It has been raining in Colorado much too much for my liking. I moved here for the promised 300 days of sunshine, otherwise I’d probably live in the Pacific Northwest, but springtime makes me wonder if that number is a bit of a marketing stretch. Instead of being grumpy about it, I am slowly growing my collection of waterproof riding gear and just added a pair of SealSkinz Ultra Grip Gloves to the pile.
Most waterproof gloves are stiff and bulky with square-edged fingertips that seriously reduce lever feel. I wanted something less intense and best suited for warmer days. The Ultra Grips feature a nylon exterior mixed with a stretchy hydrophillic membrane and a Merino wool lining, resulting in a (mostly) waterproof, windproof and breathable product.
All of the Ultra Grip’s features, including their soft pliability and close-to-skin stretch fit, make them useful for activities such as commuting or sticking in your back pocket in preparation for an upcoming cold road descent where short-finger gloves might not cut it.
They’re great for “just-in-case” moments, but not full days or heavy rain, which I will get to. I do want to reiterate that these are not winter gloves, which is why I wanted them and is why I’m reviewing them in May.
My first ride in the Ultra Grips featured two hours on a mountain bike in a steady drizzle with temperatures in the upper 40s. It always takes me a few minutes to get my fingers warm but, once I did, my hands stayed cozy. No rain got in and no clamminess developed. The feel on the damp bars was excellent thanks to gripping dots all over the fingers and palm.
My second go-around was an attempt to use these as work gloves during a wet mountain bike festival which, I should note, is not their intended use (but sometimes life happens). The downside of placing the waterproof material underneath an external layer means the outer fabric will get soaked and weighted down in heavy rain. After a few hours, the gloves were not very useful. My hands did not get soaked, but they were damp inside the heavy gloves. I kept having to wring them out and eventually gave up. After that, in the humid Pennsylvania woods, the gloves took a full 24 hours to dry out on the dash of my rental car.
Also, even those these are fitted gloves, I experienced bunching on the backs of my palms even as the fingers were nice and snug. The Ultra Grips do have a bit of bulk, meaning they won’t follow the contours of your hands perfectly and probably won’t be usable as liners.
Overall, I do like the Ultra Grips for short, damp rides and how easy they are to shove into back pockets or the bottom of a pack for those just-in-case moments. I will be riding with them this summer in preparation for Colorado’s penchant for unleashing regular afternoon storms that are sudden but brief.
For an extra five bucks you can (and should) get a pair of these gloves with touch-screen compatible fingertips. I also like the longer cuffs, which prevented gaping at the wrists between the gloves and my rain jacket. For an extra ten bucks, you can get a version of the Ultra Grips with extra-long gauntlets.
- Price: $50
- Sizes: S (tested), M, L, XL
- Colors: black, high-viz yellow
- More info: SealSkinz Ultra Grip Gloves
Like a lot of people, my fingers are one the first things that succumb to the ravages of cold weather biking. The combination of cold air rushing over the glove surface and sweat trapped inside can sometimes cut my frosty rides a bit short. And that’s a shame, because some of the most beautiful rides happen on those cold, bitter days when the streets and trails are devoid of people who are instead hiding inside, warming themselves on their couches and watching reruns.
To combat this problem, I’m always searching for gloves that offer warmth and breathability. Thankfully, there are quite a few good options on the market. One such option is the Windstopper glove from Gore Bike Wear. I have been using a pair of their Element Urban Print version for a few months and am quite happy with them.
Besides having a layer of water resistant, windproof, moisture wicking Windstopper material, the Element Windstopper glove has a plethora of neat features that make for a glove that performs well in daily use.
First up, the inside of the glove is a comfortable, soft fleece material that draws moisture off the skin to evaporate through the Windstopper material and keep your skin dry. This process worked well in most instances. Only occasionally did I find that the glove couldn’t keep up with the amount of sweat being produced by my hands. Generally this was when I was working hard in temperatures above freezing.
There are a few things worth noting on the exterior of the glove, starting with the always-important snot/sweat wipe on the thumb. The absorbent patch is soft and big enough to deal with any moisture problem you have going on with your face.
Next up is the palm. It’s almost completely covered with silicone dots that do a great job of providing grip. The dots are interrupted only by a gel pad on the outside edge of the palm, reinforced material between the thumb and index finger, and touchscreen friendly material on the tip of the thumb and index finger. While not the easiest thing to do, I was able to use my iPhone without removing my gloves.
