Friday Group Ride #166


Oh, man. When I brought up helmets last week, I had this sneaking suspicion it was a better conversation starter than the Giro d’Italia, though in years past I know we would have turned the Giro over and over like a favorite record. 50 comments later, I think we covered helmets pretty well.

In midweek, Padraig reviewed a new pair of gloves, and that got me thinking that gloves have that same sort of personal character that helmets do.

Truth be told, I prefer to ride without gloves, but years of doing so, while spending my days with my paws on a keyboard, have left the nerves that run from my arms into my mitts with less than optimal connectivity. Some days it doesn’t take very long for a familiar buzzing to creep from my palms up into my fingers.

So, I tend to keep a couple or three pairs of gel-palmed gloves in my steady rotation. The right glove can cradle my frayed nerves and dissipate enough vibration to keep me sensate all day long, over road and gravel, up singletrack and down powerline cut. The Giro Monaco long-fingered glove is a particular favorite, with just the right amount of pad.

Padding, breathability, seam-angle and height, materials, they all go into making a great glove, and of course durability is an issue, because we use our hands for everything.

This week’s Group Ride is about gloves. What do you wear and why? As it’s mostly warm most everywhere right now, let’s keep this to warmer weather gloves. The winter variety can be an entirely different beast with a whole other set of challenges.

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  1. armybikerider

    I’m an Occupational Therapist and work closely with orthopedic surgeons rehabilitating post-operative hand patients.

    So you’d think I was a huge glove user due to professional knowledge of what can happen with nerve compressions (especially neglected symptoms) at the wrist and in the hand.

    But no. I do not wear gloves in the summer. They make me feel hot and claustrophobic, and I simply prefer to not wear them on a bike. That said, I move my hands into different positions very frequently and address diminished sensation immediately and don’t blow it off.

  2. Peter lin

    Instead of using gloves, I try to keep my arms bent to absorb the shock on pothole-ridden new england roads. I find that wearing gloves I tend to keep my arms straight, which ironically results in more pressure on my palms.

  3. Josh

    I have been searching for great gloves for a while.
    I currently wear the Specialized Body Geometry Gel in White/Black. I got them for free from a group ride I did with my company, and I like them more than I thought I would. The mesh back breathes well, and the finger loops make it easier to get the short fingers off, even when sweaty. The padding seems to be too thick when I put them on, but doesn’t ever seem so when I am riding, so maybe it is just right.
    I really want a set of white leather gloves to go with my white bar tape. I have looked at the Giro LX and the Rapha Grand Tour gloves, both come with white leather palms. Just for the sake of price, I think I would try the Giro LX first, but I can’t find anyone who stocks them close to my house. Does anyone have experience with them, or recommend another all white leather glove?

  4. bigwagon

    Only when it’s raining or cold (under about 45 degrees). During a race I may wear fingerless gloves to prevent road rash in the case of a fall.

  5. Champs

    On any bike that I ride for a significant amount of time, I wear gloves.

    My city bike has no wrap, because I got sick of the constant struggle with lost bar plugs and ragged tape.

    On a road bike, half-finger gloves give me something to wipe stuff off my face. Unofficially, in light of Rule 7, I’d point out that they also even out the tan lines on your fingers.

  6. cormw

    I wear Specialized BG gloves. Nothing special, just something to help keep a firm grip on the bars. Living in the heat and humidity in Florida, I find it difficult to do long rides without gloves, especially since I tend to sweat a lot. However, every chance I get I prefer to ride without gloves which mostly happens in the winter months.

  7. Peter Leach

    Specialized BG Gel short fingered gloves for me, too – down to about 10 or 12C. I prefer to wear gloves, for grip and something to wipe sweat etc. from my face. Off road, I’ve gravitated towards Fox Digits, and have both short- and long-fingered versions.

    I agree that cold weather gloves are a whole new ball game.

  8. Georgia Boy

    Old School, SPENCO Crochet-back are the glove of choice for me. You can usually find them on ebay. They are cooler than the new spandex stuff, and the padding is more significant.
    DeFeet gloves during winter. They’re merino wool model keep you warm but let your hands breath.

  9. Rod

    Long-finger Pearl Izumi long fingered gloves. Even in the heat. My fingers sweat quite a bit and I’ve missed shifts,and even worse, slipped on the brake lever. Never again.

    I also like the summer Rapha long finger gloves, but are considerably more expensive.

  10. Alan

    Specialized BG Deflects in the winter, and Pearl Izumi short finger gloves in the summer. The PIs are very cool. Very thin material and moisture seems to evaporate quickly. I love the Deflects, I even take them skiing.

  11. Les Borean

    I suppose I’m being uncool, but amongst these name-brand gloves I wear a pair from Nashbar’s house brand. Twofold are the reasons: They are the only gloves I’ve found with netting on the top, which I find very comfortable, especially in warm weather.

    In cold weather I wear these with glove liners that used to be supplied by the same brand. Now I don’t know where to get liners any more.

  12. Anthony F

    I give the Giro LXs a thumbs up. I have a pair and alternate them with Rapha criterium gloves. The Giros are very well made and have the same tailored fit as the Raphas. The panels and curves and padding on both are perfectly placed. There’s no bunching with either. Because both are real leather, they’ll slide in a crash and won’t wear through.

    Later, when it’s really hot I’ll use an old pair of Specialized somethings that are slip on and have some kind of nylonny vented/ mesh palm. Air flows reeally well through both the backs and palms of these gloves. I think they’re a two crash kind of a glove. The right glove has a hole that would’ve been on my own palm had the glove not done it’s job. So, if I crash again wearing these, I need to make sure it’s on my left.

