The other day I was out riding with my boss (Mtbr founder Francis Cebedo) and I was only about 10 pedal strokes away from my truck when I realized I had forgotten my gloves. My first instinct was to turn around immediately to put on my usual hand protection. But, not wanting to break his Strava KOM pace, I decided to push on and just ride without them. Why not, right? Besides, hasn’t that been the trend for a while now? All those MTB video stars hucking themselves off huge jumps with no gloves, even after crashing?
As I rode, I mentally created a list of the Pros and Cons of wearing gloves. Here is what I came up with:
- Protection from falls or cactus or rocks or poison oak
- Soak up sweat (moisture, rain) better and provide better grip
- Provide warmth
- Padding (helps fight numbness)
- Better “feel” on the bars
- Gloves are too hot
As I continued my ride, what I slowly found out was that I actually LIKED riding without my gloves. Even though my two current favorite pair of gloves are awesome (I normally ride with Alpinestars Aero gloves or Mavic Single Track gloves, pictured above), I discovered that I liked the tactile feel of my grips. Of course, it probably helped that I was using an exceptionally good set of grips that are unlike any other I’ve used before. The Prologo Chameleon grips are ultra light lock-on style grips that are more like bar tape than the traditional rubber grip.
I realized that I had a better “feel” of what the bike was doing and how it was reacting to the terrain. Even though the gloves I’m use to are both on the thin side with minimal padding, the gloves just didn’t provide the same sensation of connection with the bars. The Prologo grips provided plenty of padding and even though I had a good burn going trying to keep up with my hammerhead riding partner, slippage was not an issue (I am not a profuse sweater anyway). Other than the lack of protection in case of a fall (which is a huge factor not to be easily discounted), I enjoyed my gloveless ride.
Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)
I decided to reach out to some real pros to get their opinion on riding gloveless or not. I spoke with Mark Weir, Joe Lawwill, Mary Moncorgé and the guys from ShapeRideShoot. Here is what they had to say.