Picture this: the start gun has blasted, the crowd cheers and bit by bit the snake of lycra clad warriors edges forward to the start gantry. Timer running, anticipation of the hills is thick in the air…but WAIT!! HOLD EVERYTHING!!
Has anyone seen my gloves…hello….HAS ANYONE SEEN MY ^%*&#^ GLOVES!!
Yep, this is what happened to me. But as that snake of riders crept further toward the start line, and gradually the crowd started to thin, my temper flared to bike throwing point and I knew this called for drastic action lest I be the last rider across the start line….and one without gloves!
I ran to the nearest pop-up stall and paid the hefty sum of $30 for some new gloves that didn’t even match my kit…what was I thinking!! Riding without hand protection is one thing, but non-matching gloves. You have got to be kidding!
So I admit, I have a draw full of gloves! In an effort to justify this gelled and leather collection that my better half happened upon and promptly asked for an explanation, I think a review of the items is my ticket out of this rather unsettling discussion at home. ‘But you see sweet better-half, this is important research…I need to test ALL these gloves.’
I don’t think he fell for the research excuse, but here’s the reviews….
Long finger gloves are really best for the cooler months, though some riders do like them all year round. I find that the lack of ‘touch’ on the bike with full fingers can be annoying, and especially irritating if you are prone to stopping and using the phone or camera while riding.
There are long finger gloves which come with a ‘swipe finger’ which allows you to use the swipe pad on the phone, though it is of course law that you should not be using the phone while actually riding.
Some of the long finger gloves are really just for an added barrier to the cold air, while some come with full padding and thermal lining.
Pearl Izumi Cyclone Gel Gloves – $60
Personally I’ve always found these gloves a little cumbersome. The thick fabric is like a neoprene outer with fleece inner – it certainly keeps the hands warm and the reflective elements on the gloves are a great odea. The Cyclone is also cut a little higher so it creeps further up the wrist for added warmth. The palm is gel adding some extra comfort, but I just think these are a little bulky for my liking.
The fabric is thin, but toasty warm with a soft fleece lining. What these lack in padding they make up for in warmth, though they probably aren’t what you need in super cold conditions. I have a tendency for warm hands so these do me perfectly, except for the lack of any padding. The silicone grip pattern on the palm works quite well and the extra length on the wrist keepsmeans there is no exposed gap between jersey and hand. But my biggest complaint about these gloves is that I always seem to end up stitching the seams over and over again…not sure if it’s just me, but they seem to come undone a little more than I would like.
These are very cute gloves and the pattern is certainly a stand out…if you like that kind of thing. I do and happily wear these gloves during early winter. The mesh style fabric on the upper hand is quite thing so I wouldn’t recommend these for seriously cold days. However the gel liner on the palm works really well for me – the padding is in the right spots and the soft leather is really pliable and feels easy to move in. Though it looks like they have a swipe finger, they don’t. So if you need to use the phone, off with the gloves! These are a lightweight glove, and for the thrashing I have given them, well worth the money.
SHORT FINGER GLOVES
Short finger gloves are really the stock standard item everyone should have in their kit. I am usually pretty insistent that all riders attending our classes and rides wear gloves. The palm protection offered just can’t be ignored in the event of an accident.
There are so many gloves out there that it can be really tricky to know what the differences are. I reviewed the ones below with the view that I know what works for me, but it really is a personal choice – some people swear by gel padding, others don’t care about it. Best advice is to try them all on at the shop, grab a few bike handlebars and see how they feel – do they catch between the fingers or feel tight?
Ventou Gloves – $30
These are the gloves I purchased in a panic when I was meant to be starting a timed ride! They were all I could find at the time and they are blue and grey – for me that instantly relegates them to the bottom of the drawer. Lucky I have a son who has now claimed them as his own. Not a bad glove, nice padding on the palm and the lycra upper hand feels soft. They also have little finger grabbers to make it easier to get them off.
I quite liked wearing these gloves but felt a little let down when the mesh style fabric upper started to pull and grab, leaving a pilling effect. But the thumb area has a nice ‘towelling’ like fabric which is perfect for wiping the sweat away and being black doesn’t show too much dirt. The palm padding is just a foam insert and seems to work quite well. I did find though that my hands tend to get very hot in these for despite the mesh style fabric.
