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Want some stylish go-faster gloves for the summer to make you feel like you're lining up for a Tour de France time trial and not just the BogTrotter Wheelers evening 10? Decathlon's Van Rysel RoadR 900 gloves fit the bill, with a snug fit, grippy, cushioned palm and nothing in the way of unnecessary fripperies.
Sports megastore chain Decathlon is best known for startlingly good value for money in its low- and mid-range products like its B'Twin budget jackets and Triban bikes. But Decathlon also has a wide range of higher-spec gear, some of which is used by the sponsored under-19 team that rides under the Van Rysel brand.
That's where these deeply unfussy gloves fit in. Without many of the features you often find on cycling mitts – there's no Velcro closure, multi-panel back or even somewhere to wipe a sweaty brow or runny nose – they're about as simple as fingerless cycling gloves get. There's a synthetic leather palm, a stretchy polyester/elastane back and, er, that's about it. The only concessions to the need for capability beyond hand covering and crash protection are a pull-tab that extends from the palm to help get them on and some slabs of Technogel on the palm to absorb road shock.
To get them on you simply take advantage of the stretchy nature of the backs and pull them over your hands. The fabric snaps into place and voila! you're ready to go. Decathlon even concedes on its website that they're 'harder to remove than classic gloves' which is refreshingly honest and probably a stronger warning than really necessary. That stretchiness means you can just yank them off too.
On the bike the Van Rysel RoadR 900 gloves are very comfortable. Despite the lack of obvious ventilation the back of your hands don't get sweaty; perspiration goes straight through the stretch fabric. They pull themselves snugly into shape around your hands with no baggy bits and the padding on the palm cushions your hands nicely.
I've got to admit that on warm days I did miss having a slab of towelling on the back to wipe my face with, but if you want something more conventional to put on your hands, then Decathlon has you covered with the very nice Triban RR900 gloves for just £15.
But with their long, stretchy cuffs and air of chic minimalism the Van Rysel RoadR 900s are well-executed time-trial-style gloves. They're very broadly similar to Lusso's minimalistic £19.99 Summer Gloves but with a slightly longer cuff. If you want the full aero feature set you could try to find somewhere that still stocks the £32 Castelli Aero Speed Gloves, but they really are useful only for time trials. Or you could take a look at Galibier's £14.98 Crono Aero gloves.
Comfortable, simplistic gloves to put you in touch with your inner time trial champ
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Van Rysel RoadR 900 gloves
Size tested: XL
Tell us what the product is for
Distinctly go-faster Lycra-backed gloves, for gripping handlebars and absorbing road buzz.
Maximise your comfort with these B'Twin road-cycling gloves. Our engineers have developed these gloves using Technogel inserts on the palms, which helps to dampen handlebar vibrations, keeping you focused and safe. The breathable material on the rest of the gloves feels great against the skin.
Designed to absorb any impacts
Features a thin and breathable long cuff
Stretchy fabric adapts to different hand shapes
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Large Technogel inserts on the palm to filter handlebar vibrations.
Fewer seams for maximum comfort.
High elasticated cuff. Harder to remove than classic gloves
Very thin and elastic material feels very pleasant against the skin
Stretch fabric on the back of the hand adapts to different morphologies.
80.00% Polyester (PES), 20.00% Elasthane
40.00% Polyurethane (PU), 60.00% Polyamide
Tidily put together and stayed that way in use.
Snug and comfortable summer gloves, but nothing exceptional, and I did miss having a built-in wipe.
Bit early to tell, but looking good so far.
Very snug and free from flappy bits, as you'd hope.
Decathlon gloves often come up small, and so it is here. I'd expect to take a size L in most manufacturers' mitts, but definitely needed the room an XL provides here.
Not quite the slightly amazing value for money we've come to expect from Decathlon – Lusso and Galibier do similar gloves for the same or less money – but solid nevertheless.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Unscathed by my usual low-temperature cycling kit wash and subsequent air drying.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They fit nicely, absorb road shock and they're comfy. Can't ask much more of a pair of gloves really.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of a wipe. And yes, I know that contradicts liking the simplicity. I am great, I contain multitudes.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The closest thing to these gloves that we've tested recently are the Castelli Aero Speed Gloves which were £32 but no longer available, though you might be able to hunt the odd pair down, so if time-trial style is your aim, these are a fine budget alternative.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? I'd go for the cheaper Triban RR900 gloves for general riding, but if I were to get into time trialling, I'd definitely reach for these.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Well, they're very good. Not perfect (almost nothing ever is) or exceptional, but a solid 4/5.
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,
John 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 founder Tony Farrelly, 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. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.