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Verdict: 
Very good gloves that keep your hands dry, clean and dexterous, but expensive for what they are
Weight: 
29g
Finish Line Mechanic Grip Gloves
7 10

Finish Line's Mechanic Grip Gloves make workshop jobs more enjoyable, without compromise on dexterity. They last a good while, and have other benefits to boot. They are comparatively pricey, though.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a cyclist in possession of a bicycle needing fettling must be in want of dermal protection. Working on bikes means grime, chemicals and small parts easily dropped. The default solution is a box of 100 blue latex or nitrile gloves, but apart from latex being a non-starter for those with allergies, these thin gloves have numerous drawbacks.

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Firstly, and the biggest one for me: comfort. Wear nitrile gloves for more than 30 minutes and things get very sweaty indeed – even quicker if it's warm out.

Secondly, they tear. Some, very easily. Sometimes within a minute or two if you're unlucky, or they may last hours. But I'd rarely have a pair last longer than an evening or two's concerted fettling.

Then, when you decide you need a new pair, the sweaty palm issue becomes more than discomfort as you battle to pull on a new glove over each finger. And being very thin, these gloves offer no insulation if the weather's cold. Working on bikes is no fun with sore or unresponsive fingers. Finish Line's Mechanic Grip Gloves address all these issues, making workshop time more productive and enjoyable.

Coming in just two sizes, S/M and L/XL, the glove construction is a knitted fibre that's impregnated on the palm and around the front and sides of the fingers with a latex-free polyurethane. This is both flexible and tactile, allowing you to pick up the smallest of bike parts – I'd say on par with thin rubber gloves, which have a tendency to bunch at the fingertips. The surface of the glove is textured, minimising slippage if you're really cranking on a tool, cheat bar or bit of gas pipe to shift that decades-embedded steel bottom bracket from a vintage titanium frame. For example. The thicker, knitted nature means they keep hands noticeably warmer in cold workshops than those thin latex/nitrile ones.

The fact that the back of the fingers and palm are free to breathe means no sweat build-up – you really can wear these all day, comfortably. And you can remove and re-don the gloves easily. As a major added bonus, you can work a touchscreen with them on – just be aware of what you last touched.

So, they're comfortable and don't degrade dexterity – but at £5 a pair you don't want to be replacing them every time you work on your bike. Fortunately, the design makes for a very long-lasting product.

Over a month of almost daily use, then a full weekend restoring a dozen horrifically abused bikes for a charity in Calais, the Mechanic Grip Gloves didn't fail. The first sign of a tiny hole in one thumb came only after a lot of heavy-duty work that would have shredded many lightweight gloves. And with the rest of the pair still fine, it's no reason to bin them.

Of course, with an open mesh they aren't waterproof, so for bleeding brakes or other tasks where you need proper protection from liquids, traditional gloves are the way to go.

At £5 a go these are premium workshop gloves, and you can find virtually identical products at local hardware depots and online – a quick search shows identical-in-all-but-brand knitted polyurethane gloves for as low as 66p a pair. If you're running a bike workshop (as I do) then £5 a go will hit your bottom line over time, but for the occasional home mechanic, a pair of these would probably last years.

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It's not really a fair comparison to state that, yes, a box of 100 nitrile gloves can be had for a fiver or 10p a pair – as discussed, nitrile gloves wear out much faster, aren't warm, and critically get very sweaty after brief periods, and are then frustrating to put on if the glove or your hands are damp.

So where does this leave the Mechanic Grip Gloves? Undoubtedly they are far superior in use to traditional rubber gloves. Comfortable, warm, grippy and offering good dexterity, they are a pleasure to use and re-use. The only snag is they are priced such that if you went through more than a pair or two per year you'd probably want to look elsewhere, to the generic protective equipment retailers.

Verdict

Very good gloves that keep your hands dry, clean and dexterous, but expensive for what they are

road.cc test report

Make and model: Finish Line Mechanic Grip Gloves

Size tested: X 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?

