Review: Six Six Ones UltraLight Raji Mountain Bike Gloves
Once upon a time, before I became obsessed with cycling, I used to just love biking. In those days my brakes barely worked, I didn’t know what cadence was, and I didn’t understand the importance of protective gear. The Six Six One Raji gloves remind me of those times because they are so comfortable it is almost like riding gloveless. These attributes keep me more closely attuned to what the bike is doing while keeping my hands safe. In the past, the trade off was these gloves self destructed after a few months of hard riding but they were so comfortable, I bought a new set in September. I’ve had a few bails since and can personally attest that the production quality has improved.
The Raji gloves offer “minimal” padding, so unlike thicker gloves they don’t bunch up, but they are doubly reinforced in all the right regions. The additional strip of material protects the part of your palm just under your fingers, and extends over the inside of the thumb. This ribbon of fabric shields the regions of my hands most calloused due to cycling and the lining on the thumb provides added comfort when holding the hoods on that rare road ride. There is also extra cloth around the tips of my shift and break fingers so they do not poke holes through the fabric. In comparison to Fox or Giro, the fabric on these palms is significantly thinner, but by doubly reinforcing certain portions – the Rajis offer virtually the same level of protection.
The Rajis are also reinforced at the cuff because they eschew the Velcro strap found at the bottom of most gloves. You simply tug these on and off. No Velcro tabs to wear out, and two less straps to fiddle with at the trailhead. After adjusting my saddle height, messing with my suspension, strapping on a full face, etc…I’m happy to have one accessory that requires minimal fuss. There are other gloves that use this cuff design, but I haven’t found another set that conforms to my hands as effectively. Another convenient feature is the semi goofy printed rubber design found on the palm and inside of the middle and index fingers which make these gloves surprisingly tactile. I’ve been able to rifle through my bag, text, tie my shoes, and handle a variety of objects without needing to slip them off.
Six Six One has designed the perfect mountain bike glove for my needs. If I did a lot of downhill runs over rocky terrain, I would prefer a more robust glove, but the Rajis provide more than adequate protection in the forests of Santa Cruz, CA. Since it rarely drops below 50 degrees on my local trails, these have become my go-to gloves year round. My only real gripe is their lack of longevity. I have an older set in my gear bag whose palms have gradually grown stiff and coarse over the past year, but my current pair has held up admirably. I highly recommend these gloves for anyone who’d rather be riding gloveless but recognizes the importance of safety gear. If you are the kind of rider that’s hard on parts, or likes padding, and doesn’t think it’s reasonable to replace a pair of gloves every year or so, these are not for you. Buying new gloves every year is one my (more inexpensive) guilty pleasures and I would gladly buy another set of Rajis in the future. These gloves are exceedingly light, comfortable, and well engineered. Best of all, these gloves remind of the good old days, when I rode my bike without any protection.