Rockrider's ST 500 mountain bike gloves are a great budget-friendly performance-oriented hand covering. With a decent amount of padding, knuckle protection and breathable backing, they are pretty comfortable in a range of temperatures, making them a great candidate for one of the best mountain bike gloves you can buy.
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Rockrider ST 500 gloves - Technical details
Made from a combination of fake leather and mesh backing, they have a thin layer of foam around the knuckles and back of the hand. These are a great choice for warm and cooler days.
The mesh padding in particular is a nice feature. It has decent-sized holes to allow things to breathe, but if you do whack your hands against a bush or smaller branches, you're not going to end up scratched to bits.
On the palm, there are three areas of padding: a thin area underneath the knuckles and two fatter areas under the base of the palm where you're likely to land if you fall.
There are capacitive fingertips on the gloves along with silicone grips on the first two fingers to hang on to the levers, and on the thumb to actuate a dropper post or shifter. The back of the thumbs are lined with a soft material ideal for wiping your face or eyes.
Rockrider ST 500 gloves - Performance
At the cuff, there is a pull tab with a click fastener so you can join the gloves together. Ideal if you need to chuck them into a bag or take them off when adjusting gear or eating lunch.
The elastic cuffs are very short. That's really my only gripe with these gloves as I like a longer cuff.
The ST 500 gloves are a bit smaller than their other gloves so you may need to try them on in-store, or return them if you're buying online. Not that they are drastically the wrong size - just a little snugger than their other models. They are available in black, red or blue, with minimalist branding that doesn't look garishly out of place either.
Performance is up there with the best I've tried. Riding black or red enduro trails, I never felt my hands slipping or like I needed any additional grip or protection. However, I rode with them on in warmer weather, so you might not want to be riding these below 10 degrees if you have hands that run cold. But for everything above that, and for pretty much every style of riding, I can't see why you would want more glove grip or protection - unless you plan on duking it out with rocks or trees on a regular basis.
Rockrider ST 500 gloves - Value and Verdict
£18 for a pair of gloves is one hell of a steal and it this price, the ST 500s have only a few competitors. Firstly, there's the ION Logo gloves at £20 though they come with noticeably less features. There's then the Stolen Goat Voltage Grey gloves for £25, which get similar palm padding but they are pretty toasty and the uppers wear quickly.
All in all, I rate the Rockrider ST 500 gloves. These may become your daily favourites, or an ideal backup pair for the gear bag or *ahem* the glove box.