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Knog’s 8 ball mitts have a deeply old school feel about them. No gel padding or Ulnar nerve protection here, just good old high grain goatskin. Despite my initial cynicism-they only lose out to the latest generation of anatomic hand protection over prolonged periods but chic doesn’t come cheap.
The supple leather feels every bit the second skin and tricky to remove for the first few outings, making sizing a little hit and miss. I’m usually a large in gloves but allowing for a bedding in period and softening the hide with Nikwax, I might’ve been better served going a size up-especially given they’re cut shorter in the fingers. I know that another tester had the similar problems with the sizing of the Love/Hate mitts and ended up with distinctly negative feelings about them as a result. Build quality is generally good with double stitching around the palm, although I would’ve liked this extended to the wrap over cuffs.
White detailing and gold logos make for fun, fetching retro livery that quickly grew on me. Despite Spartan appearance, they feel surprisingly luxurious-even after several hours’ continuous riding and purchase on wet, glossy bar wrap inspired confidence especially laden descending.
Form wins over function at some levels though-perforated thumb sections make very effective sweat wipes but unlike modern synthetics cannot be tossed in the machine wash when their fragrance changes for the worse (although dry cleaning’s not out of the question) and white detailing seldom looks crisp for long.
There are more practical designs and given the asking price, these wouldn’t be my first choice. However, those in the market for a stylish retro mitt will not be disappointed.
Stylish but pricey compared with the latest generation of synthetic gel mitts.
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Make and model: Knog 8-ball gloves
Size tested: L
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 8 Ball are an old school track mitt aimed at fashion conscious riders. Very much a fun mitt yet surprisingly competent for longer fair weather riding.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Goat-skin hide might not appeal to some-especially vegans but makes for a mitt with good lateral strength. Old school double stitched leather pads make for excellent grip and should resist the odd spill.
Generally well stitched.
Gernerally good, although double stitching would've been welcomed around the cuffs.
Much better than I anticipated over longer periods.
Chic but pricey.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
These performed surprisingly well over longer periods, offering excellent grip even in the wet. Sizing could've been more generous though.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Retro cool, soft hide, excellent grip coupled with good padding.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Asking price quite steep and fit could've been a little more generous.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly
Age: 35 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)