Firstgear Navigator Gloves

HC BLOG First Gear Navigator Gloves

There is a scene in Steve Martin’s L.A.Story wherein his character, Harris K. Telemacher, a weather guy at an L.A. TV station, talks about last night’s temperature drop. He says in part “… and when the weather dropped down to 58 degrees last night how did you cope?…”  I live in California and the vast bulk of my riding these days is in-state. Which is to say that I haven’t had a chance to test my new gloves in any sort of rigorously cold weather so I have never been inordinately cold with my First Gear Navigator gloves.

I don’t have too many sets of riding gloves: well, in fact I have two pair. I have a pair of older black leather gloves that come right to the end of my wrist and I have another pair which are gauntlet style gloves that go up and around the jacket  cuff – the First Gear Navigator gloves.

There are myriad choices when it comes to riding gloves. The prices run wildly from a bit under fifty dollars to somewhere in the near four hundred dollar zone.  I opted this season for a pair in the just under one hundred dollar range  with the First Gear Navigator’s.  I do not regularly need a cold weather glove. For the cold weather First Gear makes a couple of nice gloves in their TPG range  called, not coincidentally, the “TPG Cold Weather” glove and also their aptly named “Tundra.” Then there is the toasty category of heated gloves which I have yet to experience but about which many on the interwebz have sung their praises. ‘Mmmm, heated gloves’ (insert your best Homer Simpson donut voice here.) My old wrist high gloves were just not cutting it anymore. They let rain and wind in under the cuff of the jacket and in a get-off they have the potential to leave a part of your forearm exposed to the menace of road pizza upon the eventual and dreaded landing.

The First Gear Navigator gloves, the gauntlet style gloves, are goat skin for the most part and they are soft and pliable. The fit seems to run just a bit small but after you break them in, wrapped around your hand grips for a few hundred miles, they fit like they were made for you.

As mentioned in a previous post I like the quality of construction of the First Gear equipment. These gloves are well stitched and have some nifty features bolted up to them. There is a small strip of rubber sewn in on one glove that acts as a sort of windshield wiper. The times when I have found that little device most useful were on those rainy days on the freeway. I am reticent to wipe the rain off of my helmet because it just smears everything and makes the vision a bit worse but with the little windshield wiper doodad on the First Gear Navigator gloves I can, especially when the freeway throws up oil and crud into the mix, wipe a clean spot onto the face shield and keep riding.

These gloves do not have the big carbon or plastic knuckle protectors and that makes them easy to store into the backside kangaroo pocket in my jacket – no more lost gloves. They Have a siliconized grip pad in the palm that makes holding onto to the hand grips that much easier. The First Gear Navigators are also flexible enough to allow me to readily work the vent latches on my helmet as well.

All in all I am content with the First Gear Navigator gloves but if I did much riding in really cold weather I would look into either their Cold Weather glove or the Tundra. I am quite comfortable in my  Cali. quasi-Mediterranean climate and I suspect I won’t be glove shopping again for a while but then again…heated gloves, mmmmmm.


Gerde Applethwaite

Helmet City Rider’s Report: Sidi On Road Gore-Tex Boots

Sidi On Road Gore-Tex Boots

I was on a day ride in the Netherlands some years back: It was one of those things that winds up  in a bar/cafe in the late afternoon. There were 25 or so bikes in the parking lot when I arrived and the place was getting a little crowded. One of the first things I noticed when I walked in the door was a a guy in full leathers wearing a really sad bedraggled pair of what were were once pink bunny slippers. Genius!


It took me about two seconds to figure out that this was an actual solution to a motorcycling foot wear conundrum.  If you wear a pair of boots that are strong enough and stiff enough to give you any sort of real protection when you decide to separate yourself from your ride at speed then you will honestly not be able to walk around comfortably after you get where you are going. The dutch guy took off his decently made, stiff boots when he got to the cafe and pulled the bunny slippers out from under the seat. That’s the honest tradeoff – either you buy boots that you can use for your post-ride perambulations or you buy a pair of boots that will give you maximum protection for those potential get-off mal-events.


Every moto boot maker will talk about how comfortable their high protection boots are for walking around but, truth be told, they ain’t. Again, you either get the protection or you get the  boots you can wander around the village in. I opted for the Sidi On-Road Goretex this season when it was time to shop for a new pair of ankle, toe, and shin protectors. I like them. They are still stiff but they have loosened up a bunch and I can make it to the store and back without the classic Frankenstein monster gait. These boots, these Sidi On-Road Goretex boots, are sort of the standard by which other touring and sport touring boots are judged. BTW, another good boot in this category is the Sidi Way Mega Rain Boot.  The Sidi On-Road Goretex boots are stiff enough to provide good shin protection (ever been whacked a good wallop in the shins by your pegs?) They even have a nifty lateral malleolus protector disc at the ankle bone protrusion (google “peroneal tendon subluxation“ if you have some spare time.) The Sidi On-Road Goretex have good lugged soles and also a breathable Goretex liner to wick out moisture buildup. These boots are relatively easy to get in and out of because they have a velcro lined flap that you can peel open to widen the boot. If you look at the front of the Sidi on-Road boots they sort of look like utilitarian welder style work boots: they are not like the off-road style boots that are a cross between plastic ski boots and something that Lucas would put on his Imperial Storm Troopers.


I decided to take a page from the guy in that cafe in a small town below Eindhoven and I found a pair of sneaks to put under my seat. For comfort and basic black style I really like the Simpson Crew Shoes – we have them. They are soft and they scrunch down a bit under the seat. When you put The Simpson Crew Shoes on after a ride they feel like slippers. What they lack in rolling bunny eyes they more than amply make up for in comfort. The soles are thick, but not too thick, cushiony but not bulky.  So, I have it knocked now: Sidi On-Road Goretex as my regular ride boot and Simpson Crew Shoes for apres-ride lounging or strolling.



Gerde Applethwaite