These pretty little blue gloves have a gel padding and a similar mesh style fabric to the Santini ones, only these don’t seem to get the same pilling effect. The gel padding isn’t too thick and the thumb area has a chamois style feaux leather fabric which is absorbent and works well to wipe away the sweat (or a runny nose!). My gripe with these what that when I had white bar tape on the handlebars, some times the black on the palm would seem to leave a dye mark on the tape. Comes in blue, pink or black too!Pearl Izumi Elite Gel Glove – $39.95
This is a far more technical glove than the Select version. The gel padding is placed perfectly for my hands and is not bulky at all. The combination of the mesh style fabric with the lycra means a nice close fit and there is the added bonus of an ‘easy-off’ pull tab – this means you can pretty much just grab and rip them off. The thumb area has the same nice soft feaux leather for wiping away sweat and the gloves breathe really well in hot conditions. This glove up until recently has been my ‘old favourite’…worn to death, super comfy and looking a little worse for wear. Comes in blue, pink, black, purple, turquoise and whole bunch of others! Nice.
BBB Racer – $29.95
I was just not convinced with these gloves…and I’m even more not convinced with these now! You see, I only have one. Somewhere in the madness of the glove draw, one escaped. So unless I feel like doing my best Micheal Jackson impersonation, these gloves…rather, glove, stay indoors! It’s a shame because while they were a pair they worked well…really great in hot weather and nice and light with the lycra upper. The finger pulls are a fabulous idea and getting these gloves off was a breeze. They were in fact one of my favourite gloves, but only come in a selection of black with fluro yellow, or white. No wipe zone here for runny noses either, so that’s the down side.
Specialized Grail Glove – $44.95
The idea with the Grail is that the padding is centred on the palm in one central position. This is to even out the surface of the palm contacting the handlebar. This has obvious positives for those who find the gel padding in some gloves uncomfortable. For me, it just didn’t work that well and I didn’t notice any obvious benefit or extra comfort. The upper mesh fabric is certainly nice and soft and the wipe zone on the thumb area is the softest of any gloves I own! I also love the short cut so it doesn’t impede wrist movement and the fact there is no Velcro closure means the fit is super snug. ‘Easy off’ finger pulls also makem very simple to get off in a hurry. Best part is that it comes in the super cute mint polka dot pattern, white polka dots or the lovely black and hot pink pictured.
Specialized Sport Gloves – $44.95
Though I’d had a long standing love affair with the Pearl Izumi Elite gloves, these Specialized Sport gloves are now my glove of choice. They ride everywhere with me while the weather is warm and my hands always feel protected, comfortable and cool. They did some seriously hard yards on the Great Vic Bike Ride and saw some extreme heat conditions where the sweat wiping was happening every few minutes…as a consequence the colour has faded quite a bit since they were new so that is a little disappointing. The padding is a mix of gel and foam and seems to be placed just perfectly for me and the fabric on both the palm and the upper is super soft. These also have the easy-off finger pulls and you can just rip them off so easily. These certainly aren’t the top of the range in the Specialized gloves, but for me they are just great. They come in the pink pictured, black or two combos of white with either mint or pink.
As far as the long fingers go my pick at the moment is the Pearl Izumi Select Long Fingers. They do almost everything I want them to do, except the lack of a swipe finger is annoying. However, I’ve been so happy with the Specialized Sport Gloves I’m keen to try some of their long finger alternatives – the Sport in the long finger doesn’t have a swipe finger, however the Body Geometry Long Finger glove does. There are a few long finger gloves in the Specialized range so I will be keen to see exactly which ones will be available here when the cooler weather arrives.
The short gloves draw may as well have a full spring clean…I have so much that just doesn’t do it for me anymore. I’ve tried so many and the ones reviewed are the ones I’ve kept because they serve a purpose. But for now, the glove you’ll be seeing me wear on most rides will be the Specialized short finger Sport glove. It’s easy, it’s cool, priced well, comfy and does the job…best of all, it’s pink!!