By John Burns
Keep it simple, Stuart
“Competition” is all relative. These gloves aren’t competition like your latest $400 Dainese racing gloves or anything, but they are more competition-ready than the regular Elkskin Ropers Aerostich has been selling forever. The difference is simply that these Competition Ropers have a hook-and-loop wrist closure to positively cinch each one onto your wrist (instead of one snap), which makes them way easier to secure securely onto your paws. Secondly, there’s a nice strip of Aerostich’s excellent TF3 impact foam right where you want it most should you hit the deck, on back of yon knuckles.
Elkskin is fantastic stuff. Aerostich founder Andy Goldfine first stumbled upon gloves made from it while riding out west a few decades ago and now has these made by a ranch and work glove company in Washington State. “They’re strong and durable enough to take on everyday rough cowboy and ag work (says the Aerostich catalog) – from handling barb wire fences to accurately directing a lariat, and ultra-comfortable all-day because of their superb medium weight luxuriously tanned natural tan Elkskin. This comfortable abrasion resistant leather absorbs and dissipates sweat, wears cool, and quickly conforms itself to the shape of your hand.”
The things are buttery soft right out of the box, with slightly precurved fingers and no seams between your hands and motorcycle grips. Aside from the TF3 impact foam on back of the knuckles, there aren’t any more reinforcements, plastic chunks, double layers, or armor. In a high-speed, yard sale kind of a tumbling crash, your hands would definitely be safer in real racing gloves. But Ropers are for the 99.9% of us who aren’t racing, but just want a nice, comfortable, affordable, reasonably protective glove to wear on the commute, for touring, or on a weekend ride.