It might sound odd to you but I like opening my accessories draw and gazing upon my very wide range of socks, overshoes, warmers, caps and gloves. There’s something really nice about having kit for all conditions and carefully choosing what you want to wear to deal with them. Ok, you can get one piece of kit that might be a jack of all trades, but generally that type of kit is a master of none. It’s a compromise and you can do better.
Gloves are a hugely personal thing. While most of us could quite happily survive in someone else’s jersey or jacket recommendation we may not see what all the fuss is about where gloves are concerned. Worse, we may feel that they don’t do what they should. When you’re talking about winter gloves that just leads to misery.
I’ve had a lot of gloves but I’ve never really been happy with many of them. Sometimes I’ve been between sizes and just not had that comfort. Other times I’ve just not felt that they are warm enough. And, in relation to summer gloves, I really didn’t get them at all. There have been some honourable failures. I liked the Castelli Estremo, they were pretty tactile, well made, but, for me, not quite all that at temperatures below freezing. The closest I ever got to perfection in a winter glove was the Pearl Izumi P.R.O Lobster Soft-shell. They were very nice, but not often the easiest with which to operate your gear shifters. There were also some notable failures, an Assos ALS layering system purchase got swiftly returned when the outer fell to bits after 2 rides. Some Rapha Deep Winter gloves offered nothing to really justify their outlay. And, in relation to summer gloves, I’ve never really been all that blown away by many of them. Yes, they seem nice enough. But a lot of them never really felt right. As you’ll read later, that’s changed.
So, it’s taken me a while to get to having a range of gloves that I can use depending on the conditions at hand. I was pretty sorted for middling temperatures. But I still didn’t really have a favourite winter glove. And I wasn’t using a summer glove at all. So, with that in mind, here we go, cold weather first……
It’s Winter: Parentini P.5000 “Soft-shell Gloves.”
These have been described as a Mossa for your hands. It’s a pretty good comparison but I think I’d have to disagree slightly with it. The Mossa, made from our old friend Windtex Storm Shield, is a waterproof and breathable membrane. Its outer surface is treated with rain repellent and it just laughs in the face of water. But it’s unlined. So you need to keep your pace up, wear a suitable base layer and experience the membrane and your sweat keeping you warm. It works brilliantly.
The P.5000 are fleece lined and so, for that reason, I can’t call them Mossa for your hands. No, I’d call them Mossa.2 for your hands. Probably. They share more in common with the Mossa.2 jacket I’ve already reviewed. So they have a nice fleecy lining on the inside of the membrane to keep you warm. They’re windproof by their very nature and, of course, waterproof. If I were being ultra picky I’d say the fleece is very slightly thinner than the Mossa.2 (and of a slightly different “weave”) and I might well call them “Mossa1.5 for your hands.” This might sound a little pedantic I am sure. But you get the idea. What you have here is a lightweight, waterproof, windproof piece of armour against the elements. I use that word deliberately where the Parentini Mossa collection is concerned, it really is armour. It protects you, makes you treat the weather with contempt.
Audrey Hepburn would love them. Just look at the length of that cuff. It’s practically an arm warmer in itself. That’s a very good thing indeed. Look, this is winter, there’s no drawback to having something that’s longer than normal. But, the converse is true; anything that is too short is problematic. So, while I was between winter gloves, I was making do with some cheap fleecy things with short cuffs. They rarely stayed inside the cuffs of my already generously cut Mossa.2. The result is inevitable, cold wrists. The hands are a sensitive thing, if you introduce cold anywhere then you’re just going to get cold. No such problems here. Parentini are to be thoroughly commended on the choice of wrist length. You may wonder if you get any form of “VPL” under your jersey or jacket as a result. The answer is no, they blend seamlessly in.
The features are fairly straightforward. There’s no gel padding here but there is the useful addition of some grippy/strengthening fabric on the palms and inside of the thumbs. So, whatever position you adopt, be that on the top of the bars, drops or resting on the shifters there’s that bit more grip available. As you can also see from the above picture most of the seams are moved out of the way so, in combination with the rain repellent treatment and the inherent waterproof qualities of windtex storm shield, it’s going to take an age for water to get in. I even did the “dipping them in a bowl of water test” and even after a minute or so they were still dry inside.
