Each day in the month of January I'm going to highlight something I've used in cycling that I consider to be extremely high quality. This could range from some of my favorite cycling specific workouts, to tools, to equipment, to cycling clothing. If you know me well, you know that I'm all about functionality. I'd rather have something that functions well and costs little than something that looks "pro" and costs a lot. The problem is, there's been certain items where I've tried to save money and ended up wasting it on items that didn't function well. For example, I spent more money buying 4 or 5 pair of cheap gloves that didn't keep my hands from freezing than I did when I purchased some higher priced gloves that actually keep my hands warm. Hopefully over the next 31 days I can help make you faster and more comfortable by showing you some great "bang for the buck" things. All of the things I'll be highlighting are things that I would buy over and over again if I lost them, broke them, or wore them out.
The first item I want to highlight are the Bontrager RXL Waterproof Softshell Splitfinger gloves:
As I mentioned above, I struggled for a while to find gloves that worked in bitter cold temperatures. I tried multiple layers. I tried various materials: neoprene, cotton, fleece, etc. I tried ski gloves. I tried gloves with windblocking materal. I even tried some military issue winter gloves. Nothing worked well below 30 degrees. When its in the upper 30s or 40s and sunny, the "budget" gloves you can buy at Academy, Dicks, departments stores, etc might work fine For the really cold weather or wet weather, you need more.
When I finally bought some lobster style gloves, I wished i would have done it years earlier. Lobster style gloves are just how they sound. Your index and middle finger are paired together. Your ring finger and pinky are also paired together. Your hands look like lobsters. It sounds like it would be hard to shift or hold your bars, but it isn't. I love my bontragers. They have fleece on the outside of the thumbs for wiping you nose. I've had them over a year and they still work and function like new. Single digit temps are no problem (as long as I keep pedaling/working and I'm not just coasting around) Other brands have really similar products. While i haven't tried them all, I think most of the thick lobster gloves will work in a similar way. Sugoi makes the subzero lobster gloves. Pearl Izumi makes the Pro Lobster. The Bontrager model is available at Schlegel Bicycles.
$70 might sound like a lot of money for gloves, but if you ride outside at all in the winter time, it's well worth it.