[*]way better construction than older model
[*]individual carbon knuckles for better digit articulation
[*]thick and strong
[*]thick - take a while to break in
[*]neoprene on underside near wrist ripped a bit
Manufacturer Link: www.rockgardn.com
Written by: Daniel Mabe
Edited: Adam LaBarge
I like my hands. I like using them to eat. And type. And brush my teeth. I also like using them to hold onto my handlebars while i ride as fast as i can over dirt, rocks and roots. So gloves are quite important to me. The Rockgardn FATE gloves look beefy, but do they deliver? The short answer is yes, the long answer can be found in the next few paragraphs...
My first impression of these hand savers was "whoa, these are thick." And they are. Rest assured, these are not XC gloves, or even all-mountain gloves. These are "I'm-going-down-as-fast-as-possible-and-i might-take-a-horrible-tumble" gloves. They weigh about as much as a pair of heavy duty oven mitts, and for the first week or so, they almost feel the same way. There is a bit of a break-in period, as with all gloves, but this period was a bit longer than usual, thanks to these gloves' tough exterior.
The knuckles have the carbon protection we've come to expect from DH/FR gloves, but each knuckle is individually molded and stitched, unlike the old version of the FATE glove, where all four knuckles are protected by one long carbon piece. The result is more maneuverability and a more comfortable, flexible grip. Also, the stitching on the knuckles seems to be superior to similar modeled gloves I've tried from other companies. The FATE have also withstood a couple of wash cycles and even a dryer session or two. Not too shabby.
Like most other DH gloves, there are small brake lever gripping aides on the index finger, and like most other DH gