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Verdict: 
Seriously warm gloves for the coldest rides those with poor circulation
Weight: 
200g
Contact: 

If, like me, you really struggle with poor circulation, and keeping your hands from getting cold on a ride is a perennial challenge, then you'll be very interested in Rapha's Deep Winter Gloves. Yes they're very expensive but they're among the warmest winter cycling gloves I've ever tested.

The Deep Winter Gloves are part of Rapha's 'modular winter glove' system, which comprises the regular Winter Glove and the Deep Winter glove here, a Merino Liner and a lobster-claw overmitt. The idea is you layer up your gloves depending on the conditions. Most cyclists are au fait with the idea of layering up, and taking the same approach with gloves also works .

I tested the Deep Winter gloves with the Merino Liners and found the combination an unmatched pairing for the coldest rides I've been on this winter.

The Deep Winter Gloves are constructed with a stretch nylon outer that is both windproof and waterproof due to a durable water repellant treatment and an OutDry membrane bonded to the shell with an insulating tricot lining. Sandwiched between theses layers is the Primaloft ONE insulation that provides the warmth. It comprises microfibers that form tiny air pockets trapping body heat with little bulk -

The padded Pittards leather palm provides good grip on the handlebars and the fore and index fingers are compatible with touchscreen phones, so you don't need to remove your gloves to answer the phone. There are also some reflective stripes and a large nose wiping area on the thumb.

The fit of the gloves - I tested a medium pair - is really good, but they are big gloves and there's a bit of space between your hand and the glove liner compared to most other snugly fitted winter gloves. This is deliberately to allow space for that Merino Liner.

On their own the Deep Winter gloves are incredibly warm, as warm as the snowboard gloves I usually resort to on the coldest early morning rides. That slight amount of space between hand and glove also works well to prevent your hands getting clammy when the temperature rises or you're on a hard training ride, and acts to keep a nice layer of warm air circulating around your hands.

When the temperature plunges and you need more warmth, the Merino Liners come into their own. These are very slim and thin merino gloves with ribbed cuffs. They're not designed to be worn on their own, but with the Winter or Deep Winter gloves.

With your hands clothed in the Merino Liners they fit easily into the Deep Winter glove, but your freedom of movement is noticeable restricted. On the bike they're still comfortable but you don't quite have the same range of movement as without the Merino Liners.

The payback is incredible warmth, it's a combination that has kept even my hands and fingers warm (and I mean warm and not simply not cold) on the coldest morning rides I've so far experienced.

They're an expensive pairing, the Merino Liners are £40 and the Deep Winter Gloves are £110, but the unparalleled insulation, attention to detail in the design and the excellent fit makes them worth it. Out of interest I had a look at mountain outdoors gloves with a similar Primaloft insulation. The Rapha combination is about the same price, and actually cheaper than many.

You don't have to buy both though, and you could always add the Merino Liners at a later date. I've always struggled to find cycling winter gloves that can actually keep my hands warm and dry on the most horrid rides, but the Deep Winter gloves alone provide more than adequate insulation and rain protection.

The flexibility to adapt to changing conditions the pair offers is very appealing though. They're the first gloves I've tested that can really keep my fingers warm when the temperature is below freezing and there's a cold wind blowing through the lanes. Four hour rides with a sub-zero wind chill are no problem for these gloves.

It's not been cold enough really to employ the Merino Liners more regularly, but the Deep Winter gloves alone have kept my hands free of the cold that can frequently make longer rides in challenging conditions unpleasant.

Verdict

Seriously warm gloves for the coldest rides those with poor circulation

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Rapha Deep Winter Gloves and Merino Liner

Size tested: 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?

The Deep Winter Gloves are made from innovative technical fabrics and constructed for excellent protection without compromising control. The outer shell uses a windproof, stretch nylon with a Durable Water Repellent treatment, which is then filled with Primaloft insulation®. A waterproof and breathable OutDry® membrane is then bonded to the shape of the shell to give an excellent fit (as opposed to the 'floating' liners used in many gloves) and finished with an insulating tricot lining against the skin.

The inside of the palm features a different Primaloft® insulation, originally created for snowsports and treated with a resin so it won't slip against your skin when gripping the bars. The outer face of the palm is made from Pittards leather, features Rapha's trademark military-grade padding, and is reinforced in key wear areas. The fore and index fingers also work with touch-screen devices. The gloves have elasticated cuffs, with a velcro closure designed to fit snugly around a jacket sleeve. The gloves also have reflective stripes and logos, as well as wipes on both thumbs.

