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Planet Bike Borealis Winter Cycling Gloves

21 Nov

This past April I picked up a pair of Planet Bike Borealis Winter Cycling Gloves on clearance at a brick-and-mortar REI store. However, before I got a chance to use this glove Planet Bike updated it so I bought a new pair a few weeks ago for review purposes. To call this glove an “update” doesn’t do it justice. About the only thing the 2011 Borealis glove has in common with the older version is the name. The older model of this glove appeared to be OK, but the new version is absolutely the best winter cycling glove I’ve ever owned!

Planet Bike Borealis Winter Cycling Gloves with removable fleece liner and windproof fabric

Planet Bike Borealis Winter Cycling Gloves

The Borealis glove has a windproof back panel that works incredibly well. Some cyclists try to ride in the winter with a warm pair of gloves they bought at a sporting goods store. However, a glove that was created for a hunter walking through the woods is not designed to block the wind like a glove made for cyclists. It doesn’t matter how warm the glove is if it can’t block the wind your hands are going to freeze.

The first time I rode with these gloves was on a 29 degree day with the wind blowing at 29 MPH. Since I was on my road bike the first 15 miles of the ride was directly into the wind. If you have ever cycled on a day like that you know there are very few gloves that could keep your hands warm. The Borealis glove functioned perfectly and kept me warm the entire ride.

As you can see in the photo above, the Borealis is a lobster claw glove, i.e., both your little finger and ring finger are in the same opening. This arrangement is meant to keep your fingers warm (and it works).

Planet Bike advertises the Borealis as being a “3-in-1″ glove. The glove itself consists of a windproof outer shell and a removable fleece liner. You can use this glove wearing just the shell, or on a mild day you could ride with just the fleece liner, or put them together to have the best winter glove on the market.

Personally, I would never ride with just the fleece liner since it does not have gel padding on the palms (plus I have a lot of other cycling gloves at my disposal). I think the best thing about this glove is that on a cold day you can stop and take the outer shell off as you grab a bite to eat or adjust your bike and still keep the fleece liner on. The ability to remove the fleece liner will really make a difference in the way you cycle in the winter. When you get home from a ride you can easily pull the liner out of the glove which will allow it to quickly dry. One of the biggest problems with most other winter cycling gloves is that they take forever to dry out (unless you use a boot and glove dryer).

This glove also has a Neoprene cuff and pull tab with a Velcro closure. The cuff on the glove is big enough that you can pull it over the ends of your jacket to keep the heat in. There is also a fair amount of reflective piping on the back of the glove so motorists can see your hand signals at night.

If I could change one thing on this glove it would be the lack of gel padding in the palms. This is not going to be a problem for most people since the fleece liner does cushion your hands, but for those of us who spend a lot of time riding in the winter extra padding would be appreciated. The glove does have a reinforced Serino palm, but it lacks gel padding. This glove is water-resistant, not waterproof (unless you are trying to make snowballs it won’t make any difference).

The Planet Bike Borealis Winter Cycling Glove retails for $42 and this has to be the best value you will find in a winter cycling glove. If you choose to order this glove from an online retailer make sure you ask for the new 2011 glove with the removable liner, not the model from last winter.

When the temperature drops down to below 25 degrees I would suggest the Pearl Izumi Barrier Lobster Gloves, or better yet, buy a pair of Bar Mitts that fit over your handlebars so you can ride with the Borealis glove all winter long.

 

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14 responses to “Planet Bike Borealis Winter Cycling Gloves

  1. vredstein

    December 10, 2011 at 12:06 AM

    Thanks for the review. I’ll give these a try. I’m optomistic because I’ve had great luck with Planet Bike’s tail lights, computers and their toe covers.
    The three finger design might work better for shifting road bike integrated shifters versus the other lobster-style mitts.
    I have a pair of Craft lobster mitts that have a windproof back panel, but the strip of fabric that separates the back from the palm is a light Lycra which lets the wind right in. The thumb has no wind proofing.The back of my hands will be warm, but the tips and thumb will be frozen. I think they could improve on the Borealis if they added a fleece layer over the index finger for more nose wiping surface.

