Summer is a twisted hell for protection-minded riders. Dry roads and warm nights make you wish you could ride 24 hours out of the day, but the daytime heat will cook the fully-wrapped in a single red stoplight. Thankfully, for those willing to trade a modicum of safety, comfort is available. The Icon Super Duty gloves are designed with that compromise, a lighter pair for anyone seeking relief during the heat season. For less than seventy dollars, they’re also practical, and (as I’ll get to later) they crash well.
The Super Duty is a “shortie” design, extending just to the wrist, with deerskin covering everything but the middle knuckles, some mesh venting on the fingers and a Velcro tab on the cuff to hold them on. The gloves avoid the traditional hard knuckle plate in favour of a large shock absorbing foam pad over one’s punching knuckles and similar smaller pads covering the remaining joints. The pad seems like it would absorb smaller impacts better than the plastics, but it doesn’t appear rugged enough for full-on dragging. The thumb and palm are protected by a second layer of leather though the placement on the thumb seems better suited to absorbing handlebar vibrations than keeping your skin off the pavement.
When I slip these gloves on, I get a rush of vitality, perhaps inspired by their hockey-meets-sparring gloves look, but also related to the freedom of movement allowed by the off-the-wrist fit. They don’t feel as safe as my cold weather gloves, but they feel more direct. These Icons feel like gloves, not gauntlets. They fit great and flow air well, staying comfortable well in excess of 30 degrees Celsius. The downside is that once the temperature begins dropping or the speeds get high enough, your hands will freeze. By September my Super Duties had been cut out of nighttime and highway duty. The only caveat for comfort is that these gloves fit significantly smaller than others I’ve used; I tend to wear a large with most brands – XXL was just the ticket with the Icons. I think someone at Icon wants their customers to feel special.
Looking good is always a consideration, even if it’s last on the list of priorities. Icon manages to make these gloves appeal to just about anyone by offering the stylish design in five different colours. Mine are black, and the large Icon logo on the back of the hand isn’t distracting enough to make them look out of place on any style of bike.
I promised a crash story, but it wasn’t my gloves getting ripped up. A friend low-sided during a downpour, selflessly and unintentionally giving these gloves the most important test. Even after checking them out I had to ask him which glove he touched down on. Icon’s Super Duty gloves are made in China, but they aren’t toys.
Written by David Hahlen
MSRP: 45.00 USD