Black Rubber gloves seem like an oddity. Yet, they are surprisingly useful for wet weather riding, especially when the temperature drops.
Folklore suggests that Dennis Cross, creator of the first purpose made wetsuit for surfing crafted his invention in his camper van off the coast of Cornwall. And the international company that is GUL was born. If divers can claim dexterity when working under water, surely a wetsuit glove like the Flexor will work just as well above sea level. We take a look at the 4mm version by the British manufacturer.
Purchased from Watersports Warehouse we consulted the size guide and it made sense that we chose a medium. However, upon receiving the Flexor Gloves, it was clear we were going to need a larger size. Annoyingly, this meant a postal charge, but as the gloves had been reduced, it wasn’t so bad. Plus, we could tell immediately that the 4mm option had good thermal properties, and above all the workmanship is excellent.
Once the friendly advisors at Watersports sent us out the right size we were able to test it in the most trying conditions: early morning laps at 5am; winter base miles and even short commutes, the Flexor was a popular choice over more chunkier options.
Thanks to the ‘raw wrists’ of the gloves, they only need a slight tug to pull on. Once on the 4mm quickly insulates you through your own heat. Plus, the dexterity it offers gives you the confidence to ride safely. Removing the glove is slightly more trickier, but again, the raw wrists aid with your hands exiting the gloves.
They hold their shape well, thanks to their seamless construction. Glued and blind-stitched their is no harsh contact to the skin. Instead a soft feeling of orange lining on the inside, coupled by a tough, grippy exterior. The length is ideal. A good 4cm beyond the wrist, the Flexor insists on keeping you cosy.
There’s no getting away from the fact that they initially look and feel weird. Wetsuits look a bit naff to begin with, so riding around town or in the country feels odd. However, when the rain comes down and the temperature drops, you soon forget their oddity, and appreciate how well they function.
We’ve already mentioned their excellent insulating properties. Especially, at 4mm, this is a subtle increase in density, but the benefits make it all the more worth it. The grip is exceptional, and long lasting too. They’ve gone in the wash almost 2o times since their purchase in October, and at 30-degrees, they come out clean and ready for action.
The grip is excellent. However, this does make you pause to think if perhaps you’re holding on too tight. Needless to say, it only takes minimal effort on the drops to feel confident of your security.
Pulling the gloves on gives an instant sense of confidence. Riding in soggy to torrential conditions are no longer a problem, even when the temperature drops. However, on very cold days layering is the best option. Lobster-style gloves are designed for such days.
Gul’s Flexor glove comes into its own thanks to its snug fit and near perfect construction. It feels rugged, and you can imagine going to the deepest depths and still kept protected. It’s not water proof, but the idea is to keep you warm, and thus, enabling you to keep going.
Extending the grip further, from the palms to the outside of the hands gives the gloves an original finish. With the raw wrists left bare allowing for easy access and removal.
Sharing an item with another sport, it is good to see the potential cross overs available. The Gul Flexor 4mm glove is one such item.
We matched this with the DMT Borealis MTB shoes, and found them to be an ideal pair. Read the review here.