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Category Archives: Cycling Gloves

Cycling gloves for spring, summer, fall and winter riding; gloves rain and windy conditions.

North Face Montana HyVent Gloves

Last winter I purchased a lot of winter cycling gloves in the hope that I would eventually find a pair that could keep my hands warm. Along the way I bought a lot bad gloves, but I also found a few products that you probably won’t see in any cycling catalog. The North Face Montana Gloves are designed with snow skiers in mind, but mountain bikers and commuters could also benefit from them.

North Face Montana HyVent Winter Gloves

North Face Montana HyVent Gloves

North Face Montana Gloves are well insulated, waterproof, and very breathable. The outer shell is made of HyVent and the lining inside is made of brushed tricot. This glove has a “Storm Door” cuff gasket and a ladderlock wrist cinch that seals up the glove to keep the heat in and the cold out. There is also a soft chamude nose wipe on both thumbs.

I used these gloves last year for riding off-road trails in temperatures from around 25 degrees to 35 degrees Fahrenheit. While these gloves are great for off-road use or commuting, I think roadies should stay away from them because they are not windproof. Since you are generally moving a lot faster on the roads than on the trails the wind has a greater impact on roadies.

On the back of this glove you will find a zippered stash pocket where you can insert a chemical hand warmer. Most chemical warmers cost around a dollar a pair and last for up to eight hours each. This zippered pocket is what drew my attention to this glove in the first place. I buy chemical hand warmers in bulk and use them all winter long. Sometimes I put them in my jacket pockets to keep my carbohydrate gels from freezing when I am out on long rides.

As with all winter cycling gloves I would suggest you buy these in a size larger than you would normally wear. Not only will loose gloves keep you warmer that tight ones, but the extra space will allow you to wear a thin pair of glove liners so you can venture out in even colder temperatures.

Like all winter gloves the Montana will soak up perspiration on the inside of the gloves and will have to dry out before you can use them again. The best way to take care of this problem is to buy a boot and glove dryer so your gloves can dry out overnight. Just a bit of moisture in your gloves can ruin a ride!

I purchased my pair of North Face Montana HyVent Gloves at Dick’s Sporting Goods (a brick and mortar store). You can also find them online at numerous sites, such as REI.com, Moosejaw.com and BackCountry.com. The gloves retail for around $60 and if you can work them into your training routine I think they are worth the price.

 

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Pearl Izumi Barrier Lobster Cycling Gloves

If you enjoy hardcore winter cycling then you are going to love Pearl Izumi Barrier Lobster Cycling Gloves! These gloves are waterproof, fully insulated, comfortable and insanely well made. When you look at the photograph below you will understand why they are called lobster gloves—your first and second fingers are in one opening and your third and forth fingers are in the other (this arrangement keeps your fingers very warm). Lobster gloves do make shifting gears a little harder to do, but you will get used to it rather quickly and after a ride or two you probably won’t even think about it any more.

Pearl Izumi Barrier Lobster Cycling Gloves

Pearl Izumi Barrier Lobster Cycling Gloves

Pearl Izumi Barrier Lobster Cycling Gloves have a Pittards Carbon Leather palm and a lightweight ripstop fabric shell. As bulky as these gloves look, you can still easily grip things with them. They have a large microfleece wiping surface on the thumb area and close with a sturdy strip of Velcro. These gloves also have reflective piping and logos for low light visibility.

These gloves are so warm that I would never wear them in temperatures above 25 degrees (Fahrenheit). I’ve used these gloves on many two-hour rides (and longer) when the temperature was in the single digits and they kept me toasty warm the whole time.

Like every pair of winter gloves I’ve ever purchased, the inside of these gloves will be damp when you get home after a long ride. Since these gloves are rather thick they will not dry out overnight, so I hang them on a “boot and glove dryer” overnight and they are always ready to go the next morning. If you ride much in the winter you really need to buy a glove dryer—it will make your life a lot easier!

