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Louis Garneau may sound like a haute couture brand, but this Canadian company manufactures a wide range of cycling kit, including these Sotchi Gloves, which are ideal for spring and autumn riding, when it's too chilly for track mitts, but not cold or wet enough for full-on winter gauntlets. Indeed they also work well (if it's dry) on the sort of mild winter days we've had so many of this year.
The gloves are made from three main materials: a windproof medium-weight Lycra on the back of the hand; a soft neoprene cuff; and a thicker leather-like fabric on the palm which is lightly dimpled to provide grip and a bit of extra shock-absorbsion. The same fabric extends into the gap between thumb and forefinger so there's extra grip and padding when you're riding on the hoods.
All the fabrics stretch, so the end result is a very comfortable glove – close fitting without being tight, and very flexible, so braking and changing gear isn't restricted.
The gloves are long in the finger, so there's no pressure on the finger tips when you're gripping the bars or hoods, and the cuff is also long enough to cover the wrist, with a big Velcro tab for extra fine-tuning. And just in case the close fit might lead to a bit of internal clamminess, the palm has small vents to allow moisture to escape.
Other features include 'pre-bent' fingers – similar to the anatomic cut in many larger cycling garments such as tights and shorts – so the glove is in the shape of your hands when they're holding the bars, rather than when they're flat. This means less creasing in the fabric, which further aids comfort. Put all this together, and these are some of the most comfortable gloves I've ever used. And while appearance ain't everything, it has to be said these gloves look pretty stylish too.
At a recommended price of £45 the Sotchis aren't cheap. But they are very well-made and very comfortable, and the cost compares well against similar gloves from some other brands, so this price represents fair value. There is also a women's version of the Sotchi glove available.
Very well-made and very comfortable gloves, ideal for spring and autumn riding. Stylish too, but not cheap.
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Make and model: Louis Garneau Men's Sotchi Gloves
Size tested: Black/Red
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Louis Garneau website says this: "The Sotchi Gloves have an adjustable neoprene cuff that eliminates pressure points and offers a custom fit. The patented Ergo Air System ensures adequate moisture transfer." To be honest, I'm not convinced the neoprene cuff "eliminates pressure points" any more than any other glove, but the moisture transfer claim is fair.
Other details given on the website include:
* Fitted neoprene cuff
* Drytex 3M lining
* 3M reflective piping
* Pre-shaped 70 degree finger curve
* Temperature : -20°C / -4°
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
According to the Louis Garneau website, the fabrics used to create the gloves are:
* upper hand: Windstop Lycra upper hand
* palm: Digital Amara
* thumb: Microfiber
I've only ridden with these test pair for a few weeks, but the fabrics and construction qualities are very good, so it's likely these gloves will last a long time if you look after them.
These gloves weigh just over 100g. This, combined with their flaxible fit, means you hardly know you're wearing them.
These are some of the most comfortable gloves I've ever used.
Did you enjoy using the product? yes
Would you consider buying the product? yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? yes
Age: 50 Height: 5ft 10 / 178cm Weight: 11 stone / 70kg
I usually ride: an old Marin Alp My best bike is: an old Giant Cadex
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,