Firstgearâ€™s apparel has seen serious improvement over the last several years with advances to quality, design and materials coming in all areas of their product line. In fact, the budget-minded rider need only look to Firstgear for products which will endure and not break the bank. Entering this new era for the maker in the heated glove category are the Carbon Heated Waterproof Gloves, a battery-powered mitt which is made to keep your hands warm when things get cold.
Stitching appears very good, but maybe not up to the standards of a higher-end glove, but the Carbon should do its job admirably and looks strong enough to endure any impact. Fingertips here use the â€śXâ€ť shaped modified box-section, and the backs of the fingers have retro-reflective fabric sections with light padding. Up on the knuckles is the reason for the name, a carbon fiber main protector which is installed on a floating base for ease of hand movement; there is another bit of this material covering the scaphoid on the wrist.
The gauntlet of the Firstgear Carbon is about mid-sized and is more than long enough to work on the outside of most jacket cuffs. However, the wrist strap is located on the back of the hand, which does seem to make it a bit easier for the glove to come off in an accident; some people may want to test this before they buy.
Now, to the important heating aspect of the Carbon; the heating element wiring runs through the back of the hand and into the fingers and it offers up to 15 watts of heat at 12.8 volts. The connections on the gloves are designed to plug into Firstgear heated vest, but they can be used on their own, provided you do some wiring work and purchase some extra pieces.
Thos extra parts are some wiring, a Y-splitter ($15) and the Heat-Troller ($70) â€“ which you must have to control the temperature, but is included with the heated vest so you need not purchase it if you will use the gloves with it. Firstgear includes a motorcycle battery harness for easy installation of the power, but that extra wiring will be needed to hook up the Heat-Troller on the handlebars (unless you mount on the side of the bike). Of course, if you already have either the Firstgear heated vest or another manufacturerâ€™s product whose electrical needs are identical, you wonâ€™t need to hassle with this.
Putting on the Firstgear Carbon gloves is a bit tough at first as the leather is a bit stiff out of the box, but they do become suppler with regular use. The interior is soft and feels as if it were lined with micro-fleece. Though they would not be confused for a high-end glove, from ten feet away no one will notice and neither will you while wearing them - these things are powerful. The Carbon gloves are perhaps the first multi-configurable heated mitts, and they are certainly at the top of the chart for even and thorough heating.