It’s one of the mysteries of the cycling world why bike clothing has never really made the crossover into mainstream fashion. Branded clothing from cycling brands therefore tends to be worn by brand-fans and sponsored riders, showing their loyalty. While Cube is a huge manufacturer of bikes, its value packed builds and local bike shop presence perhaps appeal more to the person who is buying with their head than their heart, so proclamations of brand love and loyalty are a little less likely.
However, Cube does produce a huge array of clothing and accessories. With many items at a competitive price point like their bikes, you could well find yourself picking up a bobble hat or suchlike on a day when you left yours at home. Alternatively, you may well be offered a bundle deal from your local bike shop, as a sweetener to a new bike purchase. ‘Buying a whole new bike? Why yes, over here we have a range of clothing and accessories, buy that bike and you can choose £200 worth of goodies from these rails’. New bike buyers may well find themselves walking away with waterproofs, shoes, helmet, shorts – all they need to get riding their new toy.
Winter gloves for cyclists
And gloves – I should have included gloves in that list of all you need. I have not worn gloves to ride my bike on two occasions. On both occasions I fell off and put a sizeable hole in my hand. I’m not saying there’s a causative effect there – just that had I been wearing gloves, I probably wouldn’t have hurt myself so badly. Come winter, even the hardiest of ‘I like to feel the grips with the bare palms of my hands’ rider (Hello! – Chipps) is likely to be reaching for something to keep the cold and wet at bay. Winter gloves for cycling are an essential item. However, waterproof warm gloves that really work seem surprisingly hard to come by, so when these ones were offered up by Cube, I figured I might as well give them a go.
And the point of all that preamble? Well, I admit that had I been shopping for winter gloves, ones by Cube would probably not have been on my list of potentials. I’d have looked to a specialist maker of gloves, or waterproofs, or winter wear. So how do these gloves by one of the ultimate generalists of the bike industry stack up?
Cube X-Shell Long Finger X NF Glove Features
- Long finger winter gloves
- Breathable membrane
- Warming liner material
- Reflective detailing
- Natural Fit gel foam padding
- Size tested: Medium (unisex)
On The Trail
Putting the gloves on, they feel instantly cosy, like putting on a nice down jacket. They’re flexible and don’t feel too bulky, despite the insulation. There’s a good long tab on each cuff to help you pull them on, and the wrists have good long cuffs to them. This means you get a good amount of overlap between your gloves and your waterproof jacket. With hook and loop tabs on the cuffs, you can cinch them up snugly – if your jacket has the same you’ve got a good chance of keeping that British rain (that comes from all directions) out of anywhere you don’t want it.
I’ve worn these for some very wet rides, and some cool morning ones. I’ve come home and thrown every mud laden item of clothing in the machine, then put these on the radiator to dry as quickly as possible before the next wet ride. This is probably not recommended care, but when you want things dry, needs must.
And performance wise… I’m impressed. They’ve kept the wet out, my hands haven’t sweated horribly in them, and I’ve been comfortably warm. Sure, I’ve not yet entered the depths of winter snow and sleet, but on the basis of their performance so far they’ll certainly be what I’ll be reaching for when that weather finally hits. I know they’ll not be as warm as a lobster mitt would be, but I’ve never liked the lack of dexterity that they offer.
As well as keeping me warm and dry, there are a few design features I appreciate. Firstly the long cuffs – I’ve mentioned those already. I also like the reflective logo detail on the back/side of the hand and pinky, just nicely placed to provide a touch of visibility when riding along or signalling. Finally, the magic fingers – those little bits on the fingertips that are supposed to let you use your phone without taking your gloves off. I’ve often found that these don’t really work very reliably on other manufacturers’ gloves, with me giving up futile swiping in favour of removing a glove, getting a damp hand, and then battling to put the glove back on again. With these, the finger pads actually worked with my phone, and I was able to keep my gloves on for taking photos and basic phone operation.
Texting needed a bit more fine dexterity than the gloves offer, and then I was pleased to discover that the inners don’t come inside out when putting in and taking out a damp hand. The fleecy lining stays put, and even when the outers are soaked through I found there was enough cosy stuff on the inner layer to stop me getting really cold. Indeed, on a day long photoshoot where it didn’t stop raining the whole time, I rode the final descent in a state of ‘I need to get down off this hill or things are going to go bad’. Feet I couldn’t really feel, apart from the occasional cold shooting pain, a core that was shivering rather a lot and hands that were… only mildly damp (from taking my hands out for texting) but not at all cold.
I can’t say that I especially noticed the padding, but as I usually wear gloves without padding I’m kind of glad not to notice it – it means it’s not too bulky.
I’m pleasantly surprised. I admit I wouldn’t have set out to buy these gloves, and at £49.99 I’d probably still have a good look round for a deal on them, but the performance so far has been excellent. Would a slightly pricier ‘specialist’ brand’s gloves be any better? That I can’t say for sure, but for now these Cube X-Shell gloves have become my go-to pair for nasty weather.
If you get offered a bundle of Cube accessories to go with a new bike, I’d definitely put these on the top of the pile. If you’re actually going to buy a pair of gloves for horrid weather, I can highly recommend bagging a pair of these – it could be a great opportunity to support your local bike shop, and on the basis of my experience, you’ll have warm fingers to go with your warm feelings.
|Product:||X-Shell Natural Fit Gloves|
|Tested:||by Hannah for 1 month|
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