26 November 2007

bikefix Exclusive Review: Craft Tempest Glove

Yesterday, we had a look at Scandinavian clothing company's coldest-weather cycling glove, the Siberian. Today, seeing as we're thinking about gloves (and it's still frickin' cold out), we're going to have a look at their cool-weather Tempest glove. We've been using the Tempests for about a year (weather permitting) and while they've changed for 2007/8, it's not by much.

Good for temperatures from about 55 down to 40 or so (maybe a little bit lower off road), the Tempest uses a wind- and water-proof, breathable fabric for the body of the glove. textured Clarino synthetic leather reinforces the palm and first two fingers as well as the thumb crotch- the part of your hand that straddles the brake hood on a road bike. The terry thumb is not as wind resistant as the rest of the glove, but still backed with something to keep the breeze out, and the stretchy knit wrist doesn't have any additional closure. There's a reflective Craft logo on the index finger (it's been moved to the middle finger for '07/08) because every little bit helps.

That's about it. As a cool-weather glove, the Tempest does a very good job of keeping the wind out. Unlike some wind-blocking fabrics, though, the fabric used here is hardly stretchy at all. A stretchier fabric might go a ways toward masking the gloves' cut, which is pretty simple and not pre-curved to hold the bars, the way some gloves are. This means that the fabric does bunch a bit in the palm. Not enough to cause blisters, but annoying nonetheless. We prefer it, though, to the foul smell that neoprene-based gloves seem to develop almost immediately thanks to their lack of breathability. A more three-dimensional cut would likely help with the bunching, as well as with some looseness at the back of the palm. That said, the fit of our size 10/L gloves was decent on the bike. Like the Siberian gloves, it didn't feel like we had as much control of the bike as we'd like, but haven't had any mishaps as a result either. We certainly prefer the Tempest to our aging Fox's Polarpaw gloves, which gave us better control of the bike but whose un-lined palms didn't do anything to keep out the cold from frozen handlebars or brake levers.

That said, the Tempest has been a good all-around winter and cool-weather glove. The light but effective fabric makes for a glove that doesn't take a lot of room, and two gloves can be stashed in a jersey pocket along with a helmet liner without any fear of them falling out, making them perfect for those cool early-morning starts. We haven't seen the new version in the flesh, but for a reasonable $30-35, they're well made and certainly worth a look.



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