Race Face XC Gripper glove – £23.95
Silverfish – 01752 31325
Race Face have established an excellent reputation for tough performance clothing as well as their crank and cockpit componentry. The XC Gripper is a lightweight full finger glove that we’ve been wearing most days for the past 4 months.
The backside of the glove uses a soft but tough webbing fabcric with lycra fourchette’s (the between finger and side bits) for a snug fit but we’re not entirely sure about the sinlge small rubber ‘armour’ sections on each finger which gorse and holly never failed to find a way around. The Neoprene knuckle pad give a a bit of bush bashing protection, but again the back panel ‘armour’ is a style, rather than functionally protective thing.
Lycra edged neoprene short cuff and scooped cut feel slightly unprotective at first but are excellent once you get used to them. The gloves stay put all day and the short velcro side tabs snug things down nicely.
Thumb and side are mostly a big soft terry towelling snot wipe panel, but we found thumb and finger length snug (if not slightly too short) while the glove body is quite loose after the suede stretches. Constant pressure means we’ve recently burst the stitching on the right hand thumb end and the others showing signs of following suit. Check your digits fit before you strain them.
The palm is completely unpadded – which control freak riders will love. The pre curved cut gives a slightly odd fit with your hand flat but once it’s on the bar it’s exactly right. The single piece thin suede palm gets red suede grip reinforcement panels across the centre as well as the base of thumb and finger, and the glove grips superbly even when soaking wet. Slippery wet brake levers are also tamed by the super tacky grey finger tip panels on first and index finger. For the first few days we were sticking to everything we picked up but after they’d calmed down slightly you get really confident and reliable braking feel which is a great bonus.Verdict:
Good full finger, full control glove, but get the right size or you’ll pop the thumb ends. Protection is more cosmetic than purposeful though, and even though we’ve worn them intensively they seem a little young to be bursting their fingers.