I now have several rides in the 45NRTH Sturmfist. Click through to see the video on the secret pre-launch demo at North Central Cyclery.
I picked up a set of the Sturmfist 4 gloves, which feature a thumb, index and middle finger, and a pocket combining the ring and pinky fingers. These have a water resistant (thus far, waterproof) outer shell, leather on the palm and fingers (including leather that wraps up around the front of the fingers), aerogel in the palm and fingers (again, wrapping around the top of the fingers), and a removable merino liner:
The removable liner has screen-friendly tips on the thumb, middle and index finger. That means that if you have to stop to use your phone or GPS, you can pull the outer glove off, and leave the merino liner on…which greatly helps in keeping your hands warm. Seems like a small thing, but it’s an ingenious feature. Last week, I did a metric century on the bike path, and mid-ride, I couldn’t remember which leg of the path I was supposed to take. I stopped, whipped out my phone, and was able to scan the map without having to take the merino glove off. Ordinarily (pre-Sturmfist) I would have had to remove all of my layers of gloves, get my hands cold, lose circulation, and then try to fight off the pain once my gloves were back on. This is a simple idea that works amazingly well.
The palm of the gloves is nicely padded. The aerogel inserted into the palm acts as an incredibly effective thermal barrier between cold handlebars and warm fingers.
The end of the glove is gauntlet-style, with a cinch-cord to tighten down when it’s super cold or raining. They’re very easy to pull on and off.
The backside is water-resistant fabric (nylon?) In a future iteration, 45NRTH might want to think about adding some more reflective details, given the position of gloves at the front of the bike, in a high position, that would be ideal for rider visibility in winter night conditions.
The leather wraps around the tips of the fingers (for durability), and the aerogel goes far up the tops of the fingers. As your hands are at the leading edge of your body and the first thing exposed to cold wind, the aerogel does an incredible job of keeping hands warm.
I’ve had a chance to wear these a few times now, all in temps in the 20s. Wednesday night, temps were low 20s, winds were 5-10mph, and I was riding a drop-bar bike on a completely exposed country road. In the past, I would have worn a pair of liner gloves under my Gore lobster gloves, and would have needed a chemical warmer to keep my hands warm. (Of note, inexplicably, Gore has dropped the lobster glove from their lineup).
Wednesday, I had cold hands from unloading my bike at the start of the ride (which is usually a death knell for my reynauds), and just slipped on these gloves and went. My hands actually warmed up at the start of the ride. I was completely comfortable for the entire ride. No chemical warmers, no extra layers, no shaking or waving my arms to get blood flow going. No gimmicks. The gloves just plain worked.
The fingers are kind of bulky–so using drop bars with Di2 requires some attention to shifting…but the 4 finger design works great for general riding and braking. With flat bar bikes, shifting is no issue at all. Don’t get me wrong–it’s not impossible with drop-bar Di2 either…it’s just more challenging because of the loss of dexterity.
I have not had a chance to check waterproofness beyond a light mist. For that, the gloves beaded up nicely and shed the mist.
I’ve had many gloves over many years, between farming, firefighting, skiing and biking. The Sturmfist gloves are the warmest “glove package” I’ve ever had, short of an expedition mitten that goes up to your elbow. They’re pretty amazing. I did pick up a pair set of the wool liner gloves for the Sturmfist, to use in the event that my hands get wet. That’s a pretty fantastic option as well…being able to switch out the inner liner. Since the liner glove is merino, it insulates even when wet…but it will be nice to be able to have dry gloves on super-long winter rides.
My preliminary, one-week-in review? These are the best cold-weather biking gloves on the market. I say that having tried the full Gore lineup, having tried the cold-weather Pearl Izumi gloves, Giro gloves, and a host of others.