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When the temperatures start to drop, our hands are the first to feel it. Descending a canyon road on a sunny fall day can be deceivingly cold and can leave our digits feeling stiff and tingly if we don’t have the right gloves. A packable, windproof set of gloves can save you from this numbing feeling if you plan to hit the high country or if the weather takes a sudden dip mid-ride. And Pearl Izumi’s Elite Women’s Cyclone Gel Gloves are an inexpensive and versatile option for just this kind of riding.
The softshell fabric on the back of the gloves provides lightweight wind and water protection without the bulk of heavy winter gloves. So they’ll pack down to the size of a couple energy bars and leave plenty of room for other cool weather gear in your pockets. Pearl Izumi says these gloves work best between 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit, but we’d opt for something a little heavier as the temperature nears the 40-degree mark.
They have long cuffs for such a lightweight set of gloves. A Velcro hook-and-loop closure makes for a seamless transition from glove to jersey sleeve. You can snug the gloves tight around your wrists if you want your jersey to go on the outside, or you can tuck your jersey sleeves into the gloves and tighten them down to hold everything snugly in place to keep cold air from sneaking up your arm.
The Cyclcone Gel Gloves have a synthetic leather palm that is soft and flexible so it’s easy to grab your bike’s handlebar and reach for the brake or shift levers. The conductive synthetic leather on the glove’s index finger and thumb works with touchscreen devices as well, so you don’t have to remove your gloves to scroll through ride data on a touchscreen Garmin or to check your phone. But we’ve found that most gloves are still too bulky with seams and extra material around the fingertips to really make them useful for texting or doing more intricate maneuvers on a touchscreen. These gloves are no different, and we still ended up removing them to type a text or zoom in and focus with our phone’s camera.
Pockets of gel padding are strategically placed across the palms for added comfort and support for your hands. We found the padding a bit too thick to start, but after several rides it compressed for a thinner, more comfortable feel that transitioned nicely into the non-padded areas. We did love the soft patch of fleece on each thumb for nose wiping. And we were thankful not to look like Rudolph after a long ride with a runny nose.
The women’s specific design provided a near perfect fit for hands. The size medium we tested fit snugly around our palms and fingers and didn’t leave that annoying gap at the tips of our fingers like we typically get with men’s gloves. They are a versatile set of gloves that easily pack down when you’re not using them but provide impressive warmth and protection from the elements when you do need them. So you might as well throw them in your pocket as the temperatures start to drop just in case you take that turn up a climb at the end of your ride and don’t want that tingling feeling in your fingers on the way back down.