The Chiba Gel Comfort Active Eco-Line Mitts come with plenty of padding to reduce road buzz and take the edge off rough surfaces. If you suffer from pins and needles on the bike then these might be just the gloves you need.
- Pros: Comfortable, firm padding; cool in the heat
- Cons: Overly large finger loops; a bit rough around the edges
I'm not a big fan of loads of padding in gloves, normally because it is quite soft and can squidge and shift around the palm of your hand once you are gripping the handlebar.
The Chibas are different, though, as the padding here is quite firm. The material used is 'poron XRD', which, it's claimed by the company that makes it, will absorb 90% of any impact. This makes the Eco-Line mitts a very good choice if you spend time off-road or on gravel tracks.
That firmness means the padding stays exactly where it is and still provides plenty of feedback from the bike to your hands.
It's thick, too, a good couple of millimetres, to keep the palm of your hand raised off the bar to stop compression of both your ulnar and carpal nerves, as reducing blood flow here brings on the dreaded pins and needles.
It's not perfect; if I was really gripping the bar tightly in a race situation or on a bit of technical terrain I would get a little bit of tingling in my fingers after a while. When just riding around normally, though, with a relaxed grip, I could cruise along in comfort without issue.
Across the middle of the palm you get a small section of softer, thinner padding than that used at the bottom of the hand; there is also a small section running across beneath the fingers.
The synthetic leather palm looks to be hardwearing and provides plenty of grip against any bar tape.
For the back of the hand you get a couple of different materials. Across the knuckles the Chibas use a mesh fabric that allows a cool breeze to flow through, so even though these mitts are black they never felt overly hot.
It's good to see that the top of the thumb has a snot/sweat wipe, and then the rest of the glove just uses a standard Lycra which provides a close fit.
The mitts are available in a range from S-XXL. The mediums here should cover a hand circumference of 20.3-21.6cm; I am bang on the top of that and the gloves were a bit snug around the fingers, so it might be wise to go up a size if you're near the upper limit.
To remove the mitts you get a couple of finger loops on each hand. While they are undoubtedly useful for getting them off sweaty hands, they are quite large which means they can get trapped between the glove and handlebar, which isn't the most comfortable.
The Chibas have an rrp of £19.99 which isn't bad, the same as the excellent Altura Sportive 97 mitts but a lot cheaper than the likes of Wearwell's Revivals at £46 or Northwave's Evolutions for £34.99. The average price for mitts looks to be around the £25 mark.
For the money, the Chibas are of a decent enough quality, although there is a bit of loose stitching here and there plus around the finger ends they look a bit scruffy. They look to be long lasting and durable across the board, though, so I'd say they're definitely worth a look.
Comfortable gloves especially ideal for those long, steady day rides
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Chiba Gel Comfort Active Eco-Line Mitt
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Chiba says, "Artificial leather means genuine comfort. The Gel Comfort Active Eco-Line Mitts from Chiba will make your hands very happy indeed.
"Featuring padding in just the right places to keep your hands comfortable for longer, the Chiba Gel Comfort Active Eco-Line Mitts feature a robust palm made of artificial leather, so you can experience luxury ethically. The perfect fit is provided by an elastic tophand, terry towelling on the thumbs allows you to keep your brow and eyes clear from sweat, and a quick-pull system for taking the gloves on and off with true ease."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Elastic tophand materials for perfect fit
Robust palm made of fine artificial leather
Additional palm material of durable polysuede
Terry Towelling thumb to wipe away sweat
Quick-pull system helps to take gloves off
I was right on the upper limit of medium so I'd probably be better off going up a size.
If you are near the upper suggested hand circumference it'd be worth going up a size.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
They came out of the washing machine absolutely fine with no shrinkage or other issues.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very comfortable for the majority of riding.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Large finger loops.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
On the whole the Chibas offer plenty of comfort at a decent price; it's just the finger loops that could do with refining for me.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike 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: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.