Race/riding gloves are probably one of the things too many people balk at paying good money for. However they are a very important piece of riding gear. I have seen too many people spend a ton of money on everything and then cheap out on spending the money for a quality set of gloves. When I started doing track/racing I bought what I thought was a reasonable glove only to find out during my first crash that quality and design really do matter. Never again. Like most things, you get what you pay for. Then I found a set of Held Phantoms and bought them. I liked them so much I bought a second set. Years of experience with equipment management for public safety equipment taught me that if you buy two items and rotate them, they last 4 to 5 times longer from routine wear. So ok, who is crazy enough to buy 2 pairs of race gloves? That’s a lot of money. I did. And the Phantoms lasted me for 7 years of track/racing and crashing. With only one repair from a crash. I finally wore the finger pads through the leather last year and had to replace one pair. Let’s see, 7 years of fairly heavy use for two pair of gloves, pretty good investment to me. The second set is doing street duty now, and I’ll probably get a summer riding season out of them. Not bad compared to my buddies who bought other cheaper or lower quality brands and went through an average of 2-3 pair a season, not to mention a few hand injuries from poor quality gloves. So in my opinion, do not skimp on quality track or street gloves. Take it or leave it. They’re your hands.
I love my new Held Titan Evo, which is actually a step up from the original Phantoms that had carbon fiber knuckle protection (which btw, worked pretty well with my hand pinned under the bike in turn 5 at Barber a couple of years ago). This time I again bought two pair and they are as good as I expected, a quality glove with great protective capabilities. The Titans have the sewn finger bridges and come pre-curved. The Titanium knuckle is as light as the old carbon fiber. The only concern I have for any glove with metal knuckle protection is if the impact is enough to bend the metal is the glove going to have to be written off. However, if it protected my hand, it’s a non issue at that point. All safety gear is really a single use item, whether we like to admit it or not.
The hand sizing chart was dead on for me. The only issue I have had with the Titan Evo is the fitment for my little fingers. I had to work to stretch them open more, because I believe the finger bridge seam stitching process has tightened the fit too much. I also had to work the leather to improve the flexibility in the two bridged fingers(4th & little) on both sets of gloves as I could not easily bend my last two fingers fully due to the restricted fit and curvature on both gloves. That being said, I have to note that I have a left little finger that has been pinned, so it doesn’t bend as well, but a little stretching of the glove and working the leather in and so far, so good. They are comfortable to wear, albeit can be warm in hot weather, and the added bonus is the soft rubber wiper on the index finger which I l have learned is a pretty useful item. If I get half the wear of my Phantoms and they protect as well, I have gotten my money’s worth.