Rapha Womens Grand Tour Gloves  £100.00

9/10

Luxury glove with superior design and excellent performance and with a price tag to match.

Weight 35g   Contact  ww.rapha.cc

by Leonie Jennings   September 6, 2011  

Rapha Grand Tour Women's Glove.JPG

OK, so £100 is a lot of dosh for a pair of cycling gloves, especially a pair of short fingered road mitts so what's so special about the Grand Tour Gloves from Rapha, available in both women's and men's versions, and are they worth the extra wonga?

Well, for starters, they are handmade in England, so that in itself is going to whack a hefty premium on the price right from the off. They are made from 100% African Hair Sheep leather, which, while I don't actually know what an African Hair Sheep is (I'm seeing Brian May in sheep form) its leather is reputedly the softest glove leather available, and is also highly breathable and wicks moisture effectively. The padding is road-riding specific and mainly around the thumb and forefinger, a design based rather curiously on army marksman gloves. Seams are double stitched at high wear points. The backs of the gloves feature a perforated design, which doubles as ventilation, and they fasten with a simple Velcro cuff. The Grand Tour Glove from Rapha does just exude quality and it certainly looks the part too, available in pale grey/off white or black, both with contrast trims, it's a streamlined understated glove that wouldn't look out of place gripping the steering wheel of an Aston Martin.

They were comfortable right from the box, and Rapha claim comfort levels and looks both improve with age and wear so I am impressed. The fit is snug, with the gloves needing to be peeled off after wear, but this is how they are designed to be worn and removed so there's no problem with that. The padding isn't too noticeable, but does do the job very well, keeping road buzz to a minimum and protecting the palms nicely, even on a long day in the saddle. I found some tightness between the fingers when riding, but this is something I have occasionally encountered before in gloves so it may be just a personal problem rather than an issue with the gloves themselves. Otherwise, ride comfort was excellent, with hands staying a good stable temperature as well.

The pale grey/off white colour is prone to some dirt and discoloration, especially if you use anything other than pale bar tape, but the gloves are actually washable, with in depth cleaning recommendations available on Rapha's website.

Are they worth £100? Well, that's a bit like asking if a Rolls Royce Phantom is worth £300,000- the answer is that it's probably not worth the money to everyone, but definitely to some, and everyone can appreciate that it's something a bit special.

Verdict

Luxury glove with superior design and excellent performance and with a price tag to match.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Rapha Women's Grand Tour Gloves

Size tested: White, Medium

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?

Aimed at road riders looking for old-school attention to detail and craftsmanship, and genuine ride comfort.

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

Handmade in England

100% African Hair Sheep Leather

Road specific padding around thumb and forefinger and based on army marksman gloves.

Velcro cuff fastening.

Washable in warm water and mild detergent (detailed instructions on Rapha website)

Available in sizes S, M, L

Men's version also available.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
10/10

The creme de la creme of glove leather and beautifully crafted.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Comfortable and low profile enough to not intrude on a ride, while still giving good cushioning.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

With the correct care, these should last for years and mature well.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
8/10
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
8/10

Extremely comfortable. Keep palms a good temperature and transfer moisture away from the skin well.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

It's a lot of money but you're paying for top notch materials and handmade quality. Definitely an investment piece.

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

Performed admirably.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Style, quality and feel next to skin of leather, comfort.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Price.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, very much

Would you consider buying the product? Possibly. Especially if it was in the sale.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

Very expensive, but very exclusive. An investment in quality and longevity.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 37  Height: 1.65m  Weight: 67kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb,

25 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Even if they are good, there's no way they should get 4.5 stars at that price ... reviewer is obviously biased, and probably gets to keep the gear after the review.

Nic

posted by nbrus [278 posts]
6th September 2011 - 21:05

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nbrus wrote:
Even if they are good, there's no way they should get 4.5 stars at that price ... reviewer is obviously biased, and probably gets to keep the gear after the review.

