Bernard Hinault would testify that a decent pair of winter gloves are an essential piece of kit for the cyclist undaunted by sub zero temperatures. Competing in the 1980 edition of the Spring Classic, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, in conditions so harsh that only 21 of the 174 starters managed to finish the race, Hinault rode to victory, but to this day the 5 times winner of the Tour de France still suffers from frostbite in several of his fingers.
Spring still seems a long way off (Hinault, incidentally, was racing in mid April) but if you want to retain your winter training regime on the road, then ensuring you have a decent pair of winter gloves is essential. Once your extremities succumb to the cold and numbness sets in it can be impossible to warm them back up, so ensuring your digits are kept warm from the outset will make your ride that much more endurable and comfortable and a little safer too.
At the very least you will need to invest in a pair of glove that incorporates technology to keep your hands protected from icy winds, but if you are looking for waterproof gloves then you may have to compromise on the weight of the gloves and the fact that waterproof gloves do not possess the breathability of windstopper fabrics. For the most brutal conditions it is always worth having a decent pair of liner gloves handy too or invest in a glove that comes with its own liner.
Things to look out for in a winter glove is the necessary level of protection you are after, combined with a snug fit that allows you to retain good movement of your fingers A good grip combined with adequate padding are essential, but the glove should not be so stiff that your touch and feel are impaired. Long and tight cuffs, a section of towelling to wipe your nose and reflective details on the back of the hand are all indicators that the glove has been designed to ensure they function perfectly for the winter cyclist.
Winter gloves come in a range of guises as manufactures compete with one another to provide the necessary levels of warmth and protection. Too little insulation from the elements will make them ineffectual, but too much padding can be detrimental to a cyclists feel and touch, so it is tricky balancing act. Huge advances in fabric technology, however, have allowed manufacturers to combine a high level of both function and protection. Too late, unfortunately, for the frostbitten fingers of The Badger!
Recommendations from fellow riders are a good starting point, but here are five winter gloves that have caught the eye or warmed the fingers of the Wheelsuckers' team.
From the Italian brand, Sportful, the Windstopper Pursuit Gloves combine the necessary protection to keep icy winds at bay and the ThermoDrytex Plus fabric provides a soft brushed inner offering great insulation. The fabric is stretchy and thin enough to provide a good grip and feel and the addition of gel pads in the palm lessen vibrations. Reflective strips on the back of the glove and a snug, windproof cuff round off a stylish glove that will keep your hands warm down to freezing point - though any lower and you'd be wise to wear this with Sportful's Seamless Liner Glove.
Price: £45.00 Sizes XS to XXL. Available to buy online from Wiggle
Gore Bike Wear's POWER WINDSTOPPER® Soft Shell Glove is relatively lightweight for a winter glove and has great breathability too - thanks to the technology of the Windstopper fabric. The gloves are not waterproof, but light rain or spray is easily repelled, though the gloves do dry out quickly if they get wet. Gore recommend these gloves are used in temperatures ranging from 12°C to -4°C, so these should seed you right through Autumn and into early Spring. As with many Gore bike Wear products much thought has gone into the design of this glove, so there is a strip of towelling to wipe your nose, gel pads for comfort and the high cuff ensure good insulation. Couple these with the fabric technology that is light enough to provide a good grip and feel and you know this is a glove perfectly suited for winter riding. It also comes in a good range of colours too, including this pink version in the women's range.
Coming in at a little under £30 the DHB Extreme Winter Gloves are typical of the brand - a quality item at an affordable price. Waterproof, padded, insulated and with a soft inner lining this is a glove that really performs in cold and wet conditions. OK, they may be a little on the bulky side, but the anatomical cut in the fingers helps to reduce the bunching of material. The fit, assuming you get the right size, is very comfortable. They do, however, have a good grip and the bulkiness does not impact too greatly on gear changing. Bearing in mind how competitively priced these glovers are, you really could pay a lot more for far less.
Price: £29.99 Sizes: XS to XXL. Available to buy online from Wiggle
If you are not deterred by below freezing conditions then the Specialized Sub Zero glove should ensure you digits are kept snug in even the most extreme weather. The glove also comes with a micro fleece liner (that could be used as in milder conditions), but the outer glove is both waterproof and windproof and when combined with the liner, will keep your hands warm even if the themometer plummets to -5°C . Both outer glove and liner feature high visibility reflective strips and the liner glove also incorporates WireTap technology - useful if you need to make a quick phone call. The outer glove also features a long, gauntlet style cuff that offers a further barrier against the elements and a high grip palm that will keep you safe in even the harshest of weather.
Price:£50.00 Sizes: XS/S/M/L/XL/XXL
Lightweight, waterproof and breathable, the Unisex P.R.O. Barrier WxB glove from Pearl Izumi provides excellent protection from the wind and rain. The gloves feature the Outdry® fabric. which is bonded directly to the outer layer, leaving no gaps for water to seep in. The anatomical cut the glove and the soft palm area gives this glove an unsubstantial feel and the fleece lining provides a good level of warmth as soon as you put them on. The long cuff with a hook and loop closure is nice and secure and ensures your hands remain well insulated. These gloves also tick a few other boxes - index finger detailing, toweling on the thumb for wiping your nose and plenty of reflective inserts too., Not cheap, but a durable and stylish looking glove.
Price: £79.99 Sizes: XS- XL
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