Knox Oren MTB gloves
Knox Oren MTB gloves
By Duncan Moore
Review of the Knox Oren MTB gloves
Despite the fact Knox has been making kit for mountain bikers since ’93, I’m sure I’m not alone in being unaware of the fact. The strange thing is, as a motorcyclist, I’ve been well aware of the Knox line of protective kit for that lifestyle for years. Obviously, a company that has made its name protecting motorcyclists can bring a lot to the cycling community, which is why I’ve been riding in a pair of the company’s Oren mountain bike gloves.
Whenever I take one of my mountain bikes out there are two pieces of kit that always go with me; a helmet and a pair of full finger gloves. The helmet should be self-explanatory, but the gloves? If you need to ask why then I’ll assume you‘ve never experience gravel rash. I have on various parts of my body and I know how much it hurts, and it’s for that reason that I wear full finger gloves. Given how sensitive human finger tips and palms are, I don’t even begin to want to think about how much it would hurt if I had an off with bare hands.
So on with the Oren gloves from Knox. Straight away they feel different to any other glove basically because they are so tight to pull on. Unlike most other gloves there is no Velcro closed opening by the wrist. To get the Oren gloves on you need to give them a definite hard pull but, bearing that in mind, Knox has included a TPR tab to help pull them on.
It is the area above that pull tab that the Oren really goes its own way and where Knox’s experience of protecting motorcyclists as they slide down the road comes into play. As this is where you get the patented, dual-compound Knox Scaphoid Protection System (SPS). The idea behind it is that the two hard panels on the glove prevent the 0.8mm thick single layer clarino, used on the palm, from snagging on the ground. What happens is that the SPS slides along the ground, much in the same way as a racing motorcyclist’s plastic knee guards slide over the tarmac when they corner hard.
Knox also suggest that the SPS padding helps you keep a grip on the bars on rough ground, though I’ve not really noticed it making any difference. Then again I’ve not tested how effective the SPS is at sliding along the ground in a real crash. What I have done, however, is to try and replicate what would happen in a crash, and the SPS panels do indeed slide easily along tarmac. It also feels as if it is absorbing some of the impact too.
The Oren are not a one trick pony though, and there is more to them than just the SPS. For instance Knox have applied a layer of Pittard’s digital goat leather in the area between the inside of the thumb and first finger, which is just where you need as that’s the point that’s going to get a lot of wear as you grab the bars.
It’s also good to see Rubbertec panels on the fingertips of the first two fingers as once again these are going to be high wear areas from constant gear changes. The rest of the finger tips get the benefit of the leather on the palm running all the up the finger and over the tip for a little extra protection, too.
Something that I always like to see on cycling gloves is a ‘snot’ panel. In this case it’s terry cloth covering most of the back of the thumb. While in polite company it might be said to be used for wiping sweat away, we all know it has another less socially acceptable use (see the previous sentence if you’re in any doubt about what I mean).
One thing you’ll notice when you pick the Oren gloves up is the fingers seem a little strange, well there’s a good reason for that. Knox has used pre-curved Lycra fourchettes between them for a better fit and increased comfort, and it is this that pulls the fingers slightly out of shape when you’re not wearing the gloves but makes them feel so comfortable when you pull them on.
The Lycra between the fingers like that at the base of the back of the gloves is perforated so despite the full finger design they’re comfortable to wear even when the sun’s out, on the downside this same feature means they’re not the best glove to wear when the weather turns chilly.
I’ll admit the Oren gloves look a little strange at first, and the initial impression is that the SPS will get in the way, but it doesn’t and my highly unscientific testing methods show that it does what Knox claim it will do. Given the extra sense of and, indeed, real protection this feature offers I’m more than happy to pay the £35 asking prices for the Oren gloves.
Knox Oren MTB Gloves