     
  2. Noah McMurray

    December 12, 2011 at 8:19 AM

    I recently purchased a pair of the new Borealis gloves and agree that they are quite well made and quite warm. The one downfall I’ve found is that there is no wind blocking fabric under the fleece patch on the thumb – the wind streams right in and ends up freezing my thumb. As such, I’m still searching for the right glove (for me) for the 20-30F degree range.

     
  3. All Seasons Cyclist

    December 12, 2011 at 10:53 AM

    Noah, I’ve had no problems with the Borealis glove down to around 25 degrees. If you need something warmer I would suggest the Pearl Izumi Barrier Lobster Glove (I reviewed it a few weeks ago on the site). Also, another alternative would be Bar Mitts or Moose Mitts — they will both block the wind and make any glove about 15 degrees warmer than before.

     
    • Noah McMurray

      December 12, 2011 at 12:40 PM

      Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the PI Barrier Lobster you reviewed is available anymore and it’s not clear if the P.R.O. Lobster is the same/upgraded version (I haven’t spent too much time delving into just yet). Anyway, I’m not necessarily looking for a warmer glove per se – I’ve got warmer gloves for below 20 degrees which are then just too warm for the 20-30 degree range. I’m looking for a glove that will keep me comfortable in the 20-30 degree range and the Borealis is close save for the thumb “air-vent” issue which was my real point. Thanks for the input though!

       
  4. mb

    December 8, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    I was wondering what you thought of the assos fugu s7 with the insulator under. It is expensive but I wonder if it is worth it for cycling in 10 or 20 F weather.

     
    • All Seasons Cyclist

      December 8, 2012 at 8:49 PM

      Assos says that this item has an “optimal protection range at temperatures around 21-43 degrees Fahrenheit.” For about 1/5 the cost you could get a Planet Bike Blitzen Windproof Shoe Covers (see review at http://wp.me/p1sFbY-yx) and they have the same temperature range. Also, for the price of the Assos fuguBootie you could just about buy a new pair of Lake Winter Cycling Boots (review at http://wp.me/p1sFbY-ni). I wear the Lake Boots down to 10 degrees F.

       
      • mb

        December 12, 2012 at 9:04 AM

        Thanks! But I am sorry, I meant the gloves. I see now I did not say gloves.

         
        • All Seasons Cyclist

          December 12, 2012 at 2:29 PM

          I’ve not tried the Assos Fugu Gloves, but they are certainly expensive ($170). However, judging from the material and photographs I can’t imagine that they would any better than the Planet Bike Borealis — but I might be wrong about that. However, Assos is based in Switzerland and those folks certainly know a lot about winter.

           
  5. Lito

    January 8, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    I have been riding with the Borealis this winter and have to agree they are the best winter gloves I have ever owned. I rode last weekend when the temp was 21 degrees at the start with 10mph winds. My hands were warm and comfortable throughout the 40 mile ride. Well worth the money. I have recommended them to one of my riding partners who gets cold hands easily. I’ll see if it keeps his hands warm too.

     
  6. Jacob

    December 9, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    Just picked the borealis gloves up this week. I am very disappointed in the warmth, especially the thumb. Its been mid to upper 20’s, so will clearly need to invest in another pair as we will certainly get colder days.

     
    • All Seasons Cyclist

      December 9, 2013 at 7:25 PM

      I guess we all have different tolerances for cold weather — I use these gloves for temps down to 25 degrees (F) without any problem. Below 25 degrees I use Bike Poagies, Moose Mitts, or Bike Mitts along with a very thin pair of full-finger gloves.

       
  7. hamid

    November 19, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    i was looking for a full finger glove. when i open my hand, there’s not enough material between the thumb and index finger in regular size gloves, plus i have long digits. is this glove going to fit in that sense ?
    i was thinking of purchasing an independent liner to use with this glove. how thick is the insert ?

     
    • All Seasons Cyclist

      November 19, 2014 at 4:27 PM

      I don’t know what to tell you about sizing, but I wear an extra-large glove and this was perfect for me. The insert is fairly thick—but the insert does not have any padding—it is more like a very thick fleece item.

       

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