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Tuesday, January 13

HuGs and kisses

I can be picky about somethings.  Free pizza and beer are generally not on that list.  Cookies?  Yes.  I can pass on a lot of store bought options.  Home made?  I hope you brought enough for everyone... unless you're terrible at following a recipe.

As far as bike stuff goes?  Of course.

For gloves, I've almost always liked minimal features over bells and whistles.  I'm old enough to remember when all gloves were generally unpadded, save for an extra layer of faux leather in critical wear areas.  I've seen the rise of padded mountain bike gloves from its infancy.  All manner of gel/foam/marshmallow fluff being inserted in various places I never asked for...

Nothing against Pearl Izumi as a brand in particular.  These were just the best example I could find with thirty seconds of searching.

These inserts did little for me in terms of relief, reduced fatigue or increased grip.  They were nothing more than annoying hindrances that kept me isolated from the feel of the bars.  I've owned many pairs, and more of them than I can remember met the business end of a seam ripper (if I didn't just end up giving them away).

Some time long ago, I took to riding Mechanix gloves, not just because they are endorsed by the likes of Bill The Thrill Cleveland.

Back in the late '90s/early '00s, Mechanix gloves were the shit.  No padding, just a super smooth palm and a simple closure. 

But like all good things, it didn't last.  I don't know what to blame it on in particular, but Mechanix expanded their lines and offerings, had much better product saturation in so many more markets (specific gloves for tough opening peanut butter jars?), and the quality went way down.  They didn't last as long before holes and tears started showing up, the Velcro wore out prematurely, and the standard model went through unnecessary and unwanted design changes.

The closest thing I would get to perfection were these:

Some Giro glove... they don't make them anymore.  Thankfully, Thad "I haven't blogged in seven months" Marsupial helped me corner the market on them.  I have one pair on its last legs, another pair with more than a few rides left in them, another that's going strong, and this pair with 100 kilometers of Wilkesboro on them.  Decent gloves, the best I could find at the time, still an unnecessary seam across the distal palmar crease... across THE pipelines of nerves and vessels going to the fingers.

So what do I want in a mountain bike glove?

Summer weight back.  I have a pair of gloves from Answer that are supposed to be summer weight, but I wear them on my commute to/from work down to about 35° or so.  That's not summer weight.  Gloves should make it easier to grip the bars when you're sweaty WHILE CONTRIBUTING TO THE SWEAT FACTOR AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE.

Low on the wrist fit.  I don't need wrist protection anymore than I need ankle protection.  Less glove, less heat.  Less need for... closures.

No closure at the wrist.  What's the point?  Make a glove that fits like a glove... problem solved.

No knuckle armor.  Unless you're wearing those tragic crabon knuckled disasters from Oakley, that rubber padding ain't gonna make much difference when you hit a tree.

No padding.  Even when I'm riding rigid, I don't want padding on the palm.  As much contact as I can get with the grips with the pressure spread as evenly as possible across my palm.  It seems counter-intuitive to pad certain areas only to reduce the amount of contact, thus putting even more pressure on those areas.

To get to the point of all this, I'm happy about these:

Handup Gloves.  Relatively new to the market, they are "light weight, minimalist, long finger cycling gloves best used for grabbing bars and beers."

What features make them winners?

* 4-way stretch, lightweight mesh on the back of the hand

* Stretch cuff to easily pull on and off gloves without fumbling for a strap

* Durable, single layer Clarino leather palm for maximum bike feel and no extra material bunching up

If you weren't paying attention, those are the things I was bitching about earlier.

And let me say it is with much stoke that they have agreed to sponsor Faster Mustache: CLT for 2015.

I got my pair yesterday at work.  Wore them on the commute home... I know, not much of a real world test.  Such a nice feel on the bars though.  As close to not wearing gloves as it gets without taking off your gloves.

Disclaimer.  I have one pair of Handup Gloves and a zillion pairs of other brands.  When they release some other colors (they change the available colorways from time to time), I will order more.  Until then, yes you might see me out riding in other gloves from time to time to save these from wear and tear.  Also when I do stage races, I might have to mix it up due to cleanliness factors. 

BTW:  Here's a tip for gentle washing of your gloves (at home or at a stage race).  Wear them in the shower and use them as a wash rag.  You'd be surprised how clean you can get them with bath soap and some scrubbing of your body... and you won't rag your gloves out in the washing machine or accidentally toss them in the dryer.

15 comments:

Dauber Jenkins said...

Thanks for the legwork Dicky. Been riding the Specialized XC Lite for the last two seasons, this might be another option. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Love these el-cheapo's from Home Depot...

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Firm-Grip-Large-General-Purpose-Gloves-2001L/100249720?N=5yc1vZc260

They only have beer on the palms if you spill on them though :(

dicky said...

I see padding. Fail... unless they sop up beer and save it for later.

SPH_Blackbeard said...

Not that it matterz much with the sponsorz now... but Dakine Concept gloves are super lightweight... no padding..etc. I only have 3/4 of a summer on them with no wear, but long term life is TBD. Still... they replaced some roasty toasty Answers that are now my spring trailwork glove...

dicky said...

I had a pair of lightweight Dakine gloves cross my path. The fit was a bit poochy on my hands so they were gifted away.

Anonymous said...

The best way to clean gloves is to bring a pot of water to a boil and turn off the heat. Add your favorite dish detergent to the hot water (just a small amount for aromatics) and insert gloves, let them stew for a while,stirring occasionally, then ring excess water out, rinse, and air dry. The heat kills the funky bunch.

Makes for a funky soup and the freshest of MTB gloves.

Anonymous said...

Giro gloves that don't fall apart at the thumb seams? Stop the presses!!!

Anonymous said...

You just described the sixsixone Raji glove. Been using them for 5 or so years myself. Can usually be had on EBay for around $12 or so.

dicky said...

I had two pairs of Raji gloves when they first came out. Both pairs wore too quickly. One pair was trashed and the other is in the trunk of the Fit of Rage in case someone shows up to a ride without gloves.

They're better than no gloves.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff...
Handup has 3 colors on ebay

Ratman

dicky said...

Those are the same colors they offer on their website as of right now.

Holding my breath for white, pink or chartreuse.

Anonymous said...

hold you breath until you're chartreuse.

Buck

Anonymous said...

http://www.answerproducts.com/apparel/gloves/answer-won-gloves/

Anonymous said...

POC Index Air gloves tick all your boxes. They last pretty good too.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the same boat, love minimalist gloves. I would suggest another brand\style worth checking would be the 661 Raji, super comfy and breathable, best super glove I've found esp for Nevada\SoCal summer riding.