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If you can't keep the water out then you at least want your hands to remain warm when soaked and that's exactly what GripGrab's Neoprene gloves do. Proper toasty in fact.
Wearing them in the rain will see them breached within a few minutes but you never notice as your hands are warm from the start thanks to the way neoprene traps body heat and uses it to warm the water and insulate. In real world terms I got down to about 4°C with them on their own before things started getting a bit nippy but with the addition of some thin liner gloves they were fine to a couple of degrees below. Above 10°C though they can a bit on the warm side.
As you can probably guess by the name the gloves are made predominately from neoprene, 80% to be precise with 15% nylon and 5% lycra to create a material that is 3mm thick. Neoprene being a synthetic rubber means the GripGrabs have loads of flexibility and move with your fingers without bunching or creasing anywhere.
Thick winter gloves aren't always the best when it comes to braking and gear shifting but the dexterity of the Neoprenes means they worked fine with both Campagnolo and Shimano levers, even Di2 whose buttons can be a nightmare to feel at times.
Although the usual consensus is to leave a bit of a gap around your feet and hands to allow a layer of warm air to form, the fact that the neoprene does this using little pockets in the material means you can go for a really snug fit here. The cuff is long and thanks to the close fit you can wear it over the top of jersey sleeves without any drafts finding their way in.
For comfort there is just one bit of padding, a 4mm thick gel section made by Doctor Gel that's designed to reduce numbness at the ulnar nerve. It does its job reducing pressure on that part of the hand although after forty hours of riding it is looking surprisingly squashed and flat. Although it isn't quite offering the same amount of comfort it originally was it looks like its bedded in now and isn't going to get any flatter.
In the same period of time the little silicone grips found on the palm are beginning to peel off. It's not a major issue as the gloves grip wet bar tape fine on their own but it does make them look quite worn in such a short space of time.
The stitching is standing up to the abuse though as is the material itself so long term durability shouldn't be too much of an issue. One problem with a lot of neoprene items is that you can overheat in them and they soon start to stink a bit but by following GripGrab's recommendation of turning them inside out to dry I've had no such issues. In fact I haven't even washed them yet.
Overall the GripGrab Neoprene's are a very good pair of gloves for pretty much all winter riding. The close fit and long cuff gives a nicely flexible and natural feel to them allowing you to do most tasks cycling related without having to take them off, a real bonus on a freezing ride.
The quality is good and apart from the few things above they look pretty durable thanks to tight and tidy stitching. Neoprene is naturally pretty robust in itself and the gloves aren't showing any signs of damage from scuffs and knocks.
They are pricey though, a fiver more than the similar Castelli Diluvio ones we tested a while back which we also noted as expensive. If they last daily use for six months of the year though, I'd consider that value and I don't reckon that is going to be too much of a problem.
Very warm, hardwearing and comfortable gloves that don't get stinky; expensive but durable
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Make and model: GripGrab Neoprene Glove
Size tested: Large
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 Neoprene gloves are part of GripGrab's wet weather range and can be used for both on and off road cycling. Rather than worrying about being waterproof the gloves use the natural properties of the material to trap body heat and water
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
3mm neoprene construction with nylon (15%) & lycra (5%) added.
4mm Doctor Gel padding
XS-XXL sizing range
Well made with quality stitching and material.
Great in wet weather and the windproof material means they perform well in the dry too.
Silicone grippers are wearing off quite quickly and the padding has soon flattened out.
Much lighter than layered waterproof gloves. They don't weigh much more when saturated either.
Minimal padding but provide enough comfort for a couple of hours' riding.
Expensive for what they are but should last a while.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very good in the wet providing plenty of warmth. The tight fit still allows room for lining gloves to when the temperature drops.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit and length.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The cost is quite high and how worn the palm looks after just 4 weeks of riding.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes I think so, borderline on the price.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
A solid alternative to membranes and layers the Neoprene GripGrabs offer excellent warmth in the wet or dry and their thinness makes them hugely nimble. That price is high though and while I think the durability is good it's a close run thing.
Age: 36 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Kinesis T2 My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!