Rapha Mens Grand Tour Gloves  £100.00

7/10

Super comfortable and perfect gloves for a perfect world… unfortunately the world isn't perfect

Weight 56g   Contact  www.rapha.cc

by VecchioJo   July 24, 2012  

RaphaGrandTourGloves

Because these cycle mitts are from Rapha they're much much more than just cycle mitts, obviously. They're Grand Tour Gloves for a start. Made from African Hair Sheep leather, which is the finest available apparently, the leather isn't just put together in a hand shape, it's cut by skilled craftsmen and worked by hand for its characteristic texture and suppleness. That padding on the palm is 2mm pads from army sniper gloves, well, what else did you expect, none of that common gel or dull foam here. And the price is to Rapha's own exclusive standards too.

Initially they're almost fetishistically tight and tricky to pull on and take off, especially the latter, but a couple of rides in and they soften up and mould perfectly to your hand, actually fitting better the more you wear them to become like a second skin and supremely comfortable. They don't bunch or wrinkle like other gloves can which means absolutely no rubbing points or sore patches and century rides can go past without any palm grief at all.

Being leather they're breathable, wick sweat away, delightfully grippy, aren't bothered by rain and they don't get stinky if you have to wear them several days in a row. Being well perforated on the back of the glove, with a row of extra bigger reinforced knuckle holes keeps them breezy too, and you get a bonkers tan with these mitts. The Rapha embossed Velcro closure round the back of the hand is large and secure.

That sniper padding on the palm is a thin but firm universal thickness high-density foam without the random lumps and bumps of 'Ergo' gloves, but they do have subtle extra sections of padding around the thumb and forefinger to bolster those wear points. They're all the better for this simple approach, allowing just the right combination of comfort and road feel. The gloves are double stitched at key wear points for reinforcement, and having had decent road mitts start to unravel after just one ride in the past this is a Good Thing. After quite some mileage the Grand Tour's are still in one piece with no flailing panels or loose threads anywhere.

Wonderful to wear that they are there's a handful of things that make the Rapha gloves a bit of a pain. There's no snot-wipe on the thumb, which isn't a necessity but it's absence is an annoyance, you can wipe goo and sweat away with the back of the thumb out of habit but it's slimy and mostly horrible and doesn't absorb. The Grand Tour gloves don't respond well to the day-to-day realities of cycling either, they don't like getting dirty, or like getting dirty too much actually, should you puncture or have a mechanical and have to wrestle with road grime they grubby up alarmingly quickly, which leads on to the next issue; they can't be casually thrown in the washing machine with the rest of your kit like most other gloves. Rapha recommend hand-washing, that is, washing them with your hands still in them, which again is almost fetishistic, and then finishing them off with some leather treatment cream. This can be a faff, although if you've spent that much on some gloves it's probably the least you can do, bar sending them away to some specialist glove cleaners.

Finally there's the look, some really liked them and their classic styling, others wondered if they were golfing gloves, or asked if the Frogeye Sprite would be taken out for a spin to a country pub after the ride. Such wags on the Sunday ride.

Verdict

It takes a few rides to break the Rapha Grand Tour Gloves in but once they've moulded themselves to your hands they'll be the most comfortable gloves you'll ever wear. Really. They form perfectly to your hand so don't get the wrinkled rub points that some other gloves can gift you half way through a long ride, are hard wearing, breathable, shrug off rain and give you a tan of some pride. The downside to all this is nowhere to wipe your nose, they get filthy dirty stupidly quickly and then they'll need delicate washing, which almost becomes a post-ride ritual. Are they worth up to four times as much as other quality road gloves? That's a tough one to justify, the fit and comfort and the feel is certainly worth some premium over more affordable gloves, and their construction would suggest that they're going to still be going long after other gloves have disintegrated. You could whinge about the price, and people will do because it's the standard knee-jerk reaction to Rapha, but buying them isn't mandatory. I wonder if those same people hammer on the windows of the Aston Martin showroom shouting that a Kia does the same job for a fraction of the price. Probably.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Rapha Mens Grand Tour Gloves

Size tested: White - M

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?

