Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Product Review: Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Glove: RMM’s GoTo Glove

Gloves are one of those things that competitive cyclists constantly think about. In changing conditions, it is difficult to strike ideal the balance between sufficient insulation, low profile and breathablity. In the colder months, I generally bring two pairs of gloves on every ride, a super warm pair and a more moderate pair for when the mercury or the exertion level rises later in the ride. 95% of my rides find me packing the Pearl Izumi Pittards Elite Thermal gloves.

I have found that these gloves are good for a relatively wide range of temperatures and conditions. The wind proofing on the backside is moderately water resistant, but not water proof by any stretch. Generally, I use them at temperatures ranging from 35 to 55. Obviously the length and type of ride as well as weather/wind conditions will help determine which glove is appropriate. These are not cold weather gloves. They are more suited to early season road racing, cyclocross, fall commuting, and cold mtbing. The wind proofing helps maintain warmth even when saturated, which is nice when an unexpected rainstorm drenches you in a 70+ mile April road race.

These gloves have been extremely long lived. I have thrashed them through 2 entire cyclocross seasons, a winter of heavy outdoor use, an early spring of road racing and a few cold, nasty MTB races. I have crashed while wearing these more times than I can count and other than ground in dirt, they show no damage. They have been saturated in mud and washed multiple times and they still maintain their shape, suppleness and superior grip.

The gloves fit tight like…er…a glove. While the fit is snug, the fingers are long enough for my nose pickers. Over time, the gloves have resisted stretching and deforming. 1.5 years of heavy use and they are still snug and comfortable.

While on the bike the snug fit allows you do everything that needs to be done on a bike without glove removal. This includes precise shifting, braking, feeding, checking messages on the cellular, skipping songs on the iPod, and controlling the cycling computer.

Grip. I have commented before on Pittard’s Leather’s incredible quality of becoming more grippy when wet. In a race, these gloves prove their worth when the weather turns nasty. As an aspiring hardman and habitual sprinter, I value gear that helps me push through adversity. These gloves have allowed me to remain confidence while sprinting in vision obstructing downpours as well as mud spattered cyclocross races.

The Velcro wrist closure is minimal, but works perfectly. The snot wiper is adequately soft and absorbent.

Value is a difficult thing to peg. After 1.5 years of heavy abuse, I found the $40 MSRP to be a great value.

Bottom line: these are my go to gloves for most cool/cold rides. They are dependable and still going strong. They fit me perfectly and I have absolutely no complaints (which for me is really saying something).


plum said...

Oh very nice. I could definitely have used these at Ice Weasels. I wore my Cyclones, which are of similar construction, but have ample palm padding and of course lack the leather. The padding was my undoing, as after a half hour of racing, my left hand was on fire. Something about the positioning of the padding and my grip on the hoods conspired to nearly wear a hole in the middle of my hand. Three weeks now and it has finally returned to normal. I usually run their unpadded Elite MTB glove, but some days it's just too cold. I'll definitely look into these.

RMM said...


I would say that these are basically a warmer version of the Elite MTB glove, which I also use on warmer cross days and in MTB races (in fact I just ordered my second pair of the Elites).
I also object to the Cyclones for all of the reasons you noted.

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