Let me preface this review with my glove preference: I have ridden a few miles without gloves, and the palms of my hand still hurt thinking about it. I tend to death grip my handlebars, so after a few miles I started seeing the beginning of blisters on my palm. Combined with the heat from the sun on a few trips where I decided to go sans-gloves, the skin got irritated and it definitely affected the way I was riding (i.e. lazy). So I PREFER thicker gloves with more cushion for my delicate hands.
The Alpinestars Stella S-MX 2 Air Carbon Gloves are Alpinestars best sellers throughout the years. They are a mix of leather and mesh, designed for warm to hot weather riding. The index and thumb are leather material that are compatible with your iPhone/touch screen devices. I bought the Alpinestars Stella S-MX 2 Air Carbon gloves, from my local Cyclegear (protip, always always always try on everything before you buy!) for around ~$80.
Here are the spec’s for the gloves:
- Durable, multi-panel main shell construction incorporating full-grain leather and 3D mesh for durability, abrasion resistance and high levels of breathability
- Synthetic suede reinforcements on the palm, fingers and landing zones provide maximum abrasion resistance in key impact zones
- Ergonomically Alpinestars’ innovative carbon knuckle guard provides exceptional impact and abrasion protection
- Finger tops and back hand incorporates TPR inserts for additional impact abrasion in critical areas
- Impact absorbing EVA foam panels on thumb for additional impact performance
- 3D mesh finger surfaces and thumb for cooling performance
- Pre-curved finger construction to reduce riding fatigue
- Neoprene wrist cuff plus VELCRO® brand closure and TPR closure for secure and personalized closure
- Touch screen compatible index fingertip and thumb for use with smartphones and GPS systems
- Stretch finger sidewalls for improved flexibility when riding
First off, let’s talk about sizing. The base of my wrist to the tip of my finger is 16cm and my palm (including my thumb) is 8cm wide.ANY gloves in size small fit me too big, and most x-small gloves fit me “ok” but feel and look bulky. I have tiny hands so I went with a size x-small, but an xx-small would have fit me perfectly.
With that in mind, leather gloves fit too bulky on my tiny hands, and it rarely rains in California, so I decided to go with textile gloves that would work with warm weather riding as well as some cooler temperatures (mid 50’s). The coldest I’ve ever ridden with these gloves is ~55 degrees F on my way to Sacramento on Thanksgiving break in 2015, and my fingers were pretty numb, but a quick stretch got the blood flow pumping again. They keep most of the wind/cold out, but I’m from California and pretty much only ride in sunny 65-80 degree weather, so don’t take any advice from me.
Sidenote: I tried on a friend’s Grifter gloves (leather gloves with awesome styling!) but they were so thin, I didn’t think they’d withstand a crash or landing on my wrist. Those had no wrist adjustment and even a size small felt like they could slide off of my hand with a shake.
The palm and thumb area provide just enough cushioning that I don’t feel too much vibration from the handlebars and keep my hand comfortable. I never have to stop and stretch my hands or stop because they feel uncomfortable. No blisters here either. I can grip the bars and levers comfortably.
Wear and Tear
One of the first things I noticed that went wrong with these gloves was in regards to the textile material I wanted so much. The wrist adjustment is Velcro so any contact with the mesh on the glove pulls out the material and gets annoying really fast. You can see in the right picture below that the mesh on the thumb is flaking off. Also, after 2 years of riding, the Velcro wrist adjustment doesn’t really stay, well, adjusted. It comes undone so fast I don’t even bother tightening them around my wrist.
I crashed in 2016 and landed on my hands, and surprisingly nothing tore or ripped on my gloves. The cushioning/padding on the palms prevented any soreness and bruising that would have happened with thinner or no gloves.
Overall, these gloves have lasted a pretty long time and have been very comfortable for me to wear given my small hand size. The only reason I am looking to replace these is due to the styling. These are straight up racing/sport gloves, but they are low profile enough to fit my hands.
I’ve yet to buy new ones but will update if/when I do.