Castelli Secondapelle bike gloves – barely there

It’s clearout season at all the gear stores. They’re making way for warm wooly stuff for winter, which means one can find deals on summer gear. Like another pair of fingerless gloves. Usually sizing and colour selection is a bit spotty. So I was tickled when I found a pair of Castelli Secondapelle fingerless bike gloves at MEC in my size. $34 down from $60 – see? Deal.

When they arrived, though (in fine time and with no hassle), I was a bit distressed.

“They’ve sent me their child size small by mistake,” I thought.

I have small hands but there’s no way, I reckoned, I was going to get these things on.

But I did. And I rode 130km with them to see how they felt.

A quick google on the name yields a number of product write-ups and reviews all of which seem to use the word ‘minimalist’ and ‘smooth’. And most of what I’ve read is pretty favourable. Which is why I bought them.

The reviewer goes a bit over the top, though, claiming “they are possibly the most comfortable gloves I’ve ever had the pleasure of sticking my hands in.”

They are minimalist. The nylon fabric on the back is about as thin as humanly possible. And they do fit extremely tightly. Seconda pelle does, after all, mean ‘second skin’ in Italian. On that they deliver.

It takes some wriggling to get them on but the small was the right size for me. If you like loose or comfort fit, order a size bigger. But if comfort is your thing, read on, and maybe pick another glove in their product range.

Next to no padding

The palm side of the glove is what the writers are all thinking of, though, when they say minimalist. As in next to no padding. It is suede, with some thicker bits, but basically, if you want some vibration damping going on between your hands and the bars, you’ll be doing it all with bar tape.

After four hours in the saddle, riding run of the mill pavement, my hands were mildly aching with these. This is not something I experience with my other gloves. The tight fitting fabric gave me a bit of tingling sensation but was easily mitigated by repositioning my hands.

Despite the tight fit they didn’t seem fragile. The aggressive tug required to get my hands through the tiny wrist hole didn’t yield any snapping thread noises and after one ride they did not lose their shape.

They do have a tight timeline for staying comfortable. Doing time trials, criteriums or shorter workouts where you want to feel zippy? These might be the gloves for you. They’ll go with your skin suit.