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Tag Archive: bike gloves

Product review: SealSkinz Fingerless Cycle Gloves

At the beginning of summer, the kind folks at SealSkinz offered us a pair of their new summerweight cycling gloves to try out. You may know SealSkinz as a maker of waterproof socks, hats, and gloves for outdoor activities such as hiking and hunting, but they’ve also got a number of cycling-specific pieces in their lineup.

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The SealSkinz gloves are lightweight, with a lycra back and a synthetic leather palm that is textured for grip. The middle and ring fingers have extra material at the tops that are fashioned as “pull tabs” to get the gloves off easier. There’s a hook-and-loop wrist closure, and reflective accents on the back of the glove.

The pair I tested is a size Large. They felt true to size, but with a small amount of bunching between the fingers (we’ll get to that in a bit).

The padding on the palm is rather thin, and at first I thought I’d have issues with that — my own hands are not particularly padded, and prefer a glove with dense padding in the palm, where possible. The SealSkinz gloves, despite the thin padding, didn’t let me down in terms of comfort, even for longer riders of 30-40 miles. Beyond those distances, I think I’d rather have something with more padding.

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For those who have read glove reviews I’ve done in the past, you may remember that the nose-wiping area of a glove is VERY important to me, summer or winter. The SealSkinz didn’t let me down there, either — the entire thumb is made of a soft microsuede material, with no protruding seams to rough up the sensitive nose area. I can wipe all day in comfort!

The grip is fantastic with the gloves, as is overall durability. I wore them all summer and racked up serious miles with the SealSkinz, and they still look pretty new, even after a couple of washings. The stitching and seams remained tight throughout the testing period.

The reflective accents on the backs are a nice touch, but I don’t know how effective they might be. The reflective effect is pretty subtle, and I was unable to get a good nighttime photo of the reflective bits in action.

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Perhaps my only gripe with the SealSkinz gloves is the cut of the fabric panels prior to sewing. I did notice a lot of extra material, especially between the fingers. I can’t help but think that the cutting patterns could be refined a bit to reduce some of this excess, helping to streamline them a bit and reduce bunching between the fingers. Since the material is naturally stretchy, this excess material isn’t needed to accommodate wider fingers than my own, either.

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The SealSkinz fingerless gloves retail for $35, and are available directly from the SealSkinz website. As of this writing, they are not in stock and do not appear on the company website even though they ARE a current product. I checked with their PR person just to make sure they weren’t discontinued for some reason. That $35 buys a well-constructed, lightweight glove that is ideal for warm-weather riding. The gloves are 100% designed in Great Britain, with much of the manufacture occurring in Great Britain as well. Take a look at the SealSkinz cycling lineup for a wide range of products to suit any rider at any temperature.

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.

Review: Pryme Trailhands Full-Finger Gloves

Back in the early springtime, the good folks at Seattle Bicycle Supply (SBS) sent me a courtesy pair of their company Pryme’s “Trailhands” full-finger gloves to try out.

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The gloves are very simple and lightweight…Amara palms (sort of a synthetic suede), a terry wiping surface on the thumb and a stretchy spandex mesh back. There is no padding to speak of, and the wrist closure is a simple strip of hook-and-loop material with a rubberized pull tab. These gloves are aimed squarely at the mountain bike crowd, where handlebar control trumps the need for comfort, so palm padding wasn’t a consideration. With typical mountain bike grips and flat bars, these gloves are utterly unobtrusive and grippy without the need for any silicone dots on the palms. On road bike-style drop handlebars, some folks may want a bit more padding, but I found them comfortable when paired with foam bartape…up to about 20 miles or so. Beyond that, I could use a little more cushion for the nerves in my hands.

The mesh back is airy and comfortable, letting a cooling breeze in at all times. That mesh extends the full length of the fingers, too, and is incredibly lightweight against the skin, even in summer temps. If you’re planning on cooler-temperature rides, these may not offer enough insulation for sensitive fingers. I wore them in temps down to about 60 degrees; below that, my thin fingers cried out for more warmth.

Cool mesh:
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One of the features I enjoyed about the gloves is the reinforcing gusset at the connection between thumb and index finger. I’ve blown out dozens of gloves in this area, both on- and off-road. I have big, flexible hands and my hands seem to terrorize gloves in that location. The gusset on the Trailhands gloves prevents any stretching or blowout in that crucial spot, and I appreciate it. By nature of the way a MTBer grips their handlebars, this area is a weak spot on many other glove models. Good engineering, Pryme!

