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Gear Test: Giro Xen Gloves

24 Hours in the Old Pueblo Justin Schmid

Notice the always-reliable Fox gloves.

I love Giro bike helmets. Even its less-expensive models are beyond reproach.

This track record had me pretty excited about trying out its Giro Xen gloves. I picked some up at South Mountain Cycles in Ahwatukee, Ariz., in December of 2009. Since then, I’ve been able to test two pairs and have some strong opinions about them.

They had a lot to offer: full fingers (nice for cooler temperatures), lack of bulk, nice fit. And they looked cool with a swirly gray-and-black urban camouflage pattern. The hook-and-loop fasteners were a bit odd, wrapping counterclockwise around the wrist. But that seemed to be the only major deviation from convention. They were reasonably priced at $30.

Giro Xen

It didn't take long to start poking holes in the Xen.

Unfortunately, they’re also the flimsiest gloves I’ve ever owned. Within four months, stitching on the palm of the right glove started coming unraveled. I couldn’t find my receipt, but Giro was accommodating enough to send a new pair. They arrived for the hot summer riding. I split my time between the Xen gloves and an old pair of Fox half-finger gloves.

The palm started unraveling, too.

Despite a fairly light workout, the newer pair developed problems. By December, the left glove’s index finger developed a pinhole. By December, my finger was poking all the way through.

My Fox gloves, on the other hand, are so old that I can’t even remember buying them. Age and heavy use have made them crusty and skanky – even after a thorough tumble in the wash machine. But they are still in one piece.

That makes my next glove purchase a no-brainer: I’ll get another pair of Fox gloves. Unfortunately, Giro’s gloves are nowhere near a match for the excellence of its helmets.

The Xen gloves DO look cool, though.

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