Rapha say their Grand Tour Gloves are the ultimate glove for the serious road cyclist. Made from super soft and breathable African Hair Sheep leather, they offer the confidence and feel of cycling bare-handed but with the highest levels of protection and comfort. The leather is cut by skilled craftsmen, worked by hand for its characteristic texture and suppleness, the gloves have road-specific padding with extra padding around the thumb and forefinger, slim and unobtrusive, this high-density foam offers excellent shock absorption and control. Double stitched at key wear points for reinforcement they're fastened at the cuff with a velcro strap. Leather gloves look and feel beautiful and get better with age. Buy them slightly tight and they will stretch to the shape of your hands for a perfect fit.

The 'ultimate' glove? Yes; in that they're the most comfortable road glove I've ever worn and in that they have a few issues that ultimately let them down.

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

African Hair Sheep leather, hand stitched with double stitching at key wear points, road-specific pad design using 2mm pads from army sniper gloves, knuckle holes, Velcro fastener with stamped Rapha logo.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
6/10
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
10/10
Rate the product for value:
 
2/10

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

For a pair of cycling gloves they did their job perfectly; making riding a bike comfortable on the paws, they were let down by their inability to cope with real world situations.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The fit, the comfort, the longevity, the look.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The cost, lack of a snot wipe, and the cleaning rigmarole.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? I couldn't justify that spend myself, plenty could though, but if someone were to buy them for me as a present I certainly wouldn't slap them in the face with them.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? I'd recommend them for their comfort, and then I'd caveat their flaws.

Overall rating: 7/10

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

 

32 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

^^ Kia driver?

I don’t buy into the whole Rapha Helvetica black and white lifestyle stuff but I’m bang up for buying quality kit.

For what it’s worth, I’ve used many gloves over the years and NOTHING compares to Rapha’s Pro Team Mitts. They use the same kind of padding as the GT and I’ve put in 1000’s of miles on my black pair. They’re still amazingly comfortable and I know that ‘if’ the stitching starts to go I can mail them back to Rapha and have them sewn up again for free – will Specialized and the rest do this? I bought a white pair for those ‘best days’ and even though they do pick up dirty they’re easy to wash and tbh they look even better now they’ve been worn in.

I’m definitely on the lookout for a pair of GT’s in black in the next sale for those ‘best of the best days’.

NB - you don’t need a snot wipe if you can do the farmer’s hanky!

posted by iamelectron [124 posts]
24th July 2012 - 11:43

9 Likes

Gore Retrotech are the way forward. Look much the same as these but with a snot wiper and a lot cheaper. Bit thicker padding, mind. But, it's all about the tan, and Gore give you EVEN MORE holes for comedy bronzing. WIN.

posted by andyp [1077 posts]
24th July 2012 - 12:24

7 Likes

I picked up a pair of the proteam gloves at the Manchester Rapha sample sale - I thought they were a bit tight and an ar$e to take off, but figured I could sell for easily the price I paid if I didn't like them. However, once riding in them they are stupidly comfortable. My specialized mitts are now feeling rejected.

£100 is a bit steep though.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3475 posts]
24th July 2012 - 12:43

9 Likes

Got mine in a sale and, though still pricey, they're are superbly comfortable and also holding up quite well. Being leather, you can use anything that you'd use on leather shoes - including a whitener, which seems to work nicely. They've held up better than my Giro Lusso/LX ones, which borrow the styling (and are similar to the Gore Retrotech).

I ended up buying a black pair too (also in a sale) and, to be honest, I can't see myself needing any other summer gloves for a very long time. So long as you look after them (which is more hassle than an ordinary lycra glove) the cost per wear/cost per mile ends up in normal territory.

posted by step-hent [704 posts]
24th July 2012 - 14:56

6 Likes

notfastenough wrote:

£100 is a bit steep though.

todays understatement Smile

posted by fred22 [209 posts]
24th July 2012 - 14:56

10 Likes

I had a pair of those Gore Retrotechs. For 10 minutes.

Stitching failed as soon as I pulled them on, which is very unusual for Gore, as all the other products of theirs that I own are very well assembled.

posted by thereandbackagain [155 posts]
24th July 2012 - 15:08

9 Likes

I was bought a pair as a present. I like Rapha, but these were rubbish. If you're going to ask me, or my missus, to shell out £100 on a pair of gloves they better be the last pair of gloves I ever buy.

The styling is great but they have a strange palm structure, uncomfortable internal stitching (between thumb & forefinger) and seams that gave me sore hands on longer rides (esp. the one that runs along your life-line), and they get horribly slimy in hot weather too. Wash them and they go stiff as a board regardless of how close you follow the instructions. I went for a size down, as suggested, and gave them the benefit of the doubt initially to try and wear them in, but gave up after a few months of sore hands. The poor fit was also highlighted by the circular cut outs for the knuckles being way off even though the size was correct, the final one is round the side of my hand.