The fleece lining is made of polypropylene. So, that’s the same substance that Parentini recommend you use with the Mossa as a base layer. Once again, it provides warmth and, of course, should your hands become sweaty in any way then that sweat will work with the membrane to provide additional warmth. The construction is, once again, premium. I won’t go on about it but this really is pro level kit.
I’ve searched for the Holy Grail of autumn/winter gloves and, in these, I think I’ve found it. In practice these are good for temperatures hovering around freezing whether that weather is dry or damp. I partnered them with a very thin silk inner lining at around minus 3 and was very comfortable indeed. Parentini offer the option of a polypro inner (the same material as the base layer I reviewed) and also an outer protective layer as well.
In terms of fit they’re spot on. I measured my palms, consulted the size chart and opted, once again, for a large. They’re a perfect fit. The finger length is good without being restrictive, should cater for slight variance in finger length and provide the ability to partner with an inner lining. They’re flexible and comfortable and very lightweight. It’s easy to operate all of your controls with them and do things like opening the twist valve on a water bottle. Overall they are superb and a great investment for winter riding particularly because they are so waterproof.
RRP is £49 for these which I think is excellent value given the competition. They’re available at your local Parentini dealer. You can find a list of those in my Parentini Mossa review. Partnered with the Mossa or Mossa.2 and K-Dry Shark bib tights (review coming soon) it’s hard to think of anything short of the destruction seen in Day after Tomorrow that would cause these gloves (and the Mossa range) to miss a beat.
It’s still winter (ish) : DeFeet Prendas Dura Gloves
Sometimes it’s not quite cold enough for full on autumn/winter gloves but still too cold something thinner or going it alone. The Defeet Dura have been around forever it seems. Indeed, they look and feel pretty much like the gloves I wore to school when I was a kid. I can remember throwing snowballs in something very similar. Then drying them on the radiator for a day.
They’re made from a mix of coolmax, cordura and lycra. It’s the latter materials that are perhaps the most useful in terms of fit. They stretch but instantly spring back into compression mode when on. The coolmax takes care of the thermal duties. In practice these are good for temperatures down to about 5 degrees or so. But they’re also quite happy to go up into the teens.
Cuff length is again, very generous and, in practice, I’ve never had an issue with them popping out from underneath the sleeve despite there being no grippers to keep them in place. The wrist has an elasticated structure which keeps them secure.
That rubbery non slip palm is hugely effective. It’s also very durable indeed. In all the years I’ve used Defeet gloves I’ve never once had any part of it rub off. They are, of course, not waterproof in any way shape or form so these really are for your dry rides. Because they are unstructured they can occasionally bunch a little when on the shifter hoods but it’s a very small issue indeed.
There’s not a lot to say about the DeFeet gloves other than they’re £15 rrp, last for ages, and really are a great addition to your spring wardrobe. Just don’t go throwing snowballs in them.
Spring has Sprung! Castelli Lightness
Those are a year old believe it or not. I bought them just before last year’s Battle on the Beach event. I used them then and they’ve done thousands of hassle free miles ever since.
These really are a spring piece or a cool weather summer one. There’s little thermal going on here other than taking the chill off. The palms are pretty robust and made of clarino synthetic leather. It doesn’t have a leather feel, it’s more of a suede affair. The back of the hands are made of thermoflex. It’s a very light fabric indeed and shares a lot of the feel of lycra.
There’s a useful finger gripper on the underside of the wrist to ensure that you can pull them on and the cuffs are usefully tight. They’re not overlong in this case. So, in practice, there can be jersey or arm warmer combinations that see gaps appearing. Given their intended temperature use that’s not too much of an issue.
And the fit, overall, is tight. When they arrived I put them in a drawer for a week and agonised over whether they were the right size. The cuff was extraordinarily tight to get into but, once you did, it was snug without being uncomfortable. In the end I kept them, wore them and they gave. The fit conformed to my hands and we’ve never looked back.
There’s a nice rubberised pattern on the palm to provide grip. it might be difficult to make out from the photo above but there’s not even a missing letter on any part of the words. It’s hugely robust. The inner and outer part of the thumb is lined with a fleecy material so you can wipe your nose or forehead if you need to.
