The best mountain bike gloves will not only protect your hands in the event of a crash but also increase your grip on the handlebar.
A pair of gloves with a good fit should also reduce the amount of pressure exerted on your hands over longer rides. Summer gloves should balance protection and breathability, while winter gloves should protect your hands from the elements when riding in cold and wet conditions.
If you’re looking for a new set of mountain bike gloves then here’s our pick of the bunch, as rated by BikeRadar’s team of expert testers. We’ve covered the best winter mountain bike gloves and the best summer mountain bike gloves, with sections below for each.
The best winter mountain bike gloves, as rated by our expert testers
- 100% Brisker: £29 / US$35 / AU$47 / €35
- Endura SingleTrack Windproof: £30 / US$45 / AU$60 / €40
- Fox Defend Fire: £50 / AU$85 / €55
- Royal Quantum: £20
So good: Despite feeling tight at first, after a lap of the laundry the 100% gloves become supple and fit great. There’s little bunching between hand and grip, the wrist closure works well, and they play nicely with touchscreens. The Briskers excel in the wet, where they remain remarkably warm and grip the bar brilliantly. Our go-to winter gloves for years, they’re impressively durable too.
No good: They’re no longer our unconditional favourites, as they can’t match the sublime feel of the Endura Singletrack gloves below on cold-but-dry days. But if we could only have one set of winter gloves, we’d pick these for their wet-weather performance.
- Price: £29 / US$35 / AU$47 / €35
Endura Singletrack Windproof
So good: While they feel a little stiff when new, the fit and feel on the grips of the Endura gloves is the best on test. The supple synthetic-leather palm is extremely comfortable and tactile, creating a feeling almost like riding without gloves. Hands are kept warm in nippy air by the windproof and lightly insulated back/top. The wrist closure is neat, and the construction quality appears very good.
No good: Perhaps unsurprisingly given the ‘Windproof’ name, they’re not as warm or grippy when wet as the 100% Briskers. They don’t work with touchscreens, so it’s harder to call your other half to warn them that your ride’s running late… again.
- Price: £30 / US$45 / AU$60 / €40
Fox Defend Fire
So good: These are some of the only gloves with knuckle protection we’ve come across, where the armour doesn’t ruin their comfort. The D30 padding is soft (but hardens upon impact) and curved to fit the hand. It’s reassuring to have when threading through tight trees. The uninterrupted palm feels great on the bike too, with little bunching and a great fit, and the fingers work well with screens.
No good: While fine for chilly weather, the Defend Fires aren’t the warmest on test. We’d prefer if the cuff extended slightly further up the wrist. There’s a little more side-to-side movement on the grip than with the top two gloves here, too (100% Brisker and Endura Singletrack).
- Price: £50 / AU$85 / €55
So good: Being the most minimal winter gloves here (54g), with a thin, one-piece, pre-curved palm, the feel on the grips is excellent. There’s no bunching, no distracting seams between hand and bar, and they grip well in the wet. With their four-way-stretch, breathable back they’re great for milder days. They work with touchscreens, and are well-priced too.
No good: While Royal says the Quantums are ‘perfect for riding all year round’, they aren’t much warmer than some summer gloves. Also, the velcro wrist closure tab only just closes around relatively skinny wrists.
- Price: £20
The following gloves scored fewer than 4 out of 5 stars in our winter test but are still worth considering.
Troy Lee Designs Swelter
So good: The long wrist cuff on the Troy Lee Designs Swelter gloves creates a secure feel and provides generous overlap between glove and sleeve, making the Swelters one of the warmest options here. We found the fit spot on, and the velcro wrist closure works fine. They’re touchscreen compatible too.
No good: Sewn-in reinforcement below the fingers (even though gloves usually fail between the digits or on the heel of the palm) and a seam up the inside of the thumb, which rubs against the grip, mean they feel slightly bulkier on the bar than higher-scoring gloves. They are more slippery when wet, too.
