In mountain biking, everyone has a preference and an opinion. You’ll find opinions for just about EVERYTHING you could possibly put on a bike or put on yourself. Sometimes you’ll get good advice and sometime you just get an opinion.
Gloves are just one of the items you’ll find where people have a plethora of opinions. I’m hoping to curb my opinion with a little bit of experience.
This test came from a bad experience so it isn’t really a full test as much as a few observations on the these brands. Of course we realize there are a LOT more brands out there, so this is a very small sample. And one of my preferences for gloves is knuckle guards. So each has some form of knuckle guard.
In the pool are Fox, Fly Racing, 100%, and Dakine.
First up was Fox head (black & whit) version. This was the first set I bought, and the reason for the review.
- Comfort: They were comfortable on my hands. They didn’t bind or pinch anywhere and the seams weren’t intrusive. I did notice that when I would wipe sweat off my brow that the added soft plastic bits would dig into my face. So that wasn’t pleasant.
- Durability: Horrible. While they weren’t terrible as far as the wear on the palm-side of the glove, the suede wasn’t as durable as some of the others. But that wasn’t the big issue. The first time I washed the gloves, they DISINTEGRATED. Anything that was glued on… which apparently is everything immediately started to peel off the glove. (I do not machine dry them. I wash and then hang dry.)
This also destroyed the ability to close the gloves using the Velcro strap. The felt peeled right off. Nice. One wash.
- Not only did it peel the plastic parts off the gloves, there was some sort of weird metal mesh that they used on the gloves for aesthetic purposes that I was digging out of my bike shorts for weeks. (shown below)
Next we tried the very popular Fox Racing Dirt Paws.
- Comfort: Just like the last set of Fox gloves, these were very comfortable. They fit well, didn’t bind or pinch, and the seams (inside) were invisible.
- Durability: Complete FAIL. My wife tested these. She gets ready for the ride, puts her gloves on and… Riiip. Yeah, the very first time she puts on the gloves, the gloves rip right on the seam (pictured below). Are you kidding me with this crap? Fox, what is going on with your quality? Seriously. Two sets of gloves, and couldn’t last more than a month? No, we didn’t get to actually wash them… so, who knows what’s going to happen then.
- Needless to say… We were done with Fox.
Next we have a set of Fly Racing’s F-16.
- Comfort: I wear a size large, but I found the F-16’s to be a bit small on me. Some people like a tight glove, and if that’s the case you’ll like these. They certainly didn’t bind, and the suede was in all the right places. The palms seemed thick enough and they did breath well, even for having the least amount of mesh from the others. The knuckle guards did seem a little off, but perhaps I needed the extra-large size for this brand. Also I prefer a little more wrist coverage. But again, I may need the next size up.
- Durability: The stitching is solid, the suede is doubled in those heavy-wear locations. We routinely loan them out when taking new riders on the trails with us. No issues, even with multiple crashes and washes. Still going strong.
- I’d get these again. Keeping in mind, I’d search for the next size up from what I normally wear.
Next up; 100%’s Airmatic
- Comfort: This was the only set I had an issue with as far as true comfort. The stitching on these is pretty heavy, and there is this nasty little spot right between my forefinger and thumb where 3 seams meet. This is also right where the handlebar sits when riding sections where it’s important to have a good grip. On longer rides this starts to irritate my hand. So much so, that I’d like to cut the section out. Now, this only happens on my right hand, while the left seems fine. So it could be that I received a bad glove. But, I’m reporting them as I test them, so this is what it is. Not comfortable.
- Durability: These are built well. Everything is stitched, including the velcro. The seams have been tugged on, stretched and crash tested. The suede is thick yet doesn’t bind or pinch. They’ve been through the wash and come through with flying colors.
- Couple of other things I noted. The velcro strap is difficult to grab. The hook section is cut the same shape as the fuzz section, and both are stitched (which is normal). When they are connected the two form an indiscernible unit that, even with your gloves off, is difficult to separate. The second thing is; If you’re going to bother to make knuckle guards, make knuckle guards. I’m not sure the little pieces that are glued on would actually help? All that being said. I still like these gloves.
Finally we have the Dakine Cross X.
- Comfort: These are mine (Andee). I like these gloves a lot. They are very comfortable except they are hot. I mean, no air flow, no vents, do not pass go, do not collect $200.00 hot. I reiterate, I LIKE them. But they are like little mini saunas on my hands. If they just had some airflow they would be perfect.
- Durability: So far they seem to be holding up. They’ve been put through a few rides and crashes and the wash. No issues, yet. One thing that does worry me, is the velcro straps are just glued on, much like the FOX gloves. And while these have gone through the wash with no issues, I feel like it might just be a matter of time? UPDATE: (Andee) So they are holding up very well and have been through several washes. These are far more durable than the FOX gloves, which ripped the first time I wore my last pair. (Like Chris mentioned above).
This concludes our mtb gloves review. We understand there are many more brands. This is meant as a quick review of the experiences we’ve encountered when working with these brands and styles of gloves.