Off-road biking is technical – flicking gears and tapping brakes is a major part of mountain bike performance. Cold fingers lower dexterity and can impairs performance. We take a look at some of the best gloves for keeping your fingers functional when the temperature drops.
Sealskinz Dragon Eye, £29.99
These are versatile gloves worthy of chilled spring mornings. They will happily see you through dry winter cycling – but you may want something more technical for extreme winter descents.
The fit is close, but the material is thick enough that you’ll notice a light drop in dexterity. And while the garish retro-tech look may appeal to some, the muted black and orange has a broader appeal.
Specialized Element 2.0, £40
Half crab-claw, half human, the Element 2.0 prepare you for arctic conditions. Although the thumb is a little tricky to move around, the business-end fingers can certainly tap away at gears and brakes – and your wrist will be kept warm and supple by the glove length.
You can significantly improve both the warmth and dexterity of the Elements by wearing a pair of merino liners. Counter-intuitively, the liners fill out the fit of the Elements and make the gloves more responsive to movement.
HIRZL GRIPPP Tour Thermo 2.0, £49
If you’re the kind of cyclist who’s happy to feel a little cold in extreme conditions, these gloves more than compensate in terms of feel and dexterity. They fit beautifully – no doubt HIRZL fanatics attribute this to the pliant kangaroo leather and uncompromisingly tailored cut.
You may feel some cold when you first get on your bike, but the Primaloft insulation does a good job of trapping the body heat caused by your exertions. Probably the best-looking gloves in this list – so it’s well worth considering adding these to your collection.
SixSixOne Storm Glove, £23.51
In contrast to the HIRZL, the SixSixOne’s favour warmth over dexterity. You either love or hate neoprene gloves, but they are uncompromisingly the best at keeping your fingers warm. These gloves are for the coldest of the cold situations, so don’t expect breathability or flexibility.
B’Twin 900 Winter Cycling Gloves, £19.99
I recommend these gloves with one caveat – try them on with and without liners and try gripping the bars of one of the mountain-bikes Decathlon have available in the shop. You’ll know pretty quickly whether these fit you or not.
If the 900s do fit you, you’re in luck. These are excellent value for money, and while the padding feels a little unsophisticated, a good fit will mean that you can enjoy improved dexterity for a fraction of the price of the other gloves listed.