Reviewed by Brian Mullin http://www.gramslightbikes.com/
Bar Mitts are neoprene hand covers for cold weather riding, that attach to your handlebars, and provide enough protection and warmth, that a lighter glove can be worn. I was intrigued by the Bar Mitts idea, since it reminded me of my Kayak Pogies, which allowed you to have direct hand contact with the paddle shaft, yet still provided adequate warmth in cold water. Having the additional dexterity that thinner gloves provide is an excellent feature, and gives one a better tactile feel for more precise control of braking, shifting and gripping of the bars.
Neoprene polychloroprene is a synthetic rubber, that was invented by DuPont scientists in 1930, and is produced by polymerization of chloroprene (C4H5Cl). Neoprene is used in a broad industry spectrum, for applications such as adhesives and coatings, automotive, construction, wire and cable, and industrial. For exposure protection applications (Bar Mitts, wetsuits, etc.), neoprene is foamed with nitrogen gas, which create closed cell gas bubbles, offering insulation and waterproofing. As a side note I found an interesting greener replacement product named Neogreene, which is free of VOC’s and other toxins, and has a more environmentally-friendly manufacturing process.
The tested units are meant for flat bars on a Mountain or Commuter bike, and come in one size and color (black). In addition, they are available in road bike versions, for either external or internal cabling, and come in three sizes. Bar Mitts are made with 5.5 mm thick neoprene with nylon laminated on each side, and are double stitched along the fold creating a good wind tight seal. They use a heavy duty zipper down by the shifter and brake for installation purposes, with a small Velcro tab to complete the closure. Inside the Bar Mitts, there is a small attached neoprene ring, that allows them to be clamped onto the bar ends. They are guaranteed for a lifetime.
I have always found that I can bundle up the main body (trunk, legs and arms) and keep it warm on cold rides, but my hands and feet always seem to get chilled. I can wear my monstrous ski gloves to keep my hands warm, but I loose a great deal of dexterity, and they still get cold on a long ride. There is nothing worse than having your hands get cold, as they start to ache with early stages of frostnip, along with loss of finer motor skills. Popping a couple of disposable hand warmers into the gloves can help immensely, but it’s not convenient, and they might not be available. The Bar Mitts solve both of my issues, as I get to wear lighter gloves for greater tactile feel and dexterity, and my hands stay warm. They are pretty simple to install, although it takes a few times to learn the trick to get them on easily, but once accustomed to installing them, it only takes a few minutes.