I took delivery of a pair of GripGrab Racing gloves last summer and after abusing them solidly since then, thought it was time to let you know how I got on with them.
The GripGrab Racing gloves were designed by former mountain bike World Champions Jacob Fuglsang and Roel Paulissen; what they asked for in a glove was something very simple. Both riders wanted something that maximised control and GripGrab realised the best way to do this was with a very simple glove, almost a second layer of skin; with as little between the rider and the handlebars.
I was looking for a full finger glove to use on my cyclo-cross bike; riding off-road without gloves I found to be very hard on my delicate hands; with blisters and scrapes making for uncomfortable rides. Normally when riding on a road bike I don’t wear gloves, I find they cause my hands to go numb. If I remove the gloves, problem gone. However I only get this problem with short fingered gloves, so a long finger glove was going to be the answer.
Most lightweight full finger gloves are made for off-road – MTB – riding, makes sense. More falls, rougher surfaces and more vibration lead to more friction between handlebar and hand; not forgetting it’s nice to have some protection from trail-side thorns and nettles. This also means a lot of them are quite bulky, with macho reinforcing panels and Go-Faster stripes. I wanted something that would not be too hot or too loud, but still offered protection on long off-road sportives like the CX Century.
When I got the GripGrab Racing gloves, I was impressed, they are light and thin, but I was worried about the minimalist padding. Part of the reason for new gloves was that I wanted something to make my upcoming ride on the along the South Downs Way a little easier. In the summer the Downs turn into a rock hard route and on previous runs my hands had taken a pounding and that was with front suspension. What would it be like on the ‘cross bike?
The GripGrab Racing gloves come with a 2mm layer of Doctor Gel padding on the outside of the palm and it has proven effective without being bulky. Interestingly after a season of riding the gel on the left palm is showing more wear than the right, with the bottom 10mm of padding compressed to less than a millimetre. This presumably is because my left hand is on the bar for longer, or that I have a bike fit issue!
A nice feature of the GripGrab’s is the elasticated openings, no faffing around with velcro straps and pulling them on and off is easy. A couple of magnetic tabs on the wrist openings have proved very useful in keeping the gloves together in my kit bag or the sock drawer. They’re not super strong, you won’t be wiping anyone’s phones and they won’t stay together in the washing machine, but they do work and I’ve managed not to lose them over the review period.
Levels of grip and feel are great, the gloves are so thin that you can feel the bars almost as if you were riding bare handed. The ventilation on the back of the gloves works on long, hot summer rides, I never felt that my hands were too hot. Racing in the winter cyclo-cross league they have performed well, covered in mud and soaking wet I didn’t have any problems holding on or changing gear. I also used them on long winter ‘cross rides and for me, they made great three-season gloves. Others may find them a little too thin once the temperature drops, but I’m not a great fan of overly warm gloves and these kept the chill off until the real cold weather bit.
GripGrab use a touch screen friendly material, which makes those mid-ride selfies so much easier to perform, no more pulling gloves off and missing that vital moment. The back of the gloves has a small section of towelling type material for wiping away sweat, or any other viscous, cycling related fluids and very handy it was at disposing of my ‘sweat’.
For such a lightweight glove the GripGrab Racing has survived remarkably well. The reflective patches and graphic touches are still firmly in place and I’m someone who washes their glove pretty much after every ride. Apart from the gel pad issue, they still look as good as new. So if you are after a hard-wearing glove that will still allow you to feel your handlebars and look good, you won’t go wrong with a pair of GripGrab Racing gloves.
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