Bicycle Gear Review: Gore's Mistral IV Windstopper Cycling Gloves
Welcome to Maryland: I Can't Feel My Fingers
I didn't have much need for winter bicycling gloves, or any winter cycling gear for that matter, when I was living in Naples, Florida for six years. In fact, I never gave winter bike gear any thought, as the coldest day I ever rode in was in the mid-fifties. And that was in the dead of winter, during a cold spell.
Typically, I was riding in 60 - 75 degree weather in the winter and 85-92 degree weather in the summer. When out there training for a triathlon or just having a nice ride, I was always more concerned with shedding layers than with adding them.
Fast forward to my move to Maryland and biking late fall into the early winter. I did have some lightweight, microfiber running gloves that I had broken out in Florida on those chilly 52-degree mornings (chilly for a thin-blooded Floridian) and I figured these would do me just fine for my Maryland winter bicycling.
It was a sunny day, very breezy, in the low-40s, when I learned how wrong I as and became aware of the need for wearing biking gloves in the winter.
About twenty miles into my 40-mile ride, I noticed that my fingers were not bending with the dexterity that they had previously proven capable. A couple of miles later, I was tucked down onto the aerobars because I was having trouble gripping the drop-downs. A little later, and for the remainder of the ride, it felt like the cold wind was cutting directly into the bones on my fingers.
Needless to say, it was a long back twenty.
Gore Bike Wear: You May Have Your Hands Back
Gore-tex has been a leader in creating lightweight, wind-resistant sports gear for as long as I can remember (back to those ski trips in middle school -- winter sporting apparel was much bulkier back then). Gore-tex's bike line, 'Gore Bike Wear,' lives up to the company's reputation for creating top-notch cycling gear to beat the elements on those long Sunday rides, or on your bicycle commute to work as the sun is just beginning its ascent.
When my pair of Gore Bike Wear Mistral IV Windstopper gloves arrived at my door and I opened the box, I couldn't believe how lightweight a glove they were. They are practically weightless.
The gloves feature palm padding, just like regular cycling gloves, finger grips, Gore-Tex's super lightweight windstopper softshell membrane, and silicon finger tips that act as an extra layer of protection for the outsides of the fingers which face the wind directly when gripping the bars on your bike.
Gore Bike Wear's Mistral IV Winter Cycling Glove
Winter Cycling Stories
How Cold Can You Go?
When I purchased the Gore Mistral IV bicycling gloves, I expected that they would be all I'd need on my hands to face the elements one encounters when bicycling in the winter.
However, I found that these gloves definitely do have their limitations, which I would put somewhere around a half hour in 32-degree weather riding, an hour in 35-degree riding, and an hour and a half in 37-40 degree riding. Anything colder than this or longer than this, and you'll need another layer.
Remember those microfiber running gloves that I thought would do the trick for my winter cycling? Well, they do work great as a base layer for my hands on colder, longer rides. I simply pull the Gore Mistral over top of them and that pretty much sets me up for any weather conditions that I have encountered so far; the coldest rides I have been on have been 35-40 miles at 23 degrees Fahrenheit and this set-up has kept my fingers warm.
The Mistral IV gloves also have an elastic wrist that forms a nice seal to keep the cold air from getting in and reflective print for higher visibility on the road. I found that they run small, so I exchanged my large (which I usually wear for clothing) for an extra large, and the bigger size fits like I would expect a large to fit.
This is a great cycling glove for the above stated weather conditions, whether you are training for a spring Half-Ironman or simply getting some good exercise and taking in the sights. Just remember to bring along a base-layer glove on those rides that may be pushing the above time/temperature thresholds. On those days when the snow and ice is falling making an outdoor ride out of the question, try going for a ride on an indoor trainer.