Your hands are the most important part of your bicycle’s control system. Thus, gloves are a critical piece of mountain biking kit. Every once in a while you’ll see someone riding sans gloves—and rubbing dirt on their hands for traction every time they stop—but for most riders, gloves add control, protection and comfort.
As a dedicated minimalist glove aficionado, the Troy Lee Designs Air Glove is my go-to. It was with great trepidation that I first donned the Troy Lee XC Glove. First feel was mostly favorable. I definitely noticed the slight amount of thin foam padding at the heel of my hand, and thought I noticed the thin, reinforcing single layer of Clarino fabric at the top of my palm, but the gloves still had the thin, pliable touch I prefer. The real test is on the trail, and as many before me have found, the Troy Lee XC Glove strikes the balance between control and comfort. I appreciate the slight cushioning from foam and fabric, and haven’t perceived any loss of feel over my bike’s control. In fact, because my hands are more comfortable, I can more effectively steer around turns and can roll through the rough stuff with less hand fatigue. Wear-and-tear resistant Spandura on the back of the glove is very breathable and comfortable. While the TLD Air Gloves are right next to the XC Gloves in my gear bag, I’ve been reaching for my XCs a lot more often these days.