29 June 2009

bikefix Exclusive Review: Giro Remedy gloves

Over the past couple of years, helmet company Giro have broadened their range to include cycling accessories other than helmets. Following their new-for-2008 glasses comes a line of cycling gloves. Giro have a number of different models to choose from but the one that caught my eye this spring was the Remedy. I like a light full-fingered glove and I like a bit of armor too, and the Remedy seems to be a nice compromise between the two. Most gloves are either too XC oriented with little-to-no armor, or are clustered with hard armor plates and are therefore less comfortable and less ventilated for long, hot rides. I have generally tackled this problem by carrying a boat-load of gloves in my bag, and selecting the most appropriate pair at the last minute, based on the type of trail I’m riding and weather I expect. This method works pretty well but it does require the rider to buy a large amount of gloves [and carry a big smelly bag of gloves around -marc]. For all my searching, the perfect Trail glove has proved elusive. It needs to be light and ventilated, but durable, and needs to have a respectable amount of armor to protect my hands from trees, brush, and occasional boulders. The Giro Remedy comes close to this ideal.

One look at the glove and you can see that real thought went into the design. Giro have used softer rubber armor plates to enhance comfort (over hard plates- at the expense of some protection) and the armor is clustered on the outside of the hand, where it is most needed, only creeping inward to help protect the two biggest knuckles. The armor is also perforated with holes to help the glove breathe. Giro says that the armor plates are "Sonic Welded" onto the glove, and while I’m not that versed in apparel terminology, I think it means that they are ultrasonically fused (melted) on to the fabric. Another cool feature is the use of the D30 material in the outside of the palm (right where you land on your hand when you fall). D30 is one of those space-age technological wonder materials that is trickling down into mountain biking. With my limited knowledge, I can’t adequately explain its properties, but the short of it is that: it‘s a material which is soft and flexible in its normal state, but hardens and stiffens under impact. It has been used to good effect in motorcycle gear. I don’t know how much the D30 will help protect your hand from breaking if you fall, but it should help protect it from sharp rocks a bit, helping prevent a puncture wound. The palm is a three panel design with vent holes in the middle. Giro uses Pittards leather which is a high-quality and durable material.

The upper has a nice combination of breathable fabrics and elastic for comfort and fit. Another nice touch is that the leather from the palm wraps around to the top of the finger on the index and ring fingers of the glove. It doesn’t have the typical terry-cloth wipe on the upper thumb, but has what Giro calls a “highly absorbent microfiber wiping surface” which seems to work almost as well. The stitching and quality seem to be very high on this glove and I hope it lasts a long time. I bought the white model (which still has a fair amount of black on it) and have been using it on some pretty hot rides. Despite the venting and breathable fabrics, I don’t think it is going to be quite cool enough for mid-summer afternoon rides here in the desert. The two other colors, Black and Olive, are darker so will be even hotter.

I love the fit of this glove. The true let-down here is that I have medium-to-large size hands and am fitting perfectly in Giro's XL size glove. The company only makes a S, M, L, and XL in this glove- this is a HUGE mistake by Giro- they need at least one larger size, if not two. I don’t know what they were thinking but most everybody I ride with (and know) has larger hands than me. If Giro reads this I hope that they fix the sizing issue for next year- the Remedy is close to the ideal trail glove, but will only fit a small proportion of the people who ride. If you can fit into one of their sizes they run about $42.00.

Note: My Remedy's were from Giro's first glove production run. The odd sizing may have been solved by now.



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