The RH+ Nordic is a deep winter glove which promises much and delivers on most counts. It’s warm and breathable, though it’s only water resistant, as opposed to fully waterproof.
Warm gloves are essential if you are to ride through winter. Your hands, exposed on the handlebar, take the full brunt of the cold winter air, with little to keep them warm other than an occassional flick of the gear shifter or pull on the brake. Frozen hands will leave you unable to do either.
As with the recently-reviewed RH+ Iceland Jacket, the name is a hint as to the conditions to which the gloves are best suited. The Nordic Glove is the most expensive in the Italian firm’s range, at £50 for the pair, and offers excellent levels of insulation.
First, a disclaimer. The warmth offered by gloves can vary from rider to rider. Some feel the cold more than others and, with extremities like hands and feet, that effect is often exaggerated as far as the digits are concerned.
What we can say, however, is that the Nordic Glove has provided ample insulation in the coldest temperatures we’ve experienced so far this winter – around zero degrees. Our hands were nothing but toasty in such conditions and these are among the warmest cycling gloves we’ve tried.
The gloves have more in common with skiing gloves than those normally used for cycling and are fairly bulky as a result, but that’s a consequence of the extra warmth offered. They’re not bulky to the extent that ‘feel’ of the controls is compromised, however, and the non-slip fabric used on the palm and index/middle fingers, which also have additional silicone grip on the tips, ensures there’s plenty of grip.
The non-slip fabric has shown early signs of wear and tear during the course of our test, with a little worn away on either palm roughly where the hand would rest on the hoods. It’s nothing we’re overly concerned by but something worth keeping an eye on over the course of the winter.
Non-slip aside, the gloves are made from what RH+ call a Waterdry Gold fabric. It’s a three-layer fabric with a windproof outer which works just as it should. The fabric’s also impressively breathable, too. It’s been a mild winter to date but the gloves have remained dry inside in temperatures when their bulk would suggest otherwise.
RH+ also say the Waterdry Gold fabric is ‘100 per cent waterproof’. A warm, windproof, breathable and waterproof glove is something of the holy grail for manufacturers and we’re yet to find one that ticks all boxes to perfection. The Waterdry Gold fabric does a good job at keeping light rain and road spray out, but it’s not fully waterproof. The fabric will feel damp on the outside in prolonged rain – that has a cooling effect on the gloves as a whole – and some water will eventually get through to your hands, not least via the multitude of seams, if it’s raining stair rods.
The Nordic Glove has a fairly bulky cuff, which adds to its overall heft, and that means it won’t tuck under the sleeves of most cycling jackets. There is a drawstring which helps lock warmth in and keep chilly drafts out, and a velcro strap also works to the same effect on the wrist, but we’d still prefer a slimmer and lighter cuff to reduce the overall bulk of the glove.
RH+’s UK distributor, Veroli, offer the Nordic in four sizes, from medium to extra-extra-large. Styling on the gloves, available in black only, is limited to an RH+ logo on the outside of either hand and reflective piping, positioned so that it’s visible to motorists when signalling. One feature missing but which we’d like to see is a soft snot wipe on the thumb.
The Nordic is an very good glove for deep winter and it’s an excellent option for really cold, mostly dry weather. It’s extra bulk means it one for hardy riders who will ride when it’s freezing, or those with cold hands, but, if that’s you, it should provide plenty of protection from winter temperatures – but don’t expect it to be fully waterproof.