Gloves are such a small, inexpensive item that it sometimes seems like a waste to spend a bunch of time reviewing them. Plus, most gloves are unremarkable in one way or the other. Maybe the fit is slightly off, the cuff chafes my skin, or the seams blow out prematurely. In any case, more often than not a pair of gloves will make it to the donate pile without a review ever getting penned. The other factor, which sucks to admit, but sometimes has to be factored into the equation, is that glove reviews don't exactly drive a ton of traffic. But every now and then I come across gloves so good I’ve just gotta spread the word. Right now, those mitts are the minimalistic yet resilient Bontrager Rhythms. Besides the touch-compatible fingers and obligatory snot rag on the thumbs, the Rhythms are free of bells and whistles--which is sort of what makes them awesome.
It's much more than that, though. These gloves, although not pricier than anything else on the glove rack, are put together well. The AX Suede palm material is so thin and tactile that I almost expect my iPhone to read fingerprints through it, but has proven remarkably durable, too--the gloves have brushed off more than a few ground encounters throughout last autumn and this spring. The entire palm and fingers consist of a single piece of this magic faux suede material, so there are no seams between you and your grips. Beyond that, the fit--on my hands, anyway--simply couldn't be any better. The palms are cut just right so that I can stretch my hand wide open for the sickest high-fives, but somehow they don't bunch up when my hands are curled around the bars.
Come to think of it, there's no extra material anywhere on these things. The interior stitching on the insides of the fingers is nice and tidy, even at the fingertips where lazy seam-work is a common annoyance. Overall fit is snug but not so tight that my fingers want to blow through the ends of the things.
My favorite thing about the Bontrager Rhythm gloves is the cut, fit and style of the cuffs. The cut is about as short as I could imagine a wrist cuff could get, terminating just below the base of the palm. This is something I'm a big fan of. The Rhythms are also a stretch-cuff affair, so there are no Velcro straps to wear out. Providing the stretch required to get your hands into the gloves, is a large triangular-ish section of Lycra. Once in, it snugs down nicely against your wrist, preventing any trail debris from getting down in there. Plus, I happen to think the shape of the cuff, with that elastic section, looks pretty dope.
The polyester knit material on the back of the hand is nice and stretchy, and provides far better ventilation than it looks like it would. I wash mine regularly and there has been a bit of pilling, but nothing that really bothers me. I actually didn't even really notice it until processing these photos.
I'll be the first to admit that Bontrager hasn't always hit the mark with its apparel, but the Waterloo, Wisconsin-based brand usually nails its winter gear, and they knocked it out of the park with these gloves. I haven't managed to tear them, wear holes in them or blow through any seams. The Rhythms are by far the most durable, best fitting featherweight-style gloves I've ridden, maybe ever. They've even outlasted several thicker, hotter, less dexterous gloves I've had--and I think that's worth writing about.