Thanks to the folks at Planet Bike we got a hold of a pair of their Borealis Winter Gloves to test. On first examination they seem well constructed and offer the options of using the complete glove/liner set, just the liners or just the outer shell for several combos that can help you fine tune your comfort. The removable liner also should help speed drying if your gloves get wet.
I’ve been a lobster claw guy for a lot of years when it comes to cold weather riding and pairing up fingers has always worked well for me in our Wisconsin winters. In the past dozen years or so it rarely gets below 0 degrees Fahrenheit anymore but brisk winds, often in the 20-30mph range do reek havoc on exposed skin and lobster claws, particularly Pearl Izumi’s versions have always treated me well weather riding my bike, slope soaring r/c sailplanes, snow shoeing or any number of other outdoor winter activities.
When I first saw the Borealis, and what prompted me to contact Planet Bike to get a set for testing, is their “3-finger” approach. Your pinkie and ring fingers are paired together in the outer shell (NOTE: the inner liner is a traditional 5-finger glove) while your middle and index fingers are free to waggle independently. The option to use one or two of my main bike-control-working digits has a lot of appeal. My only question is, will they be warm enough and/or how ow will they go!
My first several rides have been in temperatures hovering right around freezing and they are plenty warm for that plus I do think having the middle and index fingers separate gives me better control of the brake lever in particular. In addition the cuff is fairly long and adjustable enough to fit over my light and mid-weight shells which helps keep the wind from going up the sleeve.
A bonus of the liner/shell approach has been that simply wearing the liners for everyday gloves is working well. They are soft fleece and fit my fingers very well.
Here are some specs from Planet Bike:
- Windproof back panel
- Removable liner for quick dry time
- Ultra-soft Fleece thumb
- Reflective piping for night visibility
- Water resistant, reinforced Serino palm
- 3-in-1 design allows flexible temperature range by using liners, outer shells only, or outer shells with liners
- Neoprene cuff/pull tab with hook and loop closure
Look for an update as I get more time with these worthy gloves from Planet Bike.
How do you think the PB gloves compare to the Pearl Izumi Pro Softshell Lobster Bike Gloves? As a fellow Wisconsinite, I am looking for a glove that I can use for late-season biking and also cross-country skiing (where one can get quite sweaty, but insulation is also important).
This real test will come when you use these in sub-freezing temps, so I’m looking forward to your input on that. Until then, just about any well-designed insulated 5-finger glove will keep the digits warm down to the freezing mark.
If I can make a suggestion though, don’t encourage cyclist to use the “finger” for communication. Even though you might think it’s cute in this review, it’s immature and irresponsible to encourage any kind of behavior that can make it more difficult for cyclists to live with our 2,000 pound road-mates. I ride throught the winter, both as a commuter and for training purposes, and we need to give motorists every reason we can this time of year to be cooperative with our presence.
Look for a report later in the year when we have more experience with the Borealis. This report was intended as an Introduction/Preview. One thing I immediately like is that you can use the liner alone, the shell alone or together as a whole to regulate temperature/protection.
For communication purposes the finger is for off-road use only.
I have the previous version of this glove which is a 5 finger glove with no removable liner. Problem is every time I pull my hand out the liner comes with it as it isn’t sewn in except at the cuff.
After reading this review, and linking it to my email, I contacted Planet Bike in regards to my issues and Kristin generously agreed to upgrade my current gloves to the latest version at a very generous discount. Big props go out to Planet Bike.
Got my new gloves today. They look and fit great. Can’t wait to try them out.
A five-finger liner tends to defeat the purpose of a mitt – that is, to keep your fingers together to preserve warmth. For a serious cold weather mitt, check out http://www.empirecanvasworks.com/icebikemittens.htm