Cycling Gloves Buying Guide
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Cycling Gloves Buying Guide

Why cycling gloves?

A good pair of gloves is essential for optimum comfort as well as protection from wind, rain, cold and possible accidents. Everything from sweat to rainy conditions can make your handlebars slippery, and without gloves, you’re much more likely to make an avoidable mistake while riding. By wearing gloves, you’ll also get more protection from the constant friction between your hands and the handlebars. This rubbing can cause blisters or chafing that will quickly make your cycling a much less pleasurable experience. The padding in most bike gloves helps ward off chronic conditions that have been linked with biking, too.

Functionality

Protection

Different gloves will offer different levels of protection – summer cycling mitts and running gloves can protect the palms in the event of a fall, while many full-finger MTB gloves for gravity disciplines will feature additional reinforcement or even rigid panels for impact protection in the (inevitable) event of a crash.

Shock absorbers

Even if you manage to stay on your bike, some gloves have a gel pad that works as a shock absorber, minimising vibration from the bike's fork through your arms and into your shoulders. Over time, cyclists can suffer from overuse injuries, such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). Wearing gloves can help to prevent these problems before they start. Sacrificing a pair of gloves is much better than damaging your hands, which are much harder to repair or replace.

Stay Warm

While all gloves will provide some additional degree of warmth, winter cycling gloves are designed with maximum insulation to keep your fingers toasty when the temperatures drop. However this level of insulation is overkill for the summer months, as well as winter gloves being too heavy and restrictive for year-round riding. Meanwhile for many runners, winter gloves will be the only gloves they own or need, just to keep their extremities warm in colder weather or to wear until they have warmed up.

Sponging sweat

Many gloves have a fleece or cloth patch on the thumb. Have you ever wondered what that is for? This may be a bit TMI, but on a serious ride, you will probably sweat profusely and you won’t always have the time to pull over to wipe down your brow. Not to mention that if you ride in the cold weather, you often need something to stop the nose drip. Not very pleasant to think about, I know, but a life saver when you are on the move.

Bicycle Control

Gripping your bike with tired, sweaty hands is not only difficult but also dangerous. Fatigue and moisture can easily cause you to lose control. Bike gloves are usually made of leather or synthetic leather, which provides a better grip than your bare hands. Gloves absorb sweat and moisture so your hands stay dry. Bike gloves are designed to keep your grip tight around the handlebars so you have as much control of the bike as possible.

Breathability

This is the ability of the glove’s fabric (or different fabrics, as the case may be) to allow water vapour escape. Non-breathable fabrics mean condensed moisture gets trapped next to the skin where it becomes clammy and cold (or warm and uncomfortable on hot days). Breathable fabrics keep your skin dry and at optimum temperature.

Feature

Fingerless gloves

A light, fingerless option for the summer months that are designed for comfort and protection. They also act as a shock absorber and improve grip.

Full-finger gloves

They are generally wind and water resistant. They’re also a good choice for cyclists looking for a more all-purpose glove for average temperatures and weather conditions.Full fingered gloves made for cycling are generally ok down to freezing, but full-finger gloves are not meant for winter weather conditions, beyond that you are going to need something warmer. Full-finger gloves are also not meant for use in trhe the height of summer, as they can become too warm to wear after a short period of time.

Winter gloves

Winter gloves tend to be bulkier, perhaps being made in two parts, inner and outer, so that the inner can be washed. They will tend to have longer cuffs, to tuck into jackets and avoid the wrists being chilled, a waterproof exterior and a layer of insulation between that and the liner or inner glove.

Mitten gloves

Mittens are good in extreme cold as they allow a single pocket of warm air to form around the fingers. They make use of brakes somewhat awkward. Some riders use a thin inner glove and a skiing mitten over the top when riding in sub-zero (Celsius) temperatures.

Lobster-claw gloves

Lobster-claw gloves are a relatively recent innovation, a cross between mittens and a glove. Two fingers are placed in each of two wide fingers, giving much of the advantage of mittens but making use of brake levers much easier. These gloves are insulated and their outer shell protects your hands from the wind and rain. While they may look a bit cumbersome and might appear awkward to use at first glanc, they can also keep your hands warm.

Mountain biking gloves

Mountain bike gloves offer protection from the vibrations of the bike, reducing pressure and numbness. Mountain bike gloves also help you maintain your grip even when your hands get sweaty, Moreover, it can protect your bike that these gloves keep sweat from dropping on derailleurs, brake pads, and shifters, moisture that could otherwise cause these components to deteriorate. When you get too close to a tree or a random branch, mountain bike gloves can even protect you from scrapes or punctures. In cold weather, mountain bike gloves keep your hands warm.

Hanlebar mitts

Riders who spend an extended amount of time in very cold weather may place handlebar mitts on their bicycle handlebars, to keep wind, cold, and precipitation away from hands and handlebar area. These are not technically considered "gloves" as they are not worn on the hand, but they fulfill the same function.

Material

Polyester

High breathability and sweat-wicking ability while still keep�ing hands dry and com�fort�able to main�tain warmth but little wind- or waterproofing.

Acrylic

Breathable, stretchy and warm but it won’t offer much in the way of wind or waterproofing.

Fleece

Used in winter running and biking gloves, fleece is warm and insulated but not so breathable. Many gloves have a microfibre or towelling panel on the upper for wiping away sweat.

Polypropylene

Typ�i�cally pro�vide great wind and water�proof�ing to keep the runner’s hands dry and warm, though it does sac�ri�fice some of the breatha�bil�ity and moisture-management.


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