BTWIN 700 WINTER CYCLING GLOVES
Long Term Test (6 months) 198g £19.99
The BTwin 700 Winter Cycling Gloves are designed for cold weather riding. Performance is much better than their £20 ticket price would suggest but I was surprised to find myself needing liners when temperatures dipped below 3 degrees.
Debate rages whether it’s better to have a truly impervious glove, or one that might get a little damp but dries faster. In my experience, at this price point, the latter is preferable and, judging by their spec, Decathlon appears to subscribe to this mindset.
There are two choices; our classic Hi-viz yellow or satin black, with a mix of stealth and 3M reflective detailing to provide crucial presence when signalling, or indeed, just riding along. Black does an excellent job of hiding dirt, whether silt and slurry thrown up along waterlogged roads, or chain lube following a flat/similar mechanical.
Either way, these are made from water-repelling polyester designed to withstand persistent drizzle and more intensive showers. Not snowball fights or fishing jettisoned bottles from rivers and streams. Reckoned to hold precipitation at bay for up to three hours, there’s been little complaint on that front.
Maybe because it’s colder on the continent, these follow the classic duvet narrative. The lining is a 120g “Softermic” fleece, which is tethered to the fingers, so doesn’t plop out when saturated, which is a real blessing when low temperature machine washing cannot be deferred any longer. Aside from some minor tell-tale grime around the fingers (testament to the staying prowess of sophisticated wet chain lubes) ours have come up pretty well.
Generally warm and tactile (perhaps a little too toasty when air temperatures reach 8 degrees plus), the liner can catch on some rings, leading to bunching and discomfort.
Generous gauntlet type cuffs ensure optimal overlap with jackets, the Velcro closures allowing ample adjustment and cater nicely for slender wrists. Blessed with long willowy digits, fingers are suitably generous.
Dexterity is good, rather than great and will come as a definite culture shock if you’ve been wearing pre-curved, soft-shell designs with any regularity. Sausage finger syndrome seems to ease out after the first 100 miles or so and swiping touch-screen tech won’t present any major challenges. 2,500 miles hence, locking in the street doesn’t dictate removal but engaging lights/changing modes can be a bit fiddly.
Sizing is accurate in the click-to-cart sense. Large is my default and hasn’t disappointed.
Attention to detail hasn’t been overlooked at the palms either. These are a synthetic “Amara” type with silicone grippers. Even in monsoon conditions, on long descents with weariness kicking in, I’ve had no problems holding the bars. They work just as well in the dry. Some packet fresh leather wraps proved trickier customers until they cultivated a faintly weathered patina.
Ulnar defending padding can induce precisely the tingling and discomfort they were intended to alleviate - a problem that crosses the whole price spectrum. Though chunky and reminiscent of packet jelly mixes, they also sit flush and unobtrusive.
Thumb and forefingers used to be a weak-spot, worn away by repeated use of drifters - these also seem well engineered and I’d be very surprised if anyone needed to call upon the brand's two year no-quibble warranty.
One bigger problem only reared its ugly head a couple of months in, when the wintry weather really bit. On one particularly bitter November evening, fifteen miles into a 25 mile loop, I became acutely aware of an icy draft. Given 50 minutes at +1 and I was beginning to lose sensation in my finger tips.
Back at base, I was almost wincing with pain and I’m not particularly susceptible to chill. This theme continued, having secured a replacement pair- a size larger, resulting in some minor bagginess around the fingers.
Longer fingers meant the tips had a tendency to foul Sti paddles; annoying, especially in hillier rides, or stop-go town centre traffic but not a deal breaker on the open road.
On the flip side, this permitted the use of liner gloves, curing the sub zero blues and bringing performance in line with several staples costing £10-£15 more. Nonetheless, many riders will expect better performance from gloves bearing the cold weather tag.