They are for anyone working on bikes regularly, who want to protect their hands while not getting sweaty.

Finish Line says: "Designed for long-term use and durability, the Finish Line Mechanic Grip Gloves™ provide the ultimate in grip, protection, and dexterity. These reusable gloves make it easier to work on small, precision bike parts."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Finish Line:

Mechanic Grip Gloves are latex-free and feature a tactile-enhancing polyurethane coating that seals out grease, oil and grime. A textured surface on the palm-side of the glove provides enhanced grip, making it easier to work on small parts. Finish Line Grip Gloves feature a breathable upper fabric, which helps keep hands cool and dry. Mechanic Grip Gloves are easy to take on and off, so gearing up and down for mechanical repairs has never been easier. Unlike costly single use gloves, one pair of Grip Gloves can last for many weeks.

Available in SM/MD and LG/XL.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10

Well made.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Dexterity was bang-on.

Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

Surprisingly long-lived.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
9/10

Very, very good.

Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

As a regular bike-fettler, I have to say I'd be looking elsewhere for a comparable product.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well indeed. Surprisingly so.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Breathability.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The price. That's it.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

If these were half the price I'd give them an extra star. They are very good at what they do, but you can't escape the fact that they are comparatively very expensive.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 183cm  Weight: 72kg

I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling.

12 comments

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1961BikiE [392 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

Very similar generic type from our outdoor market tools stall for a quid a pair. Or occaisionaly from Aldi for a couple of quid.

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pockstone [137 posts] 11 months ago
1 like

Arco workwear and safety stores,  £26.00 for a pack of 12 pairs.

http://www.arco.co.uk/products/14A1600?s=1

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handlebarcam [1064 posts] 11 months ago
2 likes

I've been wondering where I could get one of the Black Power salute gloves I've seen in maintenance videos. It does seem a little expensive compared to non-bike industry sources, but just wait until Rapha comes out with a fifty-quid-a-pair version, with a pink stripe.

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IanW1968 [345 posts] 11 months ago
2 likes

£1 a pair in my local hardware store and very useful.

Clear cyclist tax, we all have to earn a crust but don't have to take the piss doing it. 

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mattsccm [361 posts] 11 months ago
1 like

Stupidity tax surely? Wish I was clever enough to find some way of removing money from idiots pockets.

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hawkinspeter [1134 posts] 11 months ago
1 like
mattsccm wrote:

Stupidity tax surely? Wish I was clever enough to find some way of removing money from idiots pockets.

National Lottery?

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Bobbinogs [254 posts] 11 months ago
1 like

If you want tough disposable gloves then it is worth looking up "Black Mamba" gloves.  Tough enough to last through a bike fettling session and, at £25 for 100,  only 25p a pop!

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spoxehub [6 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes
pockstone wrote:

Arco workwear and safety stores,  £26.00 for a pack of 12 pairs.

http://www.arco.co.uk/products/14A1600?s=1

Immediately what I thought of. My van is full of them!

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huntswheelers [105 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

We use Latex gloves and these http://www.screwfix.com/p/skytec-krypton-krypton-gloves-white-dark-green... ones..... both have their uses... the Skytec are £1.99 a pair or  bulk is cheaper

The Skytek gloves are like the Finish Line and also washable... tend to use the latex ones for washing down and heavy lube work and the other gloves for general use... good feel, cut resistant but obviously the backs are cotton....  

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Dr. Ko [206 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

I'm opting either for Nitrile one-ways ( latex does not stand the solvent I'm using on the chain to remove the grim) or such gloves, bought from a shop for working clothing around 1.5-2.0

Handlebarcam, the Rapha ones of course are tempting, we are not that stupid to buy them at 50 quid - we'll buy at sale for 25yes (Although we might have to return them for repair soon, so we'll have to buy some cheapos as back-up anyway)

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Gavincee [1 post] 11 months ago
0 likes
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iso2000 [82 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

These are no good for washing the bike though, water gets through the back. I know I should man up but I hate grimey hands.