Specialized's BG gel mitts might not seem the obvious choice for mid winter but the recent cold snap hasn't stopped me giving them a thorough testing, managing ninety-odd continuous mixed terrain miles without hint of the dreaded tingle courtesy of the patented gel/foam padding. Sizing is a little curious though so unless you're a Specialized devotee, I'd recommend trying a few first since the mediums on test were perfect in the fingers but large might've been less intrusive around the cuffs.
Detailing and construction quality is every bit what we've come to expect from Specialized; the patented BG blobs still feel positively unique, morphing seamlessly to handlebar coverings for faultless damping and control whether tackling sweeping singletrack in the pouring rain, powering up the climbs or snaking through lines of stationary traffic. Both palms and backs move moisture very efficiently, retaining a comfortable, arid inner climate without the locker-room odour synonymous with genuine hides and the 'Micro Wipe' Terry thumb is perfectly aligned for intuitive taming of runny noses. These qualities are no less significant during prolonged indoor trainer slavery and ours emerged from cool machine washes looking and smelling factory fresh.
Common to their more prestigious pro siblings, extensive padding around the palms doesn't detract from nimble fingers whether you're scoffing tea and cake at the café' snatching a compact camera from the jersey pocket for that David Bailey moment or simply evicting rogue twigs jammed between mudguard and tyre.
Speaking of digits, given the season I would've preferred their full finger cousins but forest frolics with not so friendly foliage suggests they're adequate for occasional trail duties (short cuts home on the 'crosser are about as adventurous as I'd want to get, mind). On the strength of this and previous models, longevity is promising for such a lightweight design, although I've also heard reports of mile munching audax folk killing them off in a matter of months.
Dependable road mitts particularly given to the rigors of indoor training but go a size, possibly two larger than usual.
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Make and model: Specialized BG Gel Mitts
Size tested: Black/Red
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?
"This glove is built for maximum comfort, coverage and minimum fatigue, with plush Body Geometry Gel padding on the grip and heel". Generally statements I would agree with, although its worth remembering that contact points are extremely personal.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
· reduces hand numbness by relieving pressure on the sensitive ulnar nerves
· Soft BG Gel foam padding across all palm pressure zones provides maximum hand comfort
· Reinforced Micromatrix synthetic leather palm is supple and durable
· Soft absorbent Microwipe™ thumb for wiping away sweat
· Micro-width Velcro® closure for unrestricted wrist movement
Seems hardy enough.
Generally excellent but a better fitting sample might've won an extra point.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Specialized BG mitts offer superb comfort and control for prolonged periods and this makes an easy transition to turbo trainer slavery during the darker months. However, while they'll emerge from the machine wash looking and smelling factory fresh, I'd strongly recommend trying a size larger before laying your money down.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Sharp detailing, high specification coupled with superior control and comfort.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing, although sizing might catch the unwary.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes for summer and indoor training.
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
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: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)