The Fox Ranger Fire gloves come built with a bunch of features that make them a viable choice for riding when the temperature drops and the weather turns. They're comfortable for the most part, but they're not ideal if you often whip out your phone for the mid-ride selfie, and they're not totally waterproof.
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The Range Fire gloves are constructed with a brushed fleece interior, and a water-resistant Ax Suede palm that Fox says provides great grip in all conditions. There’s a pretty lengthy cuff that prevents any jacket/glove gap, and there’s a sturdy pull loop to help pull the gloves on. Finally, there are conductive threads in the thumb and index finger for touchscreen compatibility.
It’s good that the pull loop on the cuff is solid because hauling these gloves on is quite the task. The cuff itself is fairly tight, so it takes a fair bit of force to shove a hand in, but once you’re in, the fit is spot on. All fingers reach to the ends of the glove, and there’s no bagginess in the palm. That tightness can be considered a bit of a feature, too, as it’ll form something of a physical barrier against water sneaking through.
However, the tight cuff doesn’t come without its frustrations. I found that the conductive fingers designed to work with phone screens don’t really work. When prodding away at my phone, things do happen, so the glove does allow for some interaction, but it’s far from coherent and totally unusable. If you’re one for a few on-the-fly phone pictures, you’ll have to battle with that tight cuff before hitting the shutter, which is definitely annoying.
On the hand, the glove is a bit stiff when compared to something like the 100% Brisker Hydromatic but not so much for it to become a real problem. It is definitely warm, though. However, there is a small niggle, and that’s the seam that joins the nose wipe on the thumb to the rest of the glove can be felt, although, in the midst of a ride, it’s quickly forgotten.
As for waterproofing, it's pretty good for the most part, but Fox has built the gloves with webbing in between the fingers, which isn't waterproof at all. There's rarely an issue in lighter showers and when ploughing through streams, but when things get seriously wet, so do your fingers.
Though, bar feel isn't all that bad. The palm is thicker than what's found on the 100% Brisker so it's not the best it could be, but it's nothing to sniff at. The large silicone pads on the thumb, index, and forefingers also offer tons of grip on the controls.
The Defend Fire gloves are pretty middle of the road in terms of price. I’ve banged on about the Brisker quite a bit here simply because it’s an excellent cold-weather glove that saves a bit of cash against the Defend Fire at £29. It isn’t waterproof, though. If you are looking for waterproofing, the 100% Brisker Hydromatic is totally waterproof, comes with a thinner palm offering a better bar feel, and the thumb actually works with phone screens.
At a competitive £30 is the recently tested 7iDP Chill gloves. Jim said that they were toasty for the weight and not too bulky, though not very resistant against water and the fingers wore pretty quickly.
If you don’t mind a cold-weather glove that’s not totally waterproof and doesn’t work with phone screens, the Fox Defend Fire is a solid choice that’ll keep your pinkies reasonably warm. Although there’s a lot to like, it comes against some pretty stiff competition.