Bar Mitts Review

Apparel Pro Reviews

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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 101
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.

Bar Mitts
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.

About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • David Padfield says:

    I purchased a pair of Bar Mitts last month and they are wonderful! They add about 20 degrees, i.e., gloves that are normally only good down to 40 degrees can now be used down to at least 20 degrees. I wish I would have bought these a long time ago!

  • MK_ says:

    These look like a real must have for the harsh Arizona winters. :D

  • OLHS says:

    I BOUGHT A PAIR IN EARLY JAN AND RODE NEARLY THROUGH A KENTUCKY WINTER WITHOUT WEARING GLOVES ONCE. ANYTHING ABOVE 25 AND MY HANDS STARTED SWEATING. I LOVE THESE THINGS. WORTH EVERY PENNY OF THEIR (OVER)PRICE(D).

  • Chris says:

    Reminds me why I moved out of the NorthEast lo those many years ago. Now winter means ‘bundling up’ for the mid 60F rides in SoCal.

  • Mitch says:

    here is another option at 1/3 the cost.
    http://www.cannonpower.com/Moose-ATV-Hunting-PAWS-GAUNTLETS-detail.htm?productId=8553720
    The Bar Mitts do have a nice finish, how about something other than black?

  • upsidedownbiker says:

    I ride a great deal in Wisconsin winters. I’ve wanted something like these just not Neoprene. I’m not sure why cyclists ever thought that using something that doesn’t breath at all was a good idea or an athletic sport. There are a few things that are extremely important in staying warm. The first is staying dry with moisture management, the next is wind proof, and the final one is insulation in my opinion.
    Someone please make some of these out of Windtex or something on that order.

  • MBR says:

    IMHO, very overkill. Is 5mm neo really needed? It’s not like the product is going to be used in 40-deg water, like a steamer or drysuit would be. All that’s really needed is something thick enough for the mitts to keep their shape and block the wind. Nylon faced wind-block fleece, with something to stiffen and sustain the shape or a combination of neoprene, nylon, fleece…

  • Jim says:

    Just got a pair end Jan, beginning of Feb or something like that. I live in Colorado Springs and our winters are relatively mild by real winter standards in MN, WI, IL, etc…but at least a few times a season it gets SERIOUSLY bitter cold for a few days at a time. I finally bought a pair of these from my LBS for a great deal and wonder why I didn’t years ago. I can now ride into single digit temps w/ just a windstopper weight glove underneath, even as far down as say -12deg at least. I’m talking wearing windstopper balaclava, moto/ski goggles, wool base, under softshell, and all that. My hands FINALLY stayed warm! Who knows the limit of these. Another trick is to put a little handwarmer into the mitt for even colder temps. Good piece of equipment for an all weather commuter or intrepid winter mtb rider. PS…gets cold enough to start compromising good function of grease, suspension forks, and the DOT fluid in hydro brakes…but you can still have warm hands! These work for me.

  • Rob L says:

    I have a set of Moose Mitts I got this year and if not for them I don’t think I would have ridden much/at all, my hands are just too messed up from too many bad rides with wrong gloves. I do like the bar end restraint on these better and the water proofing is a bit better. And they are a bit less floppy then my moose mitts.

  • Thane says:

    I tried these with my commuter and Shimano thumb shifters and found them difficult to shift. On my Mukluk fatbike with SRAM grip shift they work really well.

    They definitely help in the Wisconsin winter; in fact, anything above about 30 degrees and I find I have to wear normal (summer) mountain bike gloves to keep my hands dry. They are quite warm; I’ve used them in 5 degrees with a 30 mph wind and while my feet weren’t happy, my hands were fine.

  • Gregg says:

    another great review, Brian! Just goes to show that you can never be sure how popular any one particular product will be!

  • Yevgen says:

    I would better buy a pair of winter gloves! :) Actually that’s what I did — SixSixOne’s Storm Plus are just great for our -20С ;)

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