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Looking for some gloves that I could leave in my mountain pack (and to save my white Castelli Chiro WS gloves from the indignities of off-road use), this winter I set out to find a new pair of cold weather mountain bike gloves. At my local REI, I stumbled on a pair of Giro’s Ambient 2s- and the fit was enough to convince me to give them a go. Consisting of a water- and wind-resistant softshell back, strategically padded synthetic Clarino palm, and funk-fighting X-Static fleece lining, the Ambient 2s seemed like a good choice for mountain biking in 30-45 degree weather. Were they? Hit the jump to find out.
In short, yes. On the sales floor, the Giros seem a bit seam-y, with several different materials coming together awkwardly in the fingers. In fact, a local shop owner told me that he sent his preseason shipment of the glove back to Giro for that reason. That’s unfortunate, because despite feeling a little odd off the bike the Ambient 2s’ seams have never attracted my attention while riding. In fact, thinking about the gloves requires conscious effort as they’re all but invisible in use.
Depending on the level of exertion, I find the Ambient 2s comfortable right down to the freezing level. The softshell back is a step up from the neoprene used on less expensive gloves- keeping the chill away while doing a good job at evacuating moisture. The fleecy silver-infused X-Static lining is cozy and antimicrobial, keeping the Giros from taking on much of a smell at all. On an unexpectedly cool (45 degree) dirt road adventure, the Ambient 2s were comfortable for the first six hours- and not uncomfortable for the next two. It was only on a recent 30-degree snowy night ride that the Giros’ lower limit felt near.
The gloves’ terry thumb panel is soft and absorbent and the reflective printing adds a good deal of visibility for road or commuting use on short days. The reinforced pull tab at the wrist (seen on many Giro models) is a nice touch and the hook and loop fastener helps to keep things secure. Really, aside from a bit of cracking and peeling in the reflective printing, there’s not much left to ask for here. For anyone looking for a cold weather mountain biking or shoulder season road/commuting glove, the $50 Ambient 2 is looking like an excellent choice. The Ambient 2 is also available in a Jackson-eque white and $5 cheaper ladies’ Candela versions.