Crispin's Winter Glove Review
When you ride the bike day in, day out, in all weathers you know what makes a good glove. Trust me, I've tried them all. Cold hands can ruin what would otherwise be an enjoyable ride and can make a simple journey so uncomfortable that driving a car is appealing. The following have been tested over months and years on a daily 5-mile commute and many longer rides in all weathers.
So here is what I think:
Dry's - £25
Now called Sealskinz these gloves are being widely promoted
as the solution to cold, wet hands. Well, they are
not. These gloves suck. You would be better off wearing a
pair of Marigolds and you'd save some money too. The gloves
may be waterproof, but your hands soon feel clammy inside.
Expect numb hands if used in anything less than 10C, particularly
if it is raining. If your hands are already wet do not expect
them to dry out and expect to lose the circulation from fingers
Makes bare hands an attractive option.
Extremeties Sticky Thicky Glove - £14
Made of polypropylene Meraklon these gloves are an OK spring/autumn glove. With sticky palms for extra grip, do not use below 10OC or on prolonged rides in the rain. When cold wind cuts straight through these. Comfortable for wiping your nose on. North Cape do a similar glove which can be picked up at factory clearances for £5, but do not quick-dry them in front of a pub fire as they will melt!
Obviously all these gloves will melt in intense heat, but I would not have felt the need to quick dry an Extremeties Sticky Windy Glove.
Extremeties Sticky Windy Glove - £28
Made of Gore Windstopper fabric with a fine fleece covering, these gloves are my favourites. The Windstopper fabric is not fully waterproof, but does enough to keep the hands dry on short runs while also protecting them from wind chill. Cold or wet hands soon warm up and dry out inside these gloves and the gloves themselves are fast drying. Maybe not ideal below freezing but they would be my glove of choice for any ride in the rain. In fact, I've tested these on 70-mile rides in continuous drizzle and was so impressed I bought a spare pair. With sticky palms for extra grip, although the palms are showing some wear. Comfortable for nose wiping.
Helly Hansen Arctic Mitt - £10-£15?
I bought these in 1990 for £5. By keeping all the fingers together the risk of frostbite on an individual pinkie is minimised. These used to be my favourite gloves for those days when the temperature dropped below minus 10C, but the age has taken a toll on the fleece lining. Not much fun in torrential rain, or when dexterity is important.
The nylon cover makes for an uncomfortable nose wipe.
Mountain Range Winter Mitt - £30
Bought as a replacement for the Helly Hansen Arctic Mitt, but never really used. A waxed-waterproof outer protects a pile lining. Very bulky and any waterproof capabilities are undone by the fact rain runs down my sleeves into the glove. You hand stays warm but the trickle of icey water is unpleasant. Very uncomfortable on the nose. On icy days I prefer to use the Specialized Lobster or Helly Arctic Mitt.
Specialized Lobster Gloves - £28
A cross between a mitt and fingered-glove, pairing pinkies
so they can keep each other warm, these are great in rain
or sub-zero conditions. Slow to dry and developing an unpleasant
odour fairly quickly, they are not ideal for commuting but
are excellent for long weekend rides. I've ridden with these
on the MTB for several hours at minus 7OC and kept
my hands with me. Dexterity is not great but better than numb
fingers. OK for nose wiping but you have to watch the seam
which can rip your snout to pieces. Leather palms increase
durability - I've had these since 1996
Ascender MTB glove - £20
Designed for MTB riding, these gloves are an OK spring/autumn glove but are too cold for chilly riding. Not great for nose wiping.
Polypropylene liner gloves - £6
Received as a gift in 1991, these gloves are thin enough
to be worn under heavier gloves to add an extra season's
use. Small enough to fit a saddlebag pocket, these allow
you to use fingerless mitts down to 4C.
Halford Roadie Gloves - £20?
A winter road glove, made out of Thinsulate, looking like the Specialized Lobster but with single fingers. So bad I threw them away. Take all the disadvantages described above and combine them with none of the advantages.
For winter riding I would recommend two pairs of gloves - a pair of Extremeties Sticky Windy Glove for mild days warmer than 4C or wet days, and the Specialized Lobster Gloves for sub-zero conditions.
Crispin Bennett © 2002