At the end of the day a product is either good or it isn't. That's what the review is there to tell you. If you as a prospective buyer don't think the product represents value for money, well we don't hide the (full retail) price and we're not forcing you to part with your cash.

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [251 posts]
6th September 2011 - 21:45

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If you do a lot of miles they are worth paying the extra for, I've got the mens version and mine have done 2,500 miles in the last 2.5 months and the comfort keeps getting better as they mold to your hands. How do you justify price - value for money, performance, feel good factor? thats always going to be personal preference. If I was to write a review for my gloves I'd agree at 4.5, they'd loose half a mark for the price (but don't we want everything cheaper) but with regards to everything else they do: comfort, build quality, looks, grip, its exactly as I'd expect for a hundred quid

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stuke's picture

posted by stuke [300 posts]
6th September 2011 - 21:51

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For the record, Leonie probably will get to keep the gloves. It's not like Rapha will desperately want them back now she's put some miles into them. I've had plenty of free gloves that way too. And shorts, and jerseys, and socks. Believe me, the novelty wears off after a few years. Except for socks. I don't review gloves because I need more gloves. I have plenty of gloves. Leonie does too: that's the fourth pair she's tested this year.

She's 'obviously biased', nrbus? I wouldn't say that was obvious at all. I'm not sure we've had a single Rapha review on here where someone hasn't said, "you wouldn't catch me paying that", that's how it always goes. People's definition of value varies. These are handmade gloves, made in the UK out of top dollar materials. How much should they cost? I'm interested to know...

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7230 posts]
6th September 2011 - 22:43

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Generally speaking the higher the price of a piece of kit the less part its cost plays in determining the overall mark because if you are in the market for a £100 pair of gloves or a £5K bike 'value' is less likely to be one of the main criteria on which you are going to base your purchasing decision for those of us spending on a budget value is much higher on our list of priorities that's why value for money is a much bigger determinant of what a £500 bike or a £20 pair of gloves gets than of a £5,000 bike or a £100 pair of gloves. The only time value really comes in to the equation for higher end stuff is if they don't deliver in terms of performance, it's not as crude as saying that a £5,000 bike has to be 10 times better than a £500 one but it does have to be significantly better and offer you what you could at least expect from other similarly priced bikes in terms of spec, weight, build quality and ride. Ditto for gloves, accessories and other cycling kit.

With higher end consumables and clothing there is also the extra consideration that they may not only perform better but also last longer than cheaper alternatives.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4130 posts]
6th September 2011 - 23:09

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Are we saying that 'cheaper' gloves made by other companies simply aren't as good as these? Are these the best gloves available by far? If much lower priced alternatives are as good, or almost as good, then these don't deserve that 4.5 star rating. Simple.

Nic

posted by nbrus [278 posts]
7th September 2011 - 6:35

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nbrus wrote:
Are we saying that 'cheaper' gloves made by other companies simply aren't as good as these? Are these the best gloves available by far? If much lower priced alternatives are as good, or almost as good, then these don't deserve that 4.5 star rating. Simple.

Yes, that's what we saying… in our opinion. Cheaper gloves could also get 4.5 stars too though for being very good but significantly cheaper, because for those of us on a budget value for money is an important criteria when choosing what to buy so it makes up more of the overall mark.

Performance not cost is likely to be the deciding factor for those in the market for a pair of these gloves plus the cost itself isn't out of line with what you'd pay for short run handmade leather gloves – the Dromarti ones cost a whole pound more.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4130 posts]
7th September 2011 - 9:51

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You seem to want every glove on the market to be tested and lined up relative to each other. That's not practical and buying decisions are going to be based on more than just what the overall star rating was.

I don't think you're giving people enough credit for being able to interpret and use the reviews as they see fit. If you fancy treating yourself to a pair of these then you want to know if they are good or not. VFM is in the eye of the beholder. Simple.

