No, that’s not a typo. I, cheapskate of all cheapskates, did in fact buy a high-end ($45 retail for a pair of short-finger gloves) cycling product. I just wanted to see if all this talk that spending big for a high-end product would really save you money in the long run. That, and I needed a new pair of gloves after my Cipo’ specials disintegrated in my most embarassing crash this summer.
Style: 5. Smooth and simple. At the end of the “Crash!” DVD, when Laurent Jalabert abandons the ’96 TdF (back when people thought he might win it), he buries his face in an ONCE pink pair of these. That’s classic. Name another style that’s been in the cycling world for a decade.
Construction: 2. Kind of a let-down. No hidden jabby parts, but tons of loose threads and bad stitches. I ripped a seam the first time I put them on. And the thumbs are way, way to small. Maybe Euros all have small thumbs (or I have fat ones?) It was weeks of struggling before I get them on and off smoothly.
Features: 4. Best snot rag section ever. Huge area, good shape. Plus it catches the goobers enough to pull them off your face, but not enough that they stay on and harden. The spandex backing stretches tight and keeps the hand cool, and the dual-mesh sections of the palm add toughness without water absorbancy. My only beef was with the extra padding, which, though tough, breathable and not at all bulky, didn’t extend to the base of the hand, where I like it most on the road (though it did extend to between the thumb and forefinger, so riding on the hoods on a bumpy road won’t hurt so much).
Durability: 3. It’s a tough call here, because these absolutely shrugged off a very, very fast crash a few days after I bought them. And none of those broken seams or stitchings have spread. In fact, most of the currently visible wear came in the like first week or two I had them. But still, after 2,000 miles of wear, they look as beat other gloves I’ve had. Longer term, I expect they’ll wear less annoyingly (the Cipo’ gloves had an awful habit of letting fingers combine as seams broke), and in the end, outlive my other pairs, but right now, gotta go with 3.
Cost: 1. $45 dollars for gloves? For freakin’ gloves? Without neoprene, or Thinsulate or Gore-Tex or anything? Without even having long fingers? $45 f-ing bucks? Take a hike, Jack. (Of course, if you can find them somewhere for, say $20, I’d give them a 4. For $10.98, a definite 5.)
Final Thoughts: I really like these gloves. The bad seams soured me on them early, but they’ve earned my respect throught being there when I need them (like on days when it’s really hot, or when I crash, or when my nose is really runny). And a simple Internet search should get you right around that obscene price tag. It’s just a bummer that I have to keep moving my hands because the base of the palm gets sore from no padding.
Where they really shine for me is XC mountain biking, where your hands get way sweatier, crashes are more common, and the mid-palm padding lines up better with where my hand rests on the bar. These gloves wick faster, resist falling apart better, and keep your hands not sore better than any light MTB glove around. The only psuedo-downside is now your gloves don’t look like they just came off the motocross cicruit, but with all the 14-year-olds using 8-inch travel machines to ride to school, then calling themselves “freeriders,” I see that as a major plus.