Review and pictures by Johan Hjord
Established in 1996, FLY Racing began as a manufacturer of motorcycle handlebars and helmets, and it remains heavily focused on powersports to this day. FLY offers a broad catalogue covering everything from riding apparel to protection, grips, and handlebars. The company also has a few high profile Supercross riders on its roster – Trey Canard and Andrew Short both ride for the brand. More recently, FLY introduced a mountain bike specific range of products, so we went hunting for a glove to put through the grinder.
FLY Racing offers a wide range of gloves in many color ways. Most of the range is shared between Moto and MTB, and the brand’s Moto roots are apparent in the design throughout. The Lite Race glove is of the more understated variety, although aside from the white/grey version we tested you can also get them in brighter blue/yellow and red/blue combos. The Lite Race glove sits on the lightweight and breathable side of the catalogue, among other sturdier offerings.
From left: Lite Race, Pro Lite, and Kinetic gloves
- Ultra Lightweight Race Glove – with a new softer hand feel for improved comfort
- Lycra Finger Sidewall and Gusset – for improved air flow and lightweight feel
- Single Layer Perforated Synthetic Leather Palm – for improved air flow and lightweight feel
- Silicone Finger Grippers
- Reinforced Double Layer Thumb
- Sublimated Graphics
- MSRP: $19.95
On The Trail
The fit of the Lite Race glove is on the small side of “standard” sizing – in other words, true to your measured size just with a tight fit. Note that these gloves do not really stretch with time (a good thing), so get the size right in the shop. The glove is very well put together, using a well-thought out mix of materials including stretchy Lycra finger sidewalls and a heavier duty fabric on the back of the hand. The glove is designed with just a stretch cuff, which makes it slightly difficult to pull on and off. However, once on, the Lite Race is preformed which, together with the elastic sidewalls and the tight fit, translates to a glove that is completely snug in use and doesn’t bulk up as you grip the bar.
The palm area is made out of synthetic leather, which has been nothing short of impressive with regards to comfort, durability, and longevity. We’ve ridden this pair exclusively for three months now, in all weather conditions and for anything from shutting DH to all-day epics – all we’ve ever had to do was to rinse them out a few times in water, when they started to smell a bit funky. They’ve seen trail maintenance work and crashes as well, with hardly a scuff to show for it.
The silicone grippers on the index and middle finger are solid, they show absolutely no sign of wanting to come loose, if anything they might even outlast the rest of the glove (many other companies could and should take note of this point!). A minor niggle to note here is that because of the slanted design of the FLY logo, the gripper on the left hand index finger is not really of much use if you run your levers far from the bars and grip them with the point of the finger. Two-finger Moto braking legacy showing through here.
The stitching and fabrics have also held up well to the abuse we’ve been dishing out. There is not a single loose thread to show for all the bushwhacking we’ve put these gloves through, and despite many close encounters with various members of fauna, the fabric on the back of the hand is also still in good shape. Note that this glove offers very little in terms of protection for the back of the hand, just the fabric, but that goes with the territory on such a lightweight glove.
Things That Could Be Improved
Look as we may, there is not a lot to complain about on the Lite Race. The only issue to point out is the lack of a snot/sweat wipe area, which we think is mandatory on a MTB glove. Especially since the fabric used for the back of this glove is also a bit rough on the skin if you try wiping sweat with it, the lack of the specific pad is more noticeable. Apart from this design-related issue, we have absolutely no reservations about either the quality or the functionality of the Lite Race glove.
What’s The Bottom Line?
The FLY Racing Lite Race glove has been thoroughly impressive throughout testing. It is lightweight, comfortable, functional, and will last you a very very long time. And at $19.95, it is very good value too. Whether you are banging out laps in the park, or cranking out epic trail rides, the Lite Race will keep coming back for more. We’ve docked a star for the lack of the snot/sweat wipe pad and the angled silicone grippers, but if those are less critical to you than it is to us, consider it a five-star product.
More information at www.flyracing.com.
About The Reviewer
Johan Hjord loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.