The Supacaz SupaG Short gloves are unpadded, providing just a slim layer of Clarino for grip and minimal protection. They're comfortable for the most part, fit well, and look pretty cool. Supacaz describes them as an 'aerodynamic fit' so they might save you some watts, too.
- Pros: Look, close fit, reflective oil slick fabric/pattern
- Cons: Hard to get on and off, no snot wipe
I elected to test these mitts, on the grounds that I was the only one in the office who could get them on. Despite being a large, they were incredibly tight, pulling them on requiring all sorts of grimacing and gurning. Over a few weeks of testing they have eased a little, but there's virtually no stretch in the fabric, palm or upper (widthways anyway; the upper does stretch more lengthways, from wrist to finger end). Removing them takes even longer, and I still haven't worked out the best technique.
Once on, they're a nice fit. Very close to start with, very slightly looser now, though not enough to start bunching or anything.
Some people like padding in their mitts, but I've been experimenting with more minimal designs, and so far so good. How successful this is will depend to some extent on your bar tape – you (probably) need cushioning somewhere! – but not having a padded section constantly against one part of the hand seems to be working for me, mostly.
I say mostly, because I was starting to get a bit of discomfort on the heel of one hand after a really hot bike ride, but we were out for about seven hours (not telling you the mileage – we were really slow).
Maybe the aero design of the SupaGs suggests they're better for shorter, faster riding, but up until that long, hot ride they'd been absolutely fine. (And my bar tape had changed – and might need changing again...)
The Clarino palms are perforated to help prevent overheating, but as that tends to be wrapped around the bar, or hoods, it's a little restricted. There's no silicone to aid grip, but I had no problems with slippage in the dry (and hot and sweaty) or the wet.
There's no obvious ventilation in the uppers, although the tops of my hands didn't feel like they got sweaty (do tops of hands get sweaty? generally?). What I did miss was nowhere to mop a sweated brow (yes okay, I mean wipe a snotty nose). Well, you can obviously wipe your nose/brow on the 'oil slick' fabric (conjuring up a nice picture there) but it doesn't absorb like a dedicated mopping/wiping section.
That 'Signature Supacaz Reflective Oil Slick design' fabric is reflective, always handy if you're riding in the dark, and feels quite stiff and slinky to the touch. The SupaGs are available in LOADS of other colours that look – from the website pics – to be softer and more 'open' and possibly more airy (and sweat/snot-absorbing), but I haven't seen them in the flesh. They're also cheaper at £29.99.
The fingers aren't hemmed they're just raw cut, so no seams to worry about there, and although none of the seams are flatlock stitched they're not uncomfortable; the only slight irritations came from the tiny bit of label left over after I'd cut the rest of it out, and the small grosgrain loop on the inner wrist whose sole purpose would seem to be holding the pair together when packaged. They're minor irritations you can feel if you're testing the mitts and looking for things to talk about, but out on the bike and riding you can't really feel them.
That all suggests they're not quite as super-comfy and wonderful as Hirzl's Grippp Light SF Gloves, which Liam raved about last year, which are also a couple of quid cheaper. I'd say Rapha's Souplesse mitts just edge it on comfort, but those will set you back another £12. There are certainly cheaper mitts out there – padded and unpadded. Liam really liked Santini's Brisk Race mitts and they're £23.
A little more stretch in the fabric would be good, so they'd sit close to your skin all over but be easier to put on and remove. Otherwise, these are a nice pair of unpadded mitts, possibly better for shorter (and faster) rides if it's really hot out there.
Good minimalist unpadded mitts that provide just a degree of protection and reflection
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Supacaz SupaG Short Gloves
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for
Supacaz says, "The SupaG glove is the pinnacle of glove design. Functional in all weather and terrain conditions, the SupaG glove always delivers. The comfortable seamless finger tips and Clarino palm make the SupaG the perfect glove."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Signature Supacaz Reflective Oil Slick design
They feel too small initially and aren't that stretchy so need persistence to get them on. Once on, they fit fine, though if the fabric was a little stretchier it'd be better.
If these are large, I'm not sure who the smaller sizes might fit... Though the palm does seem to be stretching a bit wider now, after a few weeks' use, and washing and drying.
No padding, but that's what I'm experimenting with and enjoying so far. Seams aren't flatstitched but the only slight irritation is from the leftover bit of label after cutting it off.
On the pricey side – they're £8 more than Giro's Zero CS Mitts, and £5 more than Castelli's Aero Speeds, though £12 less than the Rapha Souplesse mitts. Santini's Brisk Race Mitts are £23.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The label says handwash but life's too short – they've survived a 30°C wash in the machine with the rest of my cycling kit with no problems. (Washing by hand in cold water does work too...)
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They're hard to get on (and even harder to get off), but once on they fit well with no bunching and provide good grip. They're not the most breathable on really hot rides, and there's no dedicated nose/brow wipe.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The fit, and the reflective 'oil slick' pattern.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The difficulty of removing – even with a little tab that looks like it's meant to help. And no snot wipe.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe – they're a bit expensive.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
They're good unpadded mitts – well made and funky looking, if pricey in this 'oil slick' version.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Venon My best bike is: Paulus Quiros
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, sportives, general fitness riding
Tass is our production pedant, who boldly goes hunting for split infinitives, rogue apostrophes and other things up with which she will not put. She's ridden off-road but much prefers on, hasn't done half the touring she'd like to, and loves paper maps.