The challenges of the Strathpuffer 24 Hour provided an excellent test environment for kit and clothing. Next in my series of warm weather gear reviews are the Altura Night Vision waterproof gloves. These are positioned as an extreme weather commuting product with the ‘Night Vision’ tag referring to the extensive reflective material which aims to help road cyclists be seen on dark journeys. I’ve had good experience with these gloves in both cold and wet conditions off road, so was keen to see how they would perform in the sub-zero Scottish highlands.
The Altura Night Vision gloves are gauntlet style with an elasticated wrist to retain heat around the hands and a cuff which extends roughly two inches beyond the wrist. This provides a substantial amount of material to either overlap with or tuck into jacket sleeves and Velcro straps ensure there are no gaps exposed. The outer material is a mix of Polymide, Polyester and Polyurethane with abrasive pads on the inside of the thumb and on the palm to provide additional grip. While a softer fabric on the outside of the thumb is more comfortable when wiping your nose.
[caption id="attachment_11339" align="alignnone" width="661"] Abrasive grips on the palms and thumb aids grip[/caption]
Settling into the race rhythm…
Although the gloves look bulky, as you pull them onto your hands they are a snug fit, even borderline restrictive on my relatively long fingered slim hands and I’d gone for the large size. Sausage fingers could find these too tight. A positive aspect of the bulk and large cuff was that these easily overlapped with my jacket to prevent cold seeping in through my wrists.
The abrasive pads ensured a tactile hold on foam grips, even down the Strathpuffer’s final muddy descent where rocks hidden in deep muddy puddles tried their best to wrestle the handlebars out of your hands. I’ve also found these to be effective on rubber type grips and handlebar tape. I have in the past suffered from numb hands and fingers after endurance races, sometimes lasting several weeks after the event, but I suffered no adverse effects this time around possible due to the gel pad designed to cushion the ulnar nerve.
The gloves also provided an effective grab on GripShifters despite muddy conditions and an old worn transmission. They also work fine with trigger and rapidfire shifters although it’s noticeable that these have been designed for road commuters and the design of the thumb is better suited to resting on lever hoods.
[caption id="attachment_11341" align="alignnone" width="657"] Warm, dry and good grip - for both MTB races and commuting[/caption]
The last lap…
Control is important but comfort is paramount in harsh conditions so how effective were the Altura Night Vision Waterproof gloves in protecting my hands from temperatures as low as -3 degrees Celsius, snow and water? The answer is very effective. I used the gloves for roughly half the race, around six hours of riding and at no point did my hands feel cold or wet. I was surprised that they maintained performance for such a long period of time. Conversely on other occasions I’ve found them to be too warm and have experienced damp hands, not from moisture getting into the gloves but from my overheating hands getting rather sweaty.
Overall, I rate these gloves very highly as they provide excellent performance for races in harsh to extreme conditions. They keep your hands dry and warm whilst gripping the handlebars effectively; simple requirements but crucial ones nonetheless. Just beware of the dangers of overheating in milder conditions or more humid rainy days. As an added bonus these are versatile enough to cover a range of environments from snowy Scottish trails to rain soaked winter roads.
Weight: Approx. 106g
Price: RRP £34.99
Tester: Craig Bowles
Team: Bike Motion Racing
Test race: Strathpuffer 2015
More info: www.altura.co.uk