A different approach to warm hands through the winter that will work for some riders better than others
Weight: 106g Contact: www.saddleback.co.uk
Castelli's Diluvio gloves are basically wetsuit gloves, made for cycling. They work too, keeping your hands toasty despite being fairly thin. They're totally windproof, but a side effect is they're as breathable as, well, a wetsuit. They start to pong fairly quickly and they're expensive compared to gloves from wetsuit manufacturers.
Billed as a glove for cold and wet conditions, the Diluvio is made from Japanese neoprene – I'm guessing they've mentioned that because the Japanese make good neoprene – thermally welded on the inside seam and sewn on the outside. That makes them completely wind- and waterproof for those cold, wet rides. You get the ubiquitous scorpion writ large, a beaded grip and that's it. No clever closures, snot wipe or anything, just neoprene made into a glove shape.
And do they work? Yes, they work. I'll qualify that by saying that they'll work better for some people than others. I have big hands, and they don't tend to get too cold when I'm riding; I find full winter gloves bulky, and these Diluvios were just the ticket. Warm enough to keep my hands functioning in freezing rain and hail, thin enough to make gear shifts and braking simple.
If you suffer from chronically cold hands, my guess would be that they'll not be warm enough for you when the temperature really drops, but for warmer-blooded types they should be enough for all but the fiercest frosts, when you could break out the full winter gloves, or sling an overglove on top of these.
Initially I was worried that the gloves would slip around on my hands, but about a minute after you put them on your hands start to sweat which sticks the gloves in place pretty well and makes control pretty good, certainly better than other winter gloves I've tried. The downside of the sweating and the lack of breathability is that they soon start to reek; mine are good for about three rides before I'm bunging them in the washing machine. So far they've stood up to that okay, though the scorpions are starting to crack a bit.
In use they don't really feel clammy like you might expect, they're more like a second skin defending against the cold and wet. Wear them long enough and your hands do start to get a bit prune-like but it's not a big issue.
So thumbs up then? More or less, although it has to be said that 35 quid is a lot of wedge for a pair of neoprene gloves (they were £40 last year but the price has dropped). That's towards the top end of what you can pay for a pair.
There aren't many other similar cycling-specific options, though realistically there's not much cycling-specific about these other than the manufacturer; they're quite similar to standard wetsuit gloves with a beaded grip for better purchase on bars in wet conditions. They're available for a fair bit less than RRP online.
A different approach to warm hands through the winter that will work for some riders better than others.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Castelli Diluvio gloves
Size tested: 2XL
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?
This is your glove for cold and/or wet conditions. The Japanese neoprene is some of the highest quality available and this is what makes it so stretchy, comfortable and warm. The seams are constructed using the same technique as a wetsuit: the stitching is only on the outside, while the inside is thermo welded to make it smooth and completely waterproof. While the waterproofness is an obvious benefit in the rain, what's not so obvious is how good this glove is in the cold. It keeps your hands warm with the same function as a wetsuit for divers. It is completely non breathable, so your hand sweats but that moisture is immediately warmed to body temperature and stays warm. We figure it's better to have hands warm and wet than dry and cold, or worse yet wet and cold!
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Neoprene insulation will keep your hands nice and warm
Non-slip gripper on palm
Extended neoprene cuff to keep the wind and rain out
Nicely put together.
Masses of warmth and totally windproof, but not breathable at all and get whiffy quite quickly.
Lighter than a comparably warm multi-layer glove.
Comfy and snug.
Quite expensive compared to a wetsuit glove from a wetsuit manufacturer.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Can be clammy, get smelly quickly.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, suited me very well.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes but i'd look at cheaper alternatives.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track