I have spent a lot of time in my life on mountain bike trails and endless dirt roads. In that time I've blown through hundreds of pairs of gloves. For most of that time as a mountain biker I have worn half-finger gloves, but over the last couple of years I have become a convert to the primary evolution in mountain bike gloves, full-fingered non-padded gloves. But as a user of padded gloves for most of my biking life, I certainly can understand all the personal preferences that make many cyclist prefer them.
So when I began the process of designing mountain bike gloves I used the same fundamental philosophy that I use for designing ski gloves: make a glove that works best on most days. That starts with determining the most important essentials, focus on those essential variables in order to make them as good as possible and forget all the bells and whistles.
What are the essential design variables of a mountain bike glove for most days?
1) Fit. When you place fit at the top of essential variables and make no compromises that degrade fit, that will determine the use of materials and basic design. It also means you may eliminate variables that people say they like. That is a trade-off I make as a designer. I design gloves that my testers and I conclude work better, whether that conforms to demand or not.
- We use Lycra stretch mesh on every section of the glove other than the palm. That stretch mesh is ultra-breathable and optimizes fit. We do not use terry cloth or micro-fiber on the back of the thumb, due to its decreased flexibility versus the stretch mesh. The most important finger on a bike glove is the thumb. Its primary purpose is handlebar grip and gear shifting. Its primary purpose is not wiping your nose and face. Adding softer material for that purpose simply compromises the fit of the glove too much. After testing many different smart phone touch-screen compatible materials we decided none worked well enough and were durable enough to accept the diminished fit they caused. We are working with some new touch silicone materials but their durability has not been thoroughly tested yet. Stay tuned. For now, no touch-screen compatible material until we perfect one that makes zero compromise in terms of fit. Learn more
2) Grip. The most important variable that increases grip is optimum fit (see above) . To make best-possible-grip on a glove that must also be durable, we use soft synthetic leather and add silicone strips to the middle and index finger and our signature "FTP" on the palm.
Devotion to perfecting the basics make a glove with the best possible grip and dexterity.