Mary Moncorgé is a DH/Super-D/Enduro Pro racer as well as the Marketing Manager for Commencal Bikes. Mary recently left the Santa Cruz area and is now living the high life in Andorra (the sixth smallest nation in Europe bordered by Spain and France, well known for epic scenery.) We were seeking a female racer/rider’s perspective and what Mary provided is perfect.
Mtbr: Do you ever NOT wear gloves when biking? DJ or pump track? Why or why not?
Mary: I always wear gloves (I use to ride horses before getting into MTBing and it’s an old habit). I hate to have dirt under my nails, it protects my manicure (sorry girly side) and in case I dislocate a finger (it happened more than once), it makes it easier for me to re-set them if I don’t see the skin. Also, if you crash and put your hands down first you want a little protection so you don’t get skinned alive.
Mtbr: What are your current favorite pair of gloves?
Mary: I love my old Time gloves for XC and longer AM ride as they have good padding on specific areas and not uniform padding. Otherwise, I use the Endura ones that I love: really sturdy.
(Mary always wears gloves and her favorites are from Time and Endura.)
Let’s face it; the type of mountain biker most likely to NOT wear gloves is the freeride/dirt jump style rider. As can be seen in any one of their awesome riding/hucking videos, the ShapeRideShoot guys from France usually don’t wear gloves, even in the cold winter snow! We asked our friends Benoît Gurnel, Gaëtan Rey and Vincent Tupin for their opinions.
Question 1): Why do you not wear gloves? What is it, in particular that you like about going gloveless?
Question 2): Aren’t you afraid of not having protection on your hands?
Question 3): Do you EVER use gloves? DH racing maybe? If so, what are your current favorite pair of gloves and why?
1) I don’t wear gloves because I prefer riding without. It’s a bad habit I have since a long time but gloves disturb me for some tricks.
2) I’m not really afraid. Sometimes in the bikeparks where we are going very fast I do wear gloves even if I know that they won’t avoid big injuries. Helmet and knee protections are very important however.
3) I used to wear gloves in the past for dirt jumping or DH. I liked Oakley gloves or TLD cross country ones. I prefer thin gloves.
1) I’m never wearing gloves just because I can’t ride with. My feelings are very bad on the bike when I ride with gloves. I feel my hand moving in the glove before my move is effective on the handlebar. I also need to feel right my brake lever. The only problem is that my hands are quickly wet in the summer but I spend a few time with them in the dust at the top of the tracks to dry them.
2) I’m not afraid at all. Gloves prevent scratches only. You can ride with scratches and bloody hands, that doesn’t matter.
3) The only time I wear gloves is for some trial riding. Last time was last year I think and it was thin IXS XC gloves just to prevent moisture. Otherwise I do never wear gloves. Neither in the winter, in the snow or for DH or dirt jumping.
1) Riding gloveless offers more liberty and sensation on the grip. You are not disturbed by a fold or a glove moving because it is bad attached. I like to move my hand on the bar to make some tricks and I need to feel the button of my Gopro.
2) No, most of time when you are riding you don’t think about that. It’s just sometimes watching videos I think “oh you should not fall here!”
3) Yes sometimes I wear gloves, when it’s very cold. I wear thin and tight gloves to approach gloveless feeling.
So there you have it. Some reasons to wear gloves and some reasons not to. In the end, it all boils down to what you personally prefer. Protection and moisture absorption seems to be the key reasons for wearing gloves. But there seems to be a preference to not wear gloves or to wear thin gloves that maximize the feel for the bike with very high level riders. The hands are a key contact point for the rider to process what the bike is doing so gloves that transmit bike feedback to the rider are good. So check out your gloves and ensure that they fit perfectly and consider some new ones that don’t have too much padding on the palm to improve your riding and feel for the bike.
(Do you like to ride gloveless? Is there a Pro or Con that I missed? What is YOUR current favorite pair of gloves? Let me know in the comments below.)