In my opinion these gloves run about a size smaller than advertized, so I would order them in a size larger than you normally wear. Wearing tight gloves in the winter is a terrible mistake that a lot of newbies make. Tight gloves impede blood circulation to your fingers and this will make you hands feel a lot colder.

Pearl Izumi Barrier Lobster Cycling Gloves retail for around $70, but you can find them on Amazon.com and several other online retailers for around $60. I know this is a lot of money for a pair of gloves, but it is certainly a lot cheaper than a trip to the hospital so you can get treatment for frostbite.

 

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Planet Bike Aquilo Windproof Spring-Fall Cycling Gloves

If your goal is to find one cycling glove that will work in any weather condition you are out of luck. It has been my experience all cycling gloves are meant to function within a fairly narrow temperature range or within a specific weather condition. The Planet Bike Aquilo Windproof Cycling Glove is no exception, and I think the ideal market for this glove would be a commuter riding on windy days when the temperature is between 40 to 55 degrees (Fahrenheit).

Planet Bike Aquilo Windproof Spring-Fall Cycling Gloves

Planet Bike Aquilo Windproof Cycling Gloves

The Planet Bike Aquilo cycling glove is very comfortable and the gel padding on the palm works extremely well at reducing road vibration. The outer shell is made of a windproof four-way stretch material and the fingertips are reinforced. There is a bit of reflective piping on the back of the glove that should help motorists see your hands when you are signaling for a turn (you do use hand signals don’t you?). Since fall and winter bike rides often lead to riding in the dark, I wish all fall and winter gloves had a lot of reflective piping.

These gloves also have a soft fabric (80% cotton, 20% polyester) that runs along the index finger and thumb area that you can use to wipe away sweat or to wipe your nose (if you chose not to use the air hanky). Fortunately, these gloves are also machine washable.

The Planet Bike Aquilo cycling glove has a similar comfortable temperature range to that of the Planet Bike Orion glove, but the Aquilo is meant to protect your hands on windy days. If you are unaccustomed to riding on windy days this might not seem like a big deal, but to those of us who live around Chicago (AKA, the Windy City), this is very important. A bike ride on a 50 degree day with high winds can just about make your hands go numb!

I am not really sure why, but the Aquilo glove has a lobster claw, i.e., both your little finger and ring finger are in the same opening. Normally, lobster claw designed gloves are meant for extremely low temperatures, but this glove is not since it has no insulation. The lobster claw on this glove is not necessarily a bad thing, but it was not exactly needed either.

The sizing on the Aquilo gloves seems to run about one size smaller than advertised. The Aquilo glove does not have a liner, so if you buy a glove liner somewhere else you can wear it under this glove and extend the comfortable temperature range down to at least 35 degrees.

Sometimes people confuse windproof with waterproof, and hopefully you know that these two features are not the same. Planet Bike does not claim these gloves are waterproof (very few gloves are). I got caught in a heavy rain about 20 miles from home while I was testing the Aquilo glove and the results were not pretty. The gloves remained dry for the first 30 minutes, but the last 30 minutes of the ride the gloves were soaked all the way through. However, I set them on the glove dryer I keep in my man cave and the next morning they were are good as new.

A pair of Planet Bike Aquilo cycling gloves retails for around $35. If your local bike shop does not carry this glove you can order it from the Planet Bike Website or from online retailers like Amazon.com.

 

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Planet Bike Orion Gel Full Finger Cycling Gloves

Finding a full finger cycling glove is easy. Finding a good full finger cycling glove can be a challenge. The Planet Bike Orion Gel Full Finger Cycling Glove is a surprisingly good glove for cool (not cold) weather cycling. I say “surprisingly good” because it exceeded my expectations.

