Monday, November 10, 2014

REVIEW: GripGrab ProGel gloves

Gloves are an important but often overlooked part of cycling. When I'm on the mountain bike, my hands take a lot of abuse just from the constant impact of handlebars vibrating on rough terrain. But even on the road bike, maintaining a good grip is imperative to improved safety, ensuring that you can make that emergency maneuver that we've all experienced when cycling in traffic. In addition to dampening and grip advantages, gloves are an important piece of equipment for extending the cycling season into fall, winter and spring.

GripGrab ProGel gloves
Image courtesy of GripGrab
Last year (2013) before competing in RAID Uppsala, I bought a pair of ProGel gloves by GripGrab. Although my original plan was to have something that would keep my hands warm during the events near-freezing temperatures, these actually became my go-to gloves for riding in all kinds of weather. (Actually, the ProGels are not really enough for cold weather as they only have partial-fingers. I've since invested in a pair of Hurricane for cycling in winter conditions. I plan to write a review about these in the future, but they are so warm I've actually had sweaty fingers after a ride!)

The ProGel gloves provide great grip with the leather palm and a bit of ventilation in the back which is made of some sort of Lycra-like material. They are easy to pull on and off and the sizing is great. I wear a size 10 in most gloves and purchased a size large in these. They fit perfectly on my hands with no extra material that might fold up during use and become a source of blisters.

Gloves are one of those things that are easy to discount. "Why do I need gloves?" one might ask. It's easy to think that your grip is fine and as long as you don't ride in cold weather, gloves can even seem like a luxury. But honestly, you need gloves because gloves are an essential piece of safety equipment. This is a lesson that I was reminded of all-too-well this spring when I flipped my road bike at 37 km/hr. A short mental lapse, a moment of panic and a little-too-hard squeeze of my front brake sent me sprawling across the pavement on a country-road south of Uppsala. I was lucky not to be seriously injured, but I was also wearing good equipment. My ProGel gloves were badly torn up, but my hands survived with just a bit of road-rash on one thumb. This was the ultimate test of these gloves. Needless to say after this incident I'm on my 2nd pair and a real believer in the quality of GripGrab's products.

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