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

Windproof nylon outer

DWR treatment

Primaloft® ONE insulation

Breathable OutDry® membrane

Brushed tricot lining

Pittards leather palm

Reflective stripes and logos

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
10/10

For the most horrid and challenging conditions, these are just about unbeatable. On their own the Deep Winter gloves offer incredible warmth and rain protection, and paired with the Merino Liners you're going to struggle to find cold enough temps to really do them justice.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

Hard-wearing construction and the leather palm is durable, but they do need careful looking after to keep them at their best - you can't just chuck them in the washing machine after a ride.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
9/10

A big and quite bulky glove but still enough dexterity and freedom of movement to control the bike.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

Yes they seem expensive, but compared to similarly constructed outdoor and hiking gloves, they're actually on the money for Primaloft insulated gloves offering this level of warmth and weather protection.

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

The warmest gloves for the coldest days, reliably warm for people that really struggle - as I do - to keep their hands warm on longer rides.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The insulation, fit and attention to detail with the leather palm and durability.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

They're quite big, bulky gloves.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

If you're keen on heading out into the most horrid winter weather and want unbeatable insulation and protection for your hands, these are seriously worth a look.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180  Weight: 67

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,

 

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

30 comments

Avatar
KiwiMike [1424 posts] 4 years ago
1 like

Great review Dave. Now where'd that inheritance that arrived the other day go?...

For the less-flush-of-cash among us, can I recommend a combo of the Sealskinz Merino liner glove (£10 RRP) paired with the Sealskinz Handlebar Mitten (£45 RRP).

Having suffered for years with semi-functional hands even in moderate temperatures I have a literal drift of gloves in the bikeshed, probably a dozen pairs of varying thicknesses, materials etc. Basically if it was below 10º I was destined to always suffer.

Last winter I finally sorted things with this combo of Merino liner and Handlebar Mitten. Haven't had a single problem since. Even down to -4ºC, wind, rain etc. You can go with just one or t'other as things warm up too.

In a 1-1 comparison I'm sure I'd find something to fault the Sealskinz combo against the Rapha. But at 1/3 the price, value for money has to go with Sealskinz.

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peterben [66 posts] 4 years ago
1 like

£150.00, someone's taking the piss. A fool and his money are soon parted.

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alotronic [630 posts] 4 years ago
2 likes

Specially when your sealskinz are £26 on sale here: http://www.cyclesurgery.com/pws/UniqueProductKey.ice?ProductID=CSSK0011KK

Nothing against rapha really, I can see why some do and some don't. Personally I just can't justify the outlay.

I knew that my neighbourhood was on the road to gentrification when I saw a rapha-clad (non-racer) plunking up the road the other day. On a De Rosa no less. Property prices will double if that keeps up...

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Rich71 [52 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Absolute bullshit,with a winter average temperature in Britain of 12 degrees what fucking use are a pair of oven gloves
stupid

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duncbell [8 posts] 4 years ago
1 like

@Rich71, your average is way off http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/climate/gcpvnz8h0
that's just for the South of England - it's a bit nippier in the North.

And that's just the average. What about the days when it's not conforming to the average? Do I just tell my hands that it's ok that they're chilled to the bone because on average the temperature will be warmer?

Or perhaps I'm riding in a valley and for some of the day, what with the low winter sun, I'm in the shade; that'll make it colder still.

You've also made no account for wind chill. There's usually an average of a 25-30km/h wind blowing past my hands when I'm riding.

And I haven't even mentioned the fact that my hands suffer in the cold more than most folk. In fact I think the reviewer makes reference to this in the article.

That doesn't mean that you need to fork out £150 for a pair of gloves. But it does mean that quite a lot of people riding their bikes in Winter (December to February), across the whole of the UK will regularly be riding in single figure temperatures and will therefore need some toasty warm gloves.

Btw, for high quality and good value mountaineering gloves, have a look at the Black Diamond sale here: http://www.firstascent.co.uk/brand-black-diamond.html?p=5

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massspike [138 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
Rich71 wrote:

Absolute bullshit,with a winter average temperature in Britain of 12 degrees what fucking use are a pair of oven gloves
stupid

My thoughts exactly...over the last 2 days I have ridden 2-3 hours each day at an average of -20C (including wind chill) and my $50 Manzella's (which also come with Merino liners) that match (or beat) these every which way have kept my hands toasty warm. How could you justify spending 150 pounds on gloves like these (as good as they may be) to ride in UK winters?

