Tired of cold fingers on your winter rides? The Ekoi Heat Concept gloves could help
The Ekoi Heat Concept gloves include heating elements to keep your fingers warmer as you ride. Because they’re out in the wind and not moving much, fingers can be the first part of you to feel the cold in freezing conditions. Once your fingers get cold, in the worst case they may never warm up again for the rest of your ride. Riding with cold hands is miserable and potentially dangerous if you can’t operate your controls properly.
So a set of heated winter gloves is potentially a godsend. The heating elements in the Ekoi Heat Concept gloves are powered by two thin battery packs in each glove. These fit into a sleeve inside the underside of the gloves’s wrist, are held in place by a Velcro closure and have a cable with a small plug to connect them to the heating wires in the gloves.
The Ekoi Heat Concept gloves’ heat output is controlled using a small square button on the top of the glove. Give it a long push and it turns on, while shorter pushes cause the heating to cycle through four different target temperatures between 25°C and 40°C. The level of heat selected is indicated by the colour of the button, which changes from green through amber, to red. It’s very easy to use the heat level control when riding.
The Ekoi Heat Concept gloves provide a comfortable level of all-over warmth for your hands, helping to keep away the dreaded numb fingers. Ekoi says that each glove will give out up to 15 watts of heat energy. Battery life is around two hours when set at the highest level, extending to five hours on the lowest setting.
The Ekoi Heat Concept gloves themselves have classic deep winter features. They’re very well padded, although this makes more delicate manipulations when riding, such as opening gels, quite difficult. They incorporate a breathable waterproof membrane, although Ekoi still says that you should switch the heating off in heavy rain. There’s a line of elastic at the wrist, below a Velcro closed cuff, preventing draughts.
Ekoi also advises against washing the Ekoi Heat Concept gloves, saying that you should surface wipe them only.
The palm has plenty of padding, with extra pads and silicone dots where you hold the bars. There are also silicone pads on the ends of the thumb, index and middle fingers and further down the ring and middle fingers to help with grip on the bike’s controls. The thumb has a fleece top to wipe your nose and/or glasses and there’s leather reinforcement between the thumb and first finger, an area which can suffer a lot of wear.
What didn’t work well for me was the placement of the batteries. They sit on the underside of the wrist and the bottom of the palm. Any motion of the wrist joint tends to result in them digging into your wrist. Despite the batteries having rounded edges, this is still uncomfortable.
Ekoi says that the gloves are effective down to -20°C. If you plan to ride in conditions this cold they might be worth considering. But in the UK, where temperatures rarely get much below zero, the disadvantages of the Ekoi Heat Concept gloves probably outweigh their pluses for most riders.
The Ekoi Heat Concept are heavy-duty winter gloves with a lot of padding and sophisticated palm grips. But their main trick is the built-in heating elements. These are effective and easy to control but are let down by the uncomfortable battery positioning.