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The Bontrager Circuit Windshell Cycling Gloves are effective and comfortable in typical spring or autumn conditions, keeping out the worst of the weather while still offering impressive grip.
As you might expect from a pair of gloves with 'windshell' in the name, their key selling point is their windproofing and it is impressive. Despite having minimal insulation, the gloves keep cold air out very effectively, and I found that with a thin pair of liner gloves underneath they were fine for rides that started at near-freezing, then I could remove the liners once the temperature began to rise.
Bontrager hasn't skimped on the number of materials used – at least five in the outer, by my count. Starting at the cuffs, a relatively thin micro fleece with a bit of stretch allows a decent seal to be created at the wrist. Above this on the back is a less stretchy, thin but densely woven polyester that stretches to just below the knuckles. On the fingers there is a slightly more flexible polyester on the top, with the same polyester as the back of the hand on the sides. Then there's a microfibre material on the thumbs for wiping sweat (or noses) or clearing glasses, plus a very hardwearing faux-leather on the palm with silicone strips across its entirety.
Given the number of different panels there is a fair amount of stitching, but this all seems to be strong and tight; I certainly didn't notice any cold air getting through.
On the palm the silicone strips provide an impressive amount of grip. I used these gloves on a few wet rides and found that I could maintain grip regardless of the weather. In addition to being grippy they are also comfortable thanks to the minimal but strategically placed pads on the outside of the palm and beneath the thumb.
The gloves aren't sold as being totally waterproof, although the material itself is water resistant, but they do offer good protection against the rain. I didn't use them in torrential downpours, but for showers and moderate rain they offer good protection and kept my hands warm and dry.
One element I particularly like about these is their effectiveness with touchscreens. Many gloves sold as being compatible with touchscreens work about 50 per cent of the time, I find, but it was only when the gloves or the screen were wet that these didn't work perfectly.
With an rrp of £39.99, they're pretty good value for a good quality windproof pair of gloves from an established company. The Altura Firestorm Gloves that Emma looked at in November offer broadly the same technical qualities at the same price, but the Circuits have more padding and more reliable touchscreen compatibility. The Sportful Fiandre Light Gloves offer broadly the same technical qualities, with light insulation and windproofing, but have gone up to £50 since we tested them.
Overall, these are very good gloves for typical spring and autumn conditions, with very little not to like. The only criticism I can really think of is that the label inside that you cut out is huge – with 15 languages on it. Aside from this, the Circuits are windproof, practical, grippy, and work well with touchscreens. They do everything you need transitional season gloves to do, without fuss or fanfare.
An impressive pair of gloves that offer exactly what's needed for typical spring conditions
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Bontrager Circuit Windshell Cycling Gloves
Size tested: Small
Tell us what the product is for
They are windproof gloves for transitional seasons.
Bontrager says, 'A lightweight touchscreen-compatible padded glove with built-in wind protection.
'Don't let cool weather put a halt to your riding season. Circuit Windshell Gloves are constructed of durable wind-proof and water-resistant material with padding to support your palms in just the right places, backed by science.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Bontrager lists these product details:
Windshell fabric on the back of the hand is lightweight, windproof and water-resistant
A silicone print on the fingers provides durability and grip in wet conditions
The inForm inverted pad design puts gel and memory foam padding in just the right places, backed by science
Integrated buckle pairs gloves together to prevent losing one after rides
Longer cuffs with thermal inserts provide better coverage and more warmth
Conductive thread creates touchscreen-compatible fingertips
The material choice is effective and the stitching strong.
They did everything I needed from a pair of transitional gloves, keeping out the worst of the weather and keeping my hands warm and dry.
Early days, but the stitching seems strong and the material on the palms robust enough to not wear through any time soon.
These aren't designed to be the most insulated, but with soft materials on the wrist and windproof materials used throughout, they're very comfortable.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Simple, I chucked them in a 30 degree wash without any issues.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well, they are not flashy or extravagant but they do exactly what's needed from a pair of autumn/spring gloves.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The windproofing – nothing got through.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing springs to mind.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Altura Firestorm Gloves that Emma looked at in November offer broadly the same technical qualities at the same price, although these have more padding and more reliable touchscreen compatibility. The Sportful Fiandre Light Gloves also offer broadly the same technical qualities, with light insulation and windproofing, but cost £50.
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
These are an excellent choice – understated but doing exactly what's needed for typical autumn or spring conditions without fuss.
About the tester
I usually ride: CAAD13 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, mtb,
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.