The Bike List

Xenon Gore-tex Gloves £70

Tested by Jon Adams, tester for The Bike List

The Xenon range of clothing is the top-of-the-line roadie offering from Gore Bike Wear, and the Gore-tex gloves are a full-fingered model designed for cold, wet conditions. They come in good old, classy black with a fetching splash of red trim at the sides of the fingers, and the last three digits sport a flash of retro-reflective material on the back of the fingertips to bounce light back at motorists when you're signaling. For warmth, there's a slim layer of fleecy insulation that sits next to the skin, and the outer layer boasts a hybrid of soft and hardshell construction with a synthetic suede-like palm and a protective, nylon back.

The palm has a reinforced ridge running along the base of the fingers to absorb road buzz, and on the heel of the hand, there's a triangle of gel padding to protect the ulnar nerve from too much grief. Along the full length of the back of the thumb there's an absorbent snot-wipe, and a high cuff keeps your wrists warm and seals out the elements with a Velcro strap. To keep your hands dry, there's a Gore-tex liner right through the glove that'll stop water getting through, and being Gore-tex, it'll allow your hands to breathe by letting moisture vapour pass through the membrane.

On the fit side, I take a Medium size, and these gloves are very snug - almost too tight when new - but they relax a little with wear and use, and there's a good stretchiness to the backs thanks to an 11% Lycra content. This allows a decent amount of 'give' for hand movement, and helps with overall comfort. The fingers are pre-curved, so there's no real resistance when you wrap your hand around the bars, but the thumbs are a little on the short side, and this is apparent if you're out the saddle and riding in the hoods.

In terms of grip, the palm fabric gives a good, secure purchase on bar tape, silicon hoods or MTB bars, and the index finger has a silicon coating to assist with gear and brake levers. Though the three layers of the gloves make them thicker, stiffer and bulkier than regular long-fingered models, dexterity isn't compromised too much for general bike handling, and it's still easy to shift gears and apply brakes. The downside comes if you need to undertake more delicate work, like fiddle with a computer or fire up your lights, but to be fair, this level of feel is an issue with any cold weather glove, so a high degree of precise dexterity shouldn't be expected.

The gloves are fully waterproof - so much so that you can run them under a tap or immerse them without any water ingress, but though water beads up and runs off the nylon backs well, it does soak into the palm fabric and stay there, leaving the contact points a bit soggy. This doesn't affect the grip though, so it's more of an issue for getting them dry after a ride than a performance matter.

It has to be pretty cold for these gloves to be useful, because once your hands start to sweat on climbs, the brushed fleece lining becomes saturated as it wicks the moisture off your skin. This makes them tricky to remove - especially while you're riding - as a tight fit on a wet lining keeps them clinging to your hands. Once you get them off, they're equally hard to get on again if your hands are wet, so they work best as a put-on-and-leave-on piece of kit.

The Xenon Gore-tex glove is great when it's cold and wet, and by that I mean very low single figures on the Celsius chart and proper, full-on rain, but for dry or drizzly cold days, most riders would be better off with a windproof softshell option for the increased breathability and the lower price.

Overall, the Xenon Gore-tex is a fantastic glove, but it requires wintry and wet conditions for it to excel. For those who commute or take leisure rides regardless of the conditions, they're worth the asking price at a penny short of £70. But for those more inclined to fair weather, better value will be found in a softshell variant like the Gore Xenon Windstopper at £20 less.

At a glance

Verdict Insulated, fully waterproof gloves with a rugged outer and a Gore-tex liner, designed very specifically for winter rides in cold, wet conditions.
Value
Performance

Gore Bike Wear says:

Rain protection with maximum grip. Waterproof GORE-TEX® gloves for performance road cyclists. Perfect solution to keep hands dry and warm on cold, wet rides.

  • Velcro width adjustment
  • Inner forehand with foam padding
  • Gel padding on heel of hand
  • Reflectors on fingers
  • Reflective print on back of hand
  • Strengthening between thumb and forefinger for better grip
  • Absorbent material on thumb for wiping away perspiration
  • Silicone coated fingers
  • Reflective logo

Benefits

GORE-TEX® Product

Delivering maximum comfort and protection in a wide range of running activities and weather conditions, garments made with GORE-TEX® fabric are durably waterproof, windproof and very breathable.

Guarantees

GORE-TEX® GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY® promise.
If you are not completely satisfied with the waterproofness, windproofness, or breathability of a GORE-TEX® product then we will repair it, replace it, or refund your purchase price. All GORE-TEX® garments and footwear - and only GORE-TEX® garments and footwear - carry our GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY® promise.

Materials

  • BACKHAND: 89% NYLON, 11% ELASTAN (LYCRA®),
  • SWEAT ABSORPTION: 48% POLYURETHANE, 52% POLYESTER,
  • PALM: 40% POLYURETHANE, 60% NYLON,
  • LINING: 100% POLYESTER, 100% GORE-TEX®INSERT