Those of us who enjoy winter cycling on our road bikes know that one of the hardest things to do is to find a way to keep our hands warm when the temperature outside is below freezing. When the temperature drops below 25 degrees you almost certainly have to wear heavy gloves, like the Pearl Izumi Barrier Lobster Gloves. Lobster gloves will keep your hands warm, but they also limit your dexterity and you have to take them off every time you try to reach into one of your pockets. A better alternative for roadies is the Drop Bar Version of Moose Mitts from Trails Edge.
Moose Mitts are best described as large mittens that fit over your handlebars so you can slip your gloved hands into the mittens and stay warm. Moose Mitts are made of thick 1000 Denier Cordura and are lined on the inside with heavy fleece. They are both windproof and waterproof. These mitts are attached to your handlebars by an elastic ring that goes over the bottom of your drops, a strip of Velcro on the top, and another strip of Velcro around your cables. There is also a strip of 3M reflective tape on the top of the mitts.
The drop bar version of Moose Mitts allow you to ride your road bike with you hands in any of the three standard positions (on the drops, hoods, or flats). I need to point out that there are some competitors to Moose Mitts and most of them limit your hand positions.
In my experience Moose Mitts warm your hands up by about 15 to 20 degrees. If you are riding with a pair of gloves that are only good down to 35 degrees, you will probably be able to wear them with Moose Mitts all the way down to 15 or 20 degrees. I have one pair of gloves that would normally have my hands freezing at 35 degrees, but with Moose Mitts those same gloves had my hands sweating at 23 degrees.
One of the questions you are probably asking yourself is, “What about the aerodynamics?” At first glance Moose Mitts look about as aerodynamic as a bookcase. However, I’ve ridden with them into 30 MPH headwinds without any trouble at all. In fact, and this is a very subjective opinion, I think the Moose Mitts create less drag than you would have with a pair of lobster gloves on. Riding with a 30 MPH crosswind didn’t create any problems either. Because the mitts are open in the back to accommodate a variety of hand positions, a strong tailwind can cool your hands down a bit (but your hands are still much warmer than they would be otherwise).
My only criticism of Moose Mitts is the location of the 3M reflective stripe—the reflective tape is on the top of the mitts so I don’t think it does much good (unless you ride in an area with a lot of low-flying aircraft). If you ride during the day it really doesn’t make any difference where the reflective tape is at. I ride a lot at night I always try to buy products with reflective tape. However, I realize that sewing reflective tape on something like thick Cordura is probably not very easy. Mike Flack, owner of Trails Edge, told me they are working on a Super Hi-Vis version of Moose Mitts that employs additional reflective stripes and is made of a Hunter Orange color fabric.
Moose Mitts are hand-made in Michigan by the folks at Trails Edge. These mitts are only manufactured during the winter months, so if you want a pair you need to order them by mid-February at the latest. The drop bar version of Moose Mitts sells for $75 and I think they are well worth the money. Trails Edge also makes Moose Mitts for mountain bikes (or any flat bar bike) and for hiking and cross-country skiing poles as well. The flat bar version sells for $60 a pair.