    On the track, I use Tanabe. They’re Japanese full finger gloves which provide great protection and stick to track grips really well.

    Looking for short fingered, carbon knuckled gloves for commuting. I make every effort to, and I think I do a good job of, ignoring stupid road raging drivers. But, odds are, I’ll run into one with whom I’ll need to ….”communicate”.

  13. Paul

    @Alan… I completely agree with you about the Deflects. Excellent fall/winter glove. Can’t wait for the new waterproof ones coming out this fall.
    The rest of the year, I prefer to go gloveless, though I will pull on some lightly padded short fingers if need be.

  14. DanL

    I have a few cheap-ish gloves in rotation, in a variety of lengths and thicknesses, sometimes layered up. In my worst crash years ago I landed on the backs of my hands and on my chin, so I got no help from my gloves or helmet then. Still I like the grip, cushioning, and nose/tire wiping capability of gloves.

    My worst complaint is that certain short-finger pairs get their “sleeves” stuck in my STI levers, which is especially annoying on my cross bike. My favorites right now are some comfy Pearl Izumis with a silly ez-off tab that allows for surprisingly delightful removal (hm, darn first world problems).

  15. michael

    when i ride my bike, i never have hand problems. my workday does not involve sitting all day in front of a computer. carpal tunnel sounds like an exotic via through a mountain in Slovenia or Hungary to my ears.

    i therefore ride gloveless in any temperature over 50 degrees, unless taking part in a mass-participation event – in which case i will wear gloves as i can no longer just rely on myself to guarantee remaining upright at all times.

    but when i do wear gloves, i wear assos.

    stay gloveless, my friends.

  16. Wes

    I have tried a bunch of different gloves…but my current favorite is the Assos summer glove. Comfortable, light weight.

  17. Full Monte

    Arthritis. Last few years, it’s settled into my fingers. Not good for a bassist. So keeping my hands buzz and numbness free on the bike is a huge challenge.

    I’ve tried all kinds of summer gloves. Foam padding. Gels. Nothing works very well, as most gloves stretch a bit mid-ride, then bunch up in the padding areas, wet, sweaty blobs, which is worse than no gloves.

    However, I dare not ride bare-handed. A crash could leave hands road-rashed to the point of not being able to play.

    I’ve resolved that hand discomfort is something I’ll just have to ignore while riding (the thick, cushioned bar tape I put on last year is the best thing I’ve found yet — and I’ve experimented with all kinds of riser/bar height — arthritis hurts no matter where you put hands).

  18. Mike

    I wear full-finger (with knuckle protection) Fox motocross racing gloves (on the road and off) all summer in California. Light to medium padding, knuckle and finger protection, comfy, and really cheap. I don’t give a crap if they get toasty; I write for a living, so there’s no way I’m risking my hands and fingers. I’ve gotten very good at zipping and unzipping my jersey. Frankly, they’re not really much different than fingerless… but I keep my nails pretty.

    Ben King should look ’em up.

  19. Hautacam

    +1 with Mike. I wear full-finger gloves on all but the hottest days (which means 75+ in Seattle). Even minor road rash can be a problem if it’s on your hands and you write/type/mouse or do other fine-motor stuff for a living. No thank you!

    I go through about a pair a year, wearing them 3-4 days a week, Specialized do a nice glove at a reasonable price. Fox’s gloves feel nice but the pair I had wore out pretty fast. I had a couple pairs of Pearl Izumi’s that fit great but didn’t last. I’ve even used Lowe’s house-branded mechanic’s gloves for awhile. Worked pretty well, though the material and stitching felt fairly rough.

    I’d like to try some Giro gloves if I can find a full-finger version in town to try on, and that does not include natural leather (sweat + rain + road grit destroys real leather in a shockingly short period of time). Maybe Raph — nah. I can’t even finish typing it, much less buy it. I’d rather take my wife out to dinner.

  20. Jeremy

    I have a pair of full finger Giro gloves that I wear all summer. I never seem to have any issues with sweat build up, they seem to breath well. I like the grip and protection provided by the full length finger though.

  21. GeeTee

    Note a number of you concur with me – Pearl Izumi’s short finger by far the best everyday summer glove, and yes they do wear quickly. But if you shop around they’re not that expensive.

  22. Josh

    The Clymb (my invite code is here, if you don’t mind using it is selling Giro LX short finger gloves for $24.98 today. These are the 2012 model, which some prefer to the 2013, and they retail for $65. They don’t have white, much to my dismay, but they have black in S,L and tan in S,M, and L. I have been looking for a deal on these gloves for 6 months, and this is $15 cheaper than anywhere I have found, including ebay.
    There have been reviews that have compared them to the Rapha Grand Tour. I don’t know about that, but they are widely considered an excellent glove, and a splurge. At $24, that is an easy call.
    Now, if I could only find them in all white, and in white long finger I would be set.

  23. Josh

    The Giro LX gloves arrived int he mail yesterday. The leather is so soft, feels like buckskin. They are definitely luxe, and I will likely spring for the white ones even though they weren’t a part of the sale.

  24. PMAC

    I have about 3-4 pairs that I use regularly, but my current fave (soon to be deceased) pair are Giro Xen full-finger. Very good fit, breathable, and light. I’ve had increasing problems with nerve-tingling and numbness (not carpal tunnel syndrome) so I’ll likely try something with a bit more cushion under the thumb. Durability on the Xen is decent, I’ve used it through all-seasons as long as it provides enough warmth.

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