They're not cheap at £70, but these Rapha Pro Team Gloves are some of the nicest, most comfortable and hard-wearing long finger gloves you can buy. They are ideal for autumn and warmer winter rides providing good insulation with minimum bulk.
I actually tested these gloves extensively last winter and into the spring, put them away for summer (and forgot about them) and now the autumn chill has given us the first indication that winter is on its way I have dug them out for use again.
Through all that testing, they've become my go-to long sleeve gloves for mild to cool conditions. Why? Firstly there's the great fit. They slip over my fingers and hands like a second skin.
Rapha has positioned the seams and added a mesh panel insert on the underside to reduce any restriction of movement, and it works well. The fabric is also very soft and, dare I say it, luxurious feeling next to the skin, and there are no irritation or pressure points.
There's also a generous length cuff providing overlap with a long sleeve jersey or jacket. The addition of a Microsuede fabric on the fingertips ramps up the grip on the brake levers, and they also work with a smartphone screen too.
They're made from Polartec fabric that is windproof and water resistant; the fabric is waterproof but the seams aren't sealed so the gloves can't be classified as waterproof. The fabric provides excellent warmth, making them an excellent choice on a chilly morning ride with adequate breathability to cope when the temperature rises.
If you need to take them off, they can be rolled up and pushed into a jersey pocket without taking up much space at all. They do cope with rising temperates well, and rides conducted at pace when you are likely to generate more heat finds the gloves coping with the increasing temperature well.
They certainly aren't the first choice when it's pouring with rain but for managing cloudbursts and the unpredictability of weather at this time of year, they are better than fine. You can ride a long way in the rain before you notice the rain making its presence felt. I used them for most of the Grinduro race in Scotland when it did nothing but rain constantly.
They're durable gloves. As I mentioned, I've used them for off-road rides with a bit more rough and tumble than road rides. Even through hundreds of miles of road cycling, the gloves are showing no sign of failing or letting go at the seams. They go through a regular wash just fine as well.
As autumn rears its ugly head once again, part of me is actually looking forward to the colder weather so I can press these gloves into action again. Yes they are very expensive and you can certainly pay a lot less, but the fit and fabric performance puts these well ahead of the competition. I do wish they were cheaper though so I could give them a few more stars.
Near perfect autumn long finger gloves
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Rapha Pro Team Gloves
Size tested: Med
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?
Rapha has updated all of its cycling gloves for 2017, with the Pro Team Gloves designed for riders and racers requiring a full-finger pair for mild and cold weather. Using an improved Polartec fabric - the same as in the Pro Team Race Cape - the gloves are windproof, water-resistant (the fabric is waterproof, but the seams are too close together to be fully taped), and yet breathable enough to stop you overheating during hard efforts. Another newly re-engineered improvement is the fit: a mesh panel inserted on the underside of the seams creates shape when your hands grip the bars but which doesn't restrict motion the rest of the time. The seams have also been repositioned to avoid any pressure points, easing the strain on your hands. Microsuede fabrics have been inserted into the first two fingers of each hand for grip when shifting and braking. The tips have also been treated with a conductive solution to allow use of your phone or GPS computer without taking your gloves off.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Updated palm layout delivers improved grip comfort
Same Polartec fabric as Pro Team Race Cape for improved weather proofing and breathability
Quick-drying and doesn't hold water
Microsuede inserts on gear shifting fingertips for grip
Excellent fit and great warmth in a range of conditions, and good rain resistance as well
Extremely good in this respect
The fit really defines why I like these gloves so much, and when fit varies from bad to good in rival gloves, it's impressive that Rapha has got it so right
I found them perfect
Supremely comfortable, freedom of movement is good and the fabric is lovely next to the skin
They're mightily expensive, but you are getting top notch Polartec fabric in the construction and that stuff doesn't come cheap. I haven't tested many cheaper gloves that come as close to perfection as this
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Very easy, they go through a regular wash
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Live up to expectations perfectly
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A bit more reflectivity could be useful for winter rides
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
As you can probably tell, I rather like these gloves, I just wish they were cheaper so more people couldn't argue with the high price
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.