This latest incarnation of Decathlon's top-model Triban 900 Winter Cycling Gloves features a few handy (sorry) improvements over the previous version that makes them among the best winter gloves for the money – and they stand comparison with gloves costing twice as much.
Decathlon says these gloves are designed to keep your hands toasty down to zero Celsius, and that's exactly what they do. They also do a surprisingly good job of fending off the wet for gloves that make no claim to being more than 'water-repellent'.
What we have here is a softshell outer glove with a fleece lining sewn in, and a soft, flexible palm in Chicron synthetic suede. The fleece lining keeps your hands warm, the softshell stops the wind dead in its tracks and fends off showers, while the palm provides decent grip, and the fingertips have patches of conductive stuff so you can operate a touchscreen.
There's always a trade-off in winter gloves between warmth and bulk. The Triban 900 winter gloves aren't as bulky as the Galibier Deep Winter gloves I reviewed a few weeks ago, but they're not quite as warm as those gloves either. Where the Galibiers point and laugh at temperatures a bit below zero degrees, the Triban gloves start to let the chill in.
On the other hand, the Triban 900 winter gloves are definitely overkill if the weather warms up a bit. On a morning dash to the office when the air temperature was about 8°C my hands were getting distinctly warm.
On the whole, though, they're just the job for those winter months when the temperature spends its time sulking in the low single figures of the Celsius scale.
With those low temperatures usually comes rain, and while they're not billed as waterproof, just water-repellent, the Triban 900 winter gloves keep water off for long enough to finish a typical commute or seek shelter. If riding in insanely wet weather is your thing then you're much more hardcore than me and you want something like the Endura Pro SL Primaloft Waterproof gloves Mat raved about. But they're more than twice the price.
Compared to the previous top-of-the-range winter gloves from Decathlon, called B'Twin 900 winter gloves at the time, the Triban 900 winter gloves have a slightly longer cuff to make it easier to overlap them with your jacket, and the cuff is a little bit roomier thanks to a bit of Lycra under the Velcro closure. That means they'll overlap a jersey or jacket better than the last version.
There's a pull-tab to help get them on that extends from the palm past the cuff and plays host to a plastic press-stud so you can click them together for storage. As someone who can never seem to find the other one of whichever gloves I want to wear, I'm really pleased to see that. Now I won't be able to find either of them, but at least I'll know they're together. Somewhere.
The black version of these gloves is currently on sale at £17.99, which makes them far and away the best value winter gloves you can buy. There's a high-vis yellow version too, for £24.99, but given the way gloves inevitably get grubby I'd suggest sticking with black and relying on the reflective stripes on the back to alert drivers of your presence.
What's in a name? The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted that it says 'Van Rysel' on these gloves and not 'Triban'. Van Rysel is Decathlon's designation for more serious and sporty cycling kit, where Triban usually indicates a more recreational type of cycling. Maybe Decathlon couldn't quite decide which camp riding in cold weather falls into so decided to have an each-way bet, marking them Van Rysel on the gloves but Triban on the website.
Whatever you choose to call them, these are very good winter gloves at an excellent price.
Toasty gloves at an excellent price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Triban 900 Winter Cycling Gloves
Size tested: XL
Tell us what the product is for
They're insulating and water-resistant gloves for riding in cold, damp weather.
Our engineers and designers created these gloves for cyclists cycling when temperature drop to near 0°C.
Winter cycling gloves with a Softermic lining. Technogel inserts in the palm for added comfort. Touchscreen feature lets you use your smartphone without removing your gloves.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
WARMTH: The 120g Softermic lining provides excellent insulation in very cold weather.
WATER REPELLENT: The outer fabric offers protection from drizzle or light rain.
GRIP: Great control thanks to the chicron palm and silicone grips.
USER COMFORT: Palm with large Technogel inserts. The fit is designed specifically for cycling.
CONNECTIVITY: Touchscreen feature lets you use your smartphone without removing your gloves.
The Triban 900 Winter Gloves are very, very good at keeping your hands warm, and surprisingly good at keeping them dry too, considering they're not billed as more than 'water-repellent'. The smartphone-friendly fingertips are very useful and welcome too.
Obvious 'like a glove' quip here.
Previous Decathlon 900-series winter gloves have been a bit under-sized - I needed an XXL in the last model. These are much better. I'm an L or XL in gloves and XL Triban 900 Winter Gloves are a perfect fit.
The soft, fleecy lining makes these gloves a very welcoming place to put your hands.
Probably the best-value winter gloves around, especially if you grab a black pair at the currently discounted £17.99.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Unfazed by machine-washing at the recommended 30°C.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Extremely well. I had warm hands right through the winter.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good insulation, smartphone-friendly fingertips, storage clip.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I wish Decathlon would find an alternative to attaching 25 billion* labels to the inside of all its clothing.
*okay, six in this case, but it's still silly
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They're the same price at RRP as Galibier's Barrier Deep Winter Gloves, and similarly capable down to zero degrees. Galibier gives you better water-resistance, Decathlon has touchscreen capability; swings and roundabouts.
Specialized Element 1.0 gloves cost at least £20 more, but are billed as being more water-resistant, while Endura's Pro SL Primaloft Waterproof gloves are, erm, waterproof, but also £55.
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
The only thing that stops the Triban/Van Rysel 900 gloves from getting top marks is that they're not waterproof. Even with that limitation, their sheer value for money and the improvements over the previous four-star version earns them 4.5 big road.cc stars.
About the tester
I usually ride: Scapin Style My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, mtb,
Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.