For days when you need total protection, there’s nothing like a proper chunky pair of gloves. Something you can slide you mitts into and know they won’t freeze within five miles of your warm living room makes for considerably easier training. There’s plenty of choice in the shops, but we’ve tested a couple from two leading clothing companies, Gore Bike Wear and Endura.
Gore Bike Wear Switch II
The Switch II gloves strike a good compromise between riding flexibility and winter warmth, and sit in the middle of Gore’s glove range. Windstopper fabric is great stuff, and is well utilised int he Switch II’s.
Much of the insulation comes from foam padding, and the soft lining within. Clearly riding with big gloves can pose something of a problem with such things as changing gears and braking, so Gore have added Silicone sections to the index and middle fingers and on the palm to increase control. The palm also recieves an additional layer of foam padding for comfort on longer rides.
The cuffs are roomy enough to fit over several sleeve layers, with a Velcro tab providing a good range of adjustment. The whole thumb is covered in a soft material for nose wiping, but we’d prefer a little more. Reflective piping aids visibility.
The bad thing about these gloves is the response you’ll get from everyone in the office as you’re leaving. Once on the bike though, the laughter will soon reside when you realise how warm your fingers are. The Lobster is the two finger version of the company’s otherwise five digit Tundra. What the Lobster offers over a normal glove though is unparalleled warmth – ideal when the temperature really plummets.
Inside there’s a Thinsulate liner, and with two fingers sitting in their own channel, but right beside each other, it takes considerably longer before the chill sets in. As with the Gore gloves there’s a long cuff that copes with bulky sleeves, with a Velcro tab which we’d prefer repositioned further down the cuff. The palm is deeply padded, and an acre of soft material covers the back of the hand, thumb and forefinger. A huge reflective tab on the outside finger gives great visibility.
The downside of this approach is the rather limited flexibility. It takes a little practise to be able to operate the controls, but once you’ve got used to switching gears with two fingers permanently attached, it ceases to be a problem. For deep winter warmth, they’re unbeatable.