by Greg Evans and Clifford Lee; Photos by Greg Evans and Andrew Yee
Every now and then a product comes along that does things a bit differently. Sealskinz made socks waterproof, Stan's sealant eliminated the inner tube and now Handup Gloves has created a glove that makes the common hand-up nearly foolproof. The gloves have become quite popular thanks in part to the company's savvy social media presence. So we wanted to see what Handup Gloves were all about, aside from the slick style.
Perhaps designing a glove that simplifies the hand-up is not as big of a game changer as the introduction of tubeless. However, anyone who’s been to a local cyclocross race and seen fumbled red cups and beer cans can attest that there was room for improvement. The underlying problem–apart from one’s own hand-eye coordination–is getting a grip on slippery, iced-down cups and cans.
Handup addresses this problem with silicone. All of their gloves feature a tacky silicone layer printed across the upper-half of the palm and fingers, which achieves a Velcro-like grip on handlebars and hand-ups alike. Handup only makes gloves in one basic style, so you must figure, “they’d better get it right." In short course, they do. The gloves are minimalist, snug, true to size and fit like a glove!
In reviewing Handup Glove's offerings everything from frosty cans to wet bars of soap were put to the test. The cold cans fared very well. During a drop test, the can stayed in hand with even the smallest amount of pressure applied, and it was only with a near-limp hand that the can went tumbling across the pavement. Money grabbers will be happy to know that the silicone provides extraordinary grip on the green goodies. It wasn't until the the bar of soap that the grip failed. But who’s doing soap handups anyways? Admittedly a hamburger was not part of the test.
But the fun doesn’t stop at hand-ups. The silicone palm also features a printed design revealing a message when the two gloves are held side-by-side. The messages on one test pair read “mud sweat and beers” written across a cartoon depiction of a frothy beer mug. There is also a "‘Merican" design, patriotic in a tongue-in-cheek way, with the stars and stripes across the back of the hand and a finish-line palmprint that spells out ‘Merica in two halves so your victory salute will reveal your allegiance in case anyone needed to know. Ironically they’re made in China, though to exacting specifications we’re sure.
There's also one that reads “EPIC” for the enthusiastic mountain biker, and one that spells out “ride dirty” for the aging Chamillionaire fan. While it's hard to imagine these messages being thrown up with regularity on a 'cross course, they could be used to add some fun to a post race photo-op.
The gloves are constructed from several materials. The underside is Clarino leather, with laser-cut holes aimed to ward off sweaty palms. The back of the glove features 4-way stretch mesh, which never felt constricting, and provided the right balance of ventilation and wind stopping. The cuff forgoes a strap in favor of an elastic band for easy slip-on, and the same elastic material makes its way onto the sides and webbing of the fingers. A small pull tab at the base of the glove eliminates any issues with slipping the glove on.
However, all of these materials are trumped–both in thickness and convenience–by the snot wipe. Off all of the gloves that have come and gone, few, if any, featured a “sweat cloth” as large and absorbent as that found on Handup Glove's. The Handup glove provided never-ending absorption, serving like a thumb mounted roll of Bounty paper towels...yuck.
But what good is a glove that doesn't fit? Thankfully, the fit is actually quite good. Save for what felt like a bit of extra material on the backside of the hand, no other complaints could be made.
After several months of riding (and crashing) the Handup gloves have proven resilient. There is slight wear on the leather at the base of the palm, and a couple of small nicks in the mesh. This is nothing to shake a stick at considering some gloves would be in far worse shape after the same amount of use. The ‘Merican style glove is mostly white and gets dirty quickly, but cleans up decently in the wash. Overall, the gloves are very minimalist. They offer good bar feel and some crash protection, but won't absorb any shock on your 100 mile gravel ride. They also offer a bit of warmth, but clearly aren't winter gloves. They aren't the most ventilated glove either, but work just fine for spring, summer and fall riding.
Handup Gloves has taken the tried n’ true bike glove and given it a bit of that “fun and flare” that we all love about grassroots 'cross. It’s a bonus that these changes also improved the functionality of the gloves, albeit for hand-ups. Now all we have to do is be ready on the sideline with a cold one and a couple of fresh bills.
A pair of Handup Gloves runs $26.00 USD for full finger and 25.00 USD for short finger.
More info: handupgloves.com