When barreling down the road on a cool day or going out for a cruise at night, you will notice your fingers getting nippy. Gloves not only shield your hands from the elements but also provide you a more steady and comfortable grip on your handlebars.
Most bikes come with grips already installed but they may not be the optimal fit for you depending on the size of your hands and the materials used for that grip.
Grips can be easily replaced and the options of glove designs are endless! It is important to have the best grips and gloves for not just enjoying your ride but to give your hands some road burn protection if you have to throw your hands out in front of you in the case of an accident.
Let’s run through the common and most popular types of gloves used for biking and motorcycle touring.
Types of Gloves
Road Biking: Road bikes do not have suspension systems like mountain bikes do. When going over bumps, a curb, or an obstacle on the road your gloves will help absorb the impact from going up your hands, arms, shoulders and back. It is ideal to cushion yourself from these shocks for full endurance and performance. Some road bike gloves come with a fleece or cotton padding for wiping your eyes or nose if they start getting runny. Instead of whipping out a tissue, a feature like this prevents you having to pull over and continue riding to your destination
Mountain Biking: The nature if mountain biking is rough but pure fun! So you need protection and the best grip to make tight turns and maneuvers on the trails and jumps. This is crucial to
avoiding an accident that could have been avoided if just you were wearing the right gloves. These gloves have padding on the palm and fingers to absorb shock and grip the bars tight! Taking a fall on a mountain bike tends to be harsher than on the road so make sure you get gloves that are rated to withstand the road rash and help you brace for impact.
Motorcycle Riding: These gloves are made to protect your hands when you are wiping out at 100kms + per hour for road burn and fall protection, much sturdier and tough than the conventional biking glove.
The last thing you want to be worrying about is your hands ability to use the bikes controls in the cold while flying down the highway or making a huge jump while riding motocross.
If you ride all year round then you will need to buy different types of gloves for the best performance and experience depend on the weather and environment.
A glove should fit like a second layer of your skin. Not too tight, not too loose, but just right! Another commonly known name for motorcycle gloves are called Gauntlets.
Winter and Rain Riding
This is where you WANT to have the right gloves. If you ride in winter or rainy conditions,
you need gloves that will protect you from the cold while not being so poofy and insulated that your grip is slippery or compromised.
These gloves usually have a fleece or insulating lining and other materials. Regular full finger gloves are great for control, the lobster claw types keep your two fingers on each side of your hand together for warmth and comfort while still being easy enough to use your index and middle fingers to control the shifter and brakes. Make sure these gloves are waterproof or you will have some soaking wet and cold hands.
Styles & Materials
You will find that there are 2 main types of gloves:
Full finger and Fingerless. The full finger gloves provide you with full spectrum protection from falls and abrasions which make them the safer choice logically. Fingerless gloves offer better breathability in higher temperatures, give you better control and tend to be used when road biking.
For mountain biking or bmx riding, full finger gloves are the popular choice. They protect your entire hand in the event of a fall and will protect your hands from the cold. Slow moving or numb fingers can hinder your ability to use the brakes and shifter properly.
Gloves tend to be made of synthetic leather for the palm & finger padding with a combination of spandex and polyester for the rest of the gloves construction which prevents rubbing and blisters. Leather used to be the ideal type of material, thanks to advances in synthetic fibers and new textiles, they have created the stage for a higher quality product and lower cost than ole’ reliable (aka cowhide).
The best gloves will have a balance of all these features and a higher price tag, but the quality you will be investing in will reflect the experience you will have!
Get out there!
Regardless of color choice or style, you want to buy gloves that will enhance you experience while offering you the best protection. On the trails, in the city or alongside a waterfall, a good pair of gloves will give you peace of mind and enjoy the day.