CHIBA SECOND SKIN WINDPROOF AND WATERPROOF GLOVES
106g L/9 (as tested) £34.99
Chiba offer a huge range of gloves for everything from cycling to skiing to wheel-chair racing. Their Second Skin Gloves are described as wind and waterproof, fit like a second skin - if you get the size right - and offer a very good all-round performance. Once I’d come to terms with the very snug fit, I have come to like these very much.
Pros: very effective padding, do very much what they say.
Cons: not reliable, in my experience, on touchscreens.
There’s a long list of ingredients in the shell fabric: Polyester Polyurethane, Polyethelene, Polyamide, Elastodian, and Spandex. The sewn in liner is totally Polyester. Away from this list, the fundaments are that there’s a stretchy, gusseted cuff, a gently elastic back, and a much more rigid palm. The “Griptec” fabric that makes up the palm stretches along the thumb and fingers. Also featured on the palm is some very prominent padding across finger joints and, diagonally, across the palm.
The lining is sewn in, but it is not anchored at the finger tips.
Compared to knit gloves, these are more rigid. Thus the fingers are pre-curved (ready to wrap around the bars). There’s some reflective detailing on there, too, to rpovide added presence when indicating. The cold weather cyclists’ friend - the Terry strip can be found on thumb and forefinger. Although the finger-ends feel quite stiff, I have not found them effective on touchscreens.
A nice touch, on the wrist, is a tab to aid pulling on the snug glove.
I have seen it suggested that the intended temperature comfort zone runs from zero to ten degrees centigrade. Of course, much can depend on wind and rain, but these are described as waterproof, windproof, and breathable.
In most gloves and mitts, I come in as a Large, less often, Extra-Large. Of course, these are meant to be a ‘second skin”
- so expect them to be a tight fit. However, the glove label indicated that it was a United State L - an EU 9. Whilst they fitted perfectly, I may well have gone for the next size up if I had been close to the margin. Five sizes are available, from small upward.
Fundamentally, a cool 30C wash and drip dry. There’s no specific direction to use liquid or technical soaps, such as Graingers Tech Wash, but as I’m often washing cycling gear demanding suchlike, I’ve tended to use it for these, too.
Drying times? Well, post heavy rain, on the bike, things were back to about normal in thirty minutes or so. Post machine wash? Well,depending on conditions, ours took 6 to 8 hours.
Wind, water, and breathability 4.5/5
These are not diving gloves, so they are not waterproof in the submersible sense. You would hope that, tucked away under the cuffs of your waterproof jacket things would stay dry. Well, they do. Watering-can test, prolific drizzle, and an hour pf protracted heavy rain have all been held at bay.
With the outer wet, I did feel some cooling. That’s to be expected, but, except when the temperature drop to around 4C, I did not notice it. In any case, drying time on the bike is pretty quick.
Steady 12-15mph commuting has felt comfrotably warm in low single degrees C, and when things have reached upper single and low double figures on the way home. No overheating, let alone clammy. Breathability seems excellent.
Testing in autumn has probably been ideal for the gloves’ temperature range, and I’ll be interested to see how low they can go. On the other hand, whilst they may be on the warm side for summer, I can think of some chilly, wet days in the mountains when they’d definitley fit the bill.
My favourite feature is the padding. Prone to vibration induced finger and thumb numbness as I am, it’s been a real pleasure to roll over the setts, bash along forest tracks, and take on the lumps and bumps of the average UK back road or decrepit city street, without the slightest hint of losing the circulation of the blood. I’m tempted to say that this is the most effective padding I have experienced - even without chunkier bar tape. I’ve been using decent Cinelli wraps and Oxford’s Performance Bar Tape and the effect has been admirable. Mind you, this is not a precise science. In my case, glove size, pad positioning, and hand dimensions have formed happy menage-a-trois.this has been the case, both on flat/riser bars and on hoods and flats. Drops, too, but not quite as good - at least for my hands.
Equally, the lining is, as you’d expect, softly tactile. Needless to say, stitching is invisible and smooth. However, take care when pulling the gloves off - the lining is not anchored to the finger tips.
Leaving comfort, breathability, etc, behind, grip has been excellent on the rubber of a flat-barred utility bike andon the various bar tapes ofmy drop-barred collection. Everything reassuringly solid, especially when rattling down gravel tracks or manouvring in city traffic.
Surprise was my initial reaction when tapping the touchscreen of the iPhone caused nothing to happen. Nothing form the Mio Cycle 210, either. For me that is not a huge problem, but it may put some more technophile riders off.
A firm, positive push operates lights, such as the Ravemen PR1600. Needless to say, that is not uncommon, amongst lined gloves. Lever switches, such as that on the Sinewave Beacon are easily operated. Likewise, zips with large fobs have been easy enough to locate - and you can always add your own
DexShells Ultralite Gloves are equally waterproof, although they won’t go to the lower temperatures without
supplementary liners. Given that I’ve seen the Chiba Second Skin Gloves discounted, they are simialr in price. The latter are bike specific, too.
Their Pro Safety siblings impressed Michael, and are a very good choice for the commuter. However, they’re water resistant, rather than proof.
Phew’s Early Winter/Lobster Gloves make for an interesting combination that cover a longer season. Again, whilst their water resistance is bette rthan one might expect, they make no claim to be waterproof.
BTwin’s 700 Winter Gloves are much cheaper than the aforementioned, but are not waterproof, so probably less suitable for hell and high water riders.
The Chiba Second Skin Gloves cover many bases whether you are on or off-road. They are ceratinly very effective in UK autumn - and, I guess, spring - conditions. I have a feeling that they will go into winter on all but the coldest days. Great padding, in my opinion, suggests multiple uses, for rougher tracks as well as long mileage. Hi-tech fiends will bemoan their poor performance on the touchscreen, but if that is not of concerm, then there’s lots to be said for them.