If you like venturing out when the mercury is dropping then it's your feet and hands that bear the brunt. These Specialized Element 2.0 gloves will take care of the hand bit. They're effective gloves for colder rides.
- Pros: Warm, comfortable, dexterity is okay considering their size
- Cons: No nose wipe, touchscreen compatibility a bit hit and miss at times
Specialized has gone for a semi-lobster for the Element 2.0 glove, with the 3.0 featuring a full lobster: two compartments for two fingers each. Actually your two smallest fingers have separate bits, but covered by a single outer to help keep you warmer. Your index and middle fingers are free to do useful stuff like brake and change gear.
The gloves are nicely made, with an inner that doesn't pull out of place when you wash them or when you drag your sweaty/damp fingers out at the mid-ride stop. There are touchscreen-compatible pads on the thumb and two fingers, a bit of reflective detailing that'll help drivers pick your hands out when you're signalling after dark, and the cuff has a sizeable Velcro tab to keep the wind out.
Sizing is on the large side; I was pretty comfortable in the L gloves tested, although I might have sized up to an XL if it had been my choice. I'm normally an XL.
These are warm gloves, no doubt about that. The main thing that sucks heat from your hands when you're out on the bike is windchill, and the Gore Windstopper upper layer coupled with a Primaloft insulation buffer helps to keep your digits toasty. They're warm enough that above about 10°C they're a bit uncomfortable, and they've kept my hands functioning on rides right down to freezing point. If it's that cold, your nose will be running – or mine will – and it's a shame there's no towelling nose wipe on the gloves, but the material itself is fairly absorbent (Specialized says the brushed Microwipe thumb wiper 'allows you to easily wipe away sweat') and they're easy to wash after a snotty ride.
On the bike they're comfortable, and although they're a bit bulky they don't feel too vague on the bars and the controls, and the palm section is nice and grippy. Sometimes the insulation under the palm can bunch up a bit which isn't the most comfortable thing ever, but most of the time I didn't really give them a second thought.
The two articulated fingers allow you to work your shifters and brakes effectively, and your smaller two fingers – which are mostly passengers – are kept warm in their house.
The Element gloves are not waterproof, but they still work pretty well in the wet as the Windstopper fabric still cuts the chill factor. If it's very wet and very cold then a waterproof overglove is a good investment. I use a pair of cheap motorcycling ones (these) which certainly don't help with braking and shifting, but if you really have to be out riding in freezing rain it's a hundred times better than not being able to feel your hands at all.
If you like to use your phone on rides then the touchscreen-compatible finger pads are a useful addition. They don't give you particularly fine control – text messages aren't easy, but they are manageable – but they're better than having to take your gloves off every time.
They're not cheap, with an rrp of £53 – though they're still a lot cheaper than Mavic's Ksyrium Pro Thermos and Giro's 100 Proofs. A quick glance at the latest gloves we've tested shows a fair few around or under £40 that promise good warmth and protection.
Price aside, though, I've been impressed with these gloves: they're warm and comfortable, and easy to get on with.
Well-made and effective gloves for colder rides
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Specialized Element 2.0 gloves
Size tested: L
Tell us what the product is for
Specialized says, "There's Arctic cold and then there's the cold we can all relate to. So when you're set on riding in temperatures at or near freezing, our Element 2.0 gloves are the perfect choice. They feature a Gore® WINDSTOPPER® upper and 200g Primaloft® insulation, so they're guaranteed to stave off windy chills and cold weather—all without compromising bar feel or dexterity"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Specialized lists these features:
Gore® WINDSTOPPER® upper protects against wind and water, while also letting perspiration escape.
200g Primaloft® insulates without adding any bulk.
Ax Suede palm material is tough, hydrophobic, conforming, and touchscreen-compatible.
Brushed tricot interior provides a plush, comfortable feel against the hand.
Windproof brushed Microwipe™ thumb wiper allows you to easily wipe away sweat.
Reflective details enhance your visibility in low-light conditions.
Low profile adjustable cuff interfaces perfectly with long sleeves.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Easy to wash on a normal cycle.
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
Touchscreen pads are okay but not great, no nose wipe.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Significantly cheaper than Mavic's Ksyrium Pro Thermos, a bit more than a few winter gloves tested recently, and a lot more than B'Twin's 500 Winter gloves.
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
Very good gloves, these. They perform well and though they're not cheap, I think they're worth the money.
About the tester
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura
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: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.