The Bike List

Polaris Dry Grip gloves £30

Tested by Neil Watterson, tester for The Bike List

I can never understand why people cycle without gloves. Even on the hottest days I'll don a pair of lightweight cycling gloves to protect my hands from errant bushes and thicker gloves are a must in winter.

People who are forced to cycle no-handed because their fingers are too cold to grip the handlebars amuse me. Cheap gloves are available for a couple of quid and would save some of the discomfort. Okay, they may not be great for longer rides, but that's where gloves like these Polaris Dry Grips come in.

Water resistant and windproof outers are complemented by a waterproof and wicking liner, keeping the cold and wet out. They're not sold as full-on winter gloves, but I've found that they do the job pretty well.

They do keep the wet out, but equally they keep it in. 'How does that work?' I hear you ask. Well, the big neoprene cuffs are designed to stop cold air from rushing up your sleeves and I generally wear them outside my jacket for that very reason. So, cycling home through a storm of almost biblical proportions, the rain gushed down my jacket sleeves and into the glove, filling the thumb - the lowest point - with water.

This shouldn't be a problem normally and highlights how waterproof the gloves are as the water didn't drip away, but it did cause me problems the next day, and is something I've found after each ride. If you get water inside, be it rain or sweat from your hands, it doesn't dry out.

I'm fortunate at work to have underfloor air conditioning with a vent beside my desk, so I puff up the gloves, stand them over the vent (they will stand up on their own) and leave them all day to dry out. And they need most of the day to evaporate the water - you can't turn them inside out. I have to leave them on the radiator overnight at home otherwise I know they'll still be damp in the morning - and putting damp gloves on is horrible.

It's a pain when you stop, like at a cake break or to fix a puncture, then put them back on, though admittedly after a few seconds your hands have warmed it up and you don't notice it so much.

Apart from the wet, I've also tried these out in the cold. A couple of commutes have seen -6C showing on the thermometer and that's pushing the ability of these gloves. If you're a fairly warm person they'll just about suffice at this temperature; if you're not, they won't. And they won't re-warm your hands if you take them off for a period and your fingers get cold.

I witnessed an RTC (road traffic collision) while biking home and had to hang around for the police to arrive and take statements. I'd had to remove my gloves to call the emergency services and with the temperature hovering around -5C my fingers soon chilled - and they didn't warm up until I wrapped them round a hot drink at home.

Some of my other, full winter gloves would have helped return warmth quicker, but as I mentioned earlier, that's not exactly what these are.

The palms are well padded and the fingers have non-slip silicon print for additional grip, the fleecy outer of the thumb is fine for wiping your dripping nose on (sorry, but we all do it) and a bit of reflective piping on the back adds a touch, but not much, visibility.

The fact that the inner liner is the waterproof part makes for interesting cleaning too. The gloves are 'machine wash cold', so I had to work out how to get that setting on my machine, then cursed it when it left a residue of powder on the gloves when the wash was finished. That may be the powder or the machine's fault, but it doesn't happen on a 30C wash. At least the gloves remain waterproof, though it does cause a problem with washing the gloves each week - do I hand wash them or just chuck them in with my other 30Cs and risk damaging the waterproofing. I haven't yet, but I daresay I will before long.

The Polaris Dry Grips do what they say: they keep the wet from getting to your hands, but the unintended consequence is that they stop sweat from evaporating. And that can be very irritating.

Buy from chainreactioncycles.com

At a glance

Verdict Warm and dry, but lock in sweat. Not for you if you’ve nowhere to dry them between rides.
Value
Performance

Polaris says:

The Drygrip glove is designed with water-resistant and windproof outer fabrics and a fully waterproof and breathable liner

  • The Drygrip glove is designed with water-resistant and windproof outer fabrics and a fully waterproof and breathable liner.
  • Amara palms with padding and Non-slip silicon print add additional comfort and grip in the wet.
  • Long neoprene cuffs also provide a weather proof seal.
  • Excellent winter gloves for both on or off the road.

Available in sizes: Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large

Supplier: Polaris Bikewear Ltd, +44 (0)1246 291100, polaris-apparel.co.uk