To be honest, finding the right pair of cold weather riding gloves can be a bit of a battle. There are plenty of them on the market, but finding a pair that doesn’t feel like you’re suiting up to operate heavy agricultural equipment is another thing altogether.
Last winter I had reasonably good luck with a pair of ION Neo waterproof gloves, which used neoprene fabric to wrap each hand in a sort of mini-wetsuit. They felt amazing on the handlebars by providing incredible dexterity and great tactility on the controls, and they were plenty waterproof. Their idyllic operative window was quite narrow though, with not a lot of insulation on offer to keep your hands warm in conditions below about 6-7°C. And once conditions were warmer, sweat buildup became an issue – as did a noticeable, slightly cheesy odour that would last on the hands well after the ride had finished. And that led to some awkward questions if anyone at the pub caught a casual whiff of your fingers.
Perhaps because of those quirks, ION no longer has the Neo gloves in its lineup. In its place however, is this new winter riding glove, called the Haze.
ION Haze AMP Glove Features
- Lightweight winter gloves
- Wind-resistant fabric
- Integrated ‘Claw Guard’ rain cover
- Neoprene cuff
- Velcro closure
- Microfibre ‘Nose Charmer’
- Touchscreen compatible
- Silicone detailing for grip on cockpit controls
- Sizes: XX-Small, X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large,
- RRP: £54.95
Rather than neoprene, the Haze uses more conventional, err, glovey fabrics. It’s got a nice and thin synthetic palm with zero padding in it, and it’s all one-piece from cuff to fingertip so there are no seams to rub you up the wrong way. This thin palm will appease those who normally detest wearing gloves in the first place, as it provides excellent feel for your digits without covering up all of your body’s in-built pressure sensors. It also works with touch-screens for taking trailfies (that’s ‘trailside selfies’ for those of you over 15-years old).
ION has given the Haze glove the ‘Wind Hater’ treatment, which is basically a windstopper-type material that lines the outside face of each glove. There’s a lovely fleece lining that offers useful warmth, but these are still light on for insulation though, so I wouldn’t be donning these for deep winter snow-biking. Personally, I’ve used the Haze gloves down to around 2°C or so, and that’s providing it’s dry and relatively still. Throw some rain and wind into the mix though, and I’d add a few more degrees to the Haze’ minimum temperature rating.
So how are these in changeable conditions? You know, those winter rides where it starts out nice and sunny, but where the weather stabs you in the back and takes a turn for the worse? In these such scenarios, the trick up the Haze’s literal sleeve (ok, cuff then) is its cute little raincoat. Stowed inside a stretchy pouch on top of the cuff, this claw-like raincoat is designed to tuck your smallest three fingers into a single pocket, with your index finger occupying its own. Sadly, the thumb gets left out on its own though.
In use, the ‘Claw Guard’ works well as an additional line of defence. It is most useful when you’re not riding in heavy rain, but when you’re riding after it’s already rained (that’s basically every day in Calderdale), and everything around you is soaked. For muddy spray spitting off your tyres and frame, and for the moist-leaves and tree branches lining the trail, the Haze’s Claw Guard shrugs off most moisture. Keeping those three end fingers together in their own pouch also helps to insulate them a little further too.
But while the fabric is waterproof, it isn’t seam-sealed, so water will eventually creep through. Before that happens though, your uncovered thumb will start to take on water, which then spreads through into the rest of the glove. Because of the thin overall construction however, the flipside is that the Haze gloves do dry out quickly. During a solid day out that involved a mid-ride pizza stop, the Haze gloves conveniently dried out after we’d finished stuffing our faces, and were cosy and warm for the ride back.
Realistically, ION doesn’t consider these a winter glove anyway – they describe them as being ideal for Autumn and Spring. Then again, I guess it depends where in the world your winter exists. In my experience though, once you work out how cold and wet is too cold and wet for these, I reckon they’re much more versatile than just for shoulder season riding.
Exceptionally comfortable and low-profile gloves that suit a wide variety of conditions. They aren’t fully waterproof, and the thin construction doesn’t have a lot of insulation for deep winter riding, but the neat integrated raincoat gives them a convenient spray shield, which broadens their usable range. For the folks that really don’t like wearing gloves in the first place, these could be your ticket for cold weather riding.
|Product:||Haze AMP Gloves|
|Tested:||by Wil Barrett for 2 months|