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Category Archives: Cycling Gloves

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

Moose Mitts For Winter Cycling On Road Bikes

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 drop bar version for road bikes

Moose Mitts drop bar version for road bikes

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.

Moose Mitts for winter cycling with your hands on the drops, flats, or hoods

You can use Moose Mitts with your hands on the drops, flats, or hoods

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.

 

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The North Face TNF Apex Gloves

If you ride your bike the rain you really need to buy a pair of The North Face TNF Apex Gloves. While these gloves are not cycling-specific, they will do what very few cycling gloves can, i.e., keep your hands warm and dry in the pouring rain.

The North Face TNF Apex Gloves

The North Face TNF Apex Gloves

The North Face TNF Apex Gloves are the best gloves I’ve ever owned for riding in the rain. They are highly water-resistant, breathable and windproof. The first time I rode with these glove the temperature was around 45 degrees (Fahrenheit) and the rain didn’t let up during the entire three-hour ride. I was simply amazed at how comfortable my hands were during the ride—they were warm, but they never got wet and there was no moisture build-up in the gloves when I got home.

The shell for this glove is made of TNF™ Apex ClimateBlock with DWR (durable water-repellent). The interior lining is brushed tricot. The palm has silicone grippers that are fantastic for allowing you to grip the handlebars even in a heavy downpour—I don’t know of any cycling glove that has as good a grip in the rain.

Since The North Face TNF Apex Gloves are not specifically made for cyclists they do have three slight problems. First, you will not find a strip of terry cloth on the thumb to wipe off your sweat. More importantly, they do not have any padding in the palms. However, even after several hours in the saddle with these gloves my hands did not go numb. In addition, they lack any reflective piping like you would normally see on winter cycling gloves.

These gloves are available in four sizes (S, M, L, XL) and The North Face has a sizing chart available on their Website (see link above). The gloves seem to be true to size, but I would suggest you get them in one size larger than you normally wear just to allow a little more air to circulate around your fingers.

You will probably not find The North Face TNF Apex Gloves at any bike shop, but they are available at most sporting good stores, like Bass Pro Shops, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and REI. These gloves retail for around $40, but you can buy them from online merchants like Amazon.com for around $28.

 

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Planet Bike Borealis Winter Cycling Gloves

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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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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