Reviewed: Rapha Winter Gloves – What Would James Bond Wear?

I got the privilege of trying out a pair of Rapha’s Winter Gloves this afternoon. This is the first Rapha product I have ever done more than look at, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever be the same again (which in my case, might be a good thing). When I first took them out of the envelope, I thought “wow, these are really, really nice.” They looked like something you’d wear while driving a Porsche or a privately owned jet; not riding a bicycle. Then I put them on and I was like “Whoa, I feel like either James Bond or Dr. Strangelove…I’m not sure which. Nope…definitely Bond, Bond all the way.” My urge to strangle myself was suddenly overcome by the urge to drink a martini and karate chop somebody, but not necessarily in that order. Karate chopping people can be quite stressful, it’s nice to unwind with a nice cocktail afterward.

Once I had the gloves on, they took control of my mind. It was a lot like that time I lost my hand in a drunken pesto-making accident involving a Cuisinart, and then had it replaced with the transplanted hand of a serial killer. Only this time, instead of being instructed to murder people by a cursed appendage, I was instructed by a high quality slim-fitting glove to ride to Davis Square, Somerville. Next thing I knew I was walking into Diesel Cafe, asking if they had any Stumptown coffee brewing, and taking pictures of my own hands while other customers looked on bemusedly.

Actual facts and pictures of my gloved hands after the break.

“Constructed using a softshell fabric similar to the Rapha Classic Softshell Jacket, these long-fingered cycling gloves have been created for cold, wintry training and racing conditions. The membrane construction of the fabric allows the hands to breath and the flexibility of the material helps maintain circulation. The outer fabric is also windproof and has a water-resistant coating.”

The palms of the gloves feel as good as they look. Truly comfortable on the bar.

“The palm also features leather and padding at vital wear points. There is also a subtle embossed Rapha logo on the wrist.”

During my rigorous test ride, it was about 28° out. I was comfortable, but probably wouldn’t opt to ride them if it were sub-25°.

“These slim-fitting gloves have a soft, brushed tricot lining to provide comfort and insulation. The extended neoprene cuffs of the gloves will keep wrists warm in the wet and provide a snug fit to keep out the cold.”

The gloves did protest vigorously when they saw the bike they were to be piloting — a fixed gear 29er with a bright red Toby Henderson fender on the front. Not exactly a Vanilla or a Beloved. At that point they lapsed back into Dr. Strangelove mode, and tried to strangle me.


Other touches include reflective piping and Rapha motif and a soft brushed thumb-panel to wipe the nose and brow”

Much like the Gore Alp-X jacket I reviewed, this is the last time you will see these things not-covered in snot.

“The trigger and middle fingers are reinforced with high-density foam padding and leather trim.”

See, “trigger fingers,” they are designed for James Bond.

This loop? This so my mom can safety pin the gloves to my snow suit so I don’t lose them. They’re $95, she’d be pissed!

These gloves retail for $95 and are available over at Rapha’s website. If the price tag doesn’t frighten you, and are the type of stylish person who prefers to look more like James Bond than Biker Fox while riding your bike, then I would highly recommend buying them.

BR will be doing a more thorough “real world” test sometime in the near future to see how the gloves handle wintry conditions. We just have to wait ’til the weather gets gnarly again. Don’t tell my neighbors that I’m praying for gnarly weather, they’ll grind me up with a snow-blower and bury what’s left of me in a snowbank.

Comments

ringdinger - 01/23/11 - 9:48am

Whoopie…..another over-priced piece of hipster-wear from Rapha. I’m surprised they’re not pink instead of black….

domesgique - 01/24/11 - 12:13pm

“During my rigorous test ride, it was about 28° out. I was comfortable, but probably wouldn’t opt to ride them if it were sub-25°.”

I’d have to say, that is a pretty accurate assessment. I have a pair of these and rode when it was around 27F and windy. They’re not up to the task of those conditions. The windstop material could be a little better at stopping the wind. I do like that I can move my hands with them on. But I was hoping for a glove that would be a bit warmer when I bought them. Perhaps next year, they’ll have a Deep Winter version of these like they do with the tights. (The deep winter tights by the way keep me comfortable down into the teens.) The gloves are good for temperatures in the 30s. If you go below that, you’ll need something more substantial.

Trexor - 01/24/11 - 6:05pm

Actually, I think if Bond were to be sporting Rapha gloves it would be the Paul Smith + Rapha collaboration, which I have the lucky chance having a beloved wife who got me them for Christmas. Again, not the warmest gloves, but for commuting around town they’re perfect: Lightweight, great padding, great movement, and the added bonus of being able to wear them even when off the bike and ready to, um, drink a martini and kill some bad guys.

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