Alpinestars SMX-2 Air Carbon gloves review: 5000 kms of dissapointment

By | February 17, 2016

I started my riding life as most people do, stupidly. No protective gear, spectacularly oversized helmet, and a lot of luck. Over the years I’ve constantly upgraded my wardrobe, and the natural progression of gloves followed this path:

  1. Half-finger leather gangster gloves (I’m not proud)
  2. Textile Probiker street gloves (I’m not proud)
  3. Textile KTM copy street gloves (I’m not proud)
  4. Rynox Inferno full-gauntlet leather gloves (review here)
  5. TBG Sport full-gauntlet leather gloves (review here)
  6. Alpinestars SMX-2 Air Carbon gloves

Basically, the chart has gone from stress on comfort to stress on protection, with the exception of the SMX-2. Things changed last year when I had to do a 2500 km ride in the middle of the summer. I could’ve gone with my leather gloves, like I’ve done many times before, but I decided to experiment, like I’ve done many times before.

I picked up a pair of Alpinestars SMX-2 Air Carbon gloves for 4500 Rupees because my aim was to be as comfortable as possible during this trip, so the thoughts went straight to a premium brand. Also, I had already experimented with shitty street gloves, so no Cramsters or DSGs or anything else.

I did that ride, a a few more afterwards with the glove, and here’s my experience with it after more than 5000 kms of usage.

Alpinestars SMX-2 Air Carbon gloves review: Value for money (4/10)

For 4500 bucks, you can buy the TBG Sport full-gauntlet leather glove, so no, there’s no value for your money if you ask me. People outside India might not feel the pinch, but when you have so many other brilliant options for lesser price, why would you buy this thing?

For 4500 rupees you get barely any leather, a few pieces of plastic, no protection beyond your wrist, and bragging rights. Unfortunately, bragging rights is all this thing is good for, and not much else. It’s like buying an iPhone 6S when you could’ve bought a Moto X Play and a lifetime of lapdances for the same amount of money. You might still end up buying the Apple, but you’ll always miss the lapdances.

Build quality (5/10)

A lot of people live under the delusion that premium products are made at premium locations. WRONG! Every fucking thing is made in China, and there’s nothing bad with that. Volvo is owned by a Chinese company, Benelli is owned by a Chinese company, and in today’s economy, you can’t survive without outsourcing your troubles to Asians.

The build quality of the SMX-2 is pretty OK, nothing really out of the box, but nothing too shabby either. Except that the right hand thumb stitching is all fucked up, and it’s slightly shorter than the left hand thumb, which means that my right thumb is in constant pain while I’m wearing this thing.

Did I say the build quality is OK? It sucks, like a Chinese vacuum cleaner, but far more reliably.

Comfort (5/10)

Sure the glove is nicely ventilated, sure putting it on and taking it off is a breeze, sure the insides are soft and cuddly, but when one of your thumbs is turning black from the pain of your nail attempting to invade your arm, chances are you’ll not really be comfy.

The most basic purpose for which I had bought this overpriced piece of shit was defeated. Do keep in mind that even if you take the thumb out of the equation, there’s nothing brilliant about the overall comfort factor of this glove, it isn’t spectacularly more comfortable than even a full-gauntlet leather one.

So using this glove is like getting a blowjob from your ex-wife-turned-hooker. You end up paying a lot of money for a very uncomfortable experience.

Protection (4/10)

It’s a short glove, of course the protection is shit.

The TBG Sport glove that costs less than the A* SMX-2, comes with Knox SPS system, full leather construction, metal protectors on the wrist, and the satisfaction of buying something from a friend and not a giant multinational that doesn’t give a shit about you.

Of course they are both designed for different purposes, but the problem starts when you realize you are far more comfortable, far more flexible, and far more sure in the bulky leather glove as compared to the lightweight textile one.

If you are wearing these and you are in a crash, pull your hands under your armpits and hope they never touch anything.

Looks (7/10)

Entirely irrelevant, but they do look good. Alpinestars has spent years and millions to ingrain their logo in our heads, and it’s cool. I got the all-black glove, but you’ve got plenty of other color options too, including a Stella girly version. There are plastics and rubbers and dots at all the right places.

The only place where the looks become awkard is the side angle. Notice that skin showing up from between the cuff and the glove, what’s up with that?

The other problem is the length, which doesn’t ruin the looks of the glove to be exact, but ruins the look of your wrists. When you are wearing this glove with any riding jacket, the wind blast pushes the jacket sleeves away from the wrist, and you end up with Sun-burnt wrist bands that are good for nothing.

Pink wrist brands are for cancer, and brown wrist bands are for diarrhea, but nobody gives a shit about a wrist band that’s caused by the Sun. Sun is awesome.

Confidence (3/10)

For me, riding gear is as much about the protection it provides to my body as it provides to my mind. If you are confident in your protection, chances are you’ll have a good time. Yes that was a coitus pun.

The problem with this glove is that they don’t inspire much confidence, not just because they suck, but also because there are just far too many fake copies flooding the market. The glove that I got for 4500 can be had for a 1000 bucks, and it’s really hard to tell the difference between the two!

If you are too scared of the danger to enjoy the adventure, it’s better to give up. Or as David Kretz always says, No Risk, No Fun.

Verdict (4/10)

If you are thinking of buying this glove, don’t. It’s a kind of purposeless thing, doesn’t provide adequate protection, doesn’t provide adequate comfort, and costs a bomb. Sure Alpinestars makes great stuff, since ages, and that does give them the right to rip us off with overpriced logos, but keep that for the higher end items, like the GP Pro gloves or the Supertech-R boots.

As is true for almost all premium manufacturers, you must never buy their downmarket shit just to be able to convince yourself it’s not as crappy as it feels because it’s branded.

And as always, you are welcome.

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  • I think TBG makes better and cheaper gloves than Alpinestars 🙂

    • Akhil Kalsh

      Agreed!

  • The Taurider

    Bro, I am waiting for your Alpinestars Riding Jacket .. 🙂 .. Hope it comes out soon. Using a Cramster Breezer now. Planning to upgrade.

    • Akhil Kalsh

      Copy that.

      • The Taurider

        Thank you, you heard me 🙂

  • shreyash malani

    Hmm.. Made in China.. My jacket says made in Vietnam.. 😛 infact most A* products I have had are made in Vietnam…. Does this mean India gets a different country product? Because i sourced mine from USA…

    • Akhil Kalsh

      I think apart A* has 3 levels of products. The super high end suits etc. are made in Italy. The medium level jackets and boots etc. are made in Vietnam, and the bottom end goes to China.

    • Sunit Chakravarty

      astars are made in 3places . Namely Vietnam, China , Italy. All similar manufacturing units. All th e products have the same level of QC check

  • Dr Kanishq

    Good Review! Hard to find the unbiased ones.
    Now that you’re at it, get the A* riding jacket review rolling soon! You’ve been sporting that for long enough now, man.

    • Akhil Kalsh

      Yep, that’s in the list.