P.S. I'll be taking the next 2 days off but Tuesday is looking really nice for a ride...-28C

Avatar
massspike [138 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
Rich71 wrote:

Absolute bullshit,with a winter average temperature in Britain of 12 degrees what fucking use are a pair of oven gloves
stupid

My thoughts exactly...over the last 2 days I have ridden 2-3 hours each day at an average of -20C (including wind chill) and my $50 Manzella's (which also come with Merino liners) that match (or beat) these every which way have kept my hands toasty warm. How could you justify spending 150 pounds on gloves like these (as good as they may be) to ride in UK winters?

P.S. I'll be taking the next 2 days off but Tuesday is looking really nice for a ride...-28C

Avatar
massspike [138 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
duncbell wrote:

Btw, for high quality and good value mountaineering gloves, have a look at the Black Diamond sale here: http://www.firstascent.co.uk/brand-black-diamond.html?p=5

While I disagree with your justification for the reviewed Rapha's (I think your toes would freeze well before your hands), these are very good prices for Black Diamond gloves/mitts.

I have a few pairs of BD's including the Mercury mitts which are maybe the warmest things I own. (I've downhill skied at -35C with them and while pretty well every other part of my anatomy was cold my hands were still warm.)

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geordaa [5 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

£75 per hand??? HTFU is free.

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Leviathan [3057 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
Rich71 wrote:

Absolute bullshit,with a winter average temperature in Britain of 12 degrees what fucking use are a pair of oven gloves
stupid

This is not a fact.

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bendertherobot [1541 posts] 4 years ago
1 like

I'm willing to pay for something that works. But, with a lot of kit, what works is a very personal thing. It's interesting that David makes the claim that he suffers from poor circulation yet rates these as excellent.

I don't know if I suffer. But I do know that getting the right gloves is a chore.

Above 5 and I can survive quite happily just with Defeet Dura gloves. Below that I need something that works. You'd think that a person who can wear the Defeet would be well served by these Rapha ones.

But, sadly, I was not. I tried to like them. Wore them in 2 degrees with the merino liner. They just didn't work. Neither did the Castelli Estremo.

So, for me, back to a £40 pair of Pearl Izumi lobster gloves. The only thing that has ever really worked.

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Geordie Simon [28 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I did order a pair a couple of months back but I've got high end Gore tex Snowboard gloves that are just as warm and less bulky which cost significantly less so they went back. Lovely designed kit but pricey for what they are...although they are a bit cheaper in the sale currently

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crikey [1251 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

A casual glance at the price of high altitude mountaineering glove systems, designed for use up there where the air is thin suggests that Rapha are, once again, taking the piss.

Veblen goods...

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Simon E [3790 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
Rich71 wrote:

Absolute bullshit,with a winter average temperature in Britain of 12 degrees what fucking use are a pair of oven gloves
stupid

12 degrees? You must live in Cornwall, blissfully ignorant that the weather is not tropical further North.

Average in Shropshire for 9am when I've arrived at work is typically 3 to 5°C from Dec to Feb. 12°C would be unseasonably mild.

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Kadinkski [809 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
Simon E wrote:
Rich71 wrote:

Absolute bullshit,with a winter average temperature in Britain of 12 degrees what fucking use are a pair of oven gloves
stupid

12 degrees? You must live in Cornwall, blissfully ignorant that the weather is not tropical further North.

Average in Shropshire for 9am when I've arrived at work is typically 3 to 5°C from Dec to Feb. 12°C would be unseasonably mild.

Maybe he's thinking of the British Virgin Islands.

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Quince [380 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

grr i'm so angry grr gloves

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crikey [1251 posts] 4 years ago
1 like

I wonder when we can read a review of a Rapha piece of clothing without the accompanying comments from the Rapha fanboys who assume that people are too poor to afford the kit.

Rapha do make some excellent kit, but they also adopt a marketing strategy which divorces price from value for many people.

As I suggested above, a comparison with mountaineering gloves where gloves are a good deal more important and are used in significantly more hostile climatic conditions suggests that piss is being taken.

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DeanF316 [136 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I would say my hands are average in that they get cold when it's cold. I find Specialized radiant gloves with defeet wool gloves work very well at temperatures below 4C. They have 100g Thinsulate.

When out recently one morning recently and temperature was -3C. Within 30 minutes my hands were toastie warm and I changed to a ligther out glove. So for £36.00 for the Specialized and £20 for defeet make the Rapha gloves look way over priced and I doubt they perform any better.

Another good bit of advice is to carry a second pair of liner gloves if you are out a long ride.

David Arthur as ways gives Rapha rave reviews as he doesn't want to stop his supply of free kit.

