Winter Gloves: A Four Fisted Comparo- by Grannygear and Guitar Ted received a passel of cool or cold weather winter cycling gloves and we have been out exposing our tender digits to the elements to see what worked well for us.  Between Guitar Ted and I we have four sets of gloves that take aim at keeping you out riding as the mercury dips and the winds blow.  They vary a bit in temp rating, construction, and materials, but chances are that one of these would make you happy for most of the three season conditions one would face while on your bike.

So lets look at the players, shall we?

Answer Products:  Strike and Sleestak.

answer products strikesleestak answer products

The Strike is a 5mm Neoprene glove with a Clarino Amara palm material for 3 season use.  It makes no claims of wind or water proof-ness.  It has a decently long cuff with a large opening closed with a velcro flap. The Palm has some rubber grippys embossed onto it for keeping things in hand and there is a large terrycloth snot wipey section on the outer thumb area. Rated to 25°F (-4 °C).  The Sleestak is a different bird altogether.  The three sectioned glove (hard to tell in the pic) is a nylon ripstop top with an Amara palm and Primaloft insulation.  It would fall into the ‘mitt’ category more than glove.  It makes no claims for wind or water resistance and is rated to 20F (-7C).  There is no terrycloth section for runny noses, but the thumb is a softer fleece fabric that would do in a pinch, ah, I mean drip.

Strike suggested retail – $44.99

Sleestak suggested retail – $39.99

Specialized: Body Geometry Deflect

specialized deflect glovespecialized deflect glove

Some data on the Deflect:

  • Touch screen compatible
  • Upper uses a wind/water-resistant membrane with a warm fleece inner to keep hands toasty and dry
  • Body Geometry pad reduces hand numbness by relieving pressure on the sensitive ulnar nerve
  • Brushed microfiber thumb brushes away sweat, plus it’s windproof for added protection
  • Hydrophobic Ax suede fit palm to increase stretch, comfort and water resistant
  • Slip-on cuff has extra length for warmer wrists
  • High visibility black reflective graphics keeps you safe at night, while stylish in the day
  • Rated to 45°F/7°C.
  • Suggested retail – $40.00
Alpinestars:  C-1 Windstopper glove
alpinestars c-1 glovealpinestars c-1 glove
Ok, first of all, the C-1 Windstopper is not a bike glove but comes from the moto section of the company.  With that in mind it has some unique features that might be very appealing to certain riders.

The C1 is a versatile, short-cuffed commuting glove constructed using windproof and water resistant Gore Windstopper® fabric.  Integrated hard knuckle protection and a leather palm offer superior impact and abrasion protection.

  • Lightweight, windproof, and water resistant city riding glove.
  • Two-piece construction with Gore Windstopper®, stretch Nylon fabric main outer for effective insulation.
  • One piece full-grain leather palm construction.
  • 3mm EVA padding on fingers.
  • Hard knuckle protection, covered by Gore Windstopper® fabric.
  • Knitted cuff for comfort and flexibility.

The Gore Windstopper and the hard knuckle guards (serious protection here!) speaks to the intended use of sitting on a motorcycle at highway speeds in cool weather for hours as well as allowing for some asphalt rash deterrence.  There is no temp rating given.  Suggested retail is $79.95

I, (Grannygear), rode all of them on various rides in So Cal fall into winter conditions, no real rain to speak of, but to really show what they might do in colder conditions, I picked an early evening when the static temps were in the low 40s.  The wind was blowing to 20 mph gusts and it was a cold wind.  I dressed warmly so my core would be good to go and grabbed the SS, heading to a local housing tract where I do hill repeats.  It is an out of the saddle climb to the top so I would build body heat, then I would drop fast into the wind…maybe 25mph speeds plus the wind speed added in.  Brrrr.  At the bottom of each loop I swapped gloves and repeated the loop four times.  My hands kept warm and I never started a lap with chilly fingers.  I also took them all to the kitchen sink and sprayed them gently with the faucet hose to see how they did with H2O.  Not scientific, but…  Keep in mind that none of these are rated as rain gloves, but water happens.

Guitar Ted just rode in his samples and used them for general wear when appropriate as well. Commuting, training for a winter fat bike race, and for sledding with the kids. He gives his thoughts on each that he had after Grannygear’s comments.

Sleestak -Grannygear:  The warmest, it is unique for sure, allowing for one finger braking and a decent purchase on the bars.  Maybe not for the techiest of trails, but it is comfy, roomy, easy to get into, and I might as well been sitting in my house for all that the wind and cold of that test loop did to affect my comfort.  I would have liked a bit less material bunching in the palm when closed around the grip, just for a better grip on the grips.  Decent water resistance.  I did get it to leak at the sides of one finger, but it took a while and I think it would shrug off casual showers and snow flurries.  I did not feel the palm getting wet.  I like them and if it is so cold that these are not adequate, I am not riding my bike, OK?  The tri-section mitt deal takes some re-learning as I would try to do two finger braking with comical results.

