Dromarti produce a rather exclusive and individual range of mitts, shoes and bicycle frames that appeal to a certain type of stylish rider, and to keep a dappers hands warm in the nippier months are these Corio long-finger gloves. Hand made right here in the UK from a soft and supple Nappa leather they have a thin cotton fleece lining to keep them cosy.
In a goes-with-anything black the Corio gloves are simply and tastefully adorned with a slim red panel across the back of the hand detailed with the embossed Dromarti logo, while there's a small zipped gusset up the side for ease of hand toing and froing, bordered in red with a leather tabbed zip-pull, all very well-groomed. Padding on the palm is thin but firm and sweeps down from the base of the index finger to cover the whole palm almost all the way to the wrist with an extra section to cushion the fleshy bit at the bottom of the thumb.
Let's start with the Corio's good points; the quality and the subtle detailing are both high class. The black with red accents makes them a visually elegant glove and you won't be barred from the club with them on like you might do wearing your dirty Hi-Viz commuter mitts. The fit is, well, as the simile traditionally suggests, and being leather they're going to age and stretch and mould to your hand into an even snugger custom fit as time goes by. The padding is all the right places leaving no uncomfortable bunching or wrinkling and the light insulation on the inside of the glove feels pleasant against the skin and gives an extra warm layer to protect against chilly headwinds. As they're leather they're windproof and waterproof up to a point, shrugging off light showers and keeping the teeth of a brisk northerly at bay, and being a natural material they're pretty breathable too so you don't get sweaty palms.
Finally there's definitely an argument that despite increasing evidence to the contrary you don't have to dress up like a dayglo Storm Trooper to survive city cycling and these Dromarti Corio gloves prove you can be more urbane than urban warrior pedaling round town, and when you've locked up the bike they instantly turn into a rather spiffing pair of casual gloves. Good maybe for that sunny Sunday motor to that nice little country pub in the Jensen, and they look equally handy for that bank job you have to do next Thursday. Some wags would quip that's the only way you can afford to pay for them.
Now for the bad points; obviously there's the price, let's get that out the way first. Certainly not cheap for a pair of cycling gloves, and even for a handmade leather glove the Corio points to the extravagant side of things - that said you can now get them at the clearance price of £79.91. But let's not deny those that are happy to pay a premium for something that both looks good and works well, unfortunately these Dromarti gloves often fail to get a firm grasp on the latter.
The all-leather construction of the glove means there's no handy snot wipe, which is one of those things you don't realize how much you need, until it's not there. So even if you are just popping to the gastropub and get a dribbly nose, which is pretty much guaranteed in the sort of chill weather these gloves are going to be worn in then you have to resort to an absorbent sleeve. Maybe you're supposed to use the silk kerchief in the top pocket of your tweed jacket that these gloves are designed to set off to a tee, or get your batman cycling alongside to wipe for you. Your batman does wipe for you doesn't he?
The zip on the cuff, while a lovely little detail, is superfluous as the cuff is actually wider than the palm so the glove can be easily pulled on and off without bothering the zip. This does make it easier to remove the gloves with an impossible to resist flourish though, possibly affecting some kind of Terry Thomas greeting to any filly that may be passing the bike stands at the time. The wrist gap being so wide and open is also the Corio's fatal flaw. The wizard's sleeve opening totally negates any of the wind and waterproof features of the glove, with not even the slightest of closure around the wrist water can trickle down the arm into the glove, or as the opening is that large simply fall in, even with a jacket sleeve desperately tucked in to stopper the gap. In a similar vein the wind can gust around the gaping opening making the body of the hand up to where the glove tightens up by the knuckles rather frostbitten.
Oh, and the exquisite soft supple leather got scuffed somewhere on the first ride, possibly when fiddling with keys and a bike lock, which although the Corios certainly aren't a bulky glove is still an annoying fat-fingered fumble with them on, something that's easier with other more slender Winter riding gloves.
The Dromarti Corio Glove is a really very nice, if pricey even at the discount price, glove. You can't argue with the quality though, and pulling them on before exiting the front door is a wonderfully sensual experience, it's just that after crossing the threshold and pedaling into a cheeky northerly or thrashing through the rain that moment of rapture can rapidly fade. Most of the time they're a lovely glove, comfortable, warm, and they don't look like a cycling glove so they can be worn off-bike, which lessens the sting of the cost a bit as the Corio is two pairs of gloves in one, but as a cycling glove their elegant plus points are sadly cancelled out by some glaring practical flaws. When you really want a cycling glove to work, when it's windy and it's cold and it's wet the lack of a tight cuff to close up that wrist gap means weather gets inside the glove too easily and renders them useless. The Dromarti Corio is an item of undoubted class, just sometimes not ideal for cycling in.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Dromarti Corio glove
Size tested: n/a
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?
The Corio glove is made from Nappa leather with a snug cotton fleece lining, classically styled, and beautiful to the touch. Featuring slim palm padding and side zip opening with leather puller, providing excellent comfort and control. Dromarti say the contrasting red leather detailing perfectly complements the black leather to produce a stylish and practical glove that can be comfortably used both on and off the bike.
All of that is certainly true, maybe they were never tested in the wind and rain though. Or for long enough to get a runny nose.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Handmade in the UK, Nappa leather, cotton fleece lining, side zip.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
When it was dry and not too breezy they were a lovely glove, as soon as wet or strong winds entered the equation their performance deteriorated rapidly.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The supple comfort and fit of the leather and the fleece liner.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The cost, no snot-wipe, the wind and rain gap at the wrist, and the fat-fingers.
Did you enjoy using the product? They were a joy to put on, feelings afterwards were weather dependant.
Would you consider buying the product? No, they're not a style of clothing I'd ever contemplate.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No.
About the tester
Age: 42 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.