I bought some very similar looking Giro LX's to replace them and they're *way* better. Half the price too. I was shocked at how much more comfy they were. After a few months of using them I've bought another pair of LX's.

posted by Mr. Rossi [37 posts]
24th July 2012 - 19:18

9 Likes

Who buys Rapha stuff? Seriously.

posted by Some Fella [824 posts]
25th July 2012 - 22:28

6 Likes

More to the point - why?

posted by Some Fella [824 posts]
25th July 2012 - 22:29

7 Likes

People who cycle around Scotland to the soundtrack of an unemployed man reading the shipping forecast.

Very.
Very.
Slowly.

And look really miserable.

Screen shot 2012-07-25 at 23.33.38.png Screen shot 2012-07-25 at 23.34.40.png

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1733 posts]
25th July 2012 - 22:35

11 Likes

Oh, don't forget this guy as well.

Screen shot 2012-07-25 at 23.36.14.png

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1733 posts]
25th July 2012 - 22:36

4 Likes

Pretty confident that *isn't* Rapha that Lorshugga is wearing Wink

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8514 posts]
25th July 2012 - 23:39

9 Likes

I love Rapha and hope one day to buy one of their products. Their brand aesthetic reminds me of that scene in American Psycho where Patrick Bateman et al are trading apparently identical, yet subtly different (and hugely expensive) business cards. In all seriousness, I do love Rapha.

In fact, what with the price-tag, the tight leather, the inability to stay clean, these gloves are themselves very American Psycho.

Now, I have to return some videotapes...

Ghedebrav's picture

posted by Ghedebrav [1103 posts]
26th July 2012 - 8:49

7 Likes

Some Fella wrote:
Who buys Rapha stuff? Seriously.

Me, for one. Because it's comfy, well made and lasts well. It's not the only gear I own, but it is my favourite, because it works for me.

posted by step-hent [704 posts]
26th July 2012 - 8:53

9 Likes

Some Fella wrote:
More to the point - why?

More to the point, who comments on stuff they have no interest in and nothing useful to say about? Just sayin... Wink

posted by step-hent [704 posts]
26th July 2012 - 8:56

6 Likes

I have a great interest in Rapha. I am equally fascinated in the sort of people who buy it.
Hence the question.
And the tone of the replies kinda answers some of my questions.

posted by Some Fella [824 posts]
26th July 2012 - 9:40

8 Likes

Oh, I thought the reply answered the original question. The next one just wondered why you asked it.

A bit of discussion about a product is always good - both from those who like it and those who don't. I just wonder why we need to have the same discussion about the brand (not the product reviewed) over and over again. But I guess I should have just ignored it rather than participating in that discussion again...

posted by step-hent [704 posts]
26th July 2012 - 10:11

8 Likes

We keep having the same discussion about 'the brand' because it is clearly fascinating to some of us.
And as long as 'the brand' keep on churning out Emperors New Clothes then im sure we will all gaze in wonder at their latest creations and comment on them.
Anyway - must dash - ALDI have just got some bike clobber in i quite like the look of (and which sadly arent made of panda fur and dodo eggs and hand stitched by eunuchs)

posted by Some Fella [824 posts]
26th July 2012 - 10:18

8 Likes

Some Fella wrote:
Anyway - must dash - ALDI have just got some bike clobber in i quite like the look of (and which sadly arent made of panda fur and dodo eggs and hand stitched by eunuchs)

That is a shame. If they had been, I might have seen you down there. Wink

posted by step-hent [704 posts]
26th July 2012 - 10:43

7 Likes

I think Steph-ent's tone reflected the fact that your question could perhaps be perceived as implying something disparaging, not about the product, but about those that buy it, which to be fair, wasn't really called for.

I wonder what you spend your money on that other people could pick fault in - nice car, big music collection, expensive wine? I find it ridiculous that when we all participate in what is a pretty damn expensive hobby, people sneer at others over the cost of stuff.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3475 posts]
26th July 2012 - 10:45

7 Likes

notfastenough wrote:

I wonder what you spend your money on that other people could pick fault in - nice car, big music collection, expensive wine? I find it ridiculous that when we all participate in what is a pretty damn expensive hobby, people sneer at others over the cost of stuff.