Planet Bike Orion Gel Full Finger Cycling Gloves

Planet Bike Orion Gel Full Finger Cycling Gloves

I have read a lot of reviews for different cycling gloves and have come to the conclusion that most of the negative comments about gloves are made by people who are trying to use the gloves for conditions they were never designed to handle. The Planet Bike Orion Gel Glove is intended to be the first full finger glove you use in the fall and the last one you use in the spring before your regular summer gloves come out. These gloves are great for temperatures between 45 and 55 degrees. However, this temperature range will vary depending on the type of cycling you do. A commuter or mountain biker might be able to wear these gloves in slightly cooler temperatures because they are generally moving slower and the wind will not impact them as much as a roadie riding along at 25 or 30 MPH.

The palm of this glove is made of terry and the body is made of a four-way stretch woven spandex—these two pieces are held together with a thin strip of woven Lycra. This glove also has a large Velcro closure, so you can either keep the glove tight or loosen it up a bit as the temperature rises. The photograph of this glove on the Planet Bike Website (and most online retailers) fails to show the silicon fingertip prints (strips) on the index and middle fingers. These silicon strips really increase your grip as you try to grab a carbohydrate gel package out of your back pocket.

There is a ventilated mesh on the back of the glove to increase ventilation. This mesh is a mixed blessing—you will love it if you are a commuter but on a windy 45 degree day it provides more ventilation than you will probably want. The truth is that no glove can be perfect in all situations.

The gel padding on the palm of this glove does an excellent job at reducing vibration. When I first tried this glove on I had serious doubts about the gel padding because it is thinner than I usually like on my gloves. However, I used these gloves on several 50 to 60 mile rides and they were actually very comfortable. I’ve had some gloves that left my hands numb after only 20 miles.

Planet Bike Orion Gel Full Finger Cycling Gloves retail for $26 and they come with a limited lifetime warranty against defects in material and workmanship. If you ride in temperatures below 45 degrees you need to check out the Planet Bike Borealis Winter Full-finger Cycling Gloves (review forthcoming).

 

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Gore Bike Wear Men’s Cross Gore-Tex Cycling Gloves

Last fall I purchased nearly a dozen pairs of cycling gloves and without question the worst of the lot was the Gore Bike Wear Men’s Cross Gore-Tex Glove. This glove had such great potential, but one fatal flaw makes this glove a total waste of space.

Gore Bike Wear Men's Cross Gore-Tex Cycling Gloves

Gore Bike Wear Men's Cross Gore-Tex Cycling Gloves

These gloves are made with a Gore-Tex membrane which makes them both waterproof and breathable. The foam padding on the palm is acceptable for short rides, but on rides over two hours my hands got numb. The long wrist cuffs can be closed to keep the heat in or opened up to allow the heat to escape. There is a small patch of absorbent material on thumb for wiping away rain or perspiration. Like many winter cycling gloves, there is a snap link to connect the gloves together when not in use.

Providing it is not too windy outside, these gloves should keep your hands warm down to around 40 degrees. The main purpose of this glove is to keep your hands dry, not warm. They do a good job of keeping the rain off your hands when the temperature is in the 40’s (at least on short rides), but they do not keep the wind out.

Now for the bad news. Your hands are going to sweat when your ride in these gloves and once the fabric inside the glove gets wet it is nearly impossible to take the glove off and even harder to put back on. The problem is that the inside lining is not sewn in and when you pull your wet hand out of the glove the lining is going to come out as well. Last fall I took these gloves off at a convenience store and I had to borrow a pencil from the cashier so I could push the lining back into the glove with the eraser. Once these gloves get wet it seems like they take forever to dry! These gloves also run at least a size too small.

Gore Bike Wear Men’s Cross Gore-Tex Cycling Gloves retail for $70 and can be purchased in either solid black or a black and red combination. As much as I normally love Gore Bike Wear cycling products it pains me to say these are the worst full-finger gloves I have ever purchased. You would be better off buying a pair of Gore Bike Wear Men’s Alp X III Windstopper Gloves.

 

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Pearl Izumi Select Gel Bike Glove

For the past couple of months I’ve been on a quest to find the perfect cycling glove. The Pearl Izumi Select Gel Bike Glove might not be perfect, but it is far better than most of the other gloves you will find. After riding with these gloves for about 400 miles I think most cyclists will be very happy with the quality of this glove.

