18 March 2008

bikefix Exclusive Review: Fox Digit Glove (05?)

In mountain biking, Fox Racing and gloves are almost synonymous. While much of Fox's motorsports- and urban-inspired gear isn't to my personal liking, I've been using their gloves off and on since I really started riding in the early 1990s. After buying an over-featured glove whose rubber inserts made my fingers go numb, I opted for the simpler Digit as a replacement.

For the past several years, the Digit has been Fox's mid-range ($28) mountain glove. Following recent trends, the palms are almost unpadded, with only two layers of synthetic leather between your hands and the grips. The knuckles are lightly padded with a Neoprene-like material, and the dense mesh finger backs have rubber doodads stuck to them. A Velcro closure keeps them tight and they're available in a few different color combinations (which change from year to year).

I've been using this particular pair of gloves since probably early 2006. While they're a bit warmer than I'd like in 80 degree temperatures, they still work fine and keep on working fine down to about 50 degrees. While nominally mountain bike gloves, I wear them for cool weather commuting as well for a bit of extra road riding insulation (compared to fingerless road gloves) that doesn't become oppressive if the day warms. Several of the finger doodads have fallen off and there are broken seams in the palms and on one finger. The silicone index finger grippers are long gone and I've managed to pull a chunk out of one of the knuckles, too, but none of this seems to impact function. In fact, I've already purchased a replacement pair (expecting these to have given out months ago), but they just keep going. Over several years and hundreds of hours of riding, these gloves have hardly drawn attention to themselves, except with the occasional odor that whispers wash me. That's pretty impressive. They stay put and help protect my hands from sticks and rocks- just as they're meant to.

While I'm seeing more and more gloves last one year or less, with fraying palms and bursting seams, the Digits just keep on keepin' on. As much as there are times when I'd like a bit more padding or another glove catches my eye, it'll be hard to justify replacing these with anything else. While it's certainly possible to spend more on a riding glove, I'm having a hard time seeing what would be to gain... The '08 model looks to be very similar in intent (though without the doodads) and should be available pretty much everywhere.



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