Let’s try a game of word association; the first word is “winter”. Now let’s try a second word, “gloves”. That should have been enough to conjure up an image of bulky, clunky accessories with more in common with something astronauts use for extra-vehicular activities than the subtleties of riding. That is no longer the case thanks to Lee Parks Design and the DeerSports PCi Black & Tan Glove.
First they are thin, not summer glove thin, but “this can’t really be a winter glove” thin or “where’s the I-can-barely-operate-the-clutch bulk” thin. That’s because the insulation is composed of two proper space-age materials. The first is Thinsulate, designed to insulate, reflecting heat inwards, perfect for backside of the hands while only adding minimal bulk. Thinsulate, swiped from 3M in the 60s, has resulted in the manufacture of more dodgy Wal-Mart sleeping bags with space-suited figures on the tags than any other product. The second is material is Outlast, a fabric composed of poly-something-or-other molecules closely related to wax and dubbed a phase change material, used as the gloves’ liner. The cool bit is that when these molecules get all excited and heat up, as when your body warms them, they hold that energy. Then when they cool down, they release that stored energy as heat. Luckily their thermal set point is approximately that of body temperature.
Thinsulate results in sweaty sleeping bags as nothing regulates the amount of heat it holds, but with the Outlast there to capture the excess heat the result is brilliant. In recent cold weather (5C / 40F) rides on our commuter Ducati 999 loaner, the Lee Parks Design DeerSports PCi Black & Tan Gloves negated the need for grip heaters. When the heated grips are on and temperatures drop, the Outlast takes things a step further and seems to aid in the distribution of the heat though out the glove.
On the flip side, when the warmer weather in the spring and fall crops up, the Outlast does it’s thing and keeps the gloves close to body temperature, and suddenly you’re not looking at summer, winter and spring/fall gloves, but simply the Deersports and possibly a set of lighter summer fare. Replacing a potential three gloves with one set just makes good sense when packing for a tour.
It gets better still. The gloves are composed primarily of deer and elk skin. Deer, as you know, are the motorcyclist’s natural enemy, second only to the SUV. They appear out of nowhere, you slam on the binders, and if you’re lucky they disappear again. Wearing a set of these gloves gives you the comforting feeling that there is one less of these blighters in the world. That and their hides are supple, flexible and abrasion resistant, as most deer have naught better to do than bound through the woods all day being scraped by branches. Evolutionary, a non-abrasion resistant deer would be a deer spending its time bleeding to death, unlike cows that are bred largely to stand there and be tender.
On the down side they aren’t entirely waterproof, though they do well enough. It would also be nice to see a version with injected plastic hard armor for those spring/winter/fall sport rides. You’ll also want to be sure of the fit, as for my man hands the L seemed a bit long of finger. Those, however, are minor points in a desperate attempt to sound balanced while reviewing a truly outstanding product.
After a season’s worth of use, the DeerSports have worn well. A bit of discoloration where the tan palms have picked up a bit of grip rubber. Wear on the palms and other usual stress areas has been minimal, while the black leather on the backhands has held its color well and refused to be scratched or marred.
So then, to sum up, space-aged materials wrapped in the tanned hide of our natural enemy makes for an anomaly of motorcycle gear, a piece of gear that is season-independent and works exceptionally well to keep you warm in the worst of weather and comfortable in the rest. Add that they are light, thin, and give a good feel for the controls, and that makes the Lee Parks Design’s DeerSports PCi Black & Tan Glove a trick offering in OWD’s books.
MSRP: 179.95 $USD
Web: Lee Parks Design