Australia's Knog is probably best known for their tiny Frog LED lights; clever loops of silicon that wrap themselves around handlebars, seatstays, chainstays and in my case, the light loops of my Rapha Fixed Backpack.
Of course, Knog has a lot more to offer: powerful lights, urban bags, laptop bags and the subject of this report, some choice leather gloves. The Knog vibe is urban, hip and edgy. Under the theme of Bike Love, their site pushes boundaries and buttons (and then undoes them). Male or female, the experience will surely boost your heart rate.
The aptly-named Ride Hard Gloves are hand-stitched from fine-grained goatskin and available in three colorways: solid black, cream and olive, and cream and ruby. I have two of the three. A pair of black gloves came in the post from Knog's flagship Chapel St. store in Australia with the cheerful help of store manager Andrew Wood, nickname &ndash Woodie. A cream and olive pair arrived from U.S.-based SmartBikeParts.com and an equally helpful Eric. Both pairs look fantastic.
If it doesn't fit you must acquit! OJ's ham-fisted performance nearly fifteen years ago goes down in history as evidence of prosecutorial incompetence and the fact you can't judge the fit of leather gloves when they've been soaked in blood and dried badly. New leather gloves can appear equally uncooperative on first try. I say CAN because the black gloves were decidedly stiffer than the supple cream and olive. Woodie attributes this to the shrinking properties of black dye, something he's noticed over the years in production of garments in many different fabrics/materials. Persevere and you'll be rewarded.
After a few rides and a couple of break-in sessions working on the black gloves, both pairs (size medium) are now a good fit. The perfect fit is still a few miles down the road as the leather continues to be shaped by heat, sweat and the oils from my hands. Nice when something gets better with age.
The Ride Hard gloves are more substantial than most synthetics with the extra padding of suede inserts on the palms and in the web between thumb and forefinger. The knuckles are reinforced with dime-sized leather discs with embroidered lettering: the left hand reads H-A-R-D; and the right, R-I-D-E. With an occasional wash, thorough rinse and still damp re-stretch these stylish, hard-working mitts will never steer you in the wrong direction.
In the U.S. The Knog Ride Hard gloves are priced at $59 from SmartBikeParts.com, outside the U.S. you can order the gloves online, directly from Knog. If you prefer half gloves, Knog has you covered with the L-O-V-E, H-A-T-E series.