Guitar Ted: The Sleestak was impressive. I used it on my more bitterly cold rides, (Low single digits to around 12°F), and even facing the wind, I detected little to no discomfort. The Sleestak is an easy glove/mitten to put on and take off. The fit was roomy, and with only one digit free for braking, or doing anything with the hand, dexterity suffered a bit. But you have to give up some of that for warmth. The Sleestak is minimal in heft and size for such a warm mitten/glove as well. I could likely wear a thin wool liner and really go for some long, cold rides with these on. As with the other Answer glove, there are nice logo sticky/gripper patches on the palm for a good purchase on the grips….or sled! :) The only negative I found was that after some use, one of the seams inside the “crotch” of the finger and mitten part came undone a bit. Otherwise a top notch hand-wear item here.

Strike -Grannygear: Second warmest and also decently water resistant but when they did soak through, they really soaked through, especially in the palm.  I did ride these in a brief sleet/hailstorm and they beaded up fine.  They were very warm but I would always first feel cold creeping into the little finger for some reason and by the bottom of the hill repeat I was feeling some, but not much cold coming into the glove.  They have a snug overall fit and they feel ‘thick’ around the hand, making for a bit of effort to close the hand and keep it wrapped around the grip.  Kinda like bending over in a wet suit, etc.  They are very easy to get into and have a nice long cuff that will go under or over the sleeve.  I liked them very much, but I wonder if the Lg would have been better for me than the Med, even though I had good finger tip room?

Guitar Ted: The Strike was another great cold weather addition to the kit this winter. It is a full on glove, so you have a higher level of dexterity than with the Sleestak. I, like Grannygear, found the Strike to be compressive and “stiff” or resistant to moving your hand… first. But with several rides and sledding outings, I found that the glove broke in and was fine for me. I also found a little cold air leakage at the tips of a couple fingers, especially in wind, or air temperatures under 15°F. They are soft inside and quite comfortable after breaking in. The grippy logo deal really is tacky! These have held up well for me, even after skidding on my palms in some gravel due to an out of control sledding incident. Easy to get into and out of as well.

Deflect -Grannygear: I have to wonder if anyone ever tried these on before they approved them for sale as I have never seen a glove that was so hard to get into.  Really?  Like trying to wear your kid sister’s sneakers.  The inner cuff is soooo tight and there is not much there to grab and pull against, especially once you have one glove on, that it was almost funny trying to put them on.  Almost.  Once on though, they had a very good balance of roominess and fit and they felt the most like a normal MTB glove (and they are getting a bit easier to get into as I use them more but just a little bit).  In fact, I bet these would be versatile when used with/without a liner system.  The wind did not seem to get into the glove at all but you knew that it was a bit of a lightweight in temp rating as the cold would become apparent.  However, that was only in the worst moments of the test and I bet a thin liner would bump this glove up nicely in temp range.  The water went into these pretty much immediately.  Soggy.  They also had the most hand support in the BG padding at the palms AND you get Wire Tap so you can text or check your Strava rating while riding with the gloves on.  If I could get these on without a pry bar or goose grease, I would like them even more than I do for cool but not cold days.  Add a thin silk or fleece glove liner and these would get the versatility award for sure and on trail days in the 50s to high 40s temps wise, they were super.  NOTE:  I dropped by my local Specialized dealer and tried on a pair of LG BG Deflects from the display rack (there was only one pair).  I found the fit at the cuff to be much more relaxed than the pair I had for testing.  Interesting…chalk that up to production differences I guess, so be advised…you experience may vary as mine did.  GG.

C-1 Windstopper -Grannygear: Well these were interesting.  They were more like wearing a warm driving glove than an MTB glove and the palm material was almost luxurious.  They win the best fit award with one caveat.  The knuckle guards are unobtrusive too and if I was a guy/gal (they have a ladies version of this glove) that rode in colder places and needed heavy brush or crash protection, these would be a smart choice.  They were the second hardest to get my hand into but the fit was super, pre-curved nicely, etc.  They were not as warm as I expected them to be but some of the feeling I got was from the odd fit in the fingers.  They are very ‘skinny’ feeling and they seemed to squeeze in on the sides of each finger.  I think this was restricting blood flow a bit.  However, no wind got through the Gore fabric. On the test loop DH I did feel colder in them than the Strikes, but not by too much.  I finally gave up trying to get water to enter the glove top or palm.  Ducks back, at least compared to the others.  If I could put a finger width stretcher into these over night I would like them even more.

Guitar Ted: The C-1 was a hit with my family, and after we were done doing “super hero” poses and punching holes in the air, I actually got to test these stylish mitt coverings. :) These were a chore to put on, but once on the fit was not unlike the Ergon gloves we have tried. Very snug, especially around the digits, but comfortable. The gloves were easier to take off than they were to put on. Dexterity with these on is fantastic. Cell phone buttons were easily accessed. Now, as far as keeping the hands warm, these have a range that I would say is higher than the Answer gloves. Anything below 30°F and my longer fingers would be absolutely frozen at the tips after five miles of commuting. However, they were quite comfortable as the temperatures were going higher and even up to 50°F I felt these were great. The Answer gloves would have been far too warm at the warmest temperature I used the C-1 at. These are by far the coolest looking and finest constructed gloves I tested, or have ever tested, for that matter. If your weather doesn’t see below freezing temperatures during the winter months, these should be on your radar.

Specialized, Answer, and Alpinestars sent over these gloves for test and review at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches. We were not paid, nor bribed for this review and we strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.