I moved back to the West Coast to stay away from cold winters and negative vibes. Well life is interesting and I've found myself back in NYC for the winter. Winter cycling in New York City is tough. The city is cold and unforgiving. Everyone is fighting for space and keeping warm is a constant battle. I made a promise to myself last year that I would never let the weather prevent me from cycling. It doesn't always work out as planned but I can honestly say I've been true to my word. Winter gloves is a big deal. Finger tips are the first thing to freeze and god damn it's painful! I've spent hundreds of dollars on gloves from Giro, Rapha, Craft and Gore. I have enough gloves to fill up a roll top backpack and the reason is because I am constantly looking for something more comfortable. I have a great system of gloves that I can use all the way down to 30 degrees but it's always been a struggle to stay comfortable when the temperature drops down into the 20s and especially the teens.
Frustrated and tired of cold hands I dropped into Bicycle Habitat in Soho to see what they had for these deep East Coast winters. This is when I was introduced to the Bontrager RXL Waterproof Softshell Split Finger Glove.
My initial impression was that they felt way too light to keep me warm when the temps hit the lower 20s. They felt roomy which is something I was looking for so I could stuff them with hand warmers. I also noticed that I didn't loose too much of the dexterity in my hands which was my big problem with my Rapha Deep Winter glove system. Listed at $69 I decided to give the gloves a shot. After purchasing the gloves the salesman asked if I knew about the gloves. Looking confused he begun to tell me about Bontrager's 30 day unconditional warranty. 30 days no matter what I could return them if I didn't like them. Thats the best damn warranty in cycling I've ever heard of! These gloves were already off to a good start and I hadn't even left the shop yet! [su_spacer]
The following day I woke up early determined to ride despite the steady snowfall that hit NYC the day before. After suiting up and loading my Hunter Pack (more about that in another article) I set off in the sub 20 degree morning. For me the first 30 minutes of a ride tells you a lot about your gear. Your body isn't warmed up and the first things impacted by this is your hands and feet. Looking down at my Garmin I could see the temperature hovering just below 18 degrees. Yet here I was at the George Washington Bridge and about to explore a snow covered River Road.
I am happy to report that I was able to ride over five hours and my hands never went cold. At some point during my ride I did drop a hand warmer into each glove because I was taking them on and off a lot to shoot photos. To put the final nail in the coffin a majority of the ride was spent riding Single Track. Despite the two finger design of the gloves I still had the mobility to shred.
"Cold, wet weather is no match for the RXL waterproof Softshell split finger gloves. The Profila Softshell outer lining provides windproof and waterproof protection, while toasty 100g Thinsulate insulation and fleece lining provide superior warmth in your battle against cold and wet hands. An added touch is the absorbent material on the thumb to softly clean your nose."
Conclusion: First off is it fair for me to come to the conclusion on a pair of gloves I just bought? Well ...... the answer is hell yea it is.
Over five hours in sub 20 degree weather is adequate testing in my book! These are brutal circumstances and the gloves held up and kept my hands warm. The following day we rode over 10 hours in sub 30 degree weather and again the gloves held up. While my riding partner painfully struggled with cold fingers my hands were toasty allowing for me concentrate on enjoying the ride. If your skeptical it's because you're probably spending your winter riding the trainer.
These Bontrager gloves enable me to ride my bike in conditions that keep even the most hard cored cyclists inside. At $69 and the 30 day unconditional warranty I don't see how someone could find a better glove system. In my opinion if you want to get out there on the cold days pick these up, throw some hand warmers in your jersey pocket and don't let Mother Earth keep you down.
More info from Bontrager below : "Ride it and love it. If not, we’ll take it back." "It’s that simple. If for any reason you’re not satisfied with your Bontrager products, return the item - along with the original sales receipt - to the place of purchase within 30 days of purchase date for exchange or store credit."
[su_divider top="no" divider_color="#DDFF99" size="5" margin="0"] [su_spacer] Features : - Profila Softshell construction provides windproof and waterproof protection from cold and wet weather - Waterproof insert keeps your hands dry and comfortable - 3M™ Thinsulate™ 100g insulation provides superior warmth to weight - Fleece lined - Absorbent nose wipe on thumb - Adjustable wrist closure - inForm Science of Comfort design reduces pressure on the ulnar nerve, helping to eliminate discomfort and hand numbness - Reflective elements enhance visibility