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The B'Twin 500 Winter Cycling Gloves are an impressively good budget option, but the padding and imperfect shaping limit their appeal to shorter rides and commutes.
With the majority of gloves we test falling between £30 and £50, the headline for B'Twin's £13.99 500s will always be their value. Most riders will make allowances for a certain amount of flaws against more expensive gloves. And if you're wanting a pair for short (sub-1hr) cold blasts and city commutes, the good news is there aren't even that many allowances to be made.
The 500s are neatly stitched with none of the brick-like bulk of many cheap gloves, and have a neat, soft inner cuff that seals well against jackets and jerseys. The palms caused zero grip problems either wet or dry, while large silicone prints on the thumb and first two fingers give extra security on the brakes.
The stated temperature range of 4-10°C is bang on, and they even stay almost as protective when absolutely sodden. Funnily enough, B'Twin claims they're water resistant (they're not, rain soaks in almost instantly), but not that they're windproof, which they pretty much are. As a result, the 500s were no colder during storms than a fancy windproof alternative at three times the price (I like to wear mismatched pairs to see, and also because I'm very fashion-forward).
The screen-friendly thumb and forefinger work very well. The snot wipe the length of the thumb is fine, though it's not the softest ever, and it's also the first spot you'll go numb – the fabric is less of a barrier than the rest of the glove.
Two reflective fingertips and several bright colour options (yellow, pink and blue as well as this red) are good for safety and, frankly, I think they look more stylish than you'd expect of budget gloves. At 98g they're not even particularly heavy.
Now the bad points. I found the pads – one either side of the base of your palm – pretty hopeless. The foam squashes instantly flat, and from then on it's just extra bulk right under your pressure points. I actually found these less comfortable than completely unpadded winter gloves, and found myself shaking the blood back into my hands within an hour as the tingles took hold. Numbness arrived at around the 1hr 15min mark.
The shaping is also a little off, for me anyway, with the webbing between the first finger and thumb taking a short cut across the gap, well above your hand. Grip the bars and your thumb/finger gets rammed tightly into the end, which puts strain on both your circulation and the seams.
They also have a noticeably loose palm but skinny fingers, and while neither caused problems when worn alone, it did mean I couldn't use liners without noticeable constriction and awkwardness on the controls. That's a shame, as B'Twin actually recommends liners for extra insulation.
Ultimately, though, you have to come back to the price. If your rides are short (or your thumbs are...) these will keep you warm and comfy enough even in rain, while bright, smart looks do no harm for city commuters either.
There's not much competition at this price, at least from riding gloves worthy of the name. Madison's windproof, waterproof and very comfy Avalanche gloves are a standout for the price, and though they're over twice the price at £33, they still represent better value for serious riding. The water-resistant and windproof Kalf Fives are also worth a look at £35, if you don't care about full-on waterproofing.
For shorter rides and cold commutes, though, the B'Twin 500 Winter Cycling Gloves are excellent value.
Good looking gloves that perform impressively for the price, but the longer you ride, the less happy you get
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road.cc test report
Make and model: B'Twin 500 Winter Cycling Gloves
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
Decathlon says, "Designed for regular road cycling in the winter months. Ideally suited to a temperature range of between 4 to 10 degrees. To gain added cold weather protection and comfort, we would always recommend using an inexpensive silk or synthetic glove liner which will add a few degrees of insulation. These fitted bike gloves have foam padding for comfort, a touchscreen index finger to be able to use your smartphone and reflective inserts for increased visibility in the dark."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The gloves are listed as insulated, water-resistant and touch-screen compatible. The lining is 100 per cent polyester, while the outer is 87 per cent polyester and 13 per cent polyurethane.
Neatly built with a nice, soft inner cuff. Only a couple of stray threads let them down.
Effectively windproof and pretty warm, but bad padding seriously limits comfort on rides of over an hour.
Solid build feels like it will last, though the fit across the thumb/forefinger puts strain on the seams.
They fit, but it's hardly tailored: the fingers are tight while the palm is baggy, though neither caused comfort issues. A short forefinger and thumb mean the gloves don't reach the skin between them – grip the bars and there's constant tension, for me anyway.
Good for the level of warmth.
Fine for the first 30 mins... tight spots are an irritation, but the padding left me numb in little more than an hour.
For short blasts and winter commutes, these are excellent value. For longer rides, deduct half that score – their flaws dominate.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Machine wash (cold) without issue.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They do an impressive job even in pretty harsh conditions, but ride for more than an hour and the padding/awkward shaping seriously compromise comfort.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Bright and attractive design.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The padding and haphazard shaping.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Cheaper than the average by a factor of three!
Did you enjoy using the product? In short bursts, yes.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes – for short commutes only.
Use this box to explain your overall score
If I could give these two scores, I would. For 30-minute blasts to work, the 500s are an absolute bargain and would score 8/10. If you're riding beyond an hour, though, comfort becomes a serious issue and they're more like 3/10. I've gone for an overall score somewhere in the middle...
About the tester
I usually ride: GT GTR Series 3 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mountain biking