MTB Gloves: Heat Wave 2.0, Trail Pro, Trail Warrior.
Patented Shock-Tek™ palm pad system protects the median nerve to prevent numbness and discomfort.
Andy Johnston, multi-time mountain bike national champion, after having to use “winged” style grips due to numbing hands, decided to test the benefits of the Spenco line of gloves. The key feature is palm padding near the wrist to reduce pressure on the Carpel Tunnel Nerves.
Many cyclists prefer gloves with no padding at all in the palm, so may be dissuaded, but several Spenco gloves are not padded across the entire palm, just on the heel of the hand, while others have full palm padding or a double layer of leather giving riders a choice.
The Median Nerve runs down the arm and across the wrist just between the meaty parts of the palm. It is the pressure against the carpal tunnel nerve that can cause pain or numbness in the hand or fingers. Dr. A. Robert Spitzer, a neurologist, developed this patented design. With Spenco gloves a relief zone is created between the padding to greatly reduce pressure and reduce road shock. Pressure is diverted away form the sensitive areas of the hand.
|After 6 months of off-road use the padding is flattened a little, but the gloves are in great shape.|
This test was done over a 6-month period, and became the test riders’ favorite gloves. The Spencon gloves held up well and had quality construction. Numbness in the hand and fingers was gone, as was the need for heavy, comfy grips. The padding near the wrist was not noticeable and the glove still gave a positive feel when on the bar. The gloves are on the level of a medical device, but eventually the edges of the padding will flatten out a little, so should be replaced even before the rest of the glove wears out to get the full medical benefit. After 6 months the gloves are still working well.
There is a variety of models available in both short-finger and long-finger styles:
The Trail Warrior, with its Japanese Anime inspiration, is a great all-around 3-season glove. Minimal palm padding, and a comfort fit.
Aside from the Median Nerve padding it has only a double layer of leather around the palm. The under side material is a perforated synthetic leather that keeps the hands cool. The graphics do little more than give it it's unique look.
- Anatomically pre-curved for comfort & fit
- Patented Shock-Tek™ palm pad system protects the median nerve to prevent numbness and discomfort
- Durable nylon Spandura top with Air Mesh for ventilation
- Ventilated Clarino leather palm
- Reinforced thumb, index finger and palm
- Soft Liteprene cuff with adjustable strap closure
- Lycra finger side panels for form fitting
- Silicone grip on finger tips for lever control
Trail Pro has a neopreme finger top with durable synthetic leather palm. A directed terry cloth on the thumb almost is perfect for wiping out the sweat, but is interrupted by a blue stripe which can cause discomfort on the face.
- Molded neoprene padding across knuckles protects your mitts from even the most intrusive branches.
- Patented Shock-Tek® palm padding channel keeps the pounding off the median nerve.
- Reinforced 2nd layer across palm will keep things together for a long time.
The Heat Wave 2.0 was the test riders favorite glove for summer riding. Features include a very breathable fabric over the fingers and hand, light padding on the palm, a full terry cloth thumb and, of course, Spenco's upper palm padding to relieve the Median Nerve.
The palm is made of the same perforated fabric as the Trail Warrior, but has a full double layer of leather on the palm area with a little bit of padding just before the fingers split off.
- Anatomically pre-curved for comfort & fit
- Patented palm pad system protects the median nerve
- Designed for superior ventilation
- Terry wipe for comfort, with molded Velcro closure for fit
- Reinforced second layer on palm and thumb crotch
- Available in S, M, L, XL, 2XL
|Heat Wave 2.0|
|Left hand of Trail pro. The terry cloth is bisected by the blue styling fabric, but riders would prefer a full terry cloth for practical purposes. Anatomically pre-curved and extra padding helps both with riding on the hoods or with twist shifters.|
|The Trail Warrior has unique graphics, but is a comfortable glove for cool to hot weather riding. This is an all-day glove. No terry cloth, but the soft fabric over the thumb is comfortable on the face.|
|The Heat Wave 2.0 glove is the perfect ultra distance glove with it's full terry cloth thumb, well vented upper and Median Nerve padding on a perforated synthetic leather palm.|
The IronMan was the only short-finger glove tested. The padding in the palm was more noticeable than with the long-ringer gloves and for riders used to no padding this was noticeable, but not uncomfortable.
All gloves were size Large.
In conclusion, the Heat Wave 2.0 was the clear favorite of riders. It reflects the influence of the racing community with it's fully terry cloth thumb, mesh fabric back for cooling, perforated synthetic leather palm and 5-pad Shock-Tek padding. All in a minimalist glove that gets the job done.