I have to wonder about the marketing department at MSR. Maybe their product name brainstorming sessions are led by a third grade boy using crayons and construction paper as visual aids. Maybe the entire department is actually preteen girls who only communicate via text messaging. Either way, apparently they’re only capable of spelling phonetically. For me this doesn’t inspire consumer confidence. But every now and then I’m able to get over myself and begrudgingly admit that when the planets align just right, MSR is capable of turning out a decent product. Such is the case with the Attak glove. (proper spelling is attack for those of you who are still struggling through elementary school)
Traditionally I’ve tried to limit the amount of money I spend on a pair of gloves to around twenty dollars. I always figured they have a short service life. If I didn’t wear a hole in the palm or have the stitching come unraveled within a month or two, they would soon be permeated with the pungent odor of old sweat reminiscent of the men’s locker room at a YMCA – the downtown Detroit YMCA.
This time I decided to test the you-get-what-you-pay-for theory and splurge on something a bit more top shelf. After seeking superior knowledge from soft goods guru Brian at Atomic Moto, I settled on the Attak Glove by MSR.
Touted as the ultimate off-road glove, they’re constructed with a synthetic leather palm, thumb panel, and finger tips for excellent wear protection. The back of the glove is made of Q-span mesh, airprene, and nylon for air flow and breathability. They also have an energy absorbing d30 knuckle panel. As it turns out this is a fancy way of saying ‘padded’. I assume this is in case your bike doesn’t have hand guards and you decide to ride through a thicket of trees, or in someone’s roost down a gravel road. Maybe you’re prone to punching the ground after a crash – personally I prefer to lay there for a bit, moaning.
Of course, all these technical specifications mean nothing if the gloves don’t hold up out on the trails. My initial impression of the Attak Glove was slightly above apathetic. Yes, they fit well – like a glove in fact. Which coincidentally, they are. So this doesn’t exactly warrant accolades. After a few rides my indifference hadn’t changed much. They protected my hands, prevented blisters, and weren’t uncomfortable or excessively hot. The minimal padding in the palm area didn’t seem to inhibit dexterity but it didn’t decrease fatigue either. The fingers articulated fine. The energy absorbing d30 knuckle panel hasn’t come into play – I haven’t attaked any quad riders. Yet.
Several months have gone by now and I’m decidedly more excited about these gloves. Not because of improved performance, but rather because of quality of construction. These gloves are holding up really well. I’ve had many miles of maintaining a death grip on the handle bars and a few crashes where I hit the ground hands first. I also used them as a stand in for work gloves; digging up a flower bed and moving rocks. There’s no sign of fraying stitches or thin spots in the palm, my fingers haven’t poked through the ends yet, and they don’t smell like some exotic french cheese. Maybe just domestic cheese.
I’m not convinced these are the ‘ultimate’ off-road glove, but I am convinced these were worth the extra money. I’m also convinced I’d be more apt to consider MSR products if they could find the spell check feature on their computer.
UPDATE: OK, NOW I’M CONVINCED THESE ARE THE ULTIMATE OFF ROAD GLOVE – I’VE HAD THEM FOR OVER A YEAR AND I’M STILL WEARING THEM!