In the lead up to a planned four day ride in January 2003 I was very happy to receive a set of Chilhowee Leather’s fingerless gloves and lever covers. I was very happy at this because I was about to embark into some of the extreme riding temperatures with the air temperature pushing well above 100f (imagine the heat coming off the black tarmac!), so being able to have my hands not totally encased in leather was an attractive prospect indeed!
- Vendor: Chilhowee Leather
- Short Take Reviewer: RoadStarMagazine.com (this short take review is subject to the following disclaimer)
Chilhowee Leather’s goatskin gloves are very supple and soft, and one of the best things about them is even after a stinking hot day of sweating like mad, the gloves don’t leave the traditional black stains on your hands that you are probably used to seeing. Chilhowee’s online ordering makes it very simple to choose your glove size as you just need to take a simple measurement around your hand and let them know what size you are from a chart on their site. Now if you are bordering between one size and the next, I would probably recommend that you go with the smaller size as the gloves will give a little. The only questionable part about these gloves is how well they would hold up if I actually went down. Naturally being fingerless there is less protection than normal, so my instinct says, “they probably wouldn’t go too well,” but I contacted Chil of Chilhowee leather all the same and he had this to say: “Although fingerless gloves offer less protection than full-fingered gloves, deerskin is by far the best choice if you go down. They are far more abrasion resistant than cowhide. Deerskin is also cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter than any other leather.” The Reason why Chil mentions deerskin as the leather for their gloves, is not long after sending the fingerless gloves for review they changed all their gloves over to be manufactured from deerskin. Chil assures me that the Deerskin is even more supple then the goatskin!
The Chilhowee Leather Lever Covers also make a great addition to comfort for your hands, especially for riding around the city where you may be in a lot of stop/go traffic when you need to operate the clutch and brake levers regularly. We all know that you can live with the levers as they are, of course, but the lever covers do increase your comfort level AND they look cool! I received lever covers that didn’t have any fringing, but if fringing is your thing you can have it up to 16″s long! The covers also come in a range of leathers which include deer, elk and buffalo. Choose deerskin for the softest and thinnest coverage, elk for a touch more padding but still soft to touch, and finally buffalo if you want a real thick rugged look. My lever covers are the elk skin as I do a lot of city riding so I wanted the extra padding without going too thick, and they are great!
The lever covers were pretty easy to install and Chilhowee’s instructions were very clear. I had to cut my covers down just a little bit but that was only due to the BrakeAway Cruise Control getting in the way, despite this there is still more than enough leather available so it wasn’t a problem. One thing I did do initially was a dry run, this allowed me to get a feel for how the covers were going to go on without messing up the job using adhesive. You also have to make sure you thread the leather lacing through the covers gently so they don’t tear, but as I said, take your time and they will go on fine for a great look.
And just who is Chilhowee Leather Well Chilhowee began in a small back room in Tennessee in 1997, just a few miles from the site of the infamous Cherokee “Trail of Tears”. Chil (the founder) wanted to help revive the “old ways” of people of Native American heritage, and he crafted a variety of Native American ceremonial artifacts and spiritual tools, using practices and skills passed on through his family’s Cherokee heritage. In 1999, Chilhowee relocated to Southern Oregon and continued the quest to add value to a community, rich with Native American history and culture.
In Spring 2001, Chil purchased a 2000 Road Star Silverado, and like many other riders, began customizing it to match his tastes and personality. The first thing he did was purchase what ended up being a poor fitting, cheap looking pair of fringe lever covers. He quickly became disgusted with them, took them off, and threw them in a box in his leather shop. Then it dawned on him! Why not craft his own leather accessories guaranteed to fit his Road Star And that’s exactly what Chil did.
To see if any of his brothers and sisters on the Road Star Riders Forum might be interested, he took a couple of images of the fringed lever covers and posted them on the forum. When he received 40 requests for them the first week, it became obvious that riders all over America, Canada, and overseas were looking for custom-fitted, quality leather accessories. The rest is history!
So how did my ride go Well it was so filthy hot that the ride itself was no fun, riding at 70mph in 100f+ is like riding in a blast furnace! Although I am happy to report that my gloves didn’t leave any black stains on my hands to make a conversation topic at the pub, and this is despite drinking an incredible amount of fluid during each day as it was being sweated out about as fast as I could suck it down! At least my hands were able to breath and my full fingered gloves stayed in my luggage for the entire trip. The lever covers were also fantastic as my metal handgrips got extremely hot while my levers were more than comfortable to operate, so it is probably very fortunate they made it in time for the ride!
At $39 for the goatskin (now deerskin) gloves, and $15 for the elkskin lever covers, I personally found them to be well worth the cost, and with a 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee you can’t go wrong with Chilhowee Leather. Chilhowee Leather also has a LOT of other leather products on offer, everything from chaps, to saddlebags to toolbags to grip covers and floorboard fringing, it just goes on and on! Click here to visit the Chilhowee Leather Website to check out the gloves and covers plus all the other great leather products they have!