Held Gloves – The motorcycle clothing ‘Secret’
Held make award-winning motorcycle gloves. But, they also make other motorcycle clothing and accessories of exceptional quality. Yet, it’s a brand that many motorcyclists know far too little about. At the very minimum, as a serious biker you will want to know about Held gloves.
GetGeared was one of the first companies in the UK to recognise Held’s manufacturing talents. We started by importing Held gloves, in particular Held winter gloves, and remain the leading UK Held gloves and motorcycle clothing stockist. It is a truly authentic motorcycle clothing brand, because the product range doesn’t just grow, it responds with precision to each rider’s changing needs.
We thought it was time to share a little of Held’s history, and look at the ethos behind its innovative biker gear.
It’s A Family Thing
Though less well-known in the UK, Held have a stellar reputation in Europe. Who does not know the German brands ‘Brita’ for water filters or ‘Karcher’ for pressure washers? Held is the equivalent in motorcycle clothing. Held Gloves are their stand-out product that is truly second to none.
In fact ‘family’ is a big theme with Held. In terms of development, they’ve come a very long way since their creation in 1946. But two things have been always stayed the same:
- They were, and still are, very much a family business.
- Their HQ remains in their home town Burgberg, the picturesque small town in
the Bavarian Alps where it all started.
Bruno Held and son Edgar founded the company in 1946, after being displaced from their home in Bohemia at the end of the war. They were already skilled artisans, producing high quality ladies and gentlemen’s fashion gloves, driving gloves, and protective workwear gloves. Held gloves were born.
If you excel at something you’ll usually be in demand, and that was true of Held gloves right through the fifties and sixties. Although there was pressure on the growing business to do things more quickly, or to import products from countries where production costs are lower, the Held brothers stuck to their principles. Only their own craftspeople could meet the uncompromising standards they set.
Held Gloves And Motorcyclists – Hand In Hand
During the sixties, Held also started making motorcycle gloves. They applied the same meticulous attention to detail as they did to all their other gloves and, as you can imagine, they soon became extremely popular. Held gloves quickly built a reputation for comfort, fit and durability that still underpins all of their biker clothing today.
During the 1970s, motorcycling exploded in popularity. On the one hand, there was an influx of Japanese bikes that provided cheap, reliable, and relatively clean transportation. Motorbikes were also something of a fashion accessory, and of course there were numerous biker clubs.
All of which was excellent news if you were in the business of making motorcycle gloves. It also gave the company the opportunity to expand into other items of motorcycle clothing and equipment. Unrivalled product research combined with flawless production means their boots, jackets, luggage, crash helmets, etc., are recognised around the world as some of the very best biker equipment available.
Held have always explored new avenues in search of a better product. In 1979 they worked with Erwin Schmider, 11-time European Motocross Champion, to develop the first glove specifically for MX riders. In 1983 they went racing, working with multiple 250cc and 350cc World Champion Anton Mang to develop a dedicated racing glove. In 1985 they applied their development skills to touring riders, releasing the world’s first magnetic tank bag.
The company has never been afraid to use new textiles, or to develop new production ideas, but it’s always done to improve biker equipment, not to follow the foibles of fashion.
Quality Is an Attitude
Held have their own way of putting it: “Quality is our tradition. For 70 years now the Held brand stands for innovative motorcycle garments and rider equipment with the highest wearing comfort, usability and uncompromising safety.”
The Company Today
Held are still a family business, and although they have a production facility in Hungary, they are still based in Burgberg.
But things move on. Edgar junior and brother Erhard have been running the company, with the increasing involvement of their own sons and daughters. What was a small workshop, it is now 7,000 square metres of design, administration, warehousing and logistics.
What The Brand Offers Today’s Motorcyclist
Held motorcycle gear is quintessentially German. Research and development are extensive. Each item is superbly made, with fastidious attention to detail. Few companies can match their reputation for durability.
But even Held realised they couldn’t do everything on their own! When the style was perceived a bit stale, a little old-fashioned, they brought in Italian designers to freshen things up. Looks might not be a vital aspect in motorcycle performance and safety, but it’s still an important element.
Held gloves are a precision item. They’re not bashed out on a conveyor belt in world where a one-size-fits-all, each model has an individually crafted pattern that takes into account the exact needs of each different kind of rider. Clever ideas like the ‘Air n Dry’ 2-in-1 gloves (which have two separate compartments for different weather conditions), continue to improve all-round rider comfort.
Yet some of Held’s original design principles are still around. Leather is pre-stretched so the fit you get when you buy them stays the same over the years. In northern Europe we tend to have wider hands than in the south, so this is taken into account. Though seldom asked for, bespoke gloves are still part of Held’s offering. If you can’t find quite the right comfort, Held can make gloves for you.
Held motorcycle boots are made to do a job, not to follow what other motorcycle clothing manufacturers are doing. Jackets, trousers and one-piece suits are constructed with a set of rider-focused objectives. You can guarantee that anything that carries the Held brand is as durable as it is comfortable.
Creative use of textiles and composite materials mean Held are always innovating, always developing new ideas in rider equipment. They manage to provide the perfect combination of excitement with safety. Here are just a few examples:
Held World Firsts
- First to use carbon fibre in gloves
- First to use metal rivets to protect the palm of the glove
- First magnetic tank bag
- First one-piece suit made from kangaroo hide
- First racing suit made from kangaroo hide
- First two-in-one glove
- First two-in-one textile jacket
- First nylon riding jacket – a new standard in light weight and safety
Motorrad Magazine Awards
Of course, this level of expert textile engineering doesn’t go unnoticed in the press. Germans magazine Motorrad has been reviewing bikes and rider equipment since 1903 and host annual awards voted on by 135,000 readers.
