The Formula FXEs are Sugoi's top of the line gloves, a position reflected in its lavish leather construction.
Sugoi have adapted the FXE Chamois from some of their cycling shorts to create the FXE gloves, although it's probably best not to think too hard about that when you're slipping them on. What this means is the gloves are largely made from 100% leather with only the thumb and a section of the rear of the glove being of man-made origin. Vegetarians and vegans can probably stop reading now.
The full leather palm has Sugoi's Gel Dampening System in it, for what they call a 'race day interface'. In less marketingspeak terms that's two small thin gel pads at the base of the palm, another one under the thumb and a narrow strip of extra material along the base of the fingers. The middle of the chamois palm is perforated with what Sugoi call Micro-Ventilation, and what you and I call little holes. The inside of the palm is lined with a soft thin material so your sticky hand doesn't get clammy against the leather.
If you like a direct unhindered feel to the bars and thence the road then you'll like these gloves. The gel pads are unobtrusive and placed well back on the palms so they don't get in the way if you're on the tops or in the hoods. In those positions, you're mostly gripping with the unpadded thin leather section of the palm: those gel pads only really come into play if you're on the hoods.
The extra layer of padding along the base of the fingers and on the thumb is slender enough to be both useful and unnoticeable. If you're someone who needs an inch of squishy floaty cushioning between yourself and the bike look elsewhere, but if you're a rider who likes an honest conversation with the road, and protection in a possible fall when that conversation gets more intimate then these would suit.
The back of the glove is shared between a stretch material and perforated leather which combine to create a comfortable hand-hugging glove top. The leather section moulds and conforms to the shape of the hand while the stretch of the other half keeps it pleasingly taught.
Closure is via a Velcro tab across the top of the hand, nothing special to write about there, but it's well placed and inconspicuous.
Branding is very subtle with the just Sugoi name embossed in black on that closure tab and also in their logo on the outside of the hand in a silver reflective lozenge, which should attract those who don't like to ride around advertising things too much. And they can become even more stealthy as the latter is only glued on and will start to peel off after a few washes and might be gently and delicately picked off if it offends you, when you're bored waiting at the top of a col, for example.
While we're on the subject of washing you'd do best to wash these gloves first, on their own, before you wear them so that some of the black dye comes out in the water rather than on your hands or nice white handlebar tape. As they're mostly proper leather they'll want to be kindly washed separately by hand after that anyway, so if you just like to throw all your stinky kit in the machine and press 'Wash' while you make tea then this might be a mark against these gloves.
The nose wipe on the thumb is a large swathe of soft, almost velvety material which makes it a lovely place to swipe snot, but it's not the most absorbent cloth and some, um, stickier residue can simply sit slimy on the top, which isn't so nice the next time you go for a wipe.
Being all black they're good at hiding any road grime and gunk, if that sort of thing matters to you. It would be nice to see some white on there, just for contrast, however that may just be me. But as they are they'll also make a stylish driving glove for sunny drives in the Morgan. And light strangling.
The Sugoi Formula FXE is are gloves that you have to wiggle on and off because the fit is that snug, and once on the leather of the glove matches the contours of your hand perfectly, it's almost sensual. No, actually, it is sensual. Mmmmm.
There are no wrinkles and neither is there any bunching that might cause sore points on a long ride, something that the minimal padding helps with as well. Despite the lack of airy mesh on the back of the hand the gloves don't get hot and sweaty, the leather is generously perforated and breathes like a natural material does, and whilst not visibly holey the man-made section is light and breezey.
Sometimes the best thing you can say about a piece of clothing is that you didn't know it was there. These Sugoi gloves do that.
Lovely comfortable mitts with just enough cushioning for comfort but not so much you're isolated from the bike
road.cc test report
Make and model: Sugoi Formula FXE Glove
Size tested: Medium, Black
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?
Sugoi say the cutting edge design of their FXE Chamois was adapted to their flagship glove, resulting in a highly engineered hand-to-bar interface to enhance performance on race day.
I didn't actually get to race in these so I can't comment on whether they enhanced the experience, but I did ride in them, a lot, and they were beautifully comfortable and a joy to ride in.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
100% leather palm.
V-Notched for increased mobility.
Strategically placed Gel Dampening System for a race day
Excellent breathability with micro ventilation.
Premium natural palm and Velcro closure.
Center channel for numbness control.
They've gone the way of most fingerless mitts with little bits of thread showing all over the place like three-day stubble, but they haven't fallen apart yet, although the Sugoi reflective icon is happy to peel off.
Supremely comfortable mitt, a point knocked off for a not very porous nose wipe.
They're showing the frayed bits of your standard cycling mitt already, and that logo readily peels off but apart from that they're holding up well and all that leather should mean they'll tough it out for quite a while.
It's a cycling mitt that's about the same weight as other mitts, although the lack of bulky gel blobs keeps them lighter than some.
Some of the most comfortable gloves I've ever worn.
Sensible price for the comfort and materials.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They're comfortable mitts for those that like to feel the road, not for vegans that need shock absorbing gloves.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfortable, second skin comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The thumb snot wipe isn't the best out there. Hand-wash only.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes. Lovely 'forget they're there' glove.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 47 Height: 180cm Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: It varies as to the season. My best bike is: The one I\'m on at the time
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: road racing, cyclo cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Fun
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he’s not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he’s not doing either of those he’s pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he’s agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours doesn’t. He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.