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Good mountain bike gloves are hard to come by. They may seem like a simple purchase at first glance, but not all mtb gloves are created equal. In fact, I’ve tried more mountain bike gloves that don’t live up to my standards than not.
So what makes the best mountain bike gloves? They need to be durable and last more than one season (not all of them do!), are fully touchscreen compatible, and provide extra grip so your hands don’t slip off the bars on sweaty days. Bonus features include extra padding for bike park runs, fun colors, and if you choose HANDUP gloves, witty quips and sayings across the palms.
My go-to gloves for the past several years have HANDUP’s because they check all of those boxes and more. In this post, I give a detailed review of why I love them plus a few other options if you’re shopping around.
Two Wheeled Wanderer Pick:
HANDUP Gloves are my top choice when it comes to mountain biking. I personally think they are the best mountain bike gloves on the market because they have a lot going for them like amazing durability, fun patterns, ever-changing designs, and much more.
HANDUP is a small company based out of Chattanooga, Tennessee. It was started in 2014 by a husband-wife team as a side business and has since exploded. Their vision was to create a brand that offers unique and fun products that also helped build community. Today, HANDUP gloves are widely recognized for their bright colors, fun patterns, and sassy sayings across the palms.
Fun patterns, colors, & quips across the palms
One characteristic that sets HANDUP gloves apart and makes them, in my opinion, one of the best mountain bike gloves out there is their fun patterns, colors, and sayings across the palms. Patterns range from simple topo-maps and camouflage to flashy snakeskin, cheetah print, and floral designs.
I also love the quips splayed across each palm. Keep the fun going on the trail with gloves that say “Send It”, “Beer Me”, “Stoked”, “Party Time”, “Ride Dirty”, and more.
Good looks aren’t the only thing HANDUP gloves have going for them. They’re also the most durable mountain bike gloves I’ve ever owned. Most others gloves I found will last a season, maybe two, but HANDUP gloves last multiple seasons and hundreds of miles.
I pedaled 630 miles across the state of Washington with only one pair and they had zero rips and tears at the end and didn’t even really show much sign of wear. Amazing!
Mountain bike gloves should be touchscreen compatible so you don’t need to remove them when snapping photos or navigating with your GPS app. HANDUP gloves have Full Touch technology woven throughout the entire palm, allowing you to easily access your camera and phone apps.
Another feature I love about HANDUP is that they support artists by recruiting them to help design their gloves. Pro mountain biker Jill Kintner recently released three of her designs and past collaborators have included PNW artist and rider Gretchen Leggitt, Hopi tribe member Duane Koyawena, and more.
Gloves that Give
Gloves That Give are a series of HANDUP gloves that support local communities and projects. A portion of these sales goes directly to different organizations to help with initiatives ranging from trail building, cleaning up rivers, and other projects making a positive difference in the world.
HANDUP Gloves Pros & Cons
Other MTB glove options
If you don’t love the loud patterns and bright colors of HANDUP gloves, here are a few other mtb gloves to consider:
I really love DHaRCO for their Party Pants liners, but they make great mountain bike gloves as well. The DHaRCO Bike Gloves have a breathable mesh top and a durable faux leather palm. The fingers are touchscreen responsive, so you can still send that photo to remind your friends that they missed out on a great ride. These are also a great choice for women with longer fingers.
The only thing I don’t love about these gloves is that they have a “female” font compared to the men’s.
I’ve been really impressed with Backcountry’s mountain bike apparel and accessory line. I love the women’s 3/4 Sleeve Enduro Jersey and while I like the Backcountry Slickrock shorts, they fell a little too high on my thigh (I prefer longer shorts).
Anyway, the Backcountry MTB Gloves are also a great find. They’re very lightweight and breathable and have good grip, which is great for hot, humid days.
If you’ll be doing a lot of bike park riding or shredding through the trees, you might want to grab a pair of gloves that have extra protection on the back of the hands and knuckles.
The Fox Defend Gloves are designed with small, hard pieces of plastic that will help protect your hands should you decide to punch a boulder.
They’re also touchscreen compatible and have a soft nose wipe on the thumb.
Mountain Bike Glove Features
When shopping for the best mountain bike gloves here are a few features to look out for:
Most new mountain bike gloves should be touchscreen compatible, but just double-check to make sure. Some brands and models are better than others. I find HANDUP gloves to work great!
Extra padding & protection if desired
I don’t typically like extra padding or protection on my gloves unless I’m heading to the bike park for a fast day or I know I’ll be crashing through lots of underbrush. However, it’s important to know that mountain bike gloves come with a variety of different padding and protection options from gel pads on the palms to help with comfort to small plastic studs and even plates on the outer side for protection during crashes.
Depending on what kind of riding you’ll be doing and how much protection you need to feel comfortable, there’s a glove for you.
Mountain bike gloves come in several different material weights:
- Lightweight gloves, like the HANDUP summer gloves, are made to maximize airflow and dry quickly. They typically have a mesh upper and thin material on the palm.
- Mid-weight gloves are your everyday gloves that provide a bit more protection and durability than light gloves but are still great for most days out on the trail.
- Padded gloves that are meant for downhilling will be thicker and heavier to help keep your hands protected in case they meet some rocks or a tree.
- Finally, when temps get chilly, cold weather gloves help to keep your fingers toasty with thicker material and perhaps even a fleece lining. I have a pair of the 100% Brisker gloves for cold winter riding and my hands stay nice and warm. HANDUP does cold weather gloves as well.
Do you have a favorite mountain bike glove or brand? What one and what do you love about them? Leave a comment below!