Avatar
DeanF316 [136 posts] 4 years ago
1 like

I would say my hands are average in that they get cold when it's cold. I find Specialized radiant gloves with defeet wool gloves work very well at temperatures below 4C. They have 100g Thinsulate.

When out recently one morning recently and temperature was -3C. Within 30 minutes my hands were toastie warm and I changed to a ligther out glove. So for £36.00 for the Specialized and £20 for defeet make the Rapha gloves look way over priced and I doubt they perform any better.

Another good bit of advice is to carry a second pair of liner gloves if you are out a long ride.

David Arthur as ways gives Rapha rave reviews as he doesn't want to stop his supply of free kit.

Avatar
crikey [1251 posts] 4 years ago
1 like

Neither am I a pauper nor someone who slags off Rapha at every opportunity. I recognise that they make some kit which is very well thought of, but they also trade on a high price for silly things.
Given that riding a bike when it gets much below freezing isn't that sensible, the level of protection offered allied to the price suggests that in this instance they are playing silly buggers.

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Quince [380 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I don't know... If it were the only glove product I'd agree with you, but the fact that they offer a whole range of... really quite pricey things to put on your hands, is something I find hard to fault.

Along with this review, there've also been a couple of other Rapha glove things posted up recently (although I don't think they've provoked as passionate responses); the Merino ones and the Winter ones. I believe there's also a lobster-claw-over-glove as well.

They may expect to sell largely the lighter (and less expensive [although still quite expensive]) gloves, and only a few of these to well-off Nordic Ice Bikers who live in perpetual winter (and also our reviewer). Nevertheless, I can't see the problem with company providing a comprehensive range. They also do a really odd balaclava-cum-baselayer thing which I can't imagine anyone using in England, but it must have a market somewhere on the planet.

I do however, think it's pretty much undeniable that while "Rapha do make some excellent kit, they also adopt a marketing strategy which divorces price from value for many people." But it's for that reason I believe that adopting an unwavering agenda against (or even FOR) the company is irksome and unhelpful. Amongst the perfumes and coffee machines, there exist many decent products that deserved to be judged in their own right, not just based on an existing agenda. I just find it irritating when these things get massively polarised...

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Simon E [3790 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
crikey wrote:

Given that riding a bike when it gets much below freezing isn't that sensible, the level of protection offered allied to the price suggests that in this instance they are playing silly buggers.

Not sensible? I presume you mean choosing to ride for pleasure. Some of us have jobs to ride to. In late 2010 it was often freezing and one or two days was -10 degrees C. Those days being on the bike I felt safer than in a car. Never once did I have an frozen windscreen and the engine never failed to start  3

Many people ogle bikes costing £5,000 and more but you can pay a fraction of that for a bike that will do exactly the same job. If Rapha want to charge £150 for these gloves then that is their prerogative.

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notfastenough [3734 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Ooh look, a Rapha debate.

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Truffl3Shuffl3 [18 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
notfastenough wrote:

Ooh look, a Rapha debate.

Please, tell me more.

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pedalpowerDC [380 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

FWIW, I tried the overgloves last winter and the palm tore after 3 rides. They looked to be well suited for very wet and/or cold rides (I only do wet AND cold if it's a race and I have to go out), but there were obvious issues that compromised the execution. Obviously, the ripping was an issue. Second, the "finger hole" for index and middle finger to get through the palm seemed kind of pointless and an obvious leak point. Finally, the sizing was disappointing. I ordered the biggest size and could barely fit them over a glove with any sort of insulation.

They went back.

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sorebones [141 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

FWIW the standard winter gloves with merino liners have been fine for me for the last 2 winters, and I really suffer with cold hands and feet. They are also thin enough to have no issues with getting stuff out of jersey pockets etc.

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Kadenz [112 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

I can see your point Rich71.

But for someone with a serious circulation problem like me, these gloves could be (subject to admittedly very expensive confirmation) the difference between being able to ride my bike on very cold days and not at all.

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Kadenz [112 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

PS

I am not a fan of Rapha, btw.

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Paul__M [52 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

+1 for Pearl lobsters

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blablablacksheep20 [41 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

 20
Crazy money, but like others have said people and dare I say cyclists being one of the worst offenders WILL pay silly money for "the best".

Because it costs the most is it the best?

Personally some kit is worth the money ie castelli gabba jacket or a OMM (mountain climbing company) backpack.

Saying this both those companies do utter crap gear, and over priced gear. But it's for the clever people / dare I say non fools to relise themselves what looks like a good price for good gear.

Point is people willing to pay silly money so why would ralpha charge less?
Don't buy gloves, simple! Then ralpha relise it silly and reduce cost lol.

Common sense people, that's my 1p