Bicycle gloves: Full Guide

Not many people take a serious look at an accessory like cycling gloves. Those who buy them usually approach the choice superficially, as it seems, what can be special about such a simple thing? In fact, gloves for cyclists are very important, and choosing them is a serious challenge to knowledge, experience, and, of course, the wallet.

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Why its necessary to have good gloves

First, why are gloves needed for cycling? Lately, real standards for athletes' appearance have emerged. A person from the gym should be in loose pants and a tank top showing biceps, a girl should be in leggings and a top, and a cyclist - in a helmet, gloves, and with a backpack. Strangely enough, many follow visual fashion, not the functional needs of their own body.

First and foremost, gloves are about comfort. Minimal vibrations, which can't be absorbed by either the damper or grips, seriously worsen the sensations of riding - hands that become numb during the ride and ache after the trip do not add joy to the weary cyclist.

Moreover, most bicycle handle grips are made of rubber and polymers, focused on durability and reliability (since they have to experience all the 'delights' of the open air), not on tactile sensation of the palm. Holding onto a standard grip for a long time is not the most pleasant activity, and everyone should take care of their hands.

The second thesis is safety, protecting the hands and joints of the cyclist. The same vibrations that reduce comfort while riding can negatively affect the health of the joints with prolonged exposure - constant load is harmful to them. But most importantly, no matter how carefully and well we ride, an accident is always possible. And then, when falling, gloves fully reveal their purpose, protecting hands from abrasions, scratches, and even fractures. In many high-level models, soft inserts, for example, from gel, are designed to compensate for quite powerful impacts.

Types of Gloves

Gloves are divided by seasons and forms. Many beginners, and even experienced riders, choose not specialized, but ordinary sports or even everyday gloves. This is much better than riding without gloves at all, but their user qualities are incomparable with professional solutions.

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Mad Max Bike Gloves

Seasons for Ebike Gloves

So, the most important thing – for each season – its own models of gloves.

Summer requirements are obvious:

  • Effectively wick away moisture;
  • Have additional power inserts – minor injuries are most likely in summer;
  • Have a low weight. The most important thing, as for other seasons, is to fit well on the hand.

In winter, the question of how to choose cycling gloves and use them correctly is even more difficult:

  • They should be warm, and in the conditions of the Russian winter, several models are required, as the modes at -5 and -20 are completely different.
  • Completeness – professional models often consist of several separate layers, or cyclists independently wear two pairs of gloves (external sports and thin internal ones), which dry quickly.
  • Freedom – it is very difficult to switch gears and use brake levers in tight gloves, which is why winter cycling gloves are preferable to ordinary ones, oriented on skiing and snowboarding without fingers.
  • Sizes – winter options should be chosen not for how they fit, but a little looser. In autumn and spring, the requirements are intermediate. On the one hand, gloves still need to warm, but protection from dampness, wind, and dirt comes to the forefront. Demi-season cycling gloves are usually offered by manufacturers in leather and waterproof synthetic versions.

winter bike gloves

45NRTH Bike Gloves

Forms of Gloves

Several gloves can be distinguished by form:

  • Full-fledged cycling gloves – with five fingers.
  • Reinforced – with additional inserts and plastic fixators that protect the hands from impacts. Athletes of extreme disciplines ride in such.
  • Whole – they are also mittens, usually winter or reinforced models.
  • Fingerless – the 'classic' for cycling gloves, incomplete models with free fingertips allow you to clearly use brake levers and shifters, prevent sweating, and maintain protection from vibrations and damage.

Materials for Gloves

What materials and fabrics can be found when choosing cycling gloves?

  • Lycra and Spandex – 'sporty' materials that hug the body and wick away moisture well. Good summer gloves always contain these materials.
  • Leather – the main material for the palm side. Well-tanned leather gloves offer excellent hand protection and provide a 'natural' grip on the handlebars.
  • Synthetic leather – several types of synthetic coatings, many of which are now hard to distinguish from real leather.
  • Fleece and Neoprene – materials for making insulated, winter models. These materials often completely block moisture and require the use of lining from natural fabrics.
  • Carbon and Gel – additional materials used for protection from damage, consisting of separate inserts. Leather cycling gloves

selection gloves

Size Selection of Gloves

Men's and women's models are no different from each other, except for sizes, and they are the same in both European and American systems. Of course, like any other piece of equipment, it's best to try on cycling gloves, but if that's not possible, the main parameter for choosing the size is the width of the palm.