In 2017, Held dominated their category, again.
- 1st: Best Motorcycle Gloves Brand – for the 12th year in a row!
- 1st: Best Backpacks
- 1st: Best Textiles
- 2nd: Best Biker Jeans
- 3rd: Best Protectors
Winning In The Lion’s Den
Influential Italian magazine Motociclismo gave Held’s Conan Boots their ‘Best Boot’ award for 2017, beating entrants from Sidi Boots and Alpinestars Motorcycle Clothing. An unexpected and previously unheard of result from the very heart of the great Italian sports bike brands!
And, if all that isn’t quite enough, then you might like to know that Held are the name behind the BMW motorcycle clothing range. We all know what high standards that company sets.
Held And GetGeared
GetGeared was initially virtually the only importer of Held motorcycle clothing and accessories, and are now the UK’s largest retailer. We’ve been delighted to see the company develop, and to create a complete range of superior products.
Held Motorcycle Gloves
Not surprisingly, the Held rider equipment range still has motorcycle gloves at its core. Though they’ve changed a lot since 1966, the foundations remain the same. Panels are cut from pre-stretched leather, so there’s no movement after manufacture – something most rivals fail to consider.
Northern Europeans tend to have wider palms, and Held gloves take that into account. Finger length varies – another element you’ll find in Held gloves but in few others.
They have a motto: “Held gloves fit like a glove should.” Today the advanced ‘Air N Dry’ range exemplifies that goal. The combination of leather and Gore-Tex gives you a single motorcycle touring glove for all seasons. Twin layers allow you to switch between fully-vented summer wear – or complete wind and weather protection – just by slipping your hand in a different compartment. They’re available, like all Held gloves, from XS to XXXL, and in children’s sizes too.
There are Held race gloves incorporating Kevlar technology (including the almost legendary Phantom II). Motocross gloves. Scooter gloves. Cruiser-style gloves. A full range of designs specifically constructed for female hands. Every style you can think of, all made with tremendous attention to detail. They’re simply the best fit you’ll find.
Held Jackets & Suits, Leathers & Textiles
Whether you’re into sports riding, touring, adventure or just want great casual wear, Held offer motorcycle clothing that’s as stylish as it is durable and functional. There’s a lot of precision-cut leather, of course, but there’s also a lot of highly engineered modern textiles. It’s fair to say you might pay a little more for them, but quality like this is an investment, not an expense.
- Held biker jeans are anything but ordinary, with mesh lining, Kevlar reinforcement, and pockets for optional knee protectors. There are cargo pants too, with removable lower leg portions, and kevlar so you’re smart, and safe.
- Held motorcycle jackets are available in every possible style, from the cruiser’s iconic leather jacket, through reflective, lightweight rainwear, to armoured race kit. The larger rider is well catered for, with sizes up to 66 in some styles.
- The Held motorcycle trousers collection covers everything from stretch rain trousers that go over your leathers to Gore-Tex touring trousers. Height-adjustable knee protection is a feature, some are available up to size 12XL.
- Held motorcycle suits range from complete touring waterproofs that will protect you in the heaviest downpour, to full-race vented onesies that will keep you cool when the pressure is on.
- Held even offer balaclavas and socks – but not your ordinary versions. There are race socks that are moisture-wicking so you keep cool and dry. Merino wool socks are ultra-warm and reinforced for longer wear. Balaclavas feature flat seams for comfort, and Held’s CoolMax outer layer. There are skull caps, bibs and braces too!
Held have never followed other brand’s styles, and the motorcycle boot range is another excellent example. It’s not just the award-winning Conan boot (though it is another ground-breaking design), nor that there is every kind of biker footwear imaginable. Casual and cruiser style boots are every bit as important as touring and race boots, and the the same skill and ingenuity is applied in their design and construction.
Classic cuban-heeled cowboy boots sit next to short paddock boots, cowhide and kangaroo vented race boots are offered alongside smart urban boots that offer the protection the rider needs, but wouldn’t look out of place in a busy office.
Held Helmets & Accessories
Held’s continuing drive to provide a complete range of quality motorcycle equipment has led to the addition of a full choice of motocross and road helmets in every conceivable style. There are motorcycle covers, armour, glasses and goggles, saddlebags and rucksacks. Like all Held biker equipment, each piece is thoughtfully designed and immaculately crafted.
Take A Closer Look
Held biker equipment holds a unique place in the motorcycle clothing marketplace. They’re still a family firm, so they do things how they want to. They’ve never had to bow to shareholders who want a quick buck by making things quickly or cheaply, or by importing from the Far East.
They also take into account the infinite variety of the human form! Whether you’re short, wide, slender, tall, or just plain average, you won’t find a better fit. They even make proper biker clothing for kids.
They’re built on a tradition of making a product to a particularly high standard, and they’ve been at the leading edge of major developments in rider equipment for decades. Held motorcycle gear embraces history, but uses technological advancement to deliver the best possible motorcycle gear for you, the rider.
If in the past you have looked at the Held brand and then moved on to something more ‘Italian’, it’s time you did yourself a favour and took a closer look at something a little more German.