Remember the days when mountain bike gloves were all about having the thickest gel pads on the palms for comfort? Now look how things have changed.
The POC Index Air is a full fingered glove with a close fit and a very thin palm. The theory behind a thinner palm is that your hand can gain a greater ‘feel’ of the bike by the way feedback is transferred to your handlebar, but sacrifice a degree of protection when you hit the deck.
With properly functioning suspension and the combination of new technologies like: tubeless tyres, carbon frames, carbon bars and wider rims all contribute to cutting down harsh feedback to your hands. So you don’t necessarily need a thick glove for comfort. There will still be the individual need for protection over sensitive nerves and arteries in the centre of the hand, like what the Specialized Grail Glove achieves, but that isn’t for everyone.
The Index Air Glove slips on to the hand remarkably snugly, at first we thought we may have opted for a size too small, but during the first ride we found the tight and close fit to be absolutely perfect when your hand wraps around the handlebar. Where many gloves bunch up when gripping the bars, the POC’s don’t at all and after hours of riding we didn’t experience that typical soreness that comes with a glove with a folded and creased material against your skin.
The ventilation is a highlight (rendering them pretty impractical in cold weather), keeping your hands cool whilst wicking sweat, and are also quite stretchy in areas where you need good flexibility.
You can keep the gloves on when using your phone too, no excuses for not answering your mum’s phone calls when riding. And there are subtle little rubber pads on the finger tips for a bit more grip on the brake lever.
After a few weeks testing, we’ll happily say that these would have to be the amongst snuggest and most comfortable going. If you’re prone to crashing, or often bash your knuckles into stuff on the trails you, may want to find a pair with more protection. But for $80 you get what you pay for; unsurpassed fit, comfort and feel.