When it comes to XC mountain biking there are no shortage of glove choices, but which ones are the best XC mountain bike glove to put on for race day.
If the descents or technical sections of the racecourse are on the easy side, then the gel palm might be acceptable. Personally for raw control / feel on the handlebars, I prefer XC mountain bike gloves with no gel in the palm. I find the gel can wear unevenly and also creates a lack of feel and control at least that I have experienced with them.
Considering your bare hands offer the most control, but just take too much abuse without protection. Thus it stands to reason that a glove the acts more like your bare hands offers better feel / control then an XC mountain bike glove with a gel pad that moves your hands further away from the control zone.
Instead I like to run these XC mountain bike grips (insert aff link for oury grips) with an XC mountain bike glove without gel for maximum control. In the end it’s a bit of rider preference so you should try both and make your own decision, or you can go with my style and experience on the topic.
XC Mountain Bicycle Glove Full Finger vs Half Finger
For race day in cold weather, go full finger. In hot weather, my choice is half finger. If I am training, I’ll often carry a second set of full fingered XC MTB bike gloves for the descent, if it is a demanding trail with more risk of crashing.
Half fingers are great on the way up, long finger on the way down.
Many times when purchasing half fingered gloves they are more comfortable when you go a size up. However, based on the construction material of the glove, some gloves stretch more than others and you may have preferred you normal size once they have stretched out.
Of course there is a bit of discomfort during this stretching out process. The larger size may stretch and become too big to use.
XC Mountain Bicycle Glove Synthetic vs. Leather Glove
I love leather. Synthetic gloves accumulate odor and sometime irritate the skin more than leather. The problem is you can’t really find an all leather glove in the XC mountain bike glove world. In golf, for driving, motorcycling and other sports it is no problem.
I currently am running these lizard skin mountain bike gloves for my half finger set that have a leather upper, but I would have preferred an option without the gel palm and full leather construction. I usually only use these on training rides, not on race day.
Thus it seems like synthetic gloves may be your only choice unless you want experiment with another sports glove offering. I ordered a pair of half finger all leather driving gloves to experiment with. They should provide a very natural maximum control feel on the bars.
XC Mountain Bicycle Glove Old School Crochet Top vs. More Modern
Nothing beats the airflow you get from a half finger crochet style upper. Obviously in colder weather you wouldn’t use this set, but when it heats up, oh they feel so good.
Fortunately there are still some manufacturers producing the XC mountain bike glove with the crochet upper.
XC Mountain Bike Glove Review Conclusion
If you find a style of XC mountain bike gloves you really like, get several pairs. Sometimes the manufacturer discontinues them the following year, or makes changes that are undesirable, usually to save money on manufacturing.
Also go big if they are on sale. Sometimes the next year’s XC mountain bike glove is different than last year’s pair you really liked. Other times it is just a color change, but why take a chance on a good price when no one knows. A big sale means buy now.
I am not sure with the exception of XC mountain bike tires, if there is a piece of XC MTB apparel / gear you will go through more often in your XC mountain bike riding career than a set of cross country mountain bike gloves.
Mountain Bike Gloves
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