I've really struggled to find fault with Optimum Nitebrite waterproof gloves. They might look a little generic - like a tsunami of budget priced competitors - but seem capable of giving many mid-range 'impervious' gloves a seriously good run for our hard-earned.
There's a choice between day glow yellow or stealth black with well positioned retro-reflective detailing. Both feature soft-shell polyester backs and hard-wearing Amara palms with the seemingly obligatory ulnar nerve-defending gel blobs. Quality of construction seems reassuringly good - a notch or so higher than several similar gloves I've tested recently.
Stitching is neat and uniform throughout. Inside we've a three-layer system with a welded waterproof lining sandwiched between windproof and wicking panels.
I'm generally a fan of waterproof gloves, but even the more expensive models seem prone to clamminess and linings that pull away when you take the gloves off. Optimum has addressed that bugbear by tethering the liner to the fingers.
The velcro closures fit comfortably inside most technical jackets for seamless, weather cheating effect.
While digit dexterity isn't comparable with some top-flight road models, punctures and other roadside mechanicals haven't automatically necessitated removal and they don't muffle feedback during braking or gear changing.
Maybe I'm just the exception but ulnar nerve padding can be a lottery, often causing precisely the discomfort it was intended to alleviate. However, the Optimum Nitebrites have given no trace of tell-tale tingling or numbness regardless of ride duration, though full on cross country mountain biking merits thicker density stuff.
Double-stitched Amara patches between thumb and forefinger should rule out premature wear from STI controls, while silicone grippers have provided a tenacious touch - even operating early eighties Campagnolo down tube shifters during thunderstorms of biblical proportions.
That rain remained firmly outside the gloves. In common with most lower-mid-range synthetics their inner climate will become clammy given twenty minutes or so, especially when temperatures creep into double figures.
Comparatively mild test conditions make it hard to comment on their insulating properties, though a particularly -1°C midnight ride didn't present any unwelcome surprises.
Plunging my hands into freezing canal water for three minutes proved they are genuinely waterproof to the cuff-line, despite the curious sensation of pressure suggesting gallons of evil smelling stagnant stuff was about to race inside.
Good winter gloves for general riding and not a lot of money
road.cc test report
Make and model: Optimum Nitebrite Waterproof Winter Gloves
Size tested: Fluo Green, Large
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
High visibility winter cycling gloves developed to withstand whatever the British weather throws at them, thick thermal padding and elongated cuffs keep in warmth whilst a waterproof outer layer keeps out the rain and cold.
Generally agree, although harsh, cold winters might say different.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Luminous waterproof glove
* Thermo microfleece lining
* Padded palm for added comfort
* Velcro cuff adjustment
* Reflective detailing to maximise visibility
* Soft wipe Terry Thumb
* Extended and elasticated cuffs lock in warmth
* Reinforced thumb section
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A harsh winter may tell a very different story but these have really impressed with the standards of fit, dexterity and water-repelling membranes.Things can turn a little clammy in milder conditions but an improvement over several "impervious" designs I've tested in recent years. Ulnar nerve padding suited my palms better than many too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Sensibly designed with nice features and an even nicer price.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing given the design brief, although a bitterly cold winter might reveal some weaknesses/limitations.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 40 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)