The gloves are off among cyclists over the merits of hi-vis. It's almost as contentious an issue as the wearing of helmets. If you're in the pro camp and visibility is the most important feature to you then you certainly should be seen by all but the most determined texter-at-the-wheel in the Polaris RBS Windgrip Glove. If the main reasons you wear gloves are for comfort and warmth, and you're not put off by the glow, be sure you don't need palm padding and heavy-duty insulation.
RBS refers to 'Really Bright Stuff', which these are, the fluoro material being the Vortex wind protection on the backs. There's also a fluoro logo printed on the inside of the wrist which adds a little visibility to the front of the glove, though not a lot, and it may well be covered by your jacket cuff. When indicating to turn, you will be well visible to following traffic but showing a black palm to oncoming drivers. Once your hands are on the bar, though, forward visibility will be excellent. In fact, these cured me of my Froome-like tendency to look down at the stem as the acid yellow of the gloves burned into my eyes!
The palms are printed all over with silicone Polaris 'P' logos, which offer fair grip on bar tape. And patches on the pad of the thumbs and forefingers allow you to work your smartphone without removing the gloves, though I found this took a bit of practice. There is ample snot and sweat-soaking room on the fleecy thumbs, too.
Construction is straightforward and tidy. The gloves fitted me well in the large size with plenty of finger length and good stretch. I could feel the internal seams wanting to get under my nails, particularly on the thumbs, which I thought might get irritating, but actually I didn't really notice it while riding.
These are at the lightweight end of full-finger gloves, the fleece interior and the windproofing being the keys to keeping the cold out. I won't comment on their thermal properties too much as I suffer greatly from cold hands and even ski gloves don't prevent this, but I do know other riders who can go all winter in a pair of gloves of this weight. Water resistance is limited.
I had a gripe with the wrists, which I found too short to prevent a gap, and I also didn't get on with the elasticated cuff, which I found too loose, though I admit to having skinny wrists. I would much prefer a Velcro tab for fine adjustment.
Polaris describes these gloves as being 'for all outdoor sports and activities', and their non-bike-specific nature may account for the lack of padding. This might help keep the weight down, but for me it was a noticeable omission, especially when riding out of the saddle. Not everyone likes padding, and you might disagree, but to my mind these gloves may well be ideal for running, but for cycling there are better designs out there offering greater comfort – though not necessarily better visibility.
Good for visibility on shorter rides, but not enough comfort for the long haul and they may leave your wrists exposed
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Make and model: Polaris RBS Windgrip Glove
Size tested: Large, Fluo Yellow
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Polaris says: "The Polaris Bikewear RBS Windgrip Tech Glove is the perfect commuter glove for all seasons. Its key feature is the new RBS Carbon Touch Technology which allows you to still operate all touchscreen devices whilst keeping your gloves on."
For me, the gloves are too lightweight for year-round use, but warmer-blooded riders may disagree.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Polaris says: "The glove is made from a lightweight vortex wind protection fabric with a brushed liner for extra warmth. The fluorescent print ensures increased visibility when signalling and there is an all over silicon printed palm for improved grip."
The gloves are tidily made and the stitching strong. I did find the internal seams on the fingers and thumbs noticeable at first, but not once I was out on the bike.
Windproofing is good, but the lack of padding is an issue for me, and they come up short. The elasticated cuff was also a bit loose for my wrists; I would prefer a Velcro tab.
I would expect to get at least a year out of any pair of gloves and there's nothing to suggest these won't last the course.
A lightweight glove for autumn conditions; if you need a heavyweight glove for winter then look elsewhere.
For me, the lack of padding compromised these gloves, as did the short cuff, which exposed the skin on my wrists. The lumpy internal seams at the ends of the thumbs and fingers were less noticeable when in use on the bike, and the stretch in the fabric is good.
Inexpensive hi-vis wear with better safety performance than hand-warming, though that depends on the thermal properties of the rider as well as the glove.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Thermally these are at the lighter end of the scale. I suffer from cold hands so wouldn't choose these, but riders who glow may find them plenty warm enough. The windproof backs seem effective and the high-visibility is suitably lurid, but I found the lack of padding noticeable on the bike, especially during standing climbs.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
High visibility and the full thumb-length snot wipers.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Erm, the hi-vis... And the lack of padding, short wrists, and elasticated instead of Velcro cuffs.
Did you enjoy using the product? So-so
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? No
Use this box to explain your score
A stretchy, windproof-backed glove is great for autumn and spring (and half of the summer too), but for me these need more padding, a longer wrist and, preferably, a Velcro wrist fastener.
About the tester
Age: 50 Height: 6'2 Weight: 73kg
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 Dura-Ace My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: Touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking