Pearl Izumi Launch Glove - Review

Jul 14, 2016
by Vernon Felton  
Pearlizumi Launch Gloves

Gloves have gone wispy of late. Part of me gets that. There really is only so much padding you need in the palm of your hand before it starts feeling like you’ve got a baby diaper wedged between your mitts and the handlebar. That sensation (or lack thereof) gets old. Manufacturers have taken note and gone minimalist with a crop of gloves that look like something a mime might wear.

Pearl Izumi Launch Glove
• Reinforced Clarino™ synthetic leather palm
• Touch-screen friendly index fingertips
• D3O knuckle inserts
• Silicone-grippers on fingertips
• Price: $45 USD
www.pearlizumi.com


I’d argue that the pendulum of glove design has swung a bit too far towards the skimpy side of the spectrum, which is why I found the Pearl Izumi Launch intriguing. The $45 Launch sits at the top of Pearl Izumi's glove line and is the brawnier, more rugged sibling to their Summit and Divide models. The Launch has been around for awhile now, though the previous iteration was a dyed-in-the-wool XC offering. Think of this version as more…uh, all mountain…or trail or, hell, you get the idea—a glove that isn’t overly bulky, but won’t fall apart the first time you go flying and hit the dirt with them.

Pearlizumi Launch Gloves
The Launch is equipped with touch-screen friendly, fingertips.
Pearlizumi Launch Gloves
D30 Inserts on the outermost knuckles and neoprene padding on the remaining knuckles add a bit of protection.

The Launch gets the flexible-till-you-hit-shit D30 inserts on the two outermost knuckles. A bit of heavy-duty neoprene covers the other knuckles and comes in handy when you barrel into stinging nettles, blackberry bushes and those branches you never saw coming. Finally, there are all the rubberized bits stuck to the backs of the fingers that make a glove look tough and certainly add a measure of tear resistance, but probably don’t do much to blunt any real blunt force trauma.

In an effort to preserve dexterity, Pearl Izumi eschews padding in the palm altogether. The Clarino synthetic “leather” gets an extra bit of reinforcement where the heel of your palm resides (and where most of your weight rests). In short, if you are looking for some heavy-duty padding and the extra bit of shock absorption it affords, you aren’t going to fall in love with the Launch. If you are all about the manual dexterity, you will dig `em.

Pearlizumi Launch Gloves
A bit of suede on the thumbs serves as a minimalist brow/snot wipe.
Pearlizumi Launch Gloves
Hook and loop closures snug things up.


For better or for worse, a lot of us are riding with smart phones and other touch-screen devices. Pearl Izumi outfits the Launch with touchscreen-friendly fingertips on the index fingers of each glove. It works perfectly when the gloves are dry. When the gloves are thoroughly soaked with sweat, I could answer the phone and scroll through my cyclocomputer about 80 percent of the time.

The Launch lacks a large terrycloth-type snot/sweat swab, but it does feature a small patch of suede-like material on the back of the thumb. It gets the job done in a pinch, but at the risk of over-sharing, I'd have preferred a more generous wipe.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesLooking for an unpadded glove that doesn't hamper dexterity and offers up more protection for the backs of your hands than most gloves in this genre? The Launch fits the bill. On the other hand, if you want a glove with a bit of comfort-enhancing padding in the palms, you'll want to look elsewhere.- Vernon Felton


