Which of you can remember the thick, padded mittens you were forced to wear as a kid? Your fingers jammed so hard together that your manual dexterity was a disaster with about as much precision as a penguin flipper. But at least this awful feeling had one advantage: warm hands right up to your fingertips. None of us would ever have thought they would long to return to the fluffy crab claw feeling but that’s just what happens as you peel off a pair of wet gloves after a long, winter ride.
We’ve long grown out of the mittens – thank goodness! As on the bike we really need more finger sensitivity than elsewhere is we want to brake accurately and with enough power. Modern mountainbike-winter gloves promise to offer a perfect balance: high quality leather, softshell- and synthetic materials allow sensitivity yet still protect from the elements just as well as the good old mittens. We gathered together the most promising models and tested them for you: which gloves keep you warm even on the coldest winter rides but still offer good comfort, sensitivity and grip?
Giro Blaze – Test Winner
Minimalist favourite – € 34.95
Unostentatious and with few extras: the Giro impresses by its simplicity. The outer hand is protected by a softshell material with a roughened inner face which is very stretchy and pleasant on the skin. The palms are made of a grippy artificial leather with a thin cushion providing comfort. The velcro fastener on the wrist is conspicuous by its absence – every other glove in the test has one. The Giro is quick and easy to pull over your hands, time consuming opening and closing is no longer required. Especially in bad conditions this proves to be a clear advantage.
Conclusion: less is more! The clean design of the Blaze goes hand in hand with more functionality. We were happy to go lower than the recommended temperature range of 10 degrees: even around the freezing point the Blaze keeps your hands warm and the softshell-material surprises with a high degree of water resistance. Most of all the simple handling impressed us: no velcro cuffs which need tucking under layers of jackets and fleeces. Pull on, feel great and off into the cold! Not only test winner, also the best buy goes to the second cheapest gloves in the test!
Mavic Stratos Thermo Glove
High-End-warmers – € 60.00
Mavic presents its all weather gloves in typical yellow colour. The Stratos Thermo Gloves offer more features than any others: padded hand ball and silicon strips on the finger give great grip, the outer membrane is unbeatable in isolation and water resistance, the fingertips are touch screen ready and the workmanship is top. The only downside: the fit. Especially the fingers are cut relatively narrow and none of our testers could get a good fit.
Conclusion: A first class all-round glove, high quality materials, great workmanship and solid warmth: the Stratos Thermo Glove would have been our favourite if they had fit better. For those of you with slim fingers a clear best buy tip though.
GORE ALP-X 2.0 WINDSTOPPER Soft Shell Light Handschuhe
Wafer thin protection – € 59.95
The GORE ALP-X 2.0-gloves impress with a combination of robust palm material and wafer thin WINDSTOPPER-material on the outside. The padding on the grip side makes holding on to your bars extremely comfortable whilst the silicon coated fingertips ensure reliable control of the brakes. The thin softshell material on the exterior really lives up to its name keeping the cold air at bay but it isn’t waterproof. When it’s wet or if spray reaches your hands from the ground the fingers get wetter quicker than with other gloves and therefore cool sonner.
Conclusion: The GORE ALP-X. 2.0 are ideal for dry conditions and weather above freezing point. The light, wind resistant upper material will appeal to those who feel restricted by thicker gloves and prioritise mobility over isolation yet still want a well padded palm area.
HIRZL GRIPPP Tour Thermo
Kangaroo-comfort – € 54.90
The GRIPPP TOUR THERMO gloves snuggly over your hands like a second skin.
No other gloves in the test group were able to match their pleasant fit. This is made possible by a palm made of flexible kangaroo leather and the pre-curved-technology which takes the natural curvature of your fingers into account during manufacturing. The neoprene cuffs are unusually long and reach up far beyond the wrists. Here you also feel well wrapped up. The upper material is robust softshell, which however doesn’t keep you as warm as with some of the other gloves. Maybe the closer fit is what allows the cold reach your fingers sooner.
Conclusion: the HIRZL GRIPPP TOUR THERMO looks chic and fits your hands like a second skin. It is one of the few models in the with real leather palms and offers an exceptional level of comfort. The manufacturer recommends wearing them as base layer under a second pair on colder days. We can confirm this from wearing them around the freezing point: a real winter glove needs to offer better isolation. It’s worth remembering the GRIPP as a transition glove for autumn and spring rides.
SixSixOne Storm Glove
For the hard days – € 59.90
The Storm Glove is a little bit different from the others in the test as it is the only model not using a softshell-material on the outer, instead it has two layers of neoprene and polyester as well as a lining. This make it both the warmest and most water resistant glove in the group.
The outer is closest to a ski glove and thus the best choice for the very cold days or those who really feel the cold. The palms are made of soft, thin leather allowing great grip. The thick outer slightly restricts mobility.
Conclusion: attention! The Storm Gloves like it cold – during exertions where you sweat they might quickly get too warm annoy you with their thickness. On the other hand they are a real weapon against cold fingers and on long descents. We could see them as your ideal reserve gloves kept in your backpack and pulled out after the summit has been reached ready for the downhill.
Simple and warm – € 29.90
The cheapest model in the group test is reduced to the max: artificial leather palms without reinforcements or padding, isolation softshell-material on the outside. The grip is good, the flexible material allows maximum freedom of movement and sufficient protection from the elements. The workmanship and material quality is lower than the more expensive competitors.
Conclusion: a glove which those who prefer not to have pads and reinforcements on the palms will like. The outer keeps you warm and dry for a long time. The Brisker is perfect for those seeking a good value glove for cold days. The low price is only noticeable in level of workmanship.
Words: Hannah Röther Photos: Christoph Bayer
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