Chris Jackson is a mountain biker who has been riding and racing since before time began, he's been there, done that. He's also ridden every style of bike under the sun and worn out most of the kit that has ever been produced for any cycling discipline. He knows what is good and what is not so good.
In the first of his product reviews, Chris lets us in on a secret weapon that has been part of his riding artillery for several years...
Very long term test number 1: Petzl Cordex
Words and photos: Chris Jackson
Q: When is a mountain bike glove, a great mountain bike glove?
A: When it’s a climbing glove.
I was first introduced to these gloves in a little climbing shop in the picturesque Italian town of Finalborgo, the ancient sister town to biking destination of choice Finale Ligure. The gloves were an emergency purchase after forgetting my ‘real’ gloves and were only a short-term fix for the duration of the trip (3 weeks).
That was over three years ago and since then the Petzl Cordex have become my ‘won’t ride without them’ glove of choice.
The Cordex is actually a rope-handling glove for climbers. It’s designed for anyone who abseils or needs good friction on a rope. The technical term being to ‘Belay’ and ‘Rappel’ if you want to score double in scrabble.
The Cordex gloves are constructed from tough leather with a heavy-duty breathable stretch nylon mesh back. The palms are padded and they have reinforced leather in key areas like the fingertips and crotches. The gloves have large neoprene/velcro fastenings on the cuffs, which keep each glove securely on your hands.
These are simple, well made, quality leather gloves that are designed to perform in serious climbing situations, and as they come from a world beyond bikes they’re not pumped up with new-tech bike marketing or covered in dubiously ‘rad’ printed logos.
So given they’re designed for climbing duties why do they work so well on a bike?
For me it’s their simple functional design combined with quality materials and construction that make the Cordex glove a great crossover biking product.
One of the first things you notice when riding with these gloves is they give good grip. Whatever the conditions wet or dry you feel ‘attached’ to your bars.
When it’s hot and sweaty the stretch nylon mesh panels ventilate your hands keeping you cool but they also serve a second purpose they help create a snug anatomical fit that makes the gloves feel like a tough leather second skin, which is perfect for those un-anticipated emergency exits from your bike.
The only negative I’ve found with these gloves is in the cold. When temperatures get down towards the zeros the nylon back panel can become a bit on the cold side so I wouldn’t recommended them for any winter night rides.
All this gushing praise however, should not overshadow the fact these gloves are over 3 years old, in terms of ‘how long a mountain bike product lasts’ this categorizes them as virtually indestructible.
During this time they’ve developed no defects or faults and they have withstood an ocean of abuse, everything from the start line brawls of maxi-avalanche enduros to hike-a-bike adventures in the Alps, the Cordex are still going strong with no signs of exiting this world anytime soon.
I think it’s probably worth pointing out that these gloves are probably not for every genre of biking, XC or road racing for example. But for anything from trail use to all mountain and freeride these gloves will become your best friend.
The Petzel Cordex comes in a choice of 2 colours: black or tan. Although the tan colour might not be everyone’s choice, possibly verging on cowboy chic. For me, I like the fact the tan colour is a bit different, stands out and above all makes them easy to find.
Cost: £32 or €25 from the climbing shop in Finalborgo square…
More information: Petzl Cordex glove