NC Touring Review: Hippo Hands

Hippo Hands on GL1500

For someone who rides year round, the issue of keeping your hands warm quickly comes up as the temperatures drop. I made quite a few inquires of other year round commuters / tourers quite some time ago to find out what they consider the best solution to keep those digits working in freezing temperatures.

Obviously, a good set of gloves is a good start, but dexterity is often lost when you start adding layers (use of liners with a glove or just the size of the glove due to insulation).  One consideration that some have tried are “lobster gloves”, which result in keeping a couple of fingers together (so they can cuddle for extra warmth). You end up looking like you are forever trying to greet someone from the planet Vulcan (think about it…). It could pose a bit of a problem when having to complete an emergency stop.

It often comes down to heated grips or heated gloves.  While the notion of heated grips is nice, it only heats your palms, while air (at speed) continues to blast the back of your hands. It just so happens you have a ton of vessels on the back of your hand, so your hands often still get cold. Heated gloves are a great solution, but they can be cost prohibitive for many and you’ll have to wire them up. Not a major problem, but if you are commuting, then it is something that you will have to plug / unplug (at the minimum) 4 times a day. Over time, that use could pose some stress on the connections.

Hippo Hands on GL1500

What I’ve found to be the best solution is a set of Hippo Hands from World Vintage Motorcycle Sales. The original Hippo Hands extended up past your forearms… not very conducive to signaling direction, much less the interesting way you’d have to work to get ready to ride. The new Hippo Hands are constructed of heavy weigh polyurethane-coated Cordura and are water repellant.

The Hippo Hands have a plastic stiffener that keeps the “muffs” open so it is easy to remove you hand. They do not affect any controls, but if you motorcycle does not have much in the way of wind protection, they recommend the use of a brush guard to keep the covers from being blown back into your levers.

I use them on my Goldwing and I have never had a problem with them. Sure they look a little weird, but it’s nice having movement and sensation in my fingers. I’ve ridden with the Hippo Hands in sub-freezing temperatures with only spring gloves on. They are fantastic, and you can take them off and store them in a matter of 1-2 minutes. I won’t ride in the winter without them! The best $75.00 I’ve spent on my bike.

For more information about Hippo Hands (the original), visit their website at

Line Dempsey

Line Dempsey has been guiding adventure tours for many years. Having been born and reared in NC, Line got his start in leading tours in the 1980's with unsupported bicycle tours of the state of NC, SC and Virginia. Line worked in the tourism industry for 10 years prior to leaving for graduate school. Line began leading motorcycle trips in NC, VA, SC, as well as a trip to the lower east corner of the US ( Key West ). For the last 14 years, Line's work has allowed him to travel throughout the state of NC at least once a week and he's seen most of the overlooked side roads of our beautiful state. Line has explored NC via bicycle, kayak, motorcycle, rock climbing, hiking and by sailboat.

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