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Hirzl's Grippp Light SF gloves offer a fabulous performance. These lightweight summer mitts have the best grip I've ever experienced and they back this up with great construction and a perfect fit. And while the price is high, they're still cheaper than some – and I reckon they're worth every penny.
When Mat Brett tested these way back in 2011, he was impressed by the grip that they give. Even so, I was still surprised by just how grippy they are. It's not marketing hype, these work as they're claimed to. Contrary to most gloves I've tried, these are grippier than my bare hands in the dry. Move to wet weather and they are still incredible, easily outperforming everything else I've tried.
As when Mat tested the older version, Hirzl still uses an 'extensive tanning procedure' on the kangaroo leather palm although we're still not sure what that entails.
As the name suggests, the main feature is the grip, provided by that very supple kangaroo leather. This Light version goes without padding which is a feature I really like, so you get a nice natural feel for the bars. Hirzl does also make these in a Comfort version with some thin padding, if that's what you prefer.
When washing the gloves, you do have to take a bit more care because of the leather palm: no putting these through the tumble dryer or on a hot radiator. They'll survive for a while, but you'll (probably) ruin them eventually.
The back of the glove is a lightweight and highly breathable mesh fabric, the same as used between the fingers. There isn't much to say other than it felt very cool and has remained soft.
To make the gloves fit well at the wrist, Hirzl has used a strip of neoprene to work with the stretch in the mesh back. That results in a close fit but they're still easy to put on, helped by a pull tab on the wrist. It is integrated cleanly and stops you from pulling on the leather palm.
You also get a microfibre nose wipe that works well and stays soft through multiple washes. The wrist is finished with a white hem that looks fresh and shows no signs of wear.
Pulling the gloves off is aided by two pull slots on the middle fingers. I certainly found it easy to get them off after a long ride.
At £36, these aren't the cheapest gloves but they're not the most expensive either. Giro's Zero CS mitts offer a similar minimalist feel for £29.99, while Castelli's Rosso Corsa Secondapelle mitts, which I bought earlier this year when I needed some for racing, are £40. Although the Castellis are very comfortable, I much prefer the Grippp mitts.
Overall, even though these are getting towards the top end of the price range for gloves, I'd highly recommend them. Yes, £36 is higher than many others we've tested this year on road.cc, including some very good ones, but the performance, fit and construction are easily worth it for me.
Fabulous grip and fit provide perfect performance that justifies the price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Hirzl Grippp Light SF gloves
Size tested: L/9
Tell us what the product is for
From Hirzl: "The GRIPPP LIGHT is for those who want to consciously renounce features - simply for true minimalists"
This refers to the lack of padding – which is how I like my mitts.
"The OnePiece palm is made of kangaroo leather including HIRZL GRIPPP ™ technology and completely removes a cushioning system"
The palm is ridiculously grippy and the main reason that I really rate these gloves.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Palm: Kangaroo leather
Backhand: Airtech mesh / Microfleece thumb
Nylon 40%, Leather 35%, Polyester 10%, Elastane 10%, Other fibres 5%
The stitching is all clean and well finished. The gloves feel like each panel is meant to be there and there was nothing that irritated me.
The amazing grip is perfect for sprinting and foul weather.
I thought that the palm would show signs of wear but apart from losing the factory 'shine', it's unmarked.
The stretch in the mesh backing and the neoprene strip mean that the close fit isn't restrictive. The fingers are well proportioned with good length.
My large gave a close fit so I'd say these are ones to try on.
29g is nothing.
The fabrics used are soft and that leather is super-supple.
I like the minimalist feel of no padding but it you like a bit of padding then Hirzl do the Classic version.
£36 is a lot of money for a pair of mitts, but although they're at the higher end, you do get loads for your money. (And you can get them cheaper online.) They're not hugely more than competitors such as Mavic and Castelli, and they're cheaper than pairs from Prologo and Assos.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
You've got to be a little more careful, but these go in the growing pile of kit that can't be tumble dried.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Exceptionally. I mostly wear mitts in races for a bit of extra grip for sprints and crash protection. These provide incredible grip in all conditions.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The grip. It's changed what I expect from mitts.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Being really picky, the fact that the leather palm will deteriorate in the tumble dryer means I've got to be careful, something I'm not known for when washing my race kit.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
You can get a pair of comfy mitts for a tenner less. The Santini Brisk Race mitts I was also testing are £23 with similar breathability but a completely different palm.
Spending more is easy: Prologo's CPC mitts are £49.99, even more expensive than the £40 Assos Summergloves_S7.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, particularly cross riders, crit racers and anyone who needs high levels of grip.
Use this box to explain your overall score
I was tempted to give these a full 5 stars, they really are excellent; the only thing holding them back is the price. They fit really well, provide amazing grip in both wet and dry conditions, are comfortable to wear on long rides and stay cool in warm weather.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!