as riders become more aware of the protective performance of the kit they buy, we wouldn’t be surprised to see more in the future. Even some gloves marketed as being the safest have only proven themselves to have achieved Level 1, so if you want the peace-of-mind of the best protection, do check the labels. Here are some alternatives…
It’s been said that you can’t have comfort and high-levels of protection in the same glove, but Oxford proves that wrong, as well as showing that it can be done at an affordable price. The Level 2 Oxford Nexus gloves are provably safer than the majority of the competition out there, and given the price and build quality they’re well worth the investment. They’re also among the few gloves to have achieved the Bennetts High Performance Award. Definitely recommended.
“After around 600 miles of use since buying them, I’d rate the new Oxford Nexus 1.0 gloves 9/10 overall. On the plus side they look fantastic (all in black) and inspire real-world confidence with their Level 2 features and protection rating – I personally wouldn’t go back to a level 1 glove ever again.
“They feel substantial and quite heavy to me for a summer unlined glove, with the dual wrist closure system providing a very secure fit. On the downside, they have taken me some breaking in, and they’re not the coolest glove to wear on the very hottest days. Also control feel is very good but probably not class-leading when compared to some other lighter-weight unlined summer gloves.
“Overall, the substantive nature of these well-priced gloves easily outweighs the minor downsides, and I suspect I’ll be wearing them (even with heated grips) on all but the very coldest days”.
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