Tested: Mace Cryogen Gloves

WHAT: Mace Cryogen Gloves
WHERE: macegear.com

Riding in the cold can be a big challenge, but a few choice pieces of equipment can make things easier. Warm winter shoes, a windproof jersey, windproof tights, some means of keeping your ears warm and a good set of gloves top my list of must-have items for surviving a roll in the cold. Mace Cryogen gloves have been keeping my hands warm on winter excursions for almost two seasons now.

The key to a good pair of gloves is maintaining warmth and circulation without inhibiting dexterity, and the Cryogens meet these demands. Cryogens are designed by Canadians, who, based on the amount of hockey and curling I saw on television the last time I was in Whistler, must be experts on surviving the effects of snow and ice. The Cryogens are completely windproof and waterproof in rain, although they will eventually saturate if submerged long enough. I have been testing the 2006 model Cryogens, which have a short cuff that sometimes gets drafty. For 2007, the cuff was redesigned and lengthened to better seal out a draft. The gloves feature a 3M Thinsulate liner for insulation that isn't too bulky, and the thumbs have patches of 100 percent cotton terry for soft sweat and nose wiping.

I've used winter gloves ranging from diver-inspired neoprene to down-filled alpinist construction, and the Cryogens seem to have found the perfect balance between insulation and dexterity. Some winter gloves make it difficult to operate small rebound knobs or feel the levers and buttons that grace modern mountain bikes. Not so with the Cryogens. Not only have I been able to easily feel my controls, I even wore them while shooting photos at Ray's MTB park, where despite temperatures that hovered around freezing, I effectively actuated the sensitive focus/shutter button on my camera for several hours.

Riders who regularly experience arctic temperatures may desire more insulation, but I think the Cryogen is well suited for most winter riding conditions. Just make sure you get the 2007 model with longer wrist cuffs.