Pearl Izumi Select Gel Bike Glove

Pearl Izumi Select Gel Bike Glove

The Pearl Izumi Select Glove offers a decent amount of gel-foam padding, but, depending on your hand position when riding, it might not be exactly where you want it. I found these gloves to offer the greatest amount of padding when your hands are on the drops, and adequate padding when your hands are on the hoods. If you ride with your hands on the flats you might find the padding a bit lacking. I’m not saying the padding is bad, it’s just not as good for riding in this position. However, I’ve ridden several fifty-mile rides with these gloves without any problem. If your hands are going numb on long rides then you probably need to adjust the position of your saddle. If your saddle is titled down in front it will cause you to put more of your weight on the handlebars and this will leave your hands numb or tingling.

The palms of these gloves are made of synthetic leather and they are lightweight and very breathable. Even on a long ride on a very hot and humid day these gloves did not hold moisture. They have a small tab on the ring-finger to help you get the gloves off easier, but I haven’t found that to be very useful. It seems to me that these gloves run a bit on the small side—if you’re on the borderline of a certain size I would order the next larger size. As with most cycling gloves there is a small wiping surface on thumb. This glove is available in five sizes, from small through XX-large. It is also available in five colors (white, black, true red, midnight blue and screaming yellow). These gloves retail for $30, but you can find them online for around $20.

 

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Spenco Ironman T.2 Elite Cycling Gloves

The manufacturer of my favorite cycling gloves recently downgraded the quality of their gloves, so I’ve tried to find a suitable replacement. This past week I rode 140 miles with the Spenco Ironman T.2 Cycling Gloves and have been very impressed.

Spenco Ironman T2.2 Elite Cycling Gloves

Spenco Ironman T.2 Elite Cycling Gloves

Nearly every glove manufacturer offers some sort of gel glove, but most of the ones I’ve tried are too thin to be of any value. The Spenco Ironman T.2 Elite gloves have five gel-pads (6 mm thick) in each palm to reduce road shock, fatigue and numbness in the hands and they actually work as advertised.

These gloves have two other features I really like. First, they are the easiest gloves to take off I’ve ever used due to their patented “Rip-It” closure system. Second, the terry wipe on these gloves is the largest I’ve ever seen on a cycling glove—this will come in handy on hot and humid summer days.

The Spenco gloves also come with a “one-year unconditional guarantee.” The packaging attached to the gloves says they offer: “A money back guarantee if not completely satisfied with our gloves for any reason.” These gloves are really well-made, so I doubt if they have many people trying to take them up on their offer.

The Spenco Ironman T.2 Elite gloves are not cheap. The retail price is $50, but the local bike shop I use had them on the rack for $40.

 

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Serfas RX Cycling Gloves (JRX-MRB RX MEN’S)

Cycling gloves are an item that many cyclists don’t think much about until they come home from a ride with numb hands. I’ve tried many different brands of cycling gloves, but once I found the Serfas RX Cycling Gloves I stopped trying to find a “better” glove—Serfas has exactly what I need!

Serfas RX Cycling Gloves

Serfas RX Cycling Gloves

Serfas RX Cycling Gloves were designed by physicians to reduce the pressure on the nerves and arteries in the hands, and I want to let you know they succeeded in their goal! In my opinion, the gel padding in these gloves is perfect. Thin padding in a cycling glove is next to worthless and if the padding is too thick your hands will start to cramp.

I’ve gone riding with these gloves when the temperature was in the high 90’s (that is as bad as we normally get in Chicago) and the gloves never made me feel like they were heating up my hands. In fact, my hands are cooler with these gloves than with any other glove I’ve tried. I use these gloves with both road and mountain bikes, and in sunny weather or in the rain.

