Scute Design Lumin8a indicating gloves are surprisingly well-made handwear with built-in LEDs to increase the visibility of your signals and therefore your safety. They work, but we're not convinced you really need them.
For your 40 quid, you get gloves with chevron shaped LEDs, switchgear and USB rechargeable lithium-ion cell. To activate the flashing LED, you use your thumb to press a button next to your index finger knuckle. Here's the manufacturer's video to show you how they work:
We tested the full finger version, designed for operating temperatures between 5°C and 15°C; a classic mitt version is also available. They only come in one size, which will be a problem for many people, but they happened to be perfect for my long, slender hands, although the cuff is rather shallow.
The glove aspect is unremarkable but well-executed. You get knitted polyester/Lycra backs, nylon/polyurethane foam palms and a terry towelling nose-wipe on the thumb.
I liked the neutral black/yellow colour scheme but the palm's suede texture starts looking grubby after a few weeks of daily use. Ordinarily, that wouldn't be worth mentioning as you could just put them in the machine washing but the integral electrics here prohibit that.
This is a shame given they offer excellent all-conditions grip, while providing the dexterity needed to unwrap energy bars and even take photos on the fly.
Ulnar padding on gloves often causes precisely the discomfort it's supposed to alleviate but it works well here. The Lumin8 gloves offer impressive insulation from road or trail buzz, and I had no hint of numbness or tingling even after 70-odd miles.
The electronics are almost completely unobtrusive, although I did tend to accidentally engage the otherwise carefully aligned switch when cruising on the hoods, especially on bikes with flared drops such as Midge or Major Taylor bars. That's mildly distracting when belting along.
The signalling function is straightforward to use given a bit of practice, and those little diodes certainly reinforce your hand signals, especially around dusk. They're visible to around 150 metres.
However, 40 quid is not to be sneezed at. You can achieve much the same effect with high quality day-glo or retro reflective stickers and I can't help feeling this sort of accessory subtly reinforces the perception that cyclists are problems who need singling out to myopic or just plain careless drivers.
Surprisingly competent gloves but the electronics preclude machine washing and I'm not completely sold on the concept.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Lumin8a Indicating Gloves
Size tested: Large
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?
Scute leave this open to interpretation, mine being that they're a snug fitting race glove/mitt with built-in LEDs and switch gear, presumably aimed at safety conscious commuters.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Knitted polyester/spandex backs, nylon/polyurethane foam palms and terry thumb pads. LED diodes under medical grade silicone commanded by surprisingly unobtrusive switch gear and li-ion cell.
Frugal run times, nice fit, generous palms afford excellent defence against numbness over longer distances too.
Good quality fabrics but electronics will have a finite lifespan.
Well padded palms are very conducive to long rides.
£40 is a little steep in my opinion.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Lumin8a indicating gloves has stirred mixed emotions. Great padding density and good fit ensures excellent long haul riding comfort but while the electronics are quite fun, they preclude machine washing and hand signals are easily enhanced by retro-fitting stickers to regular mitts/gloves.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good fit, excellent padding density.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Relatively expensive, gimmick factor.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, something of a guilty pleasure.
Would you consider buying the product? No.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Not in their present guise.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Scute say a revised version is being developed and will be available shortly. Watch this space.
About the tester
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)