06 July 2008

bikefix Initial Review: Fox Unabomber gloves

About a month ago, I posted an initial review of Fox's carbon fiber-knuckled Bomber gloves. To rehash, they were cool (looking) but hot (feeling) and I felt that I should probably sell them and buy something a bit more desert-appropriate. Thanks to eBay, I was able to send the Bombers on their way to Israel, where some MX kid is no doubt enjoying them right now. To replace them, I had the local bike shop order a pair of the company's lighter Unabombers.

Where the Bombers are really a motocross glove, the Unabombers are a pared-down bike-specific version. Like their big brothers, they have carbon fiber on the knuckles and top couple of finger segments- but here only for the outer two fingers. Rather than large expanses of perforated leather(ette), the Unabombers have far more fabric and large mesh sections on the palm. There is also a woven Kevlar patch at the outside of the palm, apparently a high-wear area. The color scheme is a subdued black/gray, which suits me well. A terry thumb is a nice touch for the sweaty (and snotty) among us and the printed grippy bombs on the first two fingertips make them extra grippy, even when wet.

The Unabombers certainly feel more like cycling gloves than the Bombers. Dexterity and bar feel is slightly better to boot. In use, they are cooler than the Bombers, though not by as much as I would have hoped. The effectivity of the mesh palm is reduced by the grip that usually covers the area and the gray fabric at the back of the hand is actually really warm- it doesn't seem to move moisture well and it's not uncommon for me to look down and see it soaked with sweat (and that's not a particularly sweaty area). Most annoying, though, is the carbon knuckle placement. On most rides so far, the glove seems to be slipping such that the knuckle guard slides down to cover the first finger segment rather than the knuckle. It's not a big deal to readjust (even while riding) but annoying nonetheless. Also, the loosely woven Kevlar palm patch seems to be loosening already (after three weeks), which is a bit worrying this early in the game. Aside from these annoyances, the gloves are generally comfortable- not particularly well padded, but with decent grips, they provide good bar feel and comfort.

I'll carry on using the Unabombers on & off through the summer and well into the fall and let you know what happens. I'm a bit worried about the Kevlar bit, the fabric at the back could be improved and the knuckle placement needs tweaking, but I have a feeling that (with a generation or two of development) these could be a winner. If you can't wait that long, you can find them in shops and online for $43 or so.



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