Recently I found fault with Polaris's lighter-weight RBS Windgrip gloves for being too short in the wrist, having no Velcro fastener, not having enough palm padding and being not warm enough for the winter. Polaris must have been reading, because the next items to turn up were its winter-weight RBS Winter Tech Gloves. Warm – yes. Long wrists – present. Velcro fastener – aye, aye captain. More palm padding – erm, well nobody's perfect; but this is a pretty good effort all-round.
Like the Windgrip, the RBS Tech is about high visibility. It's a shame that Polaris hasn't extended the high-vis theme to the palms, because showing a bright signal to oncoming traffic, especially when you're turning right, would seem a good thing to do. Fortunately, the chunky backs of the fingers extend round a little way so some of the fluorescent material can be seen by drivers approaching from the opposite direction, but not really enough.
Nor has Polaris chosen to add reflectives to the palms, though they are present on the back. These take the form of the RBS logo, a stripe up the side of the little finger and a band at the wrist. Oddly, on one glove this was about 1cm wide, but on the other about 3mm, so something seems to have gone awry at quality control. It doesn't matter, because the wrist strips were hidden by my jacket cuff anyway.
The gloves were a good fit on my long fingers, the wrists have elastic and Velcro for a perfect seal, and an extra layer of faux-suede on the palm adds a little bit of padding, though not at the all-important ulnar nerve area. All the same, I found these gloves comfortable on the handlebar.
Of course, the arrival of the gloves prompted a spell of mild weather, but about two weeks later the first freeze hit and I took them out on a bright but Baltic day with snow on the ground to test them for winter warmth. The first 10 minutes were mostly downhill and I was soon numb to my fingertips (a typical state of affairs for me from November to around June). I was prepared to bail out, but after two sustained climbs that got me sweating into my jacket, I suddenly felt the circulation return and I had no trouble for the rest of the ride. I won't say these will cure your Raynaud's, but if I can ride in the snow in them and be comfortable, that's a pretty good sign.
The Carbon Touch fingertips, which are supposed to allow you to use your mobile touchscreen device without taking the gloves off, just didn't seem to work. This wouldn't put me off buying a pair of these gloves.
Build quality looks very good, although I haven't been using them long enough to see how well they stand up to a full winter's punishment. No doubt, though, they will get plenty of use.
Ample warmth for most people, highly visible and very comfortable. Just a couple of minor issues prevent a higher mark
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Polaris RBS Winter Tech Glove
Size tested: Large, Black, 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 Winter Tech Glove is the perfect commuter glove for when the cold mornings and night bite. Its key feature is the new RBS Carbon Touch Technology which allows you to still operate all touchscreen devices whilst keeping your gloves on."
Allowing for a bit of marketing hyperbole, while not perfect, the Tech Gloves certainly have some good features and promise to be warm. I couldn't get them to work with my iPhone 4. Your device may differ.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Polaris says: "The glove is made from a heavier wind protection fabric [than the RBS Windgrip gloves] with a brushed liner for extra warmth. There is also a terry nose wipe on the thumb.The fluorescent print ensures increased visibility when signalling and there is an all over silicon printed palm for improved grip."
All the stitching is strong and tidy. The fabrics are of high quality. We shall see how long the fleece liner stays attached inside. Wet hands can sometimes pull gloves like this inside out.
A minor detail – the reflective strips on the backs of each glove were not the same width, which suggests something odd going on down at Quality Control.
Warm, comfortable and bright. The high-vis theme needs extending to the palms though.
No problems so far. I'll update at the end of the winter...
For a winter-specific glove, the weight is modest. Will that be at the price of warmth? So far it seems not.
Very pleasant to wear. The fingers and thumb have good length and are not restrictive and there were no obvious seams pressing. The long wrist is comforting and warm and fastens snugly. There is not much in the way of palm padding.
About typical price for a warm winter glove, with the added high-vis bonus.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very successful so far. No doubt I'll be cringeing when the temperatures really plummet, but that's more to do with me than the gloves.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfort, high-vis, long wrists with a Velcro enclosure.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A bit lurid, but if you're going to do high-vis you might as well go all the way. These have no high-vis or reflectives on the palms. The "Carbon Touch Technology" didn't work on my phone.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Bright and visible in the winter gloom, comfortable and weather resistant, these are very nice to wear. The high-vis really should extend to the palms more. I would like a little more padding and the "Carbon Touch Technology" didn't seem to work for me.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale CAAD10 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