Here's a size chart in the American system:

Size XS S M L XL XXL
Men's models 6.5 cm 7.5 cm 8.5 cm 9.5 cm 10.5 cm 11.5 cm
Women's models 6.5 cm 7.5 cm 8.5 cm 9.5 cm --- ---
Children's models 6 cm 7 cm 7.5 cm 8 cm --- ---


How to Choose Right Gloves

Choosing the right gloves for biking is essential for comfort, protection, and performance. The right pair can protect your hands in a fall, reduce vibration and fatigue, and improve grip. Here’s how to choose the right gloves for your biking needs:

1. Consider the Type of Riding

  • Road Cycling: Look for lightweight, breathable gloves with minimal padding to maintain feel and control on the handlebars.
  • Mountain Biking: Opt for gloves with more protection, such as knuckle guards and palm padding, to protect against branches, falls, and vibrations.
  • Commuting or Casual Riding: Fingerless gloves or those with moderate padding can provide comfort without the need for heavy-duty protection.

2. Material

  • Breathability and Comfort: Mesh or breathable fabrics on the back of the glove keep your hands cool. Soft, durable materials like leather or synthetic leather on the palm improve grip and durability.
  • Weather Conditions: For cold weather, windproof and waterproof materials are crucial. In warm climates, look for gloves with moisture-wicking properties to keep hands dry.

3. Padding

  • Padding reduces road vibration and minimizes fatigue on longer rides. However, too much padding can reduce handlebar feel. Gel or foam are common padding materials; choose based on personal preference and comfort.

4. Fit

  • Gloves should fit snugly but not be so tight that they restrict movement. Too loose, and they can bunch up, causing discomfort or blisters.
  • Try on different sizes and make a fist to simulate gripping the handlebars. This will help you check if the gloves are comfortable and if there's any pinching or excess material.

5. Finger Length

  • Full-Finger: Offers more protection against the elements, vegetation on trails, and in case of a fall. Preferred for mountain biking, cold weather, and gravel riding.
  • Fingerless: Provides better cooling and is often favored by road cyclists for better feel and control in warmer weather.

6. Closure System

  • Velcro: Common and adjustable but can wear out over time.
  • Pull-On: Offers a sleek profile and eliminates potential snagging from Velcro but may not offer as snug a fit.
  • Adjustable Straps: Some gloves feature adjustable wrist straps for a secure fit.

7. Additional Features

  • Touchscreen Compatibility: Allows you to use a smartphone or GPS device without removing your gloves.
  • Reflective Details: Enhance visibility if you ride in low-light conditions.
  • Nose Wipe: A soft, absorbent patch on the thumb can be useful for wiping sweat or a runny nose.

8. Durability and Price

  • Consider how often you ride and in what conditions. More expensive gloves might offer better durability and comfort, which can be cost-effective in the long run for frequent riders.

9. Personal Preference

  • Ultimately, the best gloves are the ones that fit well and meet your specific needs. Consider the type of riding you do most often and choose gloves that offer the right balance of protection, comfort, and performance.

By taking these factors into account, you can select a pair of cycling gloves that will enhance your riding experience, whether you're on the road, hitting the trails, or commuting to work.

Brands of Gloves for Bikes

How to choose glasses for cycling? Almost every sports clothing brand has gloves. But, unlike other pieces of equipment, the most recognized are models from companies focused not on the entire range of clothing but on cycling equipment or exclusively on gloves.

  • Giro – a US manufacturer of cycling equipment, primarily known for its bicycle helmets. They offer universal and quality gloves for the summer season at a reasonable price.
  • Pearl Izumi – mainly an American but originally Japanese company that has been making sports equipment for over 50 years. The prices for cycling gloves are quite high, but the fact that many Olympic teams dress in Pearl Izumi speaks to their quality.
  • Planet Bike – another American company that deals with equipment and accessories for cyclists. Known for their Borealis cycling gloves, perfect for winter riding.
  • Avenir – a sub-brand of the British bicycle company, Raleigh. A mid-range manufacturer in terms of price and quality, with a relatively narrow but well-designed and comfortable range of accessories and equipment.
  • Fox – a wide range of equipment from this British manufacturer is matched by quality – many athletes choose Fox cycling gloves for competitions.
  • Cube – a Taiwanese bicycle manufacturer offers a whole series of equipment, among them – mid-level cycling gloves.
  • Scott – premium level gloves, used for both casual rides and competitions.
  • Monster Energy – a 'marketing' brand, mainly promoted at youth competitions in extreme sports. Gloves have an unusual look, with Teflon and carbon inserts, but their effectiveness is not yet widely recognized by athletes. Brand model

best ebike gloves

Where to buy best gloves

Finding the best gloves for cycling depends on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. Here are some places where you can find a wide selection of high-quality cycling gloves:

1. Local Bike Shops

  • Pros: You can try on different gloves to find the best fit and feel. Staff can offer personalized recommendations based on your needs.
  • Cons: Prices might be higher than online, and selection may be limited to certain brands or styles.

