Getting a good Grippp
Gloves, like helmets aren’t for everyone. Many people like nothing better than the uninterrupted connection with the bike and cockpit; experiencing each bump, every smooth mile of freshly laid tarmac and a cool breeze on the knuckles. I know, I like this too.
Of course, there are times when gloves are a good thing to have. Ideally, a good glove will do all the above and surprise us with even more advantages. Grippp Tour SF, by Swiss company, Hirzl, do just that.
This review is based on use over the spring, summer and early autumn months over the past 3 years and until the gloves disintegrated:
I choose riding with mitts for primarily two reasons: that of safety and increased grip. If I’m heading on a long ride, on unfamiliar roads, with people, or in a race, gloves provide that peace-of-mind. My earliest pair were from Altura, followed by Rapha’s Tour range, Giro LX and up till recently these Grippp Tour SF (GTSF). All of these have worn admirably, and as they should, since they take a lot of hammering.
The GTFS appealed to me as most reviews spoke well of the quality, toughness and unrivaled grip Hirzl had produced in this offering. So much so, it’s emblazoned on their products ‘GRIPPP’ – there you have it, it’s okay to talk about what you’re good at.
Mitts play a number of roles on and off the bike: on the bike, we want grip free from resistance; whilst off the bike, we want our palms to be saved from severe road-rash. The GTFS palms are put together using kangaroo leather, with padding supplemented by gel inserts. Whilst the backhand are a combination of no less than 6 materials: stretchable membrane / micro-fleece thumb, leather 45%, polyurethane 30%, Nylon 20%, unstated fibres 5%.
Confidence in your hands
According to the GTSF size guide, I fall into their medium range. At 20cm circumference, the accuracy of the Hirzl sizing chart is spot on with most other brands. It’s important to remember that like all good leather goods, they inevitably stretch and mould to fit over time. Over 3 years, these gloves did just that, but without over stretching that they kept their value and secure shape.
Sizing is clear and reassuringly accurate
A close up look
In my hands the GTSF look and feel very well put together. I’d compare them to the level of that one would expect from the likes of the Giro LX and the Rapha Tour gloves. On the hand, the medium size fits well and the velcro strap (I’d rather not have, but we’ll come to that later) secures the mitts in place.
On the outside of the gloves, the nylon + mixed fibres do a good job of cooling the hands. Little touches like the tabs on the fingers to aid in removing the glove with ease is a welcome touch. On the inside of the gloves, the kangaroo leather feels luxurious and the added finish to applied provides extra grip is reassuring to the touch. Of course, it needs a ride or two to see if this makes a difference.
Tabs to help for easy removal, reflective dots and a thin nylon + mixed fibres outer skin construction
They look very good too. Clearly something Hirzl have invested in is a good designer – not only do they unashamedly brand their products loudly, but they manage to do so with visual safety becoming a nice bonus of this. Their red offering of the GTSF in club colours of red, black and white matches our kit nicely. Naturally, they do a range of colours that will match most kits.
GTSF on an application ride
On the road with the GTSF I felt immediately confident in HIRZL’s claim of providing the best possible grip available. Connection to the cockpit is very good, assisting in precise handling and the subtle gel padding never interferes with the ride.
Ventilation is excellent on hot days, and on cooler days, it still holds on, bar deep autumn or spring temperatures.
Like all good leather products a little care will go a long way to prolong the life of the product. In this case, washing the hands in water with the gloves on and letting them dry naturally; away from direct sunlight, or artificial heat is a good start – getting this done straight after a morning ride, and drying the mitts overnight, wrapped in a towel when the days weren’t warm enough, ensured they were ready for use the next day. Once dry, I applied hand cream to maintain the leather’s suppleness. Over 3 years it seems to work a charm.
What needs improving?
It’s not all good news. Unfortunately, the stitching around the wrist came loose within three weeks. A needle and thread remedies this, but you don’t expect this kind of thing to happen.
- Stitching comes undone by the wrist area all too quickly
- Stitching around the gel pads on the palm comes loose
- White ‘GRIPP’ should be sublimated to avoid peeling off and losing this helpful visibility
- Velcro – just never sits well with lycra
Worn to destruction
The Low Down
The Hirzl GTFS are very good gloves and grip unlike anything else I’ve tried. The combination of kangaroo leather and light finish makes all the difference. I had purchased them on sale for £20. Over a 3 year period used throughout 3 seasons, I think it demonstrates its value. They currently go for £29.99, and I would still go for them. Only, Hirzl, please let go of the velcro.
:: The review is independent and the club does not have a partnership, nor sponsorship involvement with Hirzl. We simply like their ideas. You can find a range of reviews here ::