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Sealskinz waterproof performance Leather Road Cycle Gloves might not roll off the tongue but they're amongst the best winter gloves I've used in a very long time. Their sharp two-tone black/grey livery is very appealing - I only wished the Scotchlite detailing was a bit less subtle.
You can find waterproof and supposedly breathable membranes everywhere, but some work better than others. A Coolmax polyester lining sits next to the skin drawing moisture away and through the supple polyurethane membrane before finally exiting the rugged nylon backs. This technology only works past a certain temperature, hence some initial moistness before eviction proceedings, although it's pretty seamless after that.
Turning our attentions to the palms, we've a super supple leather engineered by Pittards, who incidentally supply some very big names in the motor/cycling industry. These feature a unique bobbled texture for optimum control.
Thin pile padding works a treat, isolating low-level vibration without muffling feedback when shifting/braking. Beefed up between thumb and forefinger, hides are treated to resist premature aging and the corrosive effects of perspiration but will still require the occasional lick of decent quality preserve.
Sizing is pretty much on par with everyone else's and the short gauntlet prevents rain sneaking inside. I was initially taken aback by the knuckle's lack of dexterity-especially at the ring fingers but this ceased to be an issue within thirty minutes at the cockpit.
Speaking of which, purchase on all surfaces and in all weathers is absolutely second to none - allowing me to concentrate on climbing/descending/sprinting. Snatching bottles from cages, energy bars from jersey pockets or engaging lights isn't an issue.
However, the lack of Scotchlite made nocturnal signalling less obvious to approaching traffic.
Seventy odd mile tingle-free runs confirmed the suitability of the gloves for Audax and similar endurance rides.
Superb gloves for most types of winter road riding but could do with more reflectives.
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Make and model: Sealskinz Leather Road Cycle Gloves
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?
"Premium gloves crafted from the finest components including a Pittard's digitally textured leather palm. Feature-packed, these are the ultimate roadie or dedicated commuter gloves".
Very close, were it not for a lack of reflectives.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Anatomic design with pre-curved finger form
* Close fitting and lightweight
* Premium Pittard's WR100X digitally textured leather palms
* Reinforced knuckles and thumb crotch
* Silicone contact point mapping increases grip
* Reflective piping on back
* Outstanding feel, grip and comfort in all weather conditions
THERMAL RATING 3
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall I've been extremely impressed by their performance, specifically the amount of comfort and control afforded in all conditions without compromising dexterity. However, some more potent reflectives would be welcomed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Cofort, dexterity and high quality materials/construction.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing,save for reflectives!
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, with improved reflective detailing.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 38 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)