As many of you know, I was lucky enough to enjoy a month-long trip to Norway and the Arctic Circle a few months back.
You don’t need to have David Attenborough-levels of knowledge to know that places such as these get cold. And wet.
And that was a concern for me – especially seeing as though my winter riding gloves had come to the end of their natural life.
So you can imagine how grateful I was when Keis reached out to me and asked if I needed new gloves for my trip – like knights in shining (heated) armour.
Obviously, I bit their hand off and asked for a pair of their legendary G601 touring gloves. But due to some unexpected circumstances (more about that soon), they sent me some of their new G701 gloves, too.
It was never my intention to do a comparison review. But seeing as though I found myself in a situation to be able to, here it is.
If you’re wondering whether you should go for the G601’s or the G701’s, this post is for you.
V I S I T :
Fewer Tech Specs, More Real Life
I don’t know about you, but when I see a list of tech specs, a little piece of me dies. It’s like asking me to get excited about algebra. Or the dentist. Or a meeting with my accountant.
So I won’t bombard you with facts and figures in this review. I want this post to be about my experience. I want it to convey real information to real people like you – people who will be using these gloves in real-world settings.
So that’s what you can expect. A no-holds-barred, honest review. Because let’s face it – if you’re going to spend £200 on a pair of Keis heated motorcycle gloves, you need to know if they’re worth it.
And if you’re wondering why the ones in this post look so tatty, it’s because they were well and truly tested for this review!
Keis G601 Heated Motorcycle Gloves
As mentioned above, the gloves I asked for were the notoriously good G601 touring gloves.
There’s nothing new about these gloves. They’ve been around a while, are tried-and-tested, and have been reviewed plenty of times.
And whilst that isn’t something to get excited about, it’s comforting. There’s something soothing about embarking on a big trip with kit that has stood the test of time.
I loved these gloves from the second I opened the box. When I reviewed the new Keis heated jacket 12 months previously, I mentioned how the company took pride in details and presentation.
And it’s no different with the gloves. They arrived in an almost tailor-fitted box that gave me a Christmassy feeling when I sat down to open it.
Taking the gloves out of the packaging, you can instantly feel the quality and craftsmanship that’s gone into them.
They look good. But they feel sturdy and well-built. You get the feeling you can trust them in that way that only quality items can offer.
Slipping them on for the first time, my face lit up. They’re substantial and comforting and invoke a feeling of warmth and luxury. But whilst this was fine in the comfort of my lounge, I knew the real test would come in Norway.
That’s when I’d see the true colours of these heated gloves.
From The UK To The Atlantic Road With The Keis G601 Heated Motorcycle Gloves
It took us around six days to get to our stopover in Eide. The following day was a big day for us – we would be riding the Atlantic Road and witnessing the majestic views from the bridge.
To get there, we’d been somewhat lucky with the weather. We’d had some pretty cold days. But in terms of rain, it was generally sporadic and quick to clear.
In these conditions, the Keis G601 heated motorcycle gloves were in their element. This is what they’re made for.
I was comfortable and content. And I felt confident in the ability of these gloves. Admittedly, trying to open/close jacket zips on the move was fiddly. But that’s hardly worth the mention.
However, in the grand scheme of things, their ability to cope with the environment was nothing short of perfect. And I don’t say that casually – they really were that good.
How Warm Are The Keis G601 Heated Motorcycle Gloves?
Perhaps 1,500 miles (2,400 km) into our trip, my hands had never been cold – not even once.
I don’t know the exact temperatures the gloves get to, so don’t ask!
I’m a big advocate of starting a ride with heated clothing on the lowest setting and only going up the temperature scale as and when you get colder.
90% of my riding in Norway was with the gloves on their lowest setting (green.) Occasionally, I would go up to the medium setting (orange) when the temperature dropped.
Only once did I have them on their highest setting (red) – during a particularly icy ride through the mountains. I didn’t last long, though, and dropped them back down to the medium setting after 15 minutes or so.
The level of warmth of the G601 gloves is one of the main plus points – for me, at least. I like that I can spend most of my riding time perfectly comfortably on the lowest setting – with two higher levels remaining if I need them.
The construction of the G601’s is a careful combination of fabric and leather. The underside (the palm side) is leather from the wrist to the fingertips, with a fabric upper stretching upwards from the wrist.
The large cuff is adaptable, thanks to a basic velcro system rather than complicated drawstrings – for which I’m thankful! And there is also a velcro adjuster across the front of the wrist.
