Dainese Carbon Core Gloves
Reviewed by Adam LaBarge
“Something that doesn’t burst at the seams in two weeks.”
Well, I think we’ve all had that type of glove at least once, but some of us ask for more than just solid stitching when looking for our ideal glove. For me, I want gloves that feel like a second skin, gloves that I don’t have to worry about. That keeps my hand warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and grips like Jerry Rice’s hands during a Superbowl. When it counts. When your body is on the line. Are the Dainese Carbon Core gloves those gloves? Well, frankly, no. But, they seem to come the closest out of any glove I have ever worn or heard of.
Like other gloves on the market, Dainese Carbon Core gloves are made from leather, thick plastic, thin plastic, sticky tacky plastic, plastic that stick to leather, Velcro (basically more plastic), some plastic that seems like it was stolen from a wet suit, oh, and a bit carbon fiber. There is a little piece on the knuckles of the pinky and ring finger. Oh, and this carbon fiber is more like graphite than like plastic. And I was getting my hopes up for more plastic.
So, what makes this leather and plastic better than other leather and plastic. Well, for starters, these glove don’t bust at the seams in two weeks, or two years. The gloves in this side picture, nearly two years old, don’t have a burst seam to be found. Oh, did I mention I’m not easy going on my equipment. C. Canfield in fact called me a “problem child”, though I am not too sure I am happy with that title. These gloves have held up to two years of non stop riding, a season at N*, trips up and down California, at least ten dig days (which is certain death for most gloves) and the occasional XC ride. The stitching on these gloves is bomb proof. Both pairs of mine, one pair about half the age of the other, have stayed together through countless trials and tribulations. The stitching around the carbon protection knuckle has not come loose nor has the stitching come undone. Solid stitching, as simple as it sound, yet dang hard to find. This glove has it.
Do they feel like a second skin? No, not really. But they are rather comfortable, and fashionable to wear. Except, their comfort level is rather strange. If I mapped it out on a grid, it would be in the shape of a ‘U’. My original pair were great at first, then went through a not so comfy fazed, and are now super soft and comfy again. They feel absolutely great to have on. They are now all fuzzy on the inside and feel like wearing a pair of fleece gloves, probably from too many spins in the washing machine. My younger pair just feel like quality gloves, though they have lost their original softness. This is a bit of a disappointment, though I don’t fear, for with the year, they will be soft again. More importantly though is how the gloves feel when in actual contact with the bars? Well, you like pads, you say? You need a little buffer between you and your grips? Keep you palms nice and soft? You’ll find no padding here, nor any hand lotion, baby! Seriously though, there is no padding in the palm, or, at least non after the first month or two. So if that is an issue for you, you might want to think twice. For me though, that is great. I can feel the grip, ie, feel the bike, and all it’s small vibrations. Also, these gloves are a little loose, which might seem bad, but they just seem to fill the gaps in your fingers, giving you solid grasp of the bars.
Temperature wise, these glove do run on the warm side. If you’ve got hot hands to begin with, like a buddy of mine, you may find yourself only using these gloves in the winter time. That seems to be his plan of action, can’t let a $80 pair of gloves go to waste. It was pointed out to me that there is no soft comfy place to wipe your beaten brow. So if you over heat, and actually break a sweat, you’ll find that the designer of these gloves, unlike you, must not sweat, or he wipes it off somewhere other than his gloves. Which seems like a fair complaint, except, these aren’t XC gloves, and there is no way to access your beaten brow when wearing a full face helmet. When pushing up a trail though, and my helmet is snug on my bars, I find that though they might not have a soft spot, these gloves collect sweat just fine from any place that need wiping.
So, to come to the most important part, how well do they stay on the bars? The answer, they stay just fine. I’ve never had a hand slip off and never felt the need to think about the issue. And unlike other gloves I’ve tried, the sticky tacky plastic in the palms doesn’t come off after a month or two of riding. Though some has worn away in the palms of the glove, but just a tad bit. The fingers, most importantly, still have that tack. I have noticed that in the rain, they don’t seem to grip as well, which has lead to me second guess riding some of the more brutal trails in in heavy rain. Though even in thoroughly soaking wet conditions, you know they type where it is raining so hard your bike gets cleaned for you while you are taking a breather, these gloves have never failed. (Please note, I only second guessed riding the trails, I didn’t actually chicken out.)
On a couple side notes: I have a pair of XL and XXL. The only difference seems to be in the thumb. This hasn’t really ever made a difference to me when riding, but too much slack around the thumb might annoy some people. Also, just like all other gloves I’ve tried, they do tend to get dried out and crunchy when riding places like Northstar. Though not as bad as others gloves I’ve tried. I quick dash of water out of your pack solves this problem for at least another hour or so. These gloves also can with stand the abuse of a washing machine, which is good, because smelly gloves are pretty gross. Oh, and I almost forgot. The carbon knuckle doesn’t get in the way of finger flex. In fact, I’ve never even felt it there. Which is a good thing, as long as it saves my little knuckles!
Summary: These gloves are great, not a dream come true but closer than any others I’ve tried for any style of bombing down the mountain. They do run on the warm side which can be a problem for some, but unlike dang near everything else, these can with stand the beating of downhill and digging. They are a bit of a loose fit, but this has never been a problem and they’ve never let my hand slip.
Why buy these:
- Solid productions and construction – They won’t bust a seam and the plastic in the palms and figures doesn’t come off.
- Give a solid, direct grip on the bars in all weather condition.
- Very comfortable, quality gloves, soft on the inside.
Why not to buy:
- A bit too warm for some people and no soft sweat pad.
- No palm padding. ( A personal plus IMHO)
- They are pricey, but, less expensive than a new pair of cheapies every three or four months.
5 out of 5 Stars
4 out of 5 Stars