One-year re­view

RiDE (UK) - - Contents - www.sports­ MARTIN FITZ-GIB­BONS

THESE SHOULD BE the per­fect an­swer to the en­chant­ingly capri­cious Bri­tish cli­mate. The Stratos 2 is nei­ther a sum­mer nor a win­ter glove, but an in­ge­nious hy­brid of the two. They fit and feel like a qual­ity sports glove — cow and goat-leather con­struc­tion, hard moulded plas­tic knuckle ar­mour, short cuff, CE ho­molo­ga­tion — but are also wa­ter­proof thanks to a Gore-tex liner. They’re thin enough to give great feel of the con­trols, never clumsy or bulky, and mean there’s no need to stop and swap gloves when the heav­ens in­evitably open.

I liked the sound of the Stratos 2 so much (re­in­forced by plenty of pos­i­tive pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence with Racer’s su­perb Mul­ti­top wa­ter­proof sports glove) that I bought — some­thing jour­nal­ists sup­pos­edly never do — these in April 2017. I paid £149.99. Since then they’ve been my de­fault first-choice go-to gloves when­ever the con­di­tions have looked less than 100% per­fect. I must have spent around 10,000 miles in them, across all kinds of bike in all kinds of weather. I’ve even gone off-road on big ad­ven­ture bikes in them too.

Un­til last week, I was ab­so­lutely be­sot­ted with them. The Stratos 2 did ev­ery­thing I’d hoped for — kept my hands dry in show­ers, of­fered a smidge more warmth than a vented race glove, but still en­sured far more pre­ci­sion and con­trol than a thick all-sea­son gaunt­let.

And then, tak­ing them off at a petrol sta­tion dur­ing a wet ride the other day, the lin­ing came out of the left glove. It pro­lapsed com­pletely: still at­tached at the wrist, but in­ter­nally sep­a­rated from all the fin­gers and thumb. I was gut­ted. For­tu­nately I had a back-up pair, as the Rac­ers were un­wear­able. Once home I man­aged to tuck the Stratos’s guts back in­side it­self with the blunt end of a bar­be­cue skewer, but my con­fi­dence in them has taken a big hit. A real shame.

The Stratos has fallen out of Racer’s cur­rent line-up, but they’re still avail­able in sizes from S-3XL at a dis­counted £109.99 on Sports­ A great glove, but it seems they need to be treated gen­tly.

Warm, dry and with ex­cel­lent feel, the Rac­ers were MFG’S go-to gloves

Handy vi­sor wipe on the left-hand thumb

Sadly, the left-hand glove’s lin­ing pro­lapsed com­pletely

Gore-tex liner means dry but not sweaty

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