By Brandon Bilyeu
Ultimate Cycling Glove Pack:
- Layer system allows easy mid-ride adjustments
- Excellent fit and dexterity
- Waterproof performance is the best I’ve ever used
- Good breathability, even when using all layers together
- Insulation not sufficient for sub-freezing temperatures
- Velcro pull tabs difficult to open
- No palm-specific padding
Ultimate Cycling Glove Pack (includes all four gloves listed below) – $127
Silk Liner – $18
Cordura Thermal – $31
ShowLite Windproof – $41
HDry Waterproof – $74
How obtained: review sample from company
Website: Ultimate Cycling Glove Pack
RBR Sponsor: no
Tested: 30+ hours
Small UK Company Very Familiar with Riding in the Rain
Based in Sussex, UK, Dissent 133 built their name on the fact that it rains on average 133 days per year in the UK. This equates to 1 out of every 3 days being wet. Perfect development and testing grounds for inclement weather gloves. And while the gloves themselves don’t look any different than all the rest, it’s the implementation of thoughtful design, effective technology, high quality, and a well-thought-out layering system that make these gloves stand out.
Most cycling gloves on the market today are designed and marketed for a specific (usually quite small) temperature range, and may also be windproof or waterproof. Personally, I have a drawer full of different gloves for all temperatures/conditions and none of them work well layered due to bulky closure systems and tight fits. For rides that start cold but will warm up I have to start out wearing heavy gloves and fill a jersey pocket with a second set of lighter gloves.
We all know layering is the best approach for inclement weather comfort with your other cycling apparel, and Dissent 133 applied this logic to gloves. By designing the gloves with layering in mind, they can make a system that works together flawlessly. Fit is adjusted so that, for example, all size medium pieces layer perfectly together, with the outer shells larger than the inner insulation layers. The insulation layers do not have any closure mechanisms, so bulk at the wrist is limited. Now mid-ride changes are just thin shells and base layers, not a pocket filling (and expensive) entire second set of gloves.
Base Layer: Silk
For a wicking base layer and lightest level of insulation, Dissent 133 went with 100 percent silk. This full fingered layer is very thin and soft. It feels great against the skin and does an excellent job of wicking moisture away from the hands. I’m the lucky owner of cold and clammy hands that sweat constantly regardless of activity level or temperature. This means my gloves are always wet and therefore my hands are cold. But these silk liners have made a noticeable difference in keeping my hands drier and warmer than all my other gloves that typically don’t have a dedicated wicking layer.
As a base layer, these are nothing more than 100 percent silk. There is no padding and no grippers. The silk has good stretch so fit is light, but skin tight. Dissent 133 doesn’t list the gloves as touchscreen compatible, but they work fine with my iPhone.
Insulation Layer: Cordura
Many years ago, I finished in the minor placings in a local bike race and won a bright yellow pair of Castelli Cordura cycling gloves. Thinking they looked more like work gloves than bike gloves, I tossed them in the back of my glove drawer and never wore them. Now after testing out Dissent 133’s Cordura insulation layer, I regret never giving them a chance.
The gloves are a knit Cordura synthetic fabric with silicone grippers and touchscreen friendly thumb, index, and middle fingertips. The seamless design is great for comfort, and low bulk when layered. I ended up wearing just these gloves on cool, dry days in the upper 40s and 50s Fahrenheit (7-14 Celsius). The knit is tight enough to be a decent wind blocker, while still offering good breathability and proved to be perfect for my hands in that temperature range. Durability was also great, even handling a cold weather flat tire change without any problems.
Designed as a low-bulk layering piece, there is no palm padding — which might be a deal breaker for some as a standalone glove. As an insulation layer combined with an outer shell, the minimal thickness is appreciated and the silicone grippers don’t fight too much when being inserted into a shell.
Windproof Shell: ShowerLite
Dissent 133 uses ShowerLite fabric to create an outer shell that is windproof, highly water resistant, stretchy, and lightweight. Silicone grippers dot the palms and fingers for grip, reflective accents help with visibility, touchscreen compatibility for distracted riding, and a soft thumb nose wipe cap off the features list. Designed for layering, they are slightly oversized to fit insulating layers underneath but are not too big to be worn alone.
The gloves’ wrist openings are generously sized to make it easy to insert your base layer covered hands and velcro makes sure you can close everything up nice and snug. There is a pull loop to help with opening/closing the gloves, and while it works ok the pulling force is centered on the velcro pad when it should really be on the edge. Velcro opens best when peeled apart and pulling in the center of the pad requires a lot of force to open. Not a deal breaker, but there is room for improvement here.
Performance is great as they keep the wind out and do a good job of breathing so it’s not too much of a sweaty mess inside. Their water resistance is also very good and if you are only expecting short showers there is no reason to grab the heavier waterproof shells. The thin and lightweight material is great when packed into a pocket as it takes up minimal room.
Waterproof Shell: HDry
The waterproof shells are designed the same as the windproof shells except they are made with the waterproof and windproof lining HDry. To ensure complete waterproofness, the seamless HDry membrane is not sewn into the gloves, but instead bonded to the inner liner so there are no seams for water to pass through. A heat molding technique is then used to bond the HDry membrane to the outer shell. The outer shell is a Nanosphere treated Schoeller fabric that is highly water and dirt resistant, like a DWR treatment, but that is permanent.
The triple layer construction makes for a glove that is slightly thicker and bulkier than the ShowerLite windproof glove, but this also means it has better insulation properties. As with all the other layers, breathability is very good.
Spending most of my life in the Pacific Northwest region of the US, I have extensive experience riding in the wet and have gone through many ‘waterproof’ cycling gloves. In real rain, the best performers have lasted about 45 minutes before water starts to get in, and then it only takes about 15 more minutes before full saturation and a soggy cold mess. So far, the Dissent 133 waterproof shells have indeed been 100% waterproof and I’ve even run them under the faucet to try find leaks with no success. I’m really starting to run out of excuses not to ride in the rain!
Good Down to Freezing
These four glove layers are available individually or as packs. I tested the Ultimate Cycling Glove Pack that includes all Dissent 133’s gloves in a semi-hard case and with hangers for drying, a significant discount over buying all the gloves individually. Other packs are available that include just the windproof or waterproof shell. When wearing three layers dexterity is reduced but still impressively good. For me personally, warmth was good down to freezing, but beyond that I moved on to heavier gloves with thick, lofted padding that really hold in the heat. I have cold hands so your temperature limit may be different.
Dissent 133 does offer a handy guide to layering and temperatures which I found to be pretty accurate. It is included in the case with packs for easy referral.
A layering glove system makes it easier to pick the right ‘glove’ when heading out for a ride and even easier to make a glove adjustment for warmth/protection needs mid-ride. I found the function and quality of the Dissent 133 gloves to be excellent in every way. If, like me, you have been disappointed with ‘waterproof’ gloves in the past I can highly recommend trying out the HDry glove.