A great idea that felt ridiculous at first but grew on me after just one ride. Well executed, too, with quality gloves at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, 'Glove' is not all you need to cycle in comfort, but it's certainly a good addition.
Overall aim of encouraging positive interaction on the road
A bit roomy
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Roadies get a bad rap. If we don't 'think we own the road', we 'think we're in the Tour de France', or that we're 'above the law'.
When the accusations aren't flying in our face from the direction of drivers (who, in about 85 per cent of cases, we also are), they're coming from others also on two wheels claiming we've all 'got grumpy' and left the culture of acknowledging other cyclists behind.
Loffi is a brand that has decided enough is enough. Launched via a Kickstarter campaign in November 2018, the hyper-friendly 'Glove' reached almost five times its funding target. The brand produced the first round of product, and following feedback has now moved on to the "Loffi Glove Adult 2.0 (opens in new tab)" model which we have on test here.
Of course, the unique selling point has to be the stitched in smile on the palm, which doubles up as padding to protect the areas most in contact with the handlebar. The 2.0 model has seen some optimisation. When we reviewed version 1.0, our key criticism was a lack of robustness in the smiley, which got dirty quickly and did eventually begin to tear. Now, the smiley is made from stripey, wipe clean silicon which is grippier, more padded and tougher.
The improvement has been a big success, and our current pair of Loffi gloves has stayed in great condition.
On the back of the hand, there's another smile, this time reflective and positioned to help draw attention to left and right indication after dark.
The creators and marketeers obviously have a bit of a sense of humour. Coupled with the somewhat excessive size of the palm smiley, you've also got the catchphrase 'Glove is all you need', repeated use of the singular noun (Why wear Glove? - which had our news editor Vern almost leave the building) and Instagram feed (opens in new tab) depicting everyone from Mr Motivator to the cast of Greece wearing 'Glove'.
However, all the humour serves a serious goal - to "make waving more meaningful and grow a culture of goodwill on our roads."
Indeed, it's really very hard to miss or forget about the large palm smiley. When testing these, the gesture of waving in response to a considerate pass or junction interaction became all the more meaningful. And when I was passed too close, knowing I had a large comedy smiley sewn into my palm really did serve as a reminder that sometimes it's just not worth letting rage ruin a good ride.
Cheesy as it might sounds, the 'Loffi Glove 2.0' both allowed me to express friendliness to nice road users and helped me not to get riled up over inconsiderate ones. I won't suggest a reflective smily could fix all our problems on the road, but it can't do any harm either.
Sentiment and road-rage dampening aside, the effectiveness of a pair of gloves is important. The best gloves keep your hands warm, and ideally dry - no amount of smilie will overcome poor performance there. Thankfully in the case of the Loffi Glove 2.0, weather proofing is spot on.
These little critters provide a water resistant and windproof upper, with an AX suede palm and soft fleece inner. Riding early on winter mornings, my hands were warm and in no danger of numbness.
In the rain, they stayed relatively dry from the outside, and water beads off the surface as expected from a DWR (durable water repellent) finish. I did find the inside of the gloves became damp with sweat, but this is the case with many more expensive pairs I've tested.
The cuff on a size 'small' measured at 6cm in length, and the material funnels inwards to offer a narrower fit and keep cold air out.
I tested Loffi's gloves in a size Small - and sizes run from X-Small to X-Large. They were a little big baggy on me worn alone. Loffi also offers liners (£10, sizes small to large) - and teaming the two up provided both extra warmth and a slightly snugger fit. However, in most conditions I found the gloves sufficient on their own and so I'd recommend sizing down - if you've got particularly tiny hands, there is a kid's range!
The gloves are touchscreen compatible, and I found I could operate the maps and camera on my phone without removing them. However, contact wasn't as exact as it would be naked-handed, and when truly lost in the lanes I resorted to removing them for better control of the Google maps screen.
There's a micro fleece patch on the thumb, which acts as a sweat or snot wipe, and was sufficient even on those "just getting over a cold" rides.
At £35 'Glove' offers all the performance features and comfort from a pair you'd expect to cost more - with a smile.
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