Cycling - Knowledge

Cycling Gear: Biking Gloves Guide for A Better Grip

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If you take cycling seriously then you would also be the ones to invest on the essential cycling gears and gadgets. One such cycling basic are a pair of bicycle gloves. If you haven’t had the chance to buy one then here’s a biking gloves guide

Now, most of us may dismiss it as insignificant but in reality, it is not! Ask any professional cyclists and you shall know what an important part gloves play in riding. From providing comfort to skin protection, a pair of gloves guard you in many more ways than you can think. Further, it will also render better grip and bicycle control. Let’s understand in depth about bike gloves importance with our gloves guide for beginners.

Why Wear Cycling Gloves?

Why wear cycling gloves
Cycling Gloves Give You Better Support (source)

Recreational or professional, cyclists may have many reasons for flaunting a pair of sexy riding gloves. Some may wear to counter their sweaty palms while others may require protection from the elements of nature or to escape cuts and scrapes during a fall.

Whatever be it, there are a handful of benefits of wearing cycling gloves. Let's find out all of them.

  • Hand Protection

One of the most obvious benefits of wearing cycling gloves is that they protect the hands of a rider. They prevent blisters and any kind of rubbing and chafing. Bike gloves are essential for longer rides if not for shorter ones. This is because such rides require a coat of protection to support your hands and protect the palms from wear and tear. In case of a fall, it is instinctual to reach out a hand while falling. Hence hands are often the first part of our body to make contact with the ground. In such scenarios, gloves will protect a rider's hands from cuts and scrapes.

  • Bicycle Control

A good grip on a bike can save you from a slip or a fall, and give you a quick stop or the perfect swerve. Most biking gloves are designed with a grippy surface that adds an extra ounce of safety and security by effectively connecting the rider with their cycle. Gloves with solid grip assist in smooth braking and steering of the cycle, thereby reducing the effort on your hands to control the bicycle.

  • Protection from Natural Elements

Weather conditions should be your last reason to excuse yourself from riding your cycle. And if you happen to be those kinds of enthusiasts who love to ride into challenging weather then cycling gloves are a must we say!

A top-class pair of cycling gloves can defend your hands against rain, snow, or cold temperatures.

  • Absorbing Shock

Some fancy cycling gloves are constructed with a unique padding system. Depending on the type of riding you do, a gel palm pad or a thick padding system can provide a rider with so much comfort. Mountain cyclists and BMX riders should get gloves built in a bulkier style to absorb maximum shock.

  • Sponging Sweat

A wide range of cycling gloves features an embedded cloth either in the thumb area or upper surface of the hand. This small modification gives the rider a surface to wipe off sweat. from the eyes or face during a bike ride. It also allows riders to remove sweat from their seat or handlebars as well.

Types of Cycling Gloves

Types of cycling gloves
There are Various Types of Cycling Gloves (source)

So, now that you understand the necessity of bicycle gloves. Let’s further move on in our gloves guide and find out the types of gloves available.

  • Track Mitts

track mitts
Track Mitts (source)

These are one of the most common types of cycling gloves. Track mitts are fingerless and hence they are able to wick sweat away. This allows for a quicker cooling effect. This kind of gloves features a synthetic, leather, or gel padded palm to provide extra comfort.

  • Full-Finger Gloves

Full-finger gloves
Full-finger Gloves (source)

These are relatively a common cycling glove choice. Full-finger gloves are generally wind and waterproof. They're also a good selection for cyclists who are looking for an all-purpose glove pair to beat the average temperatures and weather conditions. However, they are not meant for adverse winter condition because they fail to provide a greater deal of warmth. At the same time, cyclists should also skip full-finger gloves in the sweltering summer as they offer less ventilation.

  • Winter Cycling Gloves

Winter cycling gloves
Winter Cycling Gloves (source)

Winter gloves are a more extensive glove for winter riding and generally feature a longer wrist to cover part of the arm for cycling in winter weather conditions. A layer of insulation keeps out wind and cold air better than regular full-finger gloves.

  • Biking Mittens

biking mittens
Biking Mittens (source)

Typically meant for the longest and coldest of rides, biking mittens offer the most insulation and keep the fingers paired together for additional warmth. The drawback of cycling mittens is that they can restrict movement ranges and can make it difficult to reach over the brake for emergency stops.

  • Lobster Claw Gloves

Lobster claw gloves
Lobster Claw Gloves (source)

These are a variation on cycling mittens. They feature a mitten construction, but split the middle and ring fingers, creating the look of lobster claw. These gloves are a warmer choice and allows more range of movement than the regular cycling mitten.

