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As the song says it's a thin line between love and hate and I have to confess the the Knog Love Hate gloves induce mixed emotions in this tester – probably more joy and pain though than actual love or hate.
First impression were good - these are very cool looking gloves, and who wouldn't warm to the playful Love spelt out in individual stiched on leather letters across the knuckles of their left hand – and hate is even more fun on the right… but they do have their drawbacks, (aside from being a tad camp that is – although that could just be me), but we'll come on to those in a moment.
So the upsides?
They're leather – which is cool, they're black – which is cool, they say love and hate on them - which is fun and cool in a knowingly camp sort of a way. Oh, and a biggie, they are very well-priced for a pair of leather mitts.
The sizing is not very reliable, i've got small hands and these were mediums which should have been too big instead they were too tight – so much so that they nearly cut the circulation off to my right hand on the first big ride I did in them… and that was after a couple of weeks wearing them in. They did stretch in the end and do become like a second skin, but they were VERY uncomfortable till they did, but even now on long days Love hurts.
The finish is a tad hit and miss with loose threads pretty soon appearing around the ends of the fingers and the sewing around the letters in love and hate a bit wonky too – although you could argue that adds charm… and they're only £25. The worst bit though is the big fat seams on the inside between the fingers - once you've poured a lot of sweat in to them these do soften up but not so to the extent that they are totally comfortable on a long ride even after a a few months.
The design: it's basic - lettering aside, minimalist even. That's certainly the case with the padding across the palm and base of your thumb – although nature will provide soon enough either pumping up any cycling calluses you've already got or giving you a new set all of your very own. Basically protection apart from the leather material itself - which does wear in well itself is minimall.
That minimalism also extents to no snot wipe – unless the slime trail look that suggests a slug has just crawled around your glove is one you favour. And even if you do think that's a good look you'll snag your nose on those sewn on letters. Plus the oval cut out back section, yes you get a lovely old school roadie oval tan line on the back of your hand, but there's no brow mopping potential in that.
And yet, and yet… they are very cool aren't they? Even after all that I still liked them, they made me smile, more often when I wasn't wearing them than when I was admitedly. They are fun and if you they fit you probably not a bad road glove or round town summer commuter. The leather is soft and hard-wearing and properly looked after you would get plenty of wear out of them, on the road especially with badded bar tape once, those seams aside they are pretty comfortable. But don't kid yourself there are plenty of way better cycling mitts out there and some even cost less too – they just don't look quite as good.
If style counts then these are the gloves for you
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Make and model: Knog Love Hate Gloves
Size tested: medium
Did you enjoy using the product? Once broken in, but even then not for a whole day
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe
Would you recommend the product to a friend? If they were looking for a leather glove, but I'd also advise trying some on first
Age: 46 Height: Weight: 72KG
I usually ride: Ridgeback Genesis Day 03 My best bike is: Whatever I'm testing at the moment
I've been riding for: Over 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,
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.