Castelli recommend a temperature range of about 10-18 degrees and I’d say that, in practice, that’s about right. They are absolutely not water resistant or windproof but, saying that, as long as the temperature is sufficiently high then it doesn’t matter too much. RRP is £29.99 on these and they’re pretty great in terms of longevity.
Summer, yeah baby. dhb Aeron Summer Gloves
I decided to use a stock photo here as I can’t really get a good photo of them using one hand. Hope you don’t mind. But the stock photos are a great representation of what they’re like and the quality that they exude.
As I stated earlier in the review I’ve not really been a fan of summer gloves. I used to have some Craft ones with no velcro opening. They were ok, and cheap, and I wore them sometimes but didn’t feel any great connection to them. I tried some Castelli Rosso Corsa ones. They had a velcro closure system, but no gel padding and I didn’t really get the point.
I wasn’t even expecting a pair of gloves to test from dhb, let alone some summer ones. But what the hell, useful addition to a wardrobe, nice enough thing to have a go of. Mine are black ones. It would be nice, of course, to have a tinge of green in them to match the Supersix, but beggars etc….. I’ve added stock pics of the blue because I think that it shows the contrast of materials better.
The upper is a typically standard (and that’s a good thing) approach to a summer glove. So you have a mesh layer where it’s needed, a fleecy micro fibre thumb covering to take up face dabbing duties and a velcro closure system. I have OCD when it comes to velcro closure. If I have to do it up too tight and wrinkle the material it plays on my mind. No such issues here. with the velcro symmetrically closed they provide a sufficiently tight closure which is very comfortable indeed. The finish is exceptional for the price. The stitching that appears below is wholly representative of the finished product. There’s the addition of a finger loop between the first and second fingers to make pulling the glove off a very easy affair. Finger length is good coming just up to the knuckle.
The upper is a lightweight perforated mesh. It’s very breathable but still sufficiently robust and I’d have absolutely no concerns about its longevity. Indeed, the overall feel is premium and I reckon you could use these for many summers to come. The side section of each finger is also a lightweight fabric that doesn’t cause any irritation and is still very breathable.
Round the back we’ve got three separate 3mm gel sections. Each contributes to some very welcome comfort depending on where you’re holding onto the bars. The large section marked “gel” works particularly well when on the top of the bars or holding onto the shifters. The middle section contributes to that as well but also helps when you’re on the drops. The top section just helps out everywhere. It’s a very steady affair and there’s no mushiness or moving around when you’re gripping. The palm is very robust.
As you can see there’s also a nice extended section at the wrist so that you can give them a tug to get them on. Not that getting them on is in any way difficult. The size chart is spot on and can be followed with confidence.
I was fortunate to have temps knocking on the door of 13-14 degrees on a few late afternoon rides this week. So we’re still a little bit away from high summer. I do have hot hands but found that these were very breathable in those conditions. I’ll continue to test as the temperatures warm up. Indeed, I’ll be using these for Battle on the Beach next week as it looks like being very mild. I’ll need that padding given the rough nature of the event.
There are a few reviews already on Wiggle’s web site from people in South Africa where it’s pretty much still summer. It’s been 26 degrees this week. Those reviews are positive in terms of summer use and I can see no reason why they won’t perform.
In terms of RRP they’re £25 from Wiggle or £22 with platinum discount. A quick look at pricing tells me that’s in the lower 1/3 of the short finger summer gloves available on their website. Pretty much mid range pricing then.
I wrote that dhb were coming of age with their winter kit. There was a time when you’d think that Wiggle were just about value. I just don’t think about that anymore. Their range provides performance that also offers value. These gloves are just another demonstration of where dhb have got to. And that place is up there with the best. I’ve got some more positive stuff to say about the rest of the Spring/Summer Aeron range shortly. Stay tuned, it’s going to be a hell of a (comfortable) ride.
Update, 14th March 2016. I took the dhb aeron off road today in preparation for Battle on the Beach. And the gel padding is just so good. Given that it looks mild on the weekend now these are getting used. They’re excellent.