The British Winter appears to have finally bitten down hard on cyclists. This is the time of year when clothes can make all the difference between cycling in all conditions, and giving it up until the warm weather returns. Perhaps the area where you are likely to feel the cold is in your hands. There’s nothing like a pair of frosty, stinging hands to make you want to ride all the way back under your thick duvet. Of course, there’s no need to suffer, as long as you find an adequate pair of gloves.
My mission to find the perfect pair of gloves
Personally, I suffer from cold extremities. Therefore, I’ve I’ve made it my mission to find some gloves that keep my hands warm, dry, yet still give me enough feel of the brakes and gears.
I’ve been through thick gloves, thin windproof gloves, waterproof gloves – you name it I’ve tried it. One thing I’ve learnt is that what feels warm in the shop or on a short ride around town, doesn’t necessarily hold up on a rain soaked and freezing commute!
Sub Zero by Specialized
I am pleased to say that the gloves that finally ended the search were the Sub Zero gloves from Specialized.
At first glance, these are an odd looking pair of gloves, more akin to a lobster claw, than a human hand. The gloves are actually a two part affair, with a conventional windproof fleecy inner glove and that distinctive outer glove. It may look strange, but therein lies the magic.
Keeping your fingers warm all the way down to –5 degrees
The key concept around the outer is that it allows your fingers to insulate each other. Having multiple fingers next to each other inside the glove allows them to share their heat rather than isolating them in a single gloved finger of their own. It sounds a bit far fetched, but it works exceptionally well – your fingers stay snug and toasty even in extreme cold weather (Specialized rate them to below 25°F/-5°C).
What if the weather picks up?
The inner glove can also be worn on its own on warmer days, and is touch screen compatible so you don’t have to totally remove your gloves when stopping to check the map on your phone (or is it only me that get’s lost all of the time?). This flexibility is also useful when the weather warms up during a ride, or conversely if the weather gets worse while you’re out.
The outer is made of Hipora fabric which stands up to the worst weather you can imagine, and also has reflective panels which keep you visible and safe at night
Hands on the brakes..
So, the gloves are warm, and waterproof, but are they too bulky to feel the controls? Well the answer is no, but they take a bit of getting used to. Initially, having your fingers ‘connected’ feels all wrong and shifts are frequently fluffed, but it quickly becomes second nature. In fact, the multi layer set up makes them less bulky than a heavily padded typical winter glove, therefore control is actually improved once you’re used to the connectedness.
If you’re looking for a warm glove that’s flexible in it’s uses, then you should definitely consider the Specialized Sub Zero. All of this comes with a fairly significant price tag of £50, but search around and you can find discounts.
- Flexible – inner layer can be used without outer on warmer day
- Easy to still use the brakes and gears
- Takes a while to get used to connected fingers
- Can be expensive
Overall score – 4/5 – Pricey but highly effective against the elements!
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.