Those of us who have been riding a long time know that fashions come and go, especially those fueled by television shows. I used to get riled at this, as I believed it diluted a culture that has been a huge part of my life for decades, but the trick is to embrace it.
We need to do this for two reasons. Firstly, for every 10 wannabees’ that think the whole biker thing is cool until they get caught in the rain coming back from the Mall, there’s one who will embrace it and become part of the next generation of bikers.
Secondly, with TV shows on everything from Café Racer culture to Chopper building, there’s always a glut of born again bikers selling their bikes and kit off cheap when they realize that life on two wheels does not come with the heavily edited ease they were led to believe.
So, what has this got to do with gloves I hear you ask? Well simply this, thanks to Custom bikes breaking into the mainstream media, companies have emerged that are providing handmade, quality kit, that give us a cool range of options. Well beyond the black leather and blue denim standard biker uniform.
When it comes to riding gear, I’m a firm believer in the ‘by bikers for bikers’ philosophy, because it invariably means you’re buying something that has been thought out and designed to deal with real world scenarios, not churned out by the thousands only to fall apart under pressure. And this was also the philosophy behind Grifter Gloves.
Grifter identified a need for good old-fashioned, quality, handmade kit that will last and look cooler the more wear they take. To do this they went as old school as is possible to get. Grifter Gloves are hand made in Gloversville, the former glove capitol of the world (right up until the 1950’s, 90% of the USA’s gloves were made there).
In comparison, today it’s more like a cottage industry, which suits Grifter just fine. This gives them a hands-on approach to quality control, such as selecting the hides from the local tannery every week. These are then cut and sewn by hand with skills that have been passed down in the town for generations.
Currently, the range extends to around 17 different styles, all made from quality hides and built to last. My personal favorites are the Scoundrels (RRP. $74), constructed from bison hide, they come looking like they’ve already been round the block a few times. With an elasticated cuff across the back, which makes them easy to pull off and because the gloves are all handmade, no two pairs are the same, say Grifter. Fit for purpose, cool and individual – can’t get better than that.