MENTIONS: @vernonfelton




40 Comments

  • + 87
 Sorry to go totally off track but just wanted to express my amazement /condolences to our French pb viewers over the terrible events in Nice last night. I hope none of us were affected directly with the loss of a loved one. I cant imagine how the French people must be feeling now, all i can say is that as a mtb community our collective thoughts and prayers are with you all.
  • + 28
 Pearl Izumi. PI. Private Investigator. Private Party. Party Bus. Short Bus. Short Stop. Full Stop. Full Circle. Circle Jerk. Jerk Store. General Store. General Lee. Bruce Lee. Bruce Banner. Banner Year. Light Year. Light. Illumination. ILLUMINATI. Connect the dots sheeple!!!!
  • + 18
 Got damnit Cletus, I thought I done told you to keep your brother Leroy in the basement. Now he's on that thar intra-net, may God help us all.
  • + 2
 Dude. I Asked for Peanut Butter. PEANUT BUTTER!
  • + 19
 I read the headline quickly and thought it said lunch gloves. I was a little intrigued at the thought of special gloves for eating my lunch.
  • + 8
 I first read that Pearl Izumi would launch a glove review... But where, to space?
  • + 5
 I read it as Pearl Izumi Launch glove, as if nobody had ever done a glove before!! Lols!!!
  • + 12
 ever heard that saw about the value of a picture vs words?
A picture of the palm would have been worth a lot more than the entire text of this review. I mean honestly, close up pictures of the wrist closure and touchscreen fingertip, but nothing of... you know, the one part of the glove a reader would probably care about?
  • + 2
 Agreed. A picture with a model wearing them would have been nice too.
  • + 8
 No pictures of the palm? I know you say no padding but surely one of the most important parts of the glove...
  • + 3
 Palm picture on their website.
  • + 8
 Looks pretty goofy
  • + 1
 Hey man. Thats MY line
  • + 2
 I wear XC-style / mime gloves, and while I stack it a fair bit I can't say I have ever wished for more protection on the back of my hand (especially of the fancy D30 kind). Maybe I am doing it wrong?...
  • + 2
 I'll say it a different way: the injuries I've had from inadvertently punching things... I'd need boxing glove-level padding to have prevented it. How much could a mm or 2 of neoprene really do?
  • + 2
 Mtb gloves are a bit of a scam if you ask me. They tend to be more expensive while being more poorly made than a pair of mechanic's gloves that give you 99% similar performance.
  • + 4
 That "comfort enhancing padding" is usually anything but...
  • + 1
 Many non touchscreen gloves work with phones. I can use my phone with my riding gloves and even a thin pair of wool knit gloves in winter with my phone.
  • + 2
 Cost $10 more than a Mechanix M-Pact. I'll pick Mechanix over this any day
  • + 2
 Where's Felton's opinion column? I miss the web monkey...
  • + 2
 Hey, @PhattyMatt, it's a once a month column now, called "Wrecked". Cheers.
  • + 1
 Sorry looks like a nice looking glove if it wasn't whatever that colour is.
  • + 1
 That's one ugly colour for a glove. No thanks I keep my fox gloves thanks
  • + 1
 Looks like it also comes in all black.
  • + 1
 reviewing a glove is like reviewing a landline phone.
  • + 0
 So they made a fox dirtpaw....
  • - 1
 Just can't get excited about Pearl Izumi. Bought some of their new stuff last season and...noooo.
  • + 8
 An explanation would be cool. Did they smell funky brand new, did they repel hot women, did they attract dog shit when you crashed??
  • + 0
 @therealtylerdurden: sooooo...I got a set of bibs, outer shorts and a 3/4 sleeve jersey. Got a bee on my bonnet and wore the bibs and outer shorts on a road ride. Have never wore such a hot pair of shorts. Felt like wearing two hefty bags. Serious swall/swass action. Terrible. The bibs were meh, not enough support. 3/4 sleeve was the best piece. Tried the outers again in September in whistler, thinking the warmth would be nice. Nope. Managed to 'donate' them to a buddy who lives in a much colder place.
  • + 1
 Huh. Well that's a bummer.
  • + 2
 I won't say I'm "excited", but Pearl Izumi is definitely OK in my book. They have a lifetime warranty on their stuff and they honor it easily and quickly. I had some road gloves with a couple seasons on them and the Velcro fell apart. Mailed the gloves to PI, had new ones in less than a week. Same with a stretched out pair of Tri shorts that I normally would have thrown out - sent 'em to PI, new ones in a few days.
  • + 1
 @therealtylerdurden: forgot the best part. There are two little holes for your dingus to use when you have to go but neither one is really comfortable to use.
  • + 2
 Little holes? Yeah, that ain't gonna work for me. Razz
  • - 2
 When I think Pearl Izumi, I think of neon purple, fingerless gloves. As irrelivent as they seem, Im shocked they are still around.
  • - 1
 Twice as much as id pay for any glove.
  • + 24
 That's ok then, because for that price you get 2, so it's actually the exact amount you'd spend.
  • + 3
 @bigtim: well that makes sense. Hopefully eshops will combine shipping the 2 otherwise im out.
  • + 3
 @bigtim: genius! I nearly wet myself!!!!!

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