Winter glove design is a trade-off. They need to be bulky enough to insulate against temperatures well below freezing but also sufficiently thin to provide good dexterity when working brake/shift levers.
I never found gloves that did both well. That’s a key reason my winter bike has bar-end shifters. I don’t want to fumble with Shimano Dual Control and miss shifts — not the ticket when hurrying home in frigid temperatures.
Craft Siberian gloves solve this problem. They’re Craft’s warmest winter gloves but they are also relatively thin to make shifting and braking easy.
Cool to Cold
When I first wore a pair of Siberians in Seattle for a ride in light mist and temperatures in the mid 40s (7C), my hands were comfortable. But that wasn’t a true indication of what would happen in winter conditions.
I returned home to real winter in western Colorado and my hands were comfortable at 23 degrees (-5C) riding into a 15-mph (24-kph) north wind. I was amazed that gloves so sleek could be so warm. They were even toasty on a later ride that started at 18 degrees(-8C). This makes for an impressive temperature range from the upper teens to the mid 40s. Of course, comfort also depends on your individual cold tolerance. Mine has always been high.
Credit for this excellent performance goes to Craft’s 3-layer construction — fleece on the inside and a polyester shell topped with a windproof membrane. It keeps fingers warm without bulk in the same way that dressing in layers keeps your core toasty.
The lack of bulk also helps when temperatures warm during a ride and you want to change into lighter gloves. The Siberians pack down small enough to fit both gloves into a jersey pocket.
The palm is synthetic leather for durability. Its gripper dots stick tenaciously to handlebar tape wet with rain. Additional dots on the thumb, index and middle fingers ensure a secure bond with brake and shift levers even when They’re dripping with water.
Six reflective dots on the cuff and a reflective Craft logo on the middle finger aid visibility in low-light conditions. A hook-and-loop strap at the wrist secures the generously long neoprene cuff to seal out cold air. Micro fleece on the back of the thumb works well as a nose wiper.
Sizing seems fairly standard. I can barely palm a basketball and the Siberians in size L fit me snugly. At first I thought they were too small, but the relatively snug fit means there is no excess material to jam between the Dual Control levers. My fingers don’t scrunch uncomfortably against the ends of the glove while holding the handlebar.
Unfortunately, the Siberians aren’t especially water resistant. I wore them with no problems in that Seattle mist, but heavier precip soaked quickly through the palm and underside of the fingers. The back of the gloves is more protective but water soon seeps in. However, the internal fleece material keeps hands somewhat warm even when it’s wet.
The Craft Siberian gloves have quickly become my favorites in cold, dry conditions.
Coach Fred Matheny is an RBR co-founder who has four decades of road cycling and coaching experience. He has written 14 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach Fred Matheny, including the classic Complete Book of Road Bike Training, which includes 4 eBooks comprising 250 pages of timeless, detailed advice and training plans. The Complete Book is one of the many perks of an RBR Premium Membership. Click to read Fred’s full bio.