Six of the best… lightweight gloves for autumn and spring cycling

Lightweight gloves to keep the chill at bay

When the seasons change, it’s your hands that often feel it first. Whether it’s the morning chill that arrives as summer turns to autumn, or the first rays of warm sunshine as spring emerges from winter.

Winter gloves are an essential for British cyclists. Your hands take the full force of the wind chill, sat on the handlebars but with little to do to keep themselves warm – other than the odd flick of the shifter here or squeeze of the brake there.

But while warm, windproof and (well, this is the dream anyway) waterproof gloves are the order of the day for the depths of winter, the shoulder seasons of autumn and spring require something lighter to keep the chill off your fingers, without your hands overheating.

So what makes good mid-season gloves? They should strike a balance between offering enough warmth for cool conditions, coping with temperatures down to mid-single figures without adding too much bulk, and therefore be light enough to stow in a pocket if things warm up and it’s time to get your hands out properly.

Keeping those criteria in mind, we’ve picked six of the best pairs of lightweight, full-fingered gloves for autumn and spring cycling.

Galibier Roubaix Vision IV Gloves

Galibier’s Roubaix Vision IV gloves have been one of our go-to options for a few years now and while the design hasn’t changed a great deal in that time (it hasn’t had to), there have been a few tweaks for autumn/winter 2016.

The gloves are made from a fleece-lined Super Roubaix fabric which provides an ideal level of insulation for spring or autumn mornings. The fabric has plenty of stretch, ensuring an excellent fit, and because it’s a single-layer material the gloves are low bulk and you retain a really good level of feel on the bars.

The cuff has been lengthened by 6mm to provide a little more coverage, while the rear silicone detail has been updated. There’s silicone print on the palm and first two fingers to grip the shifters and brake levers, while there’s also reflective detail on the knuckles.

The price has increased from £14 to £16 but these remain top value gloves that do the job in hand very well indeed.

Price: £16
Website: Galibier

Prendas Ciclismo Super Roubaix Gloves

By and large, Dorset-based Prendas Ciclismo make very good cycle clothing accessories, from their overshoes, to winter hats, to these Super Roubaix gloves.

Like Galibier’s gloves, they’re made from a stretchy, fleece-lined fabric ideal for mid-season riding. They’re light and thin, so can be easy stowed in a jersey pocket if the temperature warms up, but provide enough warmth in single-figure temperatures.

Grip comes from rubber dimples on the palm, as well as the index and middle fingers. The gloves aren’t padded but they don’t need to be and that aids lever feel.

Other than that, Prendas’ Super Roubaix gloves are available in no less than seven sizes, and two colours, with a black option alongside the fluorescent pair featured here.

Price: £19.95
Website: Prendas Ciclismo

DeFeet DuraGlove ET Gloves

The DeFeet DuraGlove differs from Prendas’ and Galibier’s gloves in that they’re made from a fabric which comprises a Cordura, Coolmax polyester and Lycra knit mix.

Each element of that mix does its own job: Cordura is an abrasion-resistant yarn used on the outside of the gloves to improve durability, CoolMax helps draw perspiration away from the skin, and Lycra adds enough stretch to ensure a close fit.

Like all the gloves featured here, they’re not windproof per se, but the knit does enough to block most of the wind in cool conditions, even if we’d say they’re not quite as warm as a Super Roubaix glove. The fabric’s also pretty good at keeping warmth in when wet.

DeFeet DuraGlove – review

There’s tons of silicone detailing on the palm and fingers to ensure grip isn’t a problem, and the tips of the middle finger, index finger and thumb have added metallic threads to ensure you can use a smartphone without taking the gloves off. Very handy when it’s chilly or just to save the faff.

It’s also worth mentioning that the gloves are available in no less than eight colours, including high-vis yellow, green, pink and orange options.

Price: £17.99
Website: DeFeet

Bontrager RXL Thermal Gloves

The Bontrager RXL Thermal Glove fits the bill as an autumn or spring choice thanks to Bontrager’s Profila Thermal fabric – which is designed to trap heat and also wick moisture – and it does the job very well.

The inside of the glove has a soft, luxurious feel, and while the fabric’s not strictly windproof it’s dense enough to stop too much cold air getting through. On the flip side, breathability is very good. In terms of bulk, these are a bit more substantial than the Prendas, Galibier and GripGrab gloves, and a touch warmer, but they provide a snugger fit than those from Craft.

Bontrager RXL Thermal Gloves- review

The fleecy fabric is also used on the cuff and outside of the thumb, offering a convenient snot wipe, while the rest of the glove is covered with a durable synthetic fabric.

There’s silicone print on the thumb and first two fingers, though it could be a little grippier in our experience. It also makes life tricky when using a smartphone touchscreen. Other than that, Bontrager have generally got it right, and if you don’t like the black gloves pictured there’s also a high-vis yellow option. Both have a large, reflective Bontrager logo below the knuckles. They’re good value, too.

Price: £14.99
Website: Bontrager

GripGrab Insulator Hi-Vis Gloves

If you’re not familiar with GripGrab, they’re from Denmark and specialise in cycling and running clothing accessories with a range which includes gloves, overshoes, socks, warmers and more.

The gloves range is split into three categories: short, long and winter. The Insulator gloves full into the winter category but they’re still pretty light and ideal for autumn and spring, offering enough warmth for cool conditions. Like many of the gloves here they can also be used as a liner glove when things get really cold, providing you’re winter gloves are large enough to accommodate them, of course.

GripGrab Insulator Hi-Vis Gloves – review

As you’d expect by now, there’s silicone grip generously spread across the palm, thumb, index finger and middle finder. The outside of the thumb also has a soft fleecy finish to use as a snot wipe.

As well as the high-vis option, there’s also a black version, and both have a generous amount of reflective detailing on the outside. Our only gripe is that the cuff isn’t elasticated so things can get a little airy unless you find a perfect fit (luckily, there’s a choice of five sizes and a size guide on the GripGrab website). They’re also the most expensive gloves featured.

Price: £29.95
Website: GripGrab

Craft Hybrid Weather Gloves

We’ve saved these until last as, by our reckoning, they’re the warmest gloves we’ve featured here and as such are best-suited to late autumn and early spring, when it’s a bit parkier.

They’re pretty clever as gloves go, coming with a built-in, lightweight cover to provide windproof protection for the fingers, meaning they’re fairly versatile and there’s some back-up if it’s colder than you’d expected. But equally useful if you want to keep the wind off your fingers on a descent. Otherwise the gloves are made from a polyester fabric which is warm in itself if not strictly windproof. We’d say the gloves are good down to mid-single figure temperatures on their own, and a little lower than that if you whip out the cover.

Craft Hybrid Weather Gloves – review

Like all the gloves featured here, they’re not waterproof by any stretch. So while the windproof cover offers a little water resistance, we’d generally look for something which offers a little more rain protection if it’s hosing it down, particularly if it’s cold out. Cold and wet fingers are never a good thing.

Otherwise Craft’s Hybrid gloves have plenty of grip, while the end of the thumbs and index finger are finished with a touchscreen-compatible material. The outside of the thumb is also finished with a soft snot wipe.

These gloves are generally a bit bulkier than the rest we’ve featured, but they are a touch warmer if you want something that’ll make bridging the gap into the depths of winter a little easier.

Price: £25
Website: Craft

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