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [251 posts]
7th September 2011 - 10:00

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dave_atkinson wrote:
For the record, Leonie probably will get to keep the gloves. It's not like Rapha will desperately want them back now she's put some miles into them. I've had plenty of free gloves that way too. And shorts, and jerseys, and socks. Believe me, the novelty wears off after a few years. Except for socks. I don't review gloves because I need more gloves. I have plenty of gloves. Leonie does too: that's the fourth pair she's tested this year.

If you've got any more that need reviewing, send them my way... Smile

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing..."

Cooks's picture

posted by Cooks [476 posts]
7th September 2011 - 10:44

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Hmmmm - another Rapha war zone ... well almost. I enjoy reading the reviews - they are very thorough, so please continue !
I was given some money for my birthday and I put it towards a pair of the Men's Grand Tour gloves - one of the best decisions I have made. Extremely comfortable, durable and look beautiful. I'm not saying that everybody should pay £100 for mitts, but I treated myself when I had the chance and I KNOW they will outlast my cheaper lycra-based ones and they are more comfortable. Thoroughly recommended if you can afford that bit (maybe a lot) extra. Smile

Cycling - not just a pastime or sport - free your soul on the open road.

timbola's picture

posted by timbola [203 posts]
7th September 2011 - 14:44

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I wonder how much of a part psychology plays when evaluating expensive items like these gloves ... with something this expensive, and with the interesting details on materials used, isn't it possible that one could simply believe they are better than they actually are?

They could well be very good gloves ... I wouldn't know as I've never tried them, and given they are hand-made in UK, the cost doesn't seem unreasonable.

Nic

posted by nbrus [278 posts]
7th September 2011 - 16:58

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What we have on here thus far, so far as I can see, is the three people that have tried the gloves saying they're really, really good. Anyone tried them and not rate them?

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7230 posts]
7th September 2011 - 17:07

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I bought a pair when they first came out, and wore them for about three years non stop. They were black and the die leaked over my hands when they got wet, but apart from that they were very nice.
I then bought a white pair to get around the colour leaking, (and because the original pair were beginning to wear out) and have worn those for countless hours including a lot of time in the wet.
The first pair are still going strong, despite now looking a bit ragged, as are the second pair, which look fine.
So two pairs of mitts have lasted for more than 6 years, and show every sign of lasting a long time to come. They are also much nicer than any ordinary mitts.
Seems like good value to me.

posted by szegerely [5 posts]
7th September 2011 - 17:58

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nbrus wrote:
I wonder how much of a part psychology plays when evaluating expensive items like these gloves

In that case my thinking goes - this item had better be bloody good! A high price tends to make me more sceptical and hard to impress. I'm sure I'm not alone.

There's also the reverse, when a budget item turns out to be very good and gets a high mark. You could just as easily try to argue that good, cheap stuff gets a better review because of it's price. Oddly enough, no-one ever does.

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [251 posts]
7th September 2011 - 22:46

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"You could just as easily try to argue that good, cheap stuff gets a better review because of it's price. Oddly enough, no-one ever does."

I don't think anyone would argue with that...

Nic

posted by nbrus [278 posts]
8th September 2011 - 5:15

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Some design issues with those gloves...

1. Shiny palms - most cycling gloves use swede palms often with silicon prints for grip ... why are these shiny? A design oversight?

2. No protection for back of hand - most cycling mitts cover the rear of the hand for protection from sun, wind, and rain ... why are these open-backed? Cooling perhaps? or maybe cost saving on expensive leather?

These points don't seem to matter to some users posting here, but they would be of concern to me if I'd paid £100 for these. I don't doubt the quality, but seems to me the design has not been thought through...

Nic

posted by nbrus [278 posts]
8th September 2011 - 13:14

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nbrus wrote:
Some design issues with those gloves...

1. Shiny palms - most cycling gloves use swede palms often with silicon prints for grip ... why are these shiny? A design oversight?


