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Bar Mitts Review

Thu, 01/07/2010 - 8:22am by schmalz

Gene Butcher is a fire fighter who lives in Michigan with his wife and two children. He is not a bike racer. He began riding again earlier this year in order to reclaim his health and reach his goal of losing 100 pounds. He rides in the early morning Michigan cold, and is therefore uniquely qualified to write about cold weather cycling accessories.

You can read Gene's blog here

Just as Spartan boys were sent to the Agoge to prove their resolve in Ancient Greece, a set of Bar Mitts where sent to Michigan to test their worth. Only instead of a few million angry Persians who wished to enslave the Spartans, the Bar Mitts would be tested against the brutal and unforgiving Michigan winter—truthfully, millions of angry Persians are comparable to a Michigan winter. I knew in advance that the Bar Mitts were on their way, I agreed to test them out before I even knew what they were. A quick Google search landed me on their site, which I perused for a few minutes. They arrived in the mail and I immediately put them on my handlebars. They are simple to install, one zipper and a few Velcro closures and you are all set, I set the timer on my watch it took just over 3 minutes to mount. The day I chose to test them the air temperature was 6 degrees with winds at 15 mph; which gives me an adjusted temperature of -10 if we factor in the wind chill. In Michigan we always factor in the wind chill. I chose a familiar route for me—an 8 mile loop that snakes its way in and out of wooded areas, across open fields and has some small, rolling hills with a large climb at the end. I chose the loop counting on having to face the wind at different angles throughout the ride. I rode the loop 3 times bringing the total miles for the ride to 24.
One of my biggest pet peeves concerning winter riding is the fact I have to wear bulky gloves, there is no way around it. It's either that or you lose your fingers to amputation due to frostbite. I decided I was going to try 3 different types of gloves on this test: full-fingered summer riding gloves, medium weight (what I will refer to as “autumn” riding gloves), and heavily insulated winter riding gloves. I was going to start with the summer gloves and adjust accordingly on the ride if comfort required it. I was able to ride just over 2 miles before the cold got to my hands and even then it was not really all that bad—just mildly uncomfortable. I decided to switch to the autumn gloves and continued to ride. I finished the ride in the autumn gloves—never having to reach back and retrieve the winter gloves. The Bar Mitts did a great job of protecting my hands from the cold, snow and wind of the day's ride. I also found one unforeseen great feature of the Bar Mitts, I have pretty long arms—long enough that even long sleeve jerseys designed for cycling positions with longer sleeves tend to ride up. This leaves my wrists exposed to the cold, and I've had to come up with inventive ways to keep my wrists warm. The Bar Mitts are just long enough to cover the parts of my wrists that usually take the worst beating. Additionally, riding with the thinner gloves were a welcome change for me since I have not been able to ride with a lighter pair of gloves since before Thanksgiving. 
I did notice a drawback to the Bar Mitts, they prevented my hands from obtaining my usual hand position—or the position I prefer to have my hands when riding and when climbing out of the saddle. There also seemed to be little room on the underside of the bar to get my fingers “just so.” Upon further inspection of the Bar Mitts, I found I was sent a pair of mediums, I couldn’t help but wonder if a pair of larges would have allowed me to place my hands in my preferred position. The Bar Mitts are comfortable to ride with, and if you first suspect that they will chain your hands to your bars; you can rest assured I did not feel this at all. I could easily remove my hands from the Bar Mitts and place them back in with no difficulty whatsoever. I had no problem shifting or braking with the Bar Mitts on my bars, you can even still adequately brake if your hands are on the drops outside of the mitts by simply squeezing on the outside of the mitts as you would if the mitts were not there.

If you are insane enough to ride in the brutality of the winter months, then you should definitely add some Bar Mitts to your cold fighting arsenal. I am not taking mine off until spring. I would say you'd have to pry them from my cold dead fingers—but the Bar Mitts prevent cold fingers.

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Sock for the Pants Yabbies
By: Wheelsuckapants
Fri, 01/08/2010 - 5:08pm

I define a cold ride by whether I have to enrobe my pants yabbies (ween) in a extra sock. Keeps the boys warm, and makes me more impressive in the cold weather.

You always have a spare sock lying around that has been orphaned, so you have one waiting to be used, but always left in the bottom of the drawer. The one problem is my girlfriend is always confounded by the fact I have the same orphaned sock showing up in the laundry over and over again in the winter.

That, and the fact that I am
By: schmalz
Fri, 01/08/2010 - 4:32pm

That, and the fact that I am lazy. Mostly because I'm lazy.

By: Lukas Saddlebag
Fri, 01/08/2010 - 4:30pm

Remember when Dan did the Crankies? Those were funny. Did they stop because that one guy freaked out and threatened to sue?

it puts the candy in the
By: Antoine Chamois
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 8:30pm

it puts the candy in the basket!

hi, i wear a vespa lap apron-
By: Alberto Puto
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 6:48pm

hi, i wear a vespa lap apron- gimme some candy
By: Alotta Vagina
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 6:03pm

speaking of which, those mitts could really keep something other than my hands warm...

