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Reviews > 2010 Equipment Review – Mountain Bike Gloves

I remember, as I was starting out as a guide, a friend and experienced guide telling me that a mountain bike guide could never have enough gloves. I remember thinking that assuming week long holidays, with five days biking, and washing my kit every couple of days that four pairs of gloves would be perfect. Now I know the truth… a mountain bike guide can never have enough gloves. (Or short liners but that’s a different review!). Gloves don’t last, I’ll go through several pairs a season, and they get dirty and sweaty really quickly so are always in the wash. It’s really easy to leave them in the van and forget to wash them too, meaning that you suddenly realise you are a pair down only to find them skulking under the van seats.So, here is a round up of all the gloves I’ve used over 2010, with a brief review of how comfortable they were and how long they lasted. What I haven’t mentioned here are the dozens of gloves which I have tried on in the shops and decided against, these are only the gloves which I have actually splashed my cash on. If you can’t be bothered with the details then skip to the end for a summary!

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 Thor Phase 8, 10 and 11I have tried the Thor Phase gloves over a few different generations and found them to be superb. The green ones are XXL, Phase 8’s and were damaged in a big crash. The XXL is slightly too big for me, which is great because normally I find MTB gloves a bit tight on my hands. The other gloves are Phase 10’s or 11’s and are size XL which is a great fit for me. The gloves are really roomy, particularly across the width of the hand, and I think this is why they have lasted so well. Other gloves are tight and the stitching is constantly being stretched until, eventually, it gives way; not so with the Thor Gloves. The “Clarino” palm gives minimal padding, however it is grippy, doesn’t get sweaty and ,with a good set of grips, is plenty comfy enough. The gloves boast “silicon fingertips for increased control”, these just come off after a few weeks and are totally unnecessary. I don’t know why almost all the manufacturers insist on putting stuff like this on gloves, it just makes them look tacky when it starts to peel and properly set up levers don’t need silicon to grip on them anyway. The material of the gloves feels robust and offers good protection, but it’s not so heavy as to be uncomfortable on hot days. The material has lasted very well and I got a full season out of my Phase 10’s, even though these are the gloves that I will always choose to put on, (if they’re clean). All in all these are the best mountain bike glove I have tried, someone would have to persuade me very strongly before I bought anything else. Comfort: 10/10 Protection: 8/10 Durability: 10/10
 
 661Descend and Cedric GraciaI really liked the Descend gloves, that is the ones without the knuckle protection. They are light and well ventilated. Protection feels less than the Thor gloves, however the rubberised 661 offers a bit of protection to the back of the hand. The problem for these gloves are that they just didn’t stand up to the miles. The silicon finger nonsense came off (see above!) but after a few months of riding the fingers and palms started to wear through. I bought the XXL gloves and these felt a good size, similar to the XL in the THORs. My hands aren’t huge so people with big hands are going to struggle. I never felt as comfortable with the CG gloves; the carbon knuckle protector never felt comfortable on my hands. The gloves lasted a few months before the material wore away so very similar to the Descend gloves and a long way behind the Thor’s. Comfort: 8/10 Protection: 8/10 Durability: 7/10
 
 RaceFace DiabolousThese glove were expensive and never felt right. I bought the XL size and they felt tight the whole time. The material is very heavy and it’s true that the material itself hasn’t worn out but that’s not much use because the stitching lasted only a few months. This is a common fault with raceface gear I find, the stitching is useless. Maybe the Canadians just don’t get good thread? These gloves are still usable but they are very far down the list of preferred gloves and I would search through the glove drawer for a long time before I chose these. Comfort: 5/10 Protection: 10/10 Durability: 5/10
 
 CheebaI don’t have the model name of these gloves, I bought them in a bike shop on a recommendation from the owner. They are useless. They are very uncomfortable and the seams scratch my hands. I had a fairly gentle fall after a few rides and mercifully ripped the palms out of them so I don’t have to ever wear them again. Cheap, useless tat. Comfort: 0/10 Protection: 8/10 Durability: 0/10
 
Fox. No not THAT Fox!These are gloves that I picked up for a laugh when I saw them in a builders merchants. They are vibration damping gloves and have a big wrist protection strap. I find them way to cumbersome for biking but the strap offers a lot of protection for anyone with weak wrists. I use them when I take out my machete for some trail clearing and they are perfect. Comfort: 3/10 Protection: 10/10 Durability: 10/10
 
Round-UpI hope people don’t feel that I’ve been unfair to their favourite gloves here. I put in a lot of days in the saddle and my gloves get washed after every day because they are generally pretty sweaty. That means that I’m putting the gloves through a pretty hard time so where I say “a few months” it could mean a year to someone else or even more. The THOR gloves are brilliant; comfy and durable. They are the gloves that I reach for in my glove box every time and I will continue to buy them. The 661 gloves were OK but just not up to the standard of THOR. The Raceface gloves were very expensive and disappointing, definitely not something I would consider again. Cheeba… I would rather ride without gloves thanks.

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