  • Mountain Bike Gloves

MTB gloves
MTB Gloves (source)

Mountain bike gloves are specifically designed to accommodate the physical shocks and intensity of mountain biking. They are outfitted with the most padding available on the market, and also feature carbon or metal fibres to maintain the integrity of the glove and provide protection in case of a fall.

Gloves Guide: Key Factors to Consider

Some of the key features to factor in while buying bike gloves are:

1. Breathability

This is the ability of the glove’s fabric to allow moisture to escape. Non-breathable fabrics trap the condensed moisture next to the skin, making it clammy and cold (or warm and uncomfortable on hot days). Breathable fabrics aim to keep your skin dry and at favourable temperature.

2. Wicking

This is the ability of the fabric to draw body sweat from the skin and to the fabric’s surface from where it can evaporate.

3. Protection

Different gloves types will provide different levels of protection – summer cycling mitts can protect the palms in the event of a fall, while the full-finger MTB gloves feature additional reinforcement or rigid panels for impact protection in the event of an inevitable crash.

4. Water-resistant

Gloves with waterproof membranes help to keep your hands dry in wet weather conditions. The downside of this feature is that it may impact on the breathability of the fabric. Hence, waterproof gloves are not so ideal for all weathers especially the summers.

5. Grip

Almost all cycling gloves feature leather or synthetic palms that improve good handlebar grip. Some of them also feature additional silicone grippers on the fingers for brake levers, gear shifters etc.

6. Warmth

While all cycling gloves will offer some degree of warmth, winter cycling gloves are crafted with maximum insulation to keep your fingers toasty when the temperature nosedives. But remember that winter cycling gloves are not your all-rounder gloves. They are too heavy and restrictive to be used for year-round riding.

Glove Material

Cycling gloves are usually made from synthetic materials such as polyester, acrylic, fleece, and polypropylene. Some brands make them from a blend of different fabrics.

Keep reading to know the properties of these glove materials.

  • Polyester

Offers high breathability and sweat-wicking ability but little wind- or waterproofing.

  • Acrylic

Better breathability, stretchy, and warm but less defence against inclement weathers.

  • Fleece

This microfibre is warm and insulated but poor breathability. Many gloves feature microfibre or a towelling panel on the upper part to wipe off sweat.

  • Polypropylene

Excellent in wind- and weather-resistance but less effective at moisture management

The Fit

Gloves fit
The Glove Should Fit Your Hands Snugly (source)

One of the foremost things to consider when you purchase cycling gloves is how they fit. Even if a pair of gloves meet your needs, if they do not fit perfectly then all other benefits of it goes by the wayside. Your cycling gloves should be fit snugly- not too tight, not too loose.

Loose gloves that slide around even when tightened, will cause blisters and chafing during a ride. While during a vigorous ride, a pair pf very tight gloves will worsen a hand swell situation- often riders’ hands swell up as blood starts to move faster through the body after an intense ride.

However, just like shoes, gloves also will begin to fit to the shape of the cyclist's hand over the time. To make things easier, there are measurement charts where you can match the size of your hands with the corresponding measurements of available sizes.

How to Keep Cycling Gloves Clean

Cycling gloves cleaning
Let the Gloves Dry Inside-Out (source)

After purchasing the right pair of cycling gloves and wearing them during every ride of your life, it is important to know how to maintain them well. So, that they last longer, and continue to take care of your hands for more time.

Here are some glove cleaning tips in our gloves guide, check out!

- Remove Gently

Even though you have the urge to intensely pull off a pair of gloves after a long ride, avoid it. Doing this can ruin your bike gloves by tampering the stitching and the integrity of the fabric. After a long ride, due to the sweat and the dampness, the fabric and seams are at their most fragile state. So, gently remove gloves by tugging them off finger by finger.

- Dry Them Inside Out

After removing the gloves off your hands, gently turn them inside out. This process will allow the pair of gloves to dry faster. Always ensure that your cycling gloves are completely dried out before putting them again. Constant wearing of damp gloves could lead to further wear and tear.

- Don’t Forget to Wash

Before throwing them in the washing machine, remember to read all manufacturer tags related to washing the gloves. Some gloves can be machine washed, while others are best rinsed with cold water and soap and left to dry. Multiple sweaty uses can incur a foul smell in the gloves, washing them prevents that and removes dirt after each use.

To extend the life of the gloves, cleaning and drying is mandatory. And that should make you a pro in selecting a pair of bike gloves.

Summing up

Cycling
Never Forget Your Cycling Gloves When Riding (source)

Cycling gloves may come across as a trivial matter to recreational cyclists but its sheer necessity cannot be overlooked. There are harm in wearing a pair of gloves while cycling and not just any gloves. The right kind of cycling gloves will give you better grip, support, and protection, making your bike rides safer and much enjoyable. Hope our cycling gloves guide has served its purpose in giving you a fair idea of bike gloves and their importance.

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