Amara palm, reinforcing gusset:
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As I mentioned in my Ergon gloves review, I really need a soft nose-wiping surface on my gloves. The Pryme Trailhands have me covered…with an entire thumb covered in luxurious terry and not a rough seam in sight. Sheer snot-wiping bliss! What seams ARE located in this area are covered over with spandex piping, making them soft and scratch-free. Also, I like gloves with simple closures — a big flappy pull tab gets in the way and annoys me to no end. The Trailhands gloves are stretchy enough to fit snugly around my hands, and a simple, narrow pull tab is all that is needed to keep things secure.

Terry thumb, simple pull tab:
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Does a bike commuter really NEED gloves? Perhaps not, at least not in the way that a mountain biker might. I like the added protection for my hands, although I don’t always wear gloves when I am riding. And, I do love something to wipe my nose on…keeping your hands clean on the way to work is always a plus as well. For a retail price of about $24.00, these gloves are reasonably priced for what they offer — a simple, grippy, light solution to basic hand protection.

Check out the rest of the Pryme accessories line by visiting their site…they even have a whimsical pair of basic bike gloves that ties in nicely with our “Zen and Bicycle Commuting” article yesterday!

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.

Gear Review: Swobo Gloves….best gloves ever?

I’ve been wearing my Swobo gloves for about a week and thought it was a goodly time to write a review. If you haven’t heard of Swobo (you live under a rock), you’re not alone. I did a quick tour of all the local bike shops in Long Beach, CA and no one carries their gear and when I asked some people if they had heard of Swobo, they thought I was trying to score some wacky tabacky.

In all seriousness, I think their apparel is nicely designed and doesn’t look like the typical photoshop vomit you see on other cycling gear. They’re also big fans of wool which is enjoying a little renaissance with the help of companies like Rivendell, Portland Cyclewear, and EWR (Earth, Wind, Rider). I like to think that wool is the new “high-tech” fabric, it keeps you warm in the winter, cool in the summer, it wicks moisture, it resists odor and it isn’t made from oil. In fact, it’s a renewable resource.

Anyway, back to the gloves.

They’re wool and on the outside of the right hand is a nice square little brown tag with yellow stitching that says Swobo. Understated. Classy. Sweet. Left to a lesser designer and they would have put racing stripes or flames.

On the flip side there are yellow sticky dots and an awesome little design detail, a sticky hand (hanging loose)! How awesome is that?!

Here’s a detail.

The glove fits…well, like a glove. It’s warm and toasty and has been keeping my hands warm on my morning commutes. The thermometer on my computer has been reading upper 40s and low 50s in the morning and these gloves have been keeping my hands warm. Anything in the low 40s and 30s though, I might use these as liners for another pair of gloves.

The sticky dots (and hand) do their job. They grip the Salsa tape on my road bike and the shellacked cork grips on my touring bike with equal fervor.

The nice thing about these gloves are they’re not too “sporty” (although they do have a sense of humor). They wouldn’t be out of place on your hands while you’re hitting the town, unlike some of the funky designs with multiple colored panels and palm implants. These are just great everyday gloves for on and off the bike.

Another great thing about these gloves is that you can wash them without plastic parts getting all weird. I have yet to wash mine, but I do own several articles of clothing that are made from wool. I would suggest washing it with this because it has lanolin which reconditions and softens the wool. Wash it in cool water in the sink and for godsakes don’t wring it! Do a light squeeze to get some excess water out, then wrap it burrito style in a cotton towel and stand on the towel. This will force the water out of the wool and into the more absorbent towel (this technique works for wool shirts and jerseys as well). Then leave it out to dry.

I have been riding with the gloves for a week and love them. The yellow sticky things aren’t so yellow anymore, and no doubt with time they will chip away, but probably not until I’ve gotten good use out of them.

All Swobo products (at least the ones I’ve purchased) have come with this enigmatic tag. On the flip side it says:

We’ve decided that hang tags, in all their dangling glory, are a waste of paper and natural resources. If you’re in need of extra information concerning Swobo products, or do indeed have a hang tag fetish, visit Swobo.com to get product information. Do what you can….when you can. This isn’t hippy banter, this is old school actions applied to real time issues. Thanks for listening.

You got to love a company that’s willing to put that on all their products.

I highly recommend these gloves because it’s a good product coming from a good company. They do what they’re suppose to with style and humor (who knew gloves could be so funny?). A+