Gloves are a cycling item that you can take seriously, casually or not at all! I take my glove selection seriously on the basis of their primary purpose – to protect your hand in the event of a crash. It only takes a couple of crashes where you unintentionally tickle the good dirt of Australia a little too rough to know losing skin on your hand is never fun. With a glove, you add a barrier between you and the earth and minimise the risk of damage to your skin. Protection is their number one purpose and over the years many more great features have become one with the humble glove.
Cycling/MTB/riding however you may like it involves a handlebar as one of the main touch points between you and your steed. There are a few key design features I look for in a pair of gloves that help process feedback through the bike from the terrain, control the bike from the handlebar, and make them easy to maintain off the bike too. After much cycling enjoyment with Pearl Izumi’s range of bib shorts, I looked to their range of MTB gloves for a wardrobe refreshment once my previous pair had seen their day.
The Pearl Izumi Divides have been one of two pairs of gloves I have been calling up for the past few months. The Divides have really impressed me with a few key features that I feel make for a great glove. The first key feature I look for in MTB gloves is minimal to no seams at the palm area. Your palm has such a large surface area and a seam in the wrong spot can interrupt the feedback from the trail through the handlebar. A prominent knot can be quite the distraction on the trails when the going gets rough! These gloves have a single minimal seam at the main fold of your thumb joint, qualifying them for the hands of a ninja. I’ve never had a disturbance during a ride from the soft seams on the Divides.
The second key feature I look for is durability. Most gloves these days incorporate a “Clarino” synthetic leather palm that is soft to touch and hard wearing. Having had this construction proven on many long lasting pairs of gloves before, I was happy to see the PI Divides include this also. The index and middle fingers feature silicon pads that provide extra grip to the brake lever. This isn’t an uncommon feature on MTB gloves, however it is common for them to be the first part of gloves to wear and disintegrate. 3 months in, the braking lever pads on the Divides have shown no sign of peeling from their use, even washing them once a week!
An unsung feature of the Divides that I wasn’t expecting to be of such great use is their Touchscreen compatible index finger. This is indicated by a non-descript power button on the first finger of the gloves should you forget! I haven’t yet come to look for this feature in a pair of gloves, but I certainly will now following the integration of this into the PI Divides. I became comfortable with having to just remove my gloves if I needed to reach for my phone. In the age where we are recording rides on phones, needing to check how late your riding mates are, or getting a clip for the next instagram reel, not having to unhand yourself means I can spend more precious seconds riding! I’ll be looking for a touchscreen finger on my next pair!
The Pearl Izumi Divide gloves have been quite a treat to train and ride with for the past 3 months. They are comfortable to ride with and their reliable construction have my belief they will last for many more months of riding. That is, until they come to protect my hands from the ground – touchwood! Divides have since received a refresh for the 2021 catalogue which I will highly consider if mine have an early exit. If anything though, this generation of PI Divide gloves have shown me how handy a good pair of gloves can be!
Categories: Product Review