Many people prefer a natural grip when they’re out on the bike and this can push them towards the belief that you don’t actually need a pair of mountain bike gloves in order to perform. Although it might be true you don’t need them, per say, it’s not true to believe that they don’t help your riding. In fact, mountain biking gloves can increase your performance more than you realise and the best part is that you don’t even have to lose that natural grip. There is a myriad of ways mountain biking gloves can help your performance, so let’s break it down.
Comfort and Skin Protection
Although a natural grip on the bike can be helpful, it is also dangerous for your hands for a number of reasons. The first is skin irritation. Rough terrain and difficult manoeuvres can cause the skin of the hands to become irritated when rubbing against the rubber of the handlebars and holding on tight. This leads to blisters, pressure sores and callouses. These can be especially painful and lead to a few weeks off of the bike if they are particularly bad.
Mountain bike gloves place a comforting and protective layer between the skin and the handlebars to prevent this from happening. This improves your endurance by reducing the risk of painful skin irritation so that you can be out on the bike for much longer. Most options have a cushioning feel so that your hands stay comfortable and protected even on the roughest of rides.
Mountain biking is an extreme sport and with it come extreme risks. One of the major issues mountain bikers face is injury and muscle pain due to the vibrations and shocks that the hands endure when out on the trails. This can lead to serious injuries such as sprains, or long-term issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome due to the increased pressure on the hands and can even require surgery.
To prevent this, almost all mountain bike gloves have some kind of padding or gel at the most vulnerable parts of the hands to protect them from the shock transfer from the road. These gloves will help to reduce muscle ache not only when you’re out on the bike, but overall. Most wearers of mountain bike gloves report decreased muscle ache after riding not only in the hands, but all over the body. That means less recovery time and more adventures.
When you fall off your bike, the first thing you do is to put your hands out to stop you. Even when stationary, this can be rough on the hands. When you’re travelling at high speeds on rough trails, this can be incredibly dangerous. Mountain bike gloves are made for situations like this and are made out of durable materials so they don’t tear when they hit the ground. Even if they do tear up a bit, it’s much better to ruin a pair of gloves than it is to ruin your hands. This will decrease your risk of serious injury in the case of a crash so you don’t have to take some unwanted time off while you recover.
No one plans to fall of the bike, but it’s always good to have a contingency plan in place just on the off chance that you get unlucky.
Although many mountain bikers like to feel the natural grip of the bike, you can actually increase your grip with a good pair of mountain biking gloves whilst still feeling as natural as possible. Many options have fingerless designs so that you can feel the bike without damaging your hands. Most gloves have silicon grips across the palms to increase the control you have over the bike. This gives you more manoeuvrability on trickier trails to make sure you really get the most out of your ride.
Insulation and Breathability
If you like to live in a particularly cold area or you just want to cycle all year round, mountain bike gloves provide essential insulation to keep hands warm in the cold weather. They help to break the wind so your hands don’t get too cold, which can cause them to go numb and make movement difficult. When this happens, you can lose full control of your bike and this is why mountain bike gloves are so essential, especially when it’s cold.
Many mountain biking gloves are created with specialised materials to ensure your hands are well insulated without being too thick so as to lose grip and control of the bike.
Conversely, when it’s warm, you want your hands to be able to cool down so you don’t overheat. Mountain biking gloves with specialized breathability materials and features ensure that your hands are able to stay at a stable temperature so that you don’t become uncomfortable. This helps to keep down the body temperature and reduce the amount of sweat produced during a long ride.
One of the most irritating things in any sport is the build up of sweat. In mountain biking, however, sweat can actually be a hazard. Pooling of water between the hands and the handlebars can cause slipping which can be a serious danger to the control of the bike and the health of the rider. Mountain biking gloves are made from absorbent materials and most contain moisture wicking to pull sweat away from the hands so that your hands stay dry and your grip remains strong.
All in all, mountain biking gloves are an essential piece of kit for any serious mountain biker. They help boost your performance and your endurance so that you can keep going as long as possible, so you can really push the limits. There are so many options available and if you are interested in purchasing a pair, make sure to check out Surf’n’Buy’s fully comprehensive buying guide of the best mountain biking gloves in 2019. You are sure to find your new pair.