'Matter'

MATTER: Giro’s Ambient and Blaze Cold-weather Gloves

Ambient and Blaze Cold-weather Gloves

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It was the colour that led me to consider choosing Giro’s Blaze and Ambient gloves from their range last winter, but as I dug into their specs, I became convinced they would meet my needs perfectly for spring and fall. The lighter-weight Blaze model (top and left) has proven itself to be a very versatile option when regular long-finger gloves, such as the Xen, won’t do. These fit really nicely into the +5 to +10C range for me, which winds up being an awful lot or rides and races if you are active from spring through fall.

The backs of the Blaze are windproof, and take a fair bit of time to soak through in the rain. Meanwhile, their palms are very minimal, which I prefer, using few seams and only a small pad on the outer portion of the palm to relieve a little pressure and provide crash protection. I put this protection to use during my very first ride in the gloves in March, when I crashed out on some black ice near Cantley. Fortunately, the duct tape I applied to the inside of the rip the palm suffered lasted all season! I enjoyed many a great race and ride in these gloves, and they were my go-to for many of the cyclocross races through the end of November.

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The Ambient glove fits nicely against the Blaze, covering the range just below freezing to about +5C. Using a longer cuff construction and a velcro closure, the Ambient model is also differentiated from the Blaze by its interesting waffle-like interior lining, which creates tiny pockets of air around the hands. While a little odd at first, after a few minutes riding I no longer noticed their texture. Instead, I found the gloves worked exactly as I wanted, blocking wind and rain, their lined palm offering a little more warmth than the Blazes. I have also ridden them with a liner glove inside at -10C without issue, which was an excellent indication for their versatility.

For each cold cyclocross race this season, packing gloves was simple: these two were all I needed. If it was borderline too cold for either, I’d whip my arms vigorously before the starts as if I was double-poling on XC skis, that that’d charge up my hands with blood. I highly recommend this technique if you suffer from cold hands.

When facing consistent cold, rainy conditions, one would likely want to use a neoprene glove like Giro’s Neo Blazesince neoprene does a great job of retaining the heat of one’s perspiration. For colder, drier conditions, such as those we face during our snirt rides, Giro offers two other options that cover most riding one might do below 0C: the Proof, a classic mid-heavy glove, and the 100 Proof, a lobster claw. If you size gloves like these a little on the roomy side, you can tailor your protection by using different liner gloves inside.

Features – Ambient ($76 CAN)

  • Super Fit™ design with three-panel palm for a tailored fit
  • Clarino™ synthetic leather palm for enhanced durability
  • Silicone detailing for enhanced grip
  • 3-layer soft shell with water and wind-resistant membrane
  • X-Static® anti-microbial fleece lining
  • 3mm EVA padding distributes pressure for comfort and durability
  • Highly absorbent microfiber wiping surface;
  • Injected rubber pull tab
  • Reflective detailing
  • Super Fit™ liner

Features: Blaze ($57 CAN)

  • Super Fit™ design with three-panel palm for a tailored fit
  • Clarino™ synthetic leather palm for enhanced durability
  • Silicone detailing for enhanced grip
  • Insulated, moisture-wicking outer shell
  • Slip-on design for quick and easy on/off
  • 3mm EVA padding distributes pressure for comfort and durability
  • Highly absorbent microfiber wiping surface
  • Injected rubber pull tab
  • Reflective detailing
  • AGrid™ Thermofleece interior lining

Conclusions – MATTER SCALE RATING

Both pairs of gloves are great options for cold riding. Though not advertized, I was able to get both to work with my iphone’s touch screen, which was nice. After many washes, neither glove is fading or showing wear, aside from that inflicted by my crashes! In 2016 both models are still on offer, though not in orange. It looks like fluoro yellow is the colour of the year for 2016.

Ambient – 8/10

The Ambient has proven itself as a reliable option for cold, and somewhat wet riding. The fit of the glove is a little boxier than it could be, something I like in fingers more than palms. The cuff length is perfect, however, and the gloves’ ability to manage moisture is on par with what I expect for a glove of this kind. Durability is solid, no surprise given Clarino’s proven track record as a hard-wearing palm material. At $76 suggested retail, the Ambient is very well priced amidst other similar options.

Blaze – 8.5/10

This is a very able glove, capable of adeptly covering a broad range of riding conditions. The fit is very snug, and my one point of potential improvement would be to perhaps incorporate some stretch fabric along the outer edge of the palm to afford the glove a little expansion potential when the hand is clenched. This would alleviate pressure those with somewhat wide palms might experience, lending the gloves a broader range of hands they can comfortably cover. With a lot of use, mine were fine, but it took some time to stretch them out, particularly because I wash them after almost every ride.

Like the Ambient, the palms’ durability is great. It might be nice to add reflective detailing on these gloves, as the Ambient has, but I don’t consider this a strike against them. As it stands, the orange is excellent for making hand signals in traffic. At $57, these are about the same price as many summer gloves, which I feel makes them an exceptional value.

To see more from Giro, visit their site. Rebec and Kroes carries a good stock of Giro’s products, so I encourage locals to pay them a visit for more info and purchases. Many thanks to Giro and Rebec and Kroes for their support through 2015!

Disclosure: I was provided the gloves reviewed above from Giro at no cost as a sponsored athlete.

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