2. Specialty Cycling Stores

  • These stores focus exclusively on cycling gear and often have a wider selection of gloves tailored to different types of cycling, such as road biking, mountain biking, and commuting.

3. Outdoor and Sporting Goods Stores

  • Large retailers often carry a range of cycling accessories, including gloves. They may offer competitive prices and occasional sales.

4. Online Retailers

  • Websites like Amazon, REI, Chain Reaction Cycles, and Wiggle offer a vast selection of cycling gloves. You'll find a wide range of brands, styles, and prices.
  • Pros: Competitive pricing, extensive selection, and customer reviews to help inform your decision.
  • Cons: You can't try before you buy, and sizing can be inconsistent between brands.

5. Direct From Manufacturers

  • Buying directly from the manufacturer's website can sometimes offer the best deals, exclusive models, or custom options not available elsewhere.

6. Second-hand or Discount Outlets

  • For those on a budget, second-hand sports stores, online marketplaces (e.g., eBay, Facebook Marketplace), or discount outlets like Sierra Trading Post can offer quality gloves at reduced prices. Be cautious with second-hand gloves to ensure they're in good condition and clean.

Additional Accessories Beyond Gloves

Beyond gloves, equipping yourself with the right accessories can significantly enhance your cycling experience, providing comfort, safety, and convenience. Here's a list of additional accessories to consider besides gloves:

1. Helmet

  • Essential for safety, protecting your head in case of falls or collisions. Look for helmets that meet safety standards like CPSC or EN 1078.

2. Lights and Reflectors

  • Front and rear lights are crucial for visibility at night or in low-light conditions. Reflectors on your bike, helmet, or clothing also improve visibility to others.

3. Cycling Eyewear

  • Protects your eyes from UV rays, wind, dust, and debris. Look for lenses that offer UV protection and are shatterproof.

4. Puncture Repair Kit and Spare Tube

  • Essential for fixing flat tires on the go. Include tire levers, a patch kit, a spare tube, and a mini pump or CO2 inflator.

5. Water Bottle and Cage

  • Staying hydrated is crucial, especially on longer rides. A water bottle cage mounted to your bike frame allows easy access to your drink.

6. Cycling Jersey

  • Made of moisture-wicking fabrics to keep you dry. Features like back pockets and a front zipper can enhance convenience and comfort.

7. Cycling Shorts or Bibs

  • Designed with padding (chamois) to reduce friction and increase comfort on long rides. Choose between shorts and bibs for your preferred fit and comfort.

8. Bike Computer or GPS

  • Tracks your speed, distance, and route. Some models also monitor heart rate and cadence.

9. Saddle Bag

  • Carries essentials like tools, spare tubes, and personal items without the need for a backpack.

10. Bike Lock

  • Protects your bike from theft. U-locks, chain locks, and folding locks offer different levels of security.

11. Fenders

  • Prevent road spray and mud from dirtying you and your bike in wet conditions.

12. Bike Rack or Panniers

  • Ideal for commuting or touring, allowing you to carry more items without affecting your balance or comfort.

13. Bell or Horn

  • Alerts pedestrians and other cyclists to your presence, enhancing safety for everyone.

14. Kickstand

  • Convenient for parking your bike anywhere without having to lean it against something.

15. Chain Lubricant and Cleaning Supplies

  • Regular maintenance keeps your bike running smoothly and extends the life of its components.

Each of these accessories serves a specific purpose, from improving safety and comfort to enhancing the utility of your bike. Consider your specific needs, the type of cycling you do, and your budget when selecting accessories. Prioritize safety gear and maintenance tools to ensure a safe and enjoyable riding experience.

Conclusion

Choosing cycling gloves is not a trivial task; a huge number of manufacturers and many factors do not give clear answers to the question of which model to choose. Riders need to pay great attention and, most importantly, try on the gloves for quality. Do not forget about the functional tasks of cycling gloves – moisture wicking, insulation (for winter models), protection of joints from minor impacts, and the entire palm from potential injuries.

If you're looking to buy really good gloves, come and visit our store at 654 College Street, Toronto (Movin' Mobility). We will offer you a special discount on any equipment in our partner stores throughout Toronto.


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