I like to ride with one of
By: Carl Icahn Torque It
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 5:59pm

I like to ride with one of the Scooter covers: like a big bullet proof lead apron from Italy-Vespa catalogue, great in the rain or cold weather...

Mom! My meatloaf's cold!
By: Tuur Seatpost
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 5:50pm

Mom! My meatloaf's cold!

I wrap mine in tin foil
By: Robin Seattube
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 5:34pm

I wrap mine in tin foil

The ween hammock idea has the
By: Aaron Skidmark
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 5:24pm

The ween hammock idea has the makings of potential Raphla history.

If they make it, people will buy.

RE: Nathan
By: Paul Headbadge
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 5:21pm

Who's this guy, Jack Woltz?

You want me to dress up as an
By: schmalz
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 5:12pm

You want me to dress up as an Asian Aquaman in craft underwear? OK, but it will cost you...

I used to ride on Rt22 many a
By: Nathan Torque
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 5:01pm

I used to ride on Rt22 many a cold winters night, with one hand in my Bellweather jacket pocket and the spare glove nicely warming my bait and tackle like a penguin in August!
Isn't there a craft genie underwear for winter?
Can't one of the "Tres (3) Stooges" model them for us tech weenies???
Like Superman v Batman v Aquaman? But who is who? I dare not type cast the oriental, the mic and the kraut???

Might be ok if you don't ride in Traffic
By: Morelli Wave Ring
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 4:04pm

Might be ok if you aren’t riding in Traffic, but when you need to signal or take your hands of your bars regularly pogies suck. Add that to the fact that it was -28 C (-18.4 for Americans) before the wind chill factor this morning and you really have no option but heavy mitts if you live someplace where it is really cold. I have tried pogies before (paddlers use them all the time) and they really aren’t much of a solution to anything, just a cute marketing gimmick.

By: Richard Veronkadonk
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 2:30pm

Damn, I thought it was about barmaids! English sucks.

Heated "cod-piece" has already been done...
By: dessert buzz
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 1:37pm
By: Paul Limit Screw
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 1:34pm


delivery guy method.
By: Lorenzo Rivnut
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 1:28pm

If you have flat bars you can make your own version of these on the cheap. Just cut a plastic jug in half and then zip tie it to the bars. That will keep the wind off of your hands and allow you to use much thinner gloves than you would other wise. If you want these to be more durable, do as the delivery guys do and wrap in duct tape. You can use a color that matches your bike. Cost is under $2. This unfortunately won't work for drop bars.

meme was meme of the year
By: Daan Cogset
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 1:22pm

meme was meme of the year

By: Allen Lim
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 1:10pm

The only mitts I use are Magnums

Forreals, that beats wholly
By: schmalz
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 1:04pm

Forreals, that beats wholly poo?

meme of the year was
By: Jens Setscrew
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 1:02pm

meme of the year was excitable cat 4s

idot was 08 idoterati was 09
By: Louis Seattube
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 12:55pm

idot was 08
idoterati was 09

Hmm, ween hammock has me
By: schmalz
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 12:42pm

Hmm, ween hammock has me thinking, what's the NYVC meme of the year? Is it idot? Was that this year?

you needs a ween hammock lolz
By: Dylan Bearing
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 12:22pm

you needs a ween hammock lolz forreals.

The answers: Bar Mitts, toe
By: schmalz
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 12:08pm

The answers: Bar Mitts, toe warmers, and friction...

My hands, toes and top of my
By: Frederico Butyl
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 12:06pm

My hands, toes and top of my dip stick suffer the most on winter rides

i ride whilst sporting a
By: Matteo Axle
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 11:56am

i ride whilst sporting a snuggie, celebrating the glory and suffering of road riding.

Yeah, but what about your
By: Paul Limit Screw
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 11:49am

Yeah, but what about your sack? Imagine a heated cod-piece...

Wouldn't heated pedals be on
By: schmalz
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 11:47am

Wouldn't heated pedals be on that list also? My butt rarely gets cold.

Heated handlebars and saddles
By: Paul Limit Screw
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 11:43am

Heated handlebars and saddles are the future. Anyone care to develop these products?

He would stay out of
By: schmalz
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 11:41am

He would stay out of Michigan.

By: Arno Limit Screw
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 11:36am

Bar Mitts? What would Jens do?

bar-thingies: lame. warm
By: Amine Grips
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 11:26am
chinese delivery guys
By: Lorenzo Clamp
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 11:23am

chinese delivery guys-the real hard men

I see
By: Kylian Headset
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 11:19am

I see the chinese delivery guys with homemade duct tape versions on thier scooters all over NYC.

Keep them on to vomit into at
By: Lenny Hammer
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 11:11am

Keep them on to vomit into at Battenkill

excuse me sir, but i think
By: Florian Brazeon
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 10:57am

excuse me sir, but i think you have a water buffalo mounted on your handlebars.

I used a variation of
By: jkornbluh
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 10:57am

I used a variation of barmitts that I picked up in Spain when I bike commuted in Chicago and they eased the suffering. For anyone complaining about riding in the cold, these might be something to try.

brilliant segue from
By: Jacopo Clearcoat
Thu, 01/07/2010 - 10:50am

brilliant segue from yesterday's jabberwocky

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