29 March 2009

bikefix Exclusive Review: Pro-Tec Hands Down glove

While looking through one of our distributor’s websites on my never-ending quest to find riding gloves that I like, I saw these Pro-Tec gloves and they looked like they had decent protection for a cross-country glove. I had never tried a Pro-Tec product before so thought I’d give them a shot.

The fit of the Hands Down is a tad on the tight side. I don’t have a large hand, but I fill-up the volume of the size large Hands Down completely (most brands give me a bit of wiggle room in their large sizes). The glove has hard rubber knuckle protectors, grippy rubber on the braking fingers, and some extra material at strategic points around the palm, but overall it is a very light-weight and airy glove. I bought the black version last fall, but brown/green and white/grey color combinations are also available. The sad news is that this glove didn’t last long. The last straw was when the palm finally ripped open. I don’t remember falling either (although I might have), so I think I just wore-out the palm- it was looking pretty thin after just a few rides. I probably got a total of 15-20 rides out of the Hands Down's before the palm failure. The bigger bummer for me though, was the Velcro wrist straps. The wrist straps close in the opposite direction than most gloves, and to make it really annoying, the strap looks like it works like most others. So when you go to grab it to undo the glove, the impulse is to pull in the wrong direction. Believe it or not, there is enough of a tab on the wrong end of the strap to get a pretty good grip- so it only took me two botched glove removals to completely tear the closure off of the right glove. After a couple more rides, I gave up on the left closure and tore that one off as well. At least the gloves were snug enuogh that I didn’t really miss them.

It’s not a bad glove (the closure failures were my fault, though could have been prevented by a better design) and if the price were cheaper I might recommend them. Unfortunately, there are many other gloves on the market that offer this level of protection for less money- and most of them last longer. Pro-Tec is known for value oriented gear but these need a fairly large drop in price to excuse their short life. If these gloves retailed for $24.00 - $28.00, I would say they might be worth the money, but at an MSRP of $39.99 it’s a no-go.



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