The Bike List

Rapha Winter Gloves £85

Tested by Nik Cook, tester for The Bike List

I loved the Rapha Hardshell Jacket which I reviewed and, as winter really starts to bite, can confirm that it continues to impress in sleet, snow and sub-zero conditions. When riding in foul conditions though it's your extremities that can really let you down so, with a Rapha hat, glove and overshoes combo, am I able to keep logging pre-Christmas miles?

Since freezing my hands during a race in the Canadian Arctic a few years ago, they've been ridiculously sensitive to the cold and always prove my weakest link when I'm out riding. This normally means I end up riding in massive unwieldy monstrosities, leaving me with the manual dexterity of a T-rex in oven gloves. Although loving the sleek styling of these gloves, I doubted if they'd be up to the task of keeping my rubbish digits warm. The kind folk at Rapha also supplied some Merino liners but, with the L sized gloves coming up just a tad to small to comfortably combine them with, I was left heading out in the winter gloves alone. On 5-10 C rides I was immediately impressed, they were super comfortable, gave brilliant padding and insulation from the bars and allowed me to access and open bars and gels from my pockets on the move. The wind proofing was effective and, although not waterproof, they were reasonably resistant too. I love the fact that you're advised to treat the goatskin palms with leather balm after a wet ride, it just feels stylishly retro and that, by nurturing your gloves, they'll look after you. I love the low profile simple cuff design as I like to bring my jacket or jersey sleeves over the gloves and hate having to fiddle with velcro or drawstrings with gloved hands. Even better, when you remove them, the liner doesn't follow your fingers, so no roadside glove flapping to get them back in place. As the mercury continued to drop, I was faced with the daily dilemma, do I stick with the Rapha gloves or do I go for me lobster clawed mega gloves? Each time I rolled the Rapha dice and they continued to perform. With 4-hour rides in near to freezing conditions and sleet now ticked off without losing hand function, I reckon my gauntlets will be staying in their drawer for the rest of the winter.

Rapha Pro Team Winter Hat review £45

Rapha Deep Winter Overshoes review £70

At a glance

Verdict High quality and effective protection for your hands from the cycling über brand.
Value
Performance

Rapha says:

With a redesigned cuff for 2014, the Rapha Winter Gloves are a slim-fitting, insulating, water-resistant glove with a Durable Water Repellent coating.
The new cuff design eliminates the need for a velcro strap. Allowing for a low-profile cuff that fits easily under jacket sleeves. The palm, thumb, middle and index fingers are reinforced with Pittards goatskin leather and the palms use high-density foam padding. The inner uses a brushed polyester liner for soft, fleece-like insulation, which works with the breathable outer for maximum comfort. The thumb also features a brushed fabric sweat/nose wipe.

Please note: If washing these gloves, once dried, leather glove balm should be applied to the leather palms to keep them supple.

Key features:

  • Windproof and water resistant
  • Soft, brushed lining
  • Low-profile cuff
  • High-density foam padding on palm and bridge
  • Leather reinforced thumb, index and middle fingers
  • Reflective piping and Rapha motif
  • Sweat/nose wipe panel on thumbs