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The Castelli Aero Speed Gloves are a smart set of time trial mitts which smooth out lines nicely and stay in place very well.
The idea of marginal gains is perhaps best demonstrated through the technology development within time trialling, where everything needs to be aerodynamic. This is where the Aero Speed Gloves come in – designed to provide maximum aerodynamics during TTs.
One thing that really sets these apart from regular mitts is that rather than having the standard individual finger holes, they instead have a thumb hole, index finger hole, and then the final three fingers have one large opening. The idea behind this is that your hands are the first things that break the air when time trialling, so it makes sense to make them as aero as possible.
Castelli doesn't make any specific claims about performance with these gloves, but it is clear that they have better aerodynamic performance than traditional mitts. This comes not only from the layout of the openings, but also that they come considerably higher up on the fingers, creating a smoother surface over which air can pass. It's impossible to calculate the impact this has in the grand scheme of things, but doubtless there is some gain from the design.
As you would expect from highly specialised kit, these are not made for regular road riding and the design shows that. For one, there is very little padding because you do not put your weight on your hands when TT riding, so there are essentially just two areas with silicone grippers which are effective for gripping the bars. These work well and although I didn't test on unwrapped bars, I would be confident that they would grip well. On the palm they also have some ventilation elements with a few holes through the fabric to allow air to flow.
Another element that makes it clear these are not your average cycling mitt is their length – reaching well down the forearm. They also have a strip of slightly thicker material running down the centre of the wrist which stops rubbing against the bars too. This elongated wrist area is also well elasticated, so even on wet rides they are held firmly in place, so they consistently maintain their aero shape.
The mitts are very much high performance gear and as is often the case with such kit they are lightweight, with thin material used throughout. This has definite benefits, for instance they are impressively breathable, especially on the wrists. However, it does mean that if you come off they are unlikely to prevent much damage. They do seem well made, though, with strong stitching used throughout, and pulling them off doesn't cause any seams to feel like they could rip apart.
The mitts come in two different colour options, sky blue or black. Interestingly, they also come with two different options in terms of fingers, with either the layout here or the tradition five-hole option. Looking at images of the team time trial at the Tour de France, you can see that most in Team Sky wear the five-finger versions, but with just a couple wearing this option.
The gloves come with an RRP of £32, which isn't bad for a set of high-performance mitts. Their closest competitor is probably the GripGrab Aero TTs, which come in at around £45 (depending on exchange rate) but have basically the same features.
Overall, I was impressed with these mitts. They offer good grip, they keep their aero shape well, and they are surprisingly breathable. There aren't really many negatives; even if you don't like the non-traditional finger layout, there is always the option to get the traditional version.
A strong set of time trial mitts for those looking at marginal gains
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Castelli Aero Speed Gloves
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
These are designed exclusively for time triallists or triathletes looking for that extra marginal gain
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Covers fingers for aerodynamic advantage
Precurved palm design
Silicone grip on palm
Well made gloves with strong stitching used throughout and no sign of ripping when taking them off.
Performed very well, keeping their shape nicely and offering good grip on the bars.
Good so far, but will probably need to be replaced if you crash; as high-performance and specialist kit these aren't designed for durability.
Fitted fantastically with the gloves really smoothing out the air flowing over your hands.
The large I tested fitted as I would expect.
These are not mitts that are particularly designed for comfort because they are all about marginal gains, so the three fingers in one opening is a little restrictive.
£32 for a piece of aero kit used by Team Sky isn't too bad at all...
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy, washed them at 30 without any problems at all.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well, they stay in place nicely and give you a bit more grip on the bars. I can't test their aero effectiveness, but I would be surprised if they didn't give you something.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The way they are held in place so securely, meaning they keep their shape even if you're shifting around.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The three fingers in one opening is a little restrictive.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There aren't many specialist TT gloves on the market, but they compare favourably with the GripGrab Aero TTs which are around £45.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
They do everything you want for those small marginal gains whilst TTing, they seem to offer a slight aero advantage and their interesting design makes you feel a little like a secret squirrel
About the tester
I usually ride: Cinelli Gazzetta My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between.
Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.