The heating controls are situated on the back of the hand – making them easy to reach. And a little further up is the power connection point if you’re powering the gloves from your jacket.
There is also a small zipped pocket further up from the thumb where you can power the gloves from batteries if you prefer.
The gloves also feature a 3M Thinsulate and Hipora membrane for protection against the elements.
Keis G601 Heated Motorcycle Gloves: Feel & Potential Fitting Issues
The G601 gloves are chunky compared to race or summer gloves. But for winter gloves, they’re not as chunky as many others on the market and are actually quite fitted.
Like with all winter gloves, the ‘feel’ of the bike through the gloves is subdued. But there is still adequate feel and control through the bars.
One thing I don’t like about the gloves is the cuff. It bellows out – almost like a skirt. And as a result, I couldn’t get the gloves underneath the fitted cuffs of my jacket.
If you plan to power your gloves via batteries (rather than the power cable,) I recommend you try the gloves with your jacket before purchase. Adding batteries will make the cuffs even more troublesome.
Are They A Faff To Use?
In a word, yes. Sorry Keis, but there’s no getting around it – heated gear is a pain in the ass.
That said, the benefits far outweigh the cons – and the extra few minutes it takes to get ready is well worth the hours of warmth you’ll get as a result.
Faff levels could be reduced by using batteries. But then you’d have a new problem – because the batteries would need changing and recharging every two hours (if used on the highest setting.)
I choose to power the gloves through the jacket for all-day use. And now I’ve finessed my routine, I can have them on and good to go in less than a minute.
As mentioned above, the gloves are controlled by integrated, independent heating control buttons located smack-bang on the back of the hand. The controls are placed perfectly for easy reach, and it couldn’t be easier to alter the temperature.
Turning them on/off or altering the temperature of your left hand could be burdensome on the move as you will need your right hand to do it.
This wasn’t an issue for me as my bike has cruise control. It may be slightly more awkward for those who don’t.
To turn the gloves on, press and hold the button for a second or two. They will automatically power on the highest setting (red.)
Tap the button, and the light will go orange – the medium setting. Press it again, and the light will turn green as the gloves adjust to their lowest temperature setting.
To turn them off, switch your bike off (if the gloves are powered by the jacket/bike) or press and hold the button for a second or two.
The Keis G601 heated motorcycle gloves are tested to Level 2 of the new EU Regulation: 13594:2015 – so you’ll be protected and warm.
The tops of the knuckles feature durable yet flexible armour. The newer models also feature a scaphoid protector on the inner palm.
Finally, soft protection is present at the upper finger joints (below the nail.)
Keis G601 Heated Motorcycle Gloves: The Negatives
If you’ve got this far, you’ll see that I love these gloves on every level.
But they aren’t without their flaws, so I’ll start with a few minor irritants:
As mentioned above, the cuff is big and baggy. If you have a jacket with fitted cuffs (like I do), you can’t wear these gloves under the jacket.
This affects their ability to hold in heat. And more importantly, it allows water to get into the gloves when it rains.
If you want to power the gloves with batteries, the cuffs become even bigger, and I would advise you to test them with your jacket before you buy.
The Visor Wipe
On the left index finger, you’ll notice a visor wipe – and it’s useless in every sense of the word.
It’s tiny and simply smears water from one place to another. It really isn’t worth the manufacturing process to put it on.
In terms of real-world problems, it’s a minor complaint. I just wish Keis had either developed a visor wipe that worked, or dispensed with it altogether.
Are Keis G601 Heated Motorcycle Gloves Waterproof?
Here’s the big one. And it is my ONLY real criticism of these otherwise fantastic gloves.
At the top of this post, I told you that I got from the UK to the Atlantic Road with no problems whatsoever.
But the day we reached the Atlantic Road, the rain fell in Biblical proportions. For 48 hours straight.
It was possibly the worst few days of riding I’ve had the displeasure of experiencing (with perhaps the exception of riding the Scotland NC500 in the snow.)
Keis’ website states that the G601 gloves feature materials for “premium water and wind protection.”
Note that it does NOT say the gloves are waterPROOF. And I realised this to my peril as we crossed into the Arctic Circle.
The gloves perform adequately in light-moderate rain – for a short time. In heavy or persistent rain, you should expect wet hands.
