09 November 2015 ~ 2 Comments

Cycling Gloves — Quick Review

Fingerless Gloves

I have a pro-deal with Pearl Izumi, so I tend to buy perhaps more apparel than I need…(yet, much of it, I unload on eBay or Amazon if it doesn’t work for me). Earlier this summer (2015), I picked up a pair of the Pearl Izumi’s top-of-the-line fingerless cycling glove called the Men’s ELITE Gel Glove. What a mistake. Look at the pads—they are SOOOO thick! And the pads seem to be in the wrong location anyway yielding hot spots.

So then I picked up a pair of the XXL Lizard Skins LaSal 2.0 gloves. What a difference. They have just the right amount padding, but not too much. And also, the finger part of the gloves actually extends down more than 3 or 4mm like others do. This is my top pick for a fingerless. The runner up is the Chiba Gel Comfort glove (not shown).

Full Finger Gloves

I believe a full-finger glove’s purpose is to get your hands warm in cooler weather, but yet many have so much mesh that it doesn’t fulfill that purpose.

For several seasons, my go-to glove for moderate temperatures (my recommendation is 40-60F & light rain) is the XL Outdoor Designs Cycleflex gloves. They have a Polartec Power Shield liner which is windproof, but yet breathes enough. The build quality on these gloves is top notch, esp. the detail in the “fake” leather palm area. I just wish my U.S.-distributor imported in the U.S. the XXL version as the XL is tad too small for me. This company is big in the U.K. where they are based, but obscure in the U.S. so this product is hard to find. Lately (2017) I have been using the Pearl Izumi Cool Weather Glove in an XXL size. It does not have the robust construction of the Cycleflex gloves, but squishes down smaller in my bag when I switch to fingerless gloves. It is a good slope season full-figure glove.

I tried the Lizard Skins Monitor 1.0, their top-of-the-line full-finger glove. What a joke. Mostly mesh. Doesn’t keep anything warm. Send em back! The Craft Control Bike glove is similar — mostly mesh and little added warmth.

For cooler temperatures (my recommendation is 25-50F), I have been using the Pearl Izumi ELITE Softshell glove. Despite having thick gel pads like the fingerless model, I didn’t notice that pads, due to the 100 g Primaloft insulation in them. This glove has been very nice for temperatures from just below freezing to 45F, or sometimes in the mid 50s. The dexterity is reasonable, considering the insulative value. Since I’m 6’4″ most jacket sleeves don’t extend down far enough to cover my wrists while in the aero position, so I am always looking for a cold-weather glove with a longer-than-average gauntlet. These have a long gauntlet which works well in my attempts to stay warm.

For more extreme temperatures, I have gone to using full-on mountaineering gloves. I have used an XL 2013 version of the Outdoor Designs McKinley Mountain Gauntlet which has a 100 g DuPont Thermolite Active insulation sewn into the outer glove plus an Event waterproof/breathable membrane. It has a removable insulated liner glove, which I frequently replace with the Outdoor Designs Cycleflex, or better yet, the XXL Craft Storm glove. (The stock liner is just too bulky for cycling). The Storm is a nice mid-weight glove made from a combination of fleece and neoprene type fabric. It works well in a light rain too and by itself, and is useful in temps from about 40-60F. I also use the Storm a lot for randonnée or backcountry skiing (with the Denali in my backpack for sub-freezing temps [0-40F] or extreme winds found at above-timberline elevations).

Full Finger Gloves for Rain

Earlier this year, on a spring ride (a 400K which we all DNFed due to the cold), we had temps around 40-45F with a constant downpouring of rain. I had a pair of Outdoor Designs Summitlite gloves with a liner, but I just couldn’t stay warm. Besides, the bemberg liner on those gloves would come up when I removed my hands (if I forget to pinch the glove finger ends) and then it was near impossible to insert them back in. Needless to say, my fingers were cold. Since then, I picked up a pair of the XXL Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier WxB gloves, which are a mid-weight glove with Outdry, a waterproof/breathable membrane. I plan to line them with a lighter fleece glove or the Storm Craft. I have yet to use these. I plan to take them on long trips where there is expected to be cold and rainy conditions.

I have also used the Seirus All Weather Xtreme™ Glove for rainy conditions. It is OK down to about 45-50F and rain. But like I mentioned above, the liner has a tendency to come out when your hand is removed.

Another style I have used are scuba-diver/river runner neoprene gloves (& socks too) for super rainy conditions. They work well, until the temps drop below 45F, then, for me, my fingers just don’t stay warm.

I have heard that for super wet and cold conditions, the only glove is a PVC seamless rubber glove…the type used by fisherman working in the arctic (or those to clean your oven). Then line it with a tight-fitting fleece or wool glove, which can be replaced every few hours, if it gets too sweat-saturated. In 2016 I purchased the Atlas Vinylove 620 for this purpose, but our season was remarkably dry so I did not get a chance to use them (I spent most of that spring rando skiing instead of cycling). They are bulky enough to slip a liner inside them — I will report in after using them.

2 Responses to “Cycling Gloves — Quick Review”

  1. Ken 10 November 2015 at 10:49 am Permalink

    Nice write up, I’m always trying different gloves too and never quite satisfied…

    FYI, the fashion these days is to wear full-fingered gloves when mountain biking, even in hot weather, so I’d imagine any full-fingered glove with mesh is targeting the mountain bikers that want to look like they’re riding motorcycles.

    My favorite combo for cold weather is wool gloves with a mitten shell, so much warmer than gloves. There’s no good mitt overshells designed for cycling, so there may be a product development opportunity there, not much different from sewing bags, right?

  2. Rando Richard 10 November 2015 at 4:41 pm Permalink

    Ken, I was thinking that some full-finger gloves are indeed for MTB, but I wasn’t sure. Thanks for clarifying. STI shifters are hard to use with mittens, though I have heard that the lobster-style are warmer. I have yet to try them. Bar Mitts is another option to keep fingers warm. I have a pair, but they don’t work with aerobars, so I rarely use them.

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