Novara Arosa Men's Bike Touchscreen Gloves

3stars

Novara Arosa Men’s Bike Touchscreen Gloves

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Price: $25.79 (List $34.50)

The Novara Arosa Men's Bike Touchscreen Gloves are good for moderately cold weather cycling, but they could benefit from a redesign of the conductive areas.

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Editor’s Notes: This model has been discontinued, though a newer model is available here.  A review of this season’s model will be posted soon.

The Novara Arosa Men’s Bike Touchscreen Gloves are good for moderately cold weather cycling, but they could benefit from a redesign of the conductive areas.

Conductivity

On the areas where touchscreen compatible material has been added, these gloves conduct fairly well.  The problem, however, lies in the fact that there is not enough of it and what’s there is not placed as well as it could be.

In terms of design (more on this later), it’s great that Novara is playing around with how conductive thread is integrated into their gloves.  It really does look pretty cool.  Moreover, it is unlikely that cyclists will be typing long emails or engaging with their touchscreen devices in any particularly complicated way, so while it’s typically better to have more than just two conductive fingers on touchscreen gloves, it’s less of an issue here.

On the other hand, the conductive material is not strategically placed.  First, neither finger have conductive material on the top of the fingertips, so taps or swipes aimed directly downward won’t register.  Second, the conductive thread is asymmetrically focused on the center and one side of each touchscreen compatible finger.  This is less of an issue on the index finger where the material is placed on the inside pad of the finger (closer to the middle finger), but on the thumb, where it is located on the wrong side (the side of the thumb facing out) most people will find it difficult to swipe.

This placement could be improved by simply either extending the conductive thread across the face and tips of the fingers (even though this might detract from the look), or focusing the material on the other side of the thumb.

Construction

These are solid, well made cycling gloves with quality stitching, seams, and material.  Both hands feature a velcro strap at the wrist to ensure a snug fit, and the addition of the terry cloth material on the back of the thumb is a smart feature for wiping sweat from your brow (or helping out with the inevitable cold weather nose drips).

The palms are reinforced with a synthetic leather that runs onto the sides of index finger and thumb for added durability while gripping the handlebars, as well as four foam pads that help insulate against vibration.

Warmth and Dexterity

The gloves are not meant for really cold weather.  I used them on a couple of occasions when it was in the 50s and they were fine, but once it dropped to the 40s my hands began getting a little bit cold.  The backs of the each hand is made of breathable material which, although is a nice feature to reduce sweat once you’ve gotten moving, will leave your hands vulnerable to cold wind or faster speeds – so make sure to use them for the temperatures they are intended for.

Since these are thinner gloves, they are better suited for protection from vibrations than for real cold.  That said, the thinness means that they offer good mobility in the fingers to adjust gears, apply brakes and to push buttons or interact with your touchscreen device.

Design

Generally speaking, these are well designed gloves.  Aesthetically, they are attractive with a subtle orange logo and some smartly integrated reflective stripes on the back of each hand.  Even the look of the touchscreen areas, which look like three concentric pentagons that have been cut off, is great and it’s nice to see some play with design here.  Unfortunately, as noted above, their placement makes these gloves difficult to use. By broadening the area covered by the conductive material this could be dramatically improved.

Overall Value and Conclusion

For $25.79 (on sale) the Novara Arosa Men’s Bike Touchscreen Gloves are a pretty good pair of gloves, though their $34.50 list price seems a little steep.  That said, the choice of touchscreen compatible cycling gloves is fairly limited at the moment, so until the market has grown (as it has been in other areas), these aren’t a bad bet for now.

Specs

Material

Shell

  • 83% polyester
  • 9% nylon
  • 8% spandex

Touchscreen stripes

  • 100% [material not disclosed]

Styles (2013 line)

  • Black

Sizing

  • Men’s Small
  • Men’s Medium
  • Men’s Large
  • Men’s Extra Large

Gender

Washing

  • not included

About REI

REI is just one of those companies you can’t help but love.

The seed for REI was first germinated in the 1930’s when Lloyd Anderson, a Pacific Northwest mountaineer, began searching for a reliable and affordable ice axe. Eventually, he found a high-quality, reasonably priced model in an Austrian alpine gear catalog and the news of his discovery spread quickly among this climbing friends.  Established in 1938, REI is now the nation’s largest consumer co-op and  it is committed to helping people enjoy everything from the simplest hike in the woods to full scale Mt. Everest expeditions.  Additionally, REI gives back to the communities by supporting volunteer projects of outdoor-focused community organizations with money, gear and “sweat equity.”

About Novara

Introduced in 1983, Novara is a private label brand of bicycles and bicycle accessories sold by REI.

Conclusion Rating
Conductivity
2 stars
Construction
4 stars
Warmth
2 stars
Dexterity
4 stars
Design
3 stars
Overall Value
3 stars

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