- Price: £45 / AU$90
The best summer mountain bike gloves, as rated by our expert testers
- Endura Humvee Lite II: £20 / $21 / AU$50
- Troy Lee Designs Ace 2.0: £35 / $36 / AU$70
- 100% Celium 2: £25 / $28 / AU$40
- Giro Outsider: £45 / $45
Endura Hummvee Lite II
So good: Endura’s Humvee Lite gloves deliver plenty of feel through their synthetic leather palm, which is thin but feels more protective than others here. It helps that the accurate cut makes for a snug fit with no bunching when gripping the bar.
Thanks to the mesh backing, they don’t get overly warm, and that backing (along with the impressive fit) means they’re tight enough to stay nice and secure. Our hands never shifted in the gloves when yanking hard on the bar. The snot wipe covers the back of the thumb. Plus, at their retail price, they’re a bargain.
No good: The finger seams feel quite prominent, but you get used to them.
- Price: £20 / $21 / AU$50
Troy Lee Designs Ace 2.0
So good: If you’re after ‘barely there’ gloves, the Ace 2.0s from Troy Lee Designs should be at the top of the list. They’re light and breathable, but super-secure when you pull at the bar while climbing or throwing the bike around. The thin palm delivers plenty of feel from the grip and, thanks to the well-shaped cut, we didn’t suffer any bunching.
One of the neatest features is the silky-smooth, stretchy cuff, which wraps around your wrist comfortably and securely, helping to lock the glove onto your hand without it ever feeling overly tight or irritating.
No good: They’re pricey compared to most on the list, although they do last well.
- Price: £35 / $36 / AU$70
100% Celium 2
So good: With a seriously impressive, hand-hugging cut and super-secure feel, the Celium 2s feel great on the bike. Thanks to the taut, stretchy mesh upper and unobtrusive but rock-solid belcro closure at the cuff, they don’t shift on your hands when you’re working hard on the bike and pulling at the bar.
The thin, perforated palm delivers loads of feedback from the grip and is really well-shaped so doesn’t bunch up. Pricing is reasonable too.
No good: We’d prefer less silicone print on the palm because it can get slippery in the wet. It’d be nice to get a small snot wipe on the thumb too.
- Price: £25 / $28 / AU$40
So good: The Outsiders are great for riding in warmer weather, with a secure, comfortable fit. They’re very well made and built especially tough. We loved the soft leather palm that offers a really connected feel at the bar. Strapless cuffs help keep your wrists free of restriction.
No good: The price is particularly high for summer gloves and the fingers were a little long for our tester.
- Price: £45 / $45
The following gloves scored fewer than 4 out of 5 stars in our summer test but are still worth considering.
So good: The Rangers may not be the lightest or breeziest here, but they’ll take their fair share of scuffs without flinching. That said, they don’t get too sweaty when you’re working hard.
The snot wipe on the thumb is small but handy, and we like the Velcro closure, which is secure without feeling obtrusive. Considering just how solid these are, they’re really well-priced.
No good: We’d try before buying because they’re quite big and the fingers are a little baggy. (Sizing down helps to prevent this.) We’re not fans of the thick silicone print on the thumb, index and middle fingers, which gets slippery when wet.
- Price: £22 / $25 / AU$40
So good: These are well-priced, with a super-thin, perforated palm, so you can feel every lump and bump. There’s next to no print on the palm, which we prefer because it stops it getting slippery when wet. The stretchy mesh upper keeps things breathable so there’s no worry about getting sweaty. We like the microfibre snot wipe on the thumb too.
No good: The 7iDPs’ upper isn’t the tightest across the back of the hand and we did notice some slight shifting inside the gloves at times. Occasionally, the palms also bunched a little, which needs rectifying to avoid any hand discomfort.
- Price: £20 / $27
Royal Racing Race
So good: In terms of fit and feel, the Royals are very close to the 7iDPs, with a thin, feedback-rich, perforated palm. There’s no chance of overheating thanks to the mesh upper, which helps to keep things light and airy. Accurate shaping and a good cut make the Race gloves fit nicely and measure up true-to-size.
No good: Like on the Transitions, the mesh upper doesn’t feel as tight across the back of the hand as on other gloves here, so we did feel our hands shift inside them very slightly from time to time. They’re also a tenner more than the 7iDPs and don’t have a snot wipe.
- Price: £30 / $28