I had the opportunity to ride this morning in a new pair of lobster claw mitts I recently purchased sight unseen on the Internet. They’re Giro’s 100-Proof winter cycling gloves. I’m not sure I understand the name, but whatever. The more important question is would they perform in Iowa’s rugged winter weather. The answer is a resounding yes.
For what it’s worth, these are a replacement for a similar pair of Craft lobster claw mitts that lasted three solid seasons. Last Saturday, I rode about 23 miles in a 33° downpour, though, and that was pretty much the end of the Crafts. I literally had to stop and wring them out three times along the way. That was fun. I washed and tumble dried them when I got home, but the insulating layer is just never going to be the same. I’ll get some use out of them on more mild days but that’s about it.
Giro rates their gloves as good to +15° F and wouldn’t you know it but that was the temperature when I took off in the pre-dawn darkness this morning for my first ride in these babies. The wind chill was six above, but we don’t spend too much time thinking about wind chills in Iowa. If we did, we’d probably stay in bed.
Speaking of wind, it was a relatively light 6 mph out of the southeast, and so I decided to roll the dice and take the Fargo out on gravel. I’d done a little gravel earlier in the week and so I knew it was going to be icy, but the fatbike is equipped with Bar Mitts and they’re so good that I can literally go gloveless on all but the coldest days. It wouldn’t be a fair test of the Giros. It wouldn’t be a test at all.
So off I went on the Fargo for a quick 20 miles. I say quick because after five straight 20 milers on the fatbike, this was a little like taking the Porsche out of the barn. The verdict on the gloves? They’re good. I was out for 90 minutes, more or less, and my fingers weren’t at all cold until the last five minutes. I remember feeling them and looking at the time on my Garmin.
Eighty five out of ninety minutes on a 15° F morning is about as good as it gets in my little world. Operationally, I had no problem with the shifters or brakes. There’s even a little pocket in the mitts for those handwarmer thingees if you’re into that. I’ve never tried them. Bottom line, there’s no downside to this product that I can see except possibly wear. I don’t have any concerns here, but you never know. We’ll see how they hold up over time.
If you want a pair, size up at least one full size. I normally wear larges and I followed the advice of previous purchasers and went with the XLs. They fit, but they’re not at all big. Large’s would not have worked. Expect to pay somewhere around $50 which, truth be told, is why I went with these. The similar Crafts were in the $70-$80 range.