Leather is nice and grippy. That's why it has been used for hundreds of years for things like riding.

Quote:
2. No protection for back of hand - most cycling mitts cover the rear of the hand for protection from sun, wind, and rain ... why are these open-backed? Cooling perhaps? or maybe cost saving on expensive leather?

For cooling. If Rapha wanted to save money they'd just leave the back covered and not spend money removing the cut out and stitching the edges. If you want rain protection, buy some Sealskinz waterproof gloves, not mitts. As for sun protection, silly tan marks are a badge of honour. Cool

Quote:
These points don't seem to matter to some users posting here, but they would be of concern to me if I'd paid £100 for these. I don't doubt the quality, but seems to me the design has not been thought through...

Look, let's be honest here, you're just desperate to pick holes in a product that you have never tried, have no experience of and are never likely to buy. None of your 'issues' with the design bear scrutiny. Your only issue is with the price. Why not just leave it there?

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [251 posts]
8th September 2011 - 13:43

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3. No snot wipe...

Ok, I won't comment further ... these are women's gloves, so aren't suitable for me ... and my issue isn't simply the price, but the 4.5 star rating ... had they been given 3 stars, I would never have posted.

PS: If Rapha want to send me some gear to review I'll be sure to give my honest opinion.

Nic

posted by nbrus [278 posts]
8th September 2011 - 17:57

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Quote:
had they been given 3 stars, I would never have posted

had they been worth 3 stars, they would have been given 3 stars.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7230 posts]
8th September 2011 - 20:37

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nbrus wrote:
If Rapha want to send me some gear to review I'll be sure to give my honest opinion.

yeah, sounds you're starting from a nice neutral position Thinking

there's some other gloves you'll hate here:

http://road.cc/content/review/40918-dromarti-la-grande-mitt

they got 9/10 too

Barry Fry-up's picture

posted by Barry Fry-up [187 posts]
8th September 2011 - 20:42

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nbrus wrote:
3. No snot wipe...

Here, stuff one of these up your sleeve. Sorted. Big Grin

http://www.rapha.cc/content/uploads/1423-right.jpg

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [251 posts]
8th September 2011 - 20:54

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Rob Simmonds wrote:
nbrus wrote:
3. No snot wipe...

Here, stuff one of these up your sleeve. Sorted. Big Grin

http://www.rapha.cc/content/uploads/1423-right.jpg

we've reviewed that bad boy. verdict: not so good Smile

http://road.cc/content/review/11830-rapha-silk-scarf

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7230 posts]
8th September 2011 - 21:03

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lots of to-ing and fro-ing about the price of that, too. natch.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7230 posts]
8th September 2011 - 21:07

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szegerely wrote:

So two pairs of mitts have lasted for more than 6 years, and show every sign of lasting a long time to come. They are also much nicer than any ordinary mitts.
Seems like good value to me.

Re: Longevity - my Specialized BG comp mitts are coming up on three years now. They cost me £15.

Spesh's microsuede thumb wipe is the business too - excellent for clearing rain from my glasses without smears Smile

I think the Rapha stuff is a luxury purchase, and should be justified on the same basis, rather than practicality, personally.

--
"Tant que je respire, j'attaque!"

John_the_Monkey's picture

posted by John_the_Monkey [417 posts]
15th September 2011 - 10:21

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And there is of course that immutable law of physics that the more something costs the more likely it is to get lost/left behind.

Bought the future Mrs B a very fancy silk nightie years back - within a week it got left behind in an Arizona motel . On the other hand the winceyette number from the late lamented Woolies - still going strong after a decade or more.....

hey-ho!

cheers m'dears

2011 Rose Pro-SL 3000 Road
2006 Lemond Alpe d'Huez Broken
1997 Marin Sausaulito Urban bimbling/shopper
1980 Orbea project

daviddb's picture

posted by daviddb [120 posts]
25th March 2014 - 18:03

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