The back of the glove has some features designed for your ride into work, or pedaling to the trailhead. Besides the nice bright material on the edges of the fingers, there are three reflective pieces of fabric, and one reflective logo on each glove that do a decent job of catching the eyes of the drivers around you. Perfect for signalling a turn or alerting oncoming traffic to your approach.
Finally, there is the overall fit and design of the glove. Of course the camo is cool, but the fit is just as important. The glove goes a bit past the wrist to provide good coverage under or over a jacket, and features an easy to use Velcro strap in addition to an elastic wrist cuff to keep the cold and wet where it belongs—on the outside.
Gloves are not the most exciting things in the world, but Gore Bike Wear did a great job of designing a pair that kept me dry and warm in temperatures ranging from low single digits to 45 degrees. They have also held up very well to my repeated urban and singletrack excursions. If the camo isn’t your cup of tea, Gore makes several different Windstopper models.
More info: goreapparel.com
Just in time for the first Polar Vortex of the season, cold-weather specialists 45North has new gloves to keep your hands warm this winter. For those of us that keep riding into sub-freezing temps, cold feet and hands can turn an otherwise enjoyable ride into a sufferfest. And the only thing that may be as bad or worse frozen fingers and toes? The pain when they thaw out.
45North has your feet covered with the Wolvhammer boots (which we reviewed last year), and hands too, with the Cobrafist extreme cold weather pogies, but the Sturmfist 4 and 5 are the first glove offering from 45North. While new gloves aren’t often news we’d find the need to cover, 45North is based in Minnesota where it gets truly cold, and 45North only does cold weather gear for cyclists, so new gloves are a big deal.
From the press release:
“The Sturmfist collection will be available in two different models. The five-fingered Sturmfist 5 incorporates a 100% Merino wool liner for total moisture control and keeps hands protected in 15–35ºF conditions.
For days when the mercury plunges below 15°, there’s the four-fingered Sturmfist 4. Utilizing a double glove design, Sturmfist 4 features a removable 100% Merino wool liner glove, and is rated for more frigid, 0–15ºF days. The Merino wool liner is also available separately to be used as a replacement for mid-ride freshness, or with 45North’s Cobrafist pogies.
For the ultimate blend of wool and insulation technology, Sturmfist 4, Sturmfist 5, and the Merino Wool Liner will be arriving at retailers next week for $130, $100, and $50, respectively. All pieces in the collection will be available in sizes 7, 8, 9, and 10.”
The most interesting aspect of these gloves is the use of Aerogel in the palms and fingers. Aerogel claims to have the lowest thermal conductivity of any solid. This is the same material used for the insoles of the Wolvhammer boots to insulate the bottom of the foot from the metal cleat. In this case the Aerogel will help keep hands from losing heat to metal handlebars, shifters and brake levers.
With more features including conductive patches on thumbs and first two fingers, Polartec Alpha insulation and Polartec waterproof and windproof Neoshell outers, there are not corners being cut here. Since 45North is one of the many brands that falls on the the umbrella of Quality Bicycle Products, most local bike shops should be able to order some Strumfist as this is post. I wouldn’t wait around if you are interested, it seems that cold weather gear is always, always, always sold through much sooner than anyone expects.
By the time this is posted, the odds are good 45North will have full details on its website: 45north.com.
Showers Pass hails from Portland, Oregon, where cold and wet go hand-in-glove.
The Crosspoint Hardshell gloves have an OutDry inner waterproof membrane heat bonded to the outer shell. This bonding eliminates seams and any dead space between the layers. For added warmth there’s a thin Merino wool lining. The resulting glove is waterproof, windproof, and breathable, and kept my hands dry and comfortable between 30-50 degrees during a variety of precipitations. Check out the video below for a quick explanation of how the OutDry membrane works.
I like that the gloves had a snug fit without too much bulk, making it easy to feel headlight buttons and pack zippers. The synthetic palm and fingers are perforated for breathability and the anti-slip palm was effective when wet. I usually prefer non-padded palms, but the light padding of the Crosspoint felt comfortable and non-invasive against grips and bar tape.
Because the tall cuff is slender and non-bulky it can be worn over or under sleeves (depending on the jacket) by adjusting the wrist strap. Reflective piping across the dorsal side of the glove helps with visibility during turn signals.
I think $95 is a good price for a high quality, waterproof winter glove. This glove is a good choice for average winter temperatures, but I did find they were not quite adequate at lower temperatures (in the 20s and below). On the whole, the gloves were extremely comfortable and performed well in cold and wet conditions.
Learn more at www.showerspass.com.Tweet Print