Giro's new Ambient 2 gloves are an outstanding choice for moderately cold conditions, with a snug fit, great bar feel and impressive flexibility for an insulated set of mitts. They're not suited for wet rides, though, and when Giro say they're good down to 5°C (40°F), they mean it.
Patterning on the Ambient 2 is just about perfect, with a skin-hugging fit and strategically cut palm and finger panels that lend easy flexibility while on the bike. We regularly wore the Ambient 2s on both chilly road rides and at 'cross races and workouts without the hand cramping that can sometimes come with bulkier or poorer fitting gloves.
The thin Clarino synthetic leather palm and minimal padding – just 3mm of EVA foam on the outer edge of your hand – mean you retain very good bar feel and the multi-piece construction impressively doesn't bunch up. Meanwhile, silicone rubber patches on the thumb, forefinger and middle finger tips add extra grip for slippery controls.
Reflective stripes on the back of the hand and fingers provide some nighttime visibility, and don't worry, Giro haven't forgotten the most basic of winter cycling glove features – there's a generously sized snot wipe on the back of the thumbs.
A full X-Static fleece lining lends an impressive amount of warmth considering the bulk and admirably battles odor but when Giro say these gloves are good down to 5°C (40°F), they aren't kidding. They're just about perfect right up to the knife's edge of that temperature rating but instantly insufficient just a few degrees below.
Unfortunately, you'll also want to pass on the Ambient 2s if it's wet out. Giro's website describes the Ambient 2 as having a DWR coating to help shed water but as it turns out, that's old information that's yet to be updated. Giro say a late production change forced them to leave off the DWR coating in order to keep the reflective detailing.
Not surprisingly then, our testers readily sucked up moisture, quickly soaking our hands to the bone when run under a cold faucet so the Ambient 2s definitely aren't well suited for those rainy winter days. If you stay away from the wet and are mindful of the temperature, though, these are some of the best cycling-specific, cool-weather gloves we've used.