Cold is one thing. Wet is another. Put the two together and there can come a point in a ride when your hands go from merely cold, to completely useless. I was reminded of this a couple of months ago when I finished my climb up the mountain, tucked into the first descent and suddenly realized that my hands had gone so numb that I could no longer tell if I was actually pulling my brake levers coming into that first corner.
Apparently, mesh-backed summer-time gloves are a horrible idea when there’s snow on the ground. While I’ve owned winter gloves before, I always gave up on the things since riding in them was a bit like trying to perform brain surgery with oven mitts strapped to my paws. There’s not much point in keeping your fingers warm if you can’t move the buggers. Bontrager promises that their Stormshell glove offers supreme dexterity while also being water and windproof. To that end, each glove is backed with Profila Stormshell fabric, which is supposed to keep both wind and water at bay. Insulation duties are handled by a thin layer of fleece inside each glove. The Stormshells sell for $100 USD / Bontrager
/ On Trail
Out in the field, the waterproofing proved excellent. Even after dozens of rides through miserable rainstorms, the Stormshells have yet to spring a leak. As for absolute warmth, the gloves are very good in conditions right down to the freezing level. Colder than freezing and you’re going to want a bulkier, more heavily insulated pair of mitts. The tradeoff is that dexterity is actually pretty damn good with these gloves. Grip is also surprisingly good. The palms are made of “AX Suede G Series” and while I won’t pretend that I am some kind of cow-skin expert, I can say that the palms stay glued to the grips when they probably shouldn’t. If you are looking for a ton of padding in the palm, the small pouch of GelFoam in these gloves may not float your boat. I tend to ride very minimalist gloves, so I actually found these quite comfortable.
On the whole, the Stormshells are a very smartly-designed set of gloves: The stitching and overall construction are excellent, the fingers feature eSwipe technology (you can scroll through your iPhone menu without taking off your gloves) and, while it's an inelegant topic to broach, the Stormshells offer one of the largest and most effective snot wipes I've ever seen on a pair of gloves. In my book, you can never have enough of that kind of real estate on a set of wintertime gloves. No, these gloves aren't cheap... But then again, being able to actually feel your brake levers is one of those priceless things in life.Pinkbike's Take:
|Looking to ride in the snow? You'll want something with a bit more insulation. But, in wet weather just shy of freezing, Bontrager's water and windproof Stormshells are hard to beat. - Vernon Felton|