The Ascent glove is Fox's answer to those who are looking for a set of minimalistic gloves that feel like a second skin rather than a pair of clumpy oven mitts. Fox claims this is their lightest glove, and at 34 grams for the pair we're inclined to believe them. The goatskin leather palm certainly makes the gloves stand out from the crowd and Fox says that the leather's properties create comfort, grip, and durability.
The back of the glove features a discrete, embossed 'Fox' logo made from a rubberized plastic and the cuff has a ribbed Fox Head logo on the underside.
Fox Ascent Details
• Goatskin leather palm
• 4-way stretch Lycra back
• Touch screen compatible
• Colors: black, green, blue
• Weight: 34 grams (a pair, size medium)
• MSRP: $44.95 USD
The cuff is mid-length, sitting just above the wrist. The back of the glove is made from 4-way stretch Lycra, that is indeed very stretchy. The thumbs and index fingers have conductive threads sewn in so that you can use a touchscreen without removing them. Fox's Ascent glove retails for $44.95 USD or £35.Construction
People who love the minimalist feel of riding bare handed but also want some protection and grip when things get sweaty or wet will feel right at home with this set of gloves. Their backs and palms are exceptionally thin to help cope with overheating and the material's thinness is key to that nearly-naked feeling.
The gloves' palms are shaped to the fit your hand and the leather doesn't have much stretch, so choosing the correct size is key for a great fit. The palm is all one piece, but the back, thumb, and side of the thumb are made up of three different bits of material. The stitching between each panel is internal, maintaining that sleek look.
The embossed logos are a nice touch, and in black they are particularly discrete. The gloves feature a small micro-fiber pannel on the outside of the thumb that'll cope with small amounts of sweat or some goggle cleaning.
Although the leather looks shiny and smooth, there's plenty of grip and serious levels of comfort.Performance
The Ascent gloves' sleek feel is apparent as soon as you get your hands on and in them - it's like being transported into a new dimension (of glove wearing, at least). They're exceptionally comfy from the get-go and Fox's claims of a "barely there" feel are certainly true. Wrap your hands around a handlebar and the goatskin palm emulates the feeling of being gloveless so much so that it's liberating. As a barrier between your grips and hands, the unique feel of the leather is worth every penny or cent of the Ascent's price – okay, they might not make you 10-seconds faster but they parallel levels of feedback that are normally reserved for gloveless and daring individuals.
I was initially concerned that the leather palm would become as slippery as an ice rink when wet – a common problem for those with sweaty palms or people who live in wet climes. Luckily, this fear didn't hold true and the gloves remained as grippy and comfortable as they were when they were dry. Talking of being sweaty, I didn't notice the gloves being any hotter than traditionally-made synthetic-palmed models, however, as a bonus, the leather palm did away with any discomfort normally associated with hot, long and sticky rides.
These gloves have become one of my favourite bits of riding kit, period. They do away with the dilemma of worrying about hurting your hands in a crash when in search for the next-level feedback from your bike that only going gloveless can offer. This unparalleled performance is thanks to their leather palm and lightweight construction.
Subtle logos are the order of the day.Issues
Do not wash these gloves! This can't be expressed enough. The label stitched inside the gloves' cuff does clearly rule out machine washing, tumble drying, dry cleaning, ironing or bleaching. Heed those instructions, and disobey them at your peril.
I washed the gloves in the washing machine once to check on the effects, should you do this erroneously. They fended off the onslaught of washing powder and fabric softener well, but I wouldn't recommend caring for the gloves in this way indefinitely due to the thin material. You can hand wash them in warm water, and this has worked well for me since their foray into the washing machine.
Pinkbike's editors have heard a few reports of longevity issues, but after several months of hard riding and careless cleaning, my pair are yet to show signs of rips, tears or damage.Pinkbike's Take