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.
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.