O'Neal Element Switchblade Gloves
O'Neal Element Glove with torn stitching
O'Neal Element Switchblade gloves review
O'Neal Element Switchblade Gloves

I saw these gloves on the internet and I just had to have a pair. They suit me perfectly and look so cool I just couldn't go without them. The problem was, they weren't available locally and I had to order them online. I don't mind shopping online, but of course choosing the right size can sometimes be as issue. I know some suppliers offer a return arrangement if they don't fit, but I wanted them quickly and the seller I picked doesn't have a policy like that.
So I headed off to the official O'Neal website and managed to locate their sizing charts. Using their directions, I measured my hand and found I was right in between a Medium and a Large size. According to the size chart, I could use either size glove, depending on if I preferred a tighter or looser fit. I went for the larger size and placed my order.
My gloves arrived nice and promptly and straight away I loved the look of them. I verified they were genuine articles (always important when shopping online) and slipped them on - well, tried to anyway. They were way too small for me. No way would they ever fit my pudgy hands. My petite little wife tried them on and they fit perfectly - like a glove as they say.

So I was stuck with a pair of gloves that looked good, but didn't fit. Luckily my good wife liked them so I gave them to her for Christmas. Now all she needs is a bike, helmet, boots, pants and jersey to go with them and she's all set.

I still wanted a pair, so I placed another order for the biggest size available - XXL. Again they arrived quickly and this time they fit beautifully, definitely not too large. The first lesson here should be obvious - be very careful of sizing charts!

I was stoked with my snazzy new gloves and of course I took them on our next riding expedition.

First ride was perfect. My gloves fitted perfectly, were very comfortable with good palm padding and gave a good hand feel on the bars. Not only that but they matched my helmet design and looked wicked cool!

Getting ready for the second ride of the day, I went to slip my gloves on and the stitching between the thumb and back of the glove split on the left hand!
Torn stitching on the left glove on the second use
Being that I only had the one pair of gloves with me, I had to wear the damaged pair for the rest of the day's riding, but the seam didn't appear to split any further.

Before the stitching split the gloves hadn't had any form of abuse and I hadn't come off the bike at all, so the damage had to be the result of a manufacturing defect. As O'Neal is a large and well known company, I had no doubt that a warranty claim would be a quick and painless affair. I'm sure it would have been, except that I purchased the goods online...
O'Neal returned my email promptly, and advised me that I'd have to return the item, with the proof of purchase of course, to the retailer. The retailer would then send the gloves to O'Neal, who would process a warranty claim and forward a new pair to the retailer, who, in turn, would then send them to me. All this would take some time, and I would be liable for the return postage of the gloves, and possibly the postage cost of getting the replacement pair from the retailer (although this depended on the retailer I think).

So I learnt an important lesson when ordering gear over the 'net - warranty returns are difficult and expensive!

In the end I weighed my options and just decided to cut my losses on this pair of gloves. I'd already paid 2 lots of purchase price and postage (because of the sizing chart) and I had to pay at least 1 more lot of postage, maybe 2 lots, just to end up with one pair of useable gloves that may, or may not, have out-lasted my original pair.

Overall, while they were intact, the gloves looked awesome and felt quite comfortable. If they had lasted for an appropriate time I would have recommended them. My pair being defective may have been completely out of the ordinary and other pairs may last for a long time, but based on my experience with this pair, plus the obvious fault with the sizing chart, I personally will probably not risk purchasing a pair of these gloves again.

At least I learned some valuable lessons about online shopping that I'd never given much thought to in the past.

Happy riding and see you on the trails!
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I was ordering some new riding gear and these gloves were out on clearance, plus they suit the new gear awesomely, so I ended up buying another pair after all.
I ordered the XXL again, and this time they were actually a little too big! Turns out I could have used an XL pair, but the sizing chart was still way off base. I figured that at least this pair was from a different batch and might last longer.

Towards the end of one full days' riding, I was checking the gloves for tears / rips, and I noticed part of the plasticy trim/armour was coming unstuck. Again, the gloves haven't been abused, scuffed or hit the ground at all - just used as they are supposed to be.

So 2 out of 2 pairs have now failed to survive one full riding day intact. I've gotta say I'm less than impressed with the quality of these products and I certainly will be concious of it when I consider purchasing O'Neal products in the future.

If you've had any experience, good or bad, with O'Neal gear, drop us an email at reviews@dirtriders.info and let us know how it stood up.
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