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The Cafe du Cycliste Audax Gloves are a mid-weight design, suitable for all but the coldest of days, with large reflective panels, good touchscreen compatibility and an excellent fit. They do lack windproofing found in most gloves in this price range, though, which I missed on some days, and this particular pair isn't standing up to wear very well.
I found these gloves perfect for those early spring mornings when the temperature rose from around 2°C to about 12°C. They're marketed as wind resistant rather than windproof, and on a few mornings at the colder end of that scale, accompanied by a cold wind, they did struggle to keep my hands warm.
At the upper end, the breathable construction did a good job of ensuring I didn't overheat once the temperature rose to around 14°C. And their lack of bulk makes it easy to fit them into a pocket once you no longer need them.
On a wet ride they provided some protection during a light shower, but once the heavens opened they let in some water. Waterproof gloves can lead to sweaty hands, though, so I think Cafe du Cycliste has struck a good balance here.
Padding is a matter of personal preference, but for me the reinforced palm and the pad on the base of the thumb added a level of comfort without compromising grip or feel of the handlebar. I've worn these on several rides of over four hours without any discomfort
I found the fit of the gloves excellent. I have average sized hands and typically wear a medium, and the sizing of these mediums is consistent with the guide. The Audax gloves come in five sizes so you should be able to find one that suits.
The excellent fit meant dexterity wasn't hampered, and I found it easy to grab nutrition from my pockets or undo a zip on the move.
The cuffs are a good length and also fit well to prevent getting cold wrists; I found they were best worn under jacket sleeves, though I did wear them over a fitted long sleeve jersey. I like the lack of Velcro or zips as these can be the first parts to fail on a pair of gloves. Unfortunately, after a few washes the stitching on the gloves is starting to look damaged and I'm not sure how long they'd last.
I was pleasantly surprised by the touchscreen capability as it wasn't mentioned in the key features. I was able to easily send a message to the always-late group rider and check maps when I got lost exploring some new roads.
Full reflective panels add great visibility, making these ideal for commuting to give extra confidence when the light starts to fade.
You also get useful extras such as a nose-wipe section and loops on the fingers and wrist that help when taking the gloves off.
At £73 these are some of the more expensive gloves we've tested. They're not alone – Castelli's Mortirolo gloves (which Liam tested last year) are £75, and Assos' Assosoires £70 (also tested last year, by Jamie) – but both of those offer more wind protection which would be welcome at times.
You can also get very good gloves for half the price – the Stolen Goat Climb Conquer 4 Seasons Gloves scored highly and cost just £35, though Mike wasn't overly impressed with their touchscreen compatibility (and no snot/sweat wipe).
Steve has also tested the even cheaper Galibier Ardennes Light Winter Gloves and found them excellent. They're designed for a similar temperature range as the Cafe du Cycliste gloves, 2-12°C, but are also windproof and insulated – for £23.64.
Overall, the fit of the Audax gloves is excellent, they work well across a wide range of temperatures, and the touchscreen fingertips work perfectly. However, for the price the lack windproofing and doubts over durability are drawbacks.
Excellent fit, great visibility and comfortable in a wide range of temperatures, though expensive and could do with better windproofing at times
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Cafe du Cycliste Audax Cycling Gloves
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Café du Cycliste says: "Designed to be seen when the light starts to fade, our highly reflective Audax gloves use a layered construction to trap warm air between the inner and outer fabrics and provide thermal insulation. The lining is fleece backed for added warmth and comfort while wind resistant panels give increased protection against the elements."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Café du Cycliste lists the key features as:
Full reflective panels
Thermal & wind resistant
Reinforced palm sections
Generally very good, but one seam came undone early in the test – obviously, if you'd bought them and that happened then you'd return them for a new pair – but the stitching on the other glove isn't the best quality either.
Five sizes available and the size guide was accurate.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
I washed these at 30 and air dried and all seemed fine; whether it's the washing or the wearing, but some of the stitching was starting to look damaged after a few washes.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The wind resistance could be improved, but for all but the coldest days they kept my hands warm and comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I really liked the fit and found the reinforced palm very comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Their performance in cold winds could be better. The stitching quality is disappointing for the money, too.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They're a similar price to the Castelli Mortirolo Gloves at £75 and slightly more than the Assos Assosoires Winter Gloves at £70, but both offer better protection from the wind, and some other very good gloves are a lot cheaper, such as the Stolen Goat Climb Conquer 4 Seasons Gloves at £35 and Galibier's Ardennes Light Winter Gloves at £23.64.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Overall these gloves kept my hands warm and comfortable, the fit was excellent and the touchscreen worked well. However, their wind resistance could be improved, and the stitching – on this pair at least – is a bit disappointing for the money.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized Roubaix My best bike is: Cervelo S3
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, Indoor