This caused me no end of hassle in the middle part of our tour, where it rained for days at a time. All I could do was wear waterproof over-gloves over the Keis gloves to keep them dry.
The Transition To Keis G701 Heated Motorcycle Gloves
On my return, Keis asked how the gloves performed. So I was honest in my response:
They’re fantastic. But they’re atrocious in the rain.
To Keis’ credit, they made no excuses and offered to send me a pair of their new G701 heated motorcycle gloves which were developed to counteract this very problem with the 601’s.
A short time later, the new gloves arrived. And as with the G601’s, the quality of the 701 gloves was equally apparent.
So how are they different? Let’s have a look.
Keis G701 Heated Motorcycle Gloves Are Hydrophobic
For me, this was a good start. In a typical non-technical way, ‘hydrophobic’ means these gloves are effectively scared of water – and therefore repel it.
They also feature a semi-bonded Hipora waterproof membrane, which is strategically bonded at the fingers, palms, and tops of the gloves.
But in the real world? Well, the results are infinitely superior to the waterproofing capabilities of the G601 gloves.
Admittedly, the testing of the new gloves wasn’t in the same Norwegian conditions. But we’ve had some crazy rain here in the UK over the last few months and the G701’s results have been flawless during this testing period.
How Warm Are The G701 Gloves?
As with the 601’s, the generation and displacement of heat with the G701 heated motorcycle gloves is fantastic.
To my mind, the heat isn’t as direct as with the G601 gloves – which feels somewhat harsh – like heated grips.
The G701’s feature carbon fibre panels across the back of the hand and fingers, along with a thicker layer of 3M Thinsulate. This results in a softer (but better distributed) heat source.
Keis G701 Heated Motorcycle Gloves vs 701S (Shorties)
There are two different models of G701 gloves. The original model (G701) comes with battery pouches for those who want the option of running the gloves from external batteries.
The G701S model has a shorter cuff, as these gloves do NOT have the battery pouches. In other words, you can only run the Shorties through your jacket/bike.
The G601 and 701 gloves look very different in regard to their construction.
Where the G601 gloves feature leather, the 701’s feature the water-repellent (hydrophobic) outer layer attached to the waterproof Hipora layer beneath.
There is also strategically placed bonding tape for further protection from the elements.
On the palm, there is high-quality synthetic leather which produces better results than genuine leather and is also more ethical.
The exterior is constructed from Ballistic Nylon that has been infused with Spandex. And the result is a glove that is strong and durable, as well as comfortable and frictionless.
Comfort & Feel Of The Keis G701 Heated Motorcycle Gloves
The comfort and feel of the G701 gloves is very different to that of the 601’s.
As mentioned above, the G601 gloves are somewhat fitted (as far as winter gloves go.) But the bonding process of the 701’s allows the gloves’ layers to fuse together. This produces less lag and therefore enhances the feel and control of the bike.
Whilst the construction process and materials are clearly superior in the G701 gloves, I actually prefer the feel and heat distribution of the original 601’s. But that’s just my opinion.
Whilst many elements of the G601 gloves have been tinkered with to allow the production of the newer, better G701’s, Keis have not messed with the excellent protection.
As with the G601 gloves, the 701’s are fully certified to the new EU PPE Regulation 13594:2015.
The heat control on the G701 gloves is identical to the tried-and-true method on the original 601’s.
It’s a simple yet effective way of doing things, and Keis has not complicated it by adding remotes or any other external control panel.
Press and hold the button on the back of the palm to power the gloves on/off, then tap to go through the heat settings.
Keis G601 vs G701 Heated Motorcycle Gloves: Conclusion
I’m lucky that I have both the G601 and the G701 gloves to choose from on a ride out. But if I was to buy just one of them with my own money, which would I go for?
Well, before I answer, I have to make it clear that this is just my opinion. Comfort, fit, and feel are subjective – so I can only offer you an opinion based on my experiences.
For me, I prefer the look, heat distribution, and overall comfort of the G601 gloves. As mentioned above, there’s something about them that’s comforting and inspires confidence that they won’t let me down.
And through experience, I know they won’t – unless it rains!
For feel, control, dexterity, and waterproofing, the G701’s are the better glove.
Taken together, I’d spend my money on the G601’s, and take some cheap over-gloves with me just in case – like I did in Norway.
But whichever you go for, you’ll be glad of them come those colder days on tour! Do yourself a favour and a get a pair. You won’t regret it.
With thanks to Keis.