One of the coolest things about these gloves is the “Easy Off Loop” that allows you to slide the gloves off easily, even when they are soaking wet from a long ride in the rain. The Serfas RX Cycling Gloves are machine washable and I have been able to get nearly 2,000 miles of use with every pair.

I buy Serfas RX Cycling Gloves from a local bike shop, but I noticed that several retailers on Amazon.com also have them available. The list price is about $30.00 and I think that is money well spent.

 

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Gore Bike Wear Windstopper Gloves

I own a lot of cycling gloves, but there are really only a few pair that I regularly use. Most of the gloves I’ve bought have failed to meet my needs and are now residents of the Island Of Misfit Cycling Purchases (the population of the island increases every time I go to a bike show). I separate my gloves, like most of my cycling outerwear, into different weather categories roughly based upon 10 degree categories. When the temperature is in the 40’s I really like the Gore Bike Wear Men’s Alp X III Windstopper Gloves.

Gore Bike Wear Men's Alp X III Windstopper Gloves

Gore Bike Wear Men's Alp X Windstopper Gloves

The first thing you need to know about these gloves is that they are for cool weather, not cold weather. My fingers do get cold in these gloves when the temperature drops into the 30’s. However, they are highly breathable and block the wind like no other gloves I’ve ever used. They have a bit of reflective trim on the fingers, but not enough to make them stand out much in low light conditions.

As for sizing, these gloves run a bit tight. If you normally wear medium-sized gloves I would order these in large.These gloves have a very good gel pad in the palms and silicone-coated fingertips that provide a  good grip. I used these gloves on dozens of 50 mile rides and have found them to be very comfortable. The long wrist cuffs on the gloves have a Velcro closure so you can provide some ventilation if your hands get too warm (they will if you are riding with these in the mid 50’s).

The Gore Bike Wear Men’s Alp X III Windstopper Gloves have a list price of around $60 and are available on Amazon.com and many retailers.

 

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Bar Mitts For Winter Cycling

Every experienced cyclist can probably think of a few products that really changed the way they ride. It might have been something as expensive as a new carbon-fiber bike or as simple as a new pair of gloves. For me, Bar Mitts are one of the greatest products I have ever purchased and they changed the way I rode all winter!

Bar Mitts On My Winter Bike

Bar Mitts on my winter bike (Lake Michigan is in the background)

Bar Mitts are simple neoprene mitts that attach to your handle bars and allow you to use very lightweight gloves even in the coldest of weather. You have probably noticed ads for Bar Mitts or similar devices in bicycle magazines before and wondered if they worked. The answer is a resounding YES!

Installing Bar Mitts took under five minutes the first time I used them. They attach with a simple Velcro cinch and mine stayed on all winter long without any problem. Once installed you can put your gloved hands into the mitts and ride in some of the worst weather possible without worrying about frostbite. I was able to ride with my “fall gloves” (gloves I use when the temperature is between 40 and 50 degrees) even though the temperature was in the teens. The problems I used to have with frozen fingers were gone and I had much more control over my bike since I was wearing thinner gloves. Getting out of the mitts while riding was no problem, and since I was wearing thinner gloves I could actually find my Cliff Bars by touch.

I do have a couple of hints for you if you use Bar Mitts. If you store your bike in a cold garage (like most of us) you can quickly warm up the mitts with a cheap hair dryer before you go on your ride (it just takes about 30 seconds per mitt). I bought a hair dryer for a drug store for under $10.00. Also, if it is really cold outside (under ten degrees) you can throw disposable chemical hand warmers into the mitts and they will do an incredible job of keeping you warm.

I paid $65.00 for Bar Mitts for my mountain bike. They also have models available for road bikes (for either internal shift cables or external shift cables). The company offers free shipping within the contiguous US. I ordered mine online on a Sunday afternoon and was riding with them on Wednesday.

There are several other products like Bar Mitts on the market, but since I have not tried them I cannot offer an opinion about them. However, if you are looking for something to keep your hands warm on a road bike, I would suggest you try a pair of Moose Mitts (see the review).

 

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