On a ride last Saturday with Team Expresso I was chatting with the bosses of Fortress Distribution who are based nearby. Their core business is what I would call barrier-layer equipment for dealing with hazardous materials.
One of their products is Black Mamba Gloves which they mentioned are good for bike maintenance. I received a few samples in the post yesterday and set about testing them earlier today on one of the grimiest bike jobs there is: transplanting a cassette from one set of wheels to another.
I received 2 pairs of medium and 2 pairs of large gloves, so far I have only used one pair of the medium size. I found the medium to fit quite nicely. As a guide to sizing I’m a small in Rapha cycling gloves, so you probably need to go a size up from normal to get a nice fit.
There are four ways maintenance gloves could prove unsuitable:
- They could let grease through
- They could fail (tear or be punctured)
- They could make the job more difficult
- They could cost too much
These do not let grease through. Despite the task requiring manipulating sharp sprockets and applying considerable force to tools the gloves stood firm. They certainly did not make the job more difficult (more on how I know this below). I think the price is good; even if you buy them retail from Wiggle it works out at less than 50p per pair. It’s up to you to decide if clean hands are worth that price.
As it happens, I finished the job quickly and then noticed that I had forgotten to fit the 1.85mm spacer required when you put a 10-speed cassette on an 11-speed hub. Unfortunately I noticed this a few seconds after removing the gloves, and rather than use another pair I took the opportunity to do some back-to-back testing. I don’t recall dropping any sprockets while wearing the gloves; I did drop three sprockets in two separate incidents while re-doing the same task with bare hands. Obviously this is a non-scientific comparison but my very limited experience suggests I have better grip on greasy bits wearing the gloves than with bare hands.