I dont have any money. Doesnt stop me enjoying my cycling. It only becomes an expensive hobby if you want it to and have the means to make it so.
The only sneering i tend to encounter is from riders in posh gear on cars worth than my car who look you up at down at the lights and look on in pity at my steel frame and ALDI socks.
Perhaps i *was* being disparaging about Rapha wearers - i love Rapha stuff , it lovely stuff dont get me wrong - it just sort of exemplifies for me a certain section of the cycling community who i perhaps would not enjoy riding with and who, im sure, would not enjoy riding with me. I am far too fat and unattractive.

posted by Some Fella [824 posts]
26th July 2012 - 11:48

5 Likes

Rapha sucks... Big Grin

Nic

posted by nbrus [286 posts]
26th July 2012 - 12:00

2 Likes

In conclusion - what i am essentially saying is that i am jealous of those that a) can afford it and b) are skinny enough for it to look good on them.
Whew!

posted by Some Fella [824 posts]
26th July 2012 - 12:03

8 Likes

Some Fella wrote:
notfastenough wrote:

I wonder what you spend your money on that other people could pick fault in - nice car, big music collection, expensive wine? I find it ridiculous that when we all participate in what is a pretty damn expensive hobby, people sneer at others over the cost of stuff.

I dont have any money. Doesnt stop me enjoying my cycling. It only becomes an expensive hobby if you want it to and have the means to make it so.
The only sneering i tend to encounter is from riders in posh gear on cars worth than my car who look you up at down at the lights and look on in pity at my steel frame and ALDI socks.
Perhaps i *was* being disparaging about Rapha wearers - i love Rapha stuff , it lovely stuff dont get me wrong - it just sort of exemplifies for me a certain section of the cycling community who i perhaps would not enjoy riding with and who, im sure, would not enjoy riding with me. I am far too fat and unattractive.

I have some Aldi socks. Very good they are too.

And fair enough, there are posers who buy Rapha stuff to ponce about in it and sneer at others, but from what I've seen, they're a small minority.

You're obviously right, you don't need to spend a lot to enjoy riding a bike. But if you do end up spending a lot (and lots of cyclists do), it doesn't mean that you're automatically some elitist knob.

Now we've cleared that up, is there really a load of cycling stuff back in Aldi? I need some new socks...

posted by step-hent [704 posts]
26th July 2012 - 13:43

8 Likes

I think it's inevitable that there are posers, but they're usually to be overtaken or only spotted in the cafe anyway.

I do still think it's an expensive pastime - even a £300 bike and £200 for all your kit (just helmet and shoes is at least £80) is way more than the £200 that had me fully kitted out for my previous hobby.

Oh, and the lights and LED reflective strips in Aldi are worth a look.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3475 posts]
26th July 2012 - 14:28

4 Likes

step-hent wrote:

Now we've cleared that up, is there really a load of cycling stuff back in Aldi? I need some new socks...

No but LIDL had some ok-ish tights last week. The socks are great arent they? I used to get an annoying tingling in my right foot until i got some of their £3 socks - sorted it right out.
I also got a jersey, a windproof jacket, a middle weight jacket and a pair gloves (which were rubbish) for about the price of some Rapha socks..............but lets not get into that again eh........?
Big Grin

posted by Some Fella [824 posts]
26th July 2012 - 15:33

5 Likes

Probably a complete waste of money, very much like the £70 winter gloves I bought, only to find them badly designed and overpriced rubbish.

posted by Karbon Kev [682 posts]
27th July 2012 - 7:52

3 Likes

£100? They should score six stars at that price.

Really, though?

posted by workhard [389 posts]
27th July 2012 - 11:58

7 Likes

Put me down for 2 pairs please... Liar

gazpacho's picture

posted by gazpacho [88 posts]
30th July 2012 - 12:02

8 Likes

I agree that the winter gloves are poor. I bought mine in a sale for £35, thought they were fairly poor and then to add insult to injury the seams on both thumbs came unstitched. I returned them recently (about 8 months after I bought them) and got a full refund (as a Rapha gift card) which I was pretty pleased with. I have various other mitts and gloves from Rapha and they've all been great. They do really stand behind their products in terms of repairs/replacements/refunds if there are any problems which has kept me a very happy customer.

posted by graemeshaw [20 posts]
31st July 2012 - 14:10

6 Likes

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