I have a hard time understanding how people can forego wearing gloves on a ride. On at least two occasions, when I was a beginner, and took someone else out riding who had never been, I offered them a pair of gloves to ride in because they didn’t bring any. Both ended up going over the bars, landed on their hands, and dug tiny rocks out of their palms afterward.
At least a few times a year, I go down and use my hands to break my fall. It’s a dumb technique, I know, but I still wear gloves on every ride, mostly for this reason. Here are four sets of MTB gloves, from $28 – $50, tested and reviewed. All of them will help keep mountain bikers’ palms and fingers rock-free.
Handup gloves, $28
Handup gloves are simple, fun, and usually show a little bit of personality. The brand is always refreshing their line with different designs and patterns, some of which honor destinations like Mulberry Gap and Sedona, but the glove construction itself remains pretty much the same.
Handup offers gloves for colder riding, lined with fleece, and gloves for warm riding with a Clarino leather palm, and lightweight mesh back hand.
The gloves I’ve been testing feature a custom design. Handup offers this service for larger batches of gloves. For the price of the Handup gloves, the value is hard to beat.
These gloves fit me great and have held up to a couple months of riding, sweat, and a few trips through the washing machine. The thumb is a little hit and miss with touchscreens, but Handup now makes a more touchscreen-compatible glove as well.
Dainese Tactic EXT, $50
I’ve had the Dianese Tactic gloves since August, and they have proved their durability over the past few months.
The Tactic feature a little bit of Pro-Armor material over the knuckles which I’ve found is nice for brushing rocks and tree branches.
With the Pro-Armor material and the black fabric, they get a little bit hot in the warm riding months. The Tactic gloves also have a silicone print on the palm, for even more traction when holding the grip, and they feel very sticky.
The thick tab on the underside of the glove makes them very easy to pull on.
Gore C7 Pro gloves, $40
The C7s are the lightest gloves in this roundup. The palm is made from a single layer of mostly polyester to enhance the feel of the terrain, according to Gore.
The C7s are a great glove for summer trail and XC riding when the sweat is plentiful and airflow is appreciated. The underside of the glove is porous for maximum airflow too.
There’s nothing too fancy about the Gores. They’re simple and lightweight. I appreciate the design and look of the Gores more than the other pairs though, and dig the subtle and modern styling.
The pull tab on the palm and the rise above the wrist mean that these gloves are also very easy to put on.
Pactimo Apex, $40
The Pactimo Apex are the last in the lineup. The Apex is the only glove on the list with a recommended temperature range, which is 50°F and up. The back hand is well-vented and the palm is made from a synthetic leather with a piece of padding across.
The touchscreen-friendly digits actually work very well, compared to other gloves that make the same claim. The Pactimos swipe and type easily, although texting accuracy is still kind of a challenge. However, anyone who’s really thinking about how functional a mountain bike glove is for texting should re-think their ride priorities.
My only gripe with the Apex gloves is the amount of padding in the palm. It’s nice to have a little bit of cushion in there, but I think it interfered with my riding style a little, and it tends to get in the way of how my grip changes when I’m bunny hopping and jumping. That doesn’t speak to everyone’s style of riding, though.
Other than that, the Apex gloves are a solid, quality choice. The styling is conservative and classic, and I’m a little biased, but I love the little Colorado flag on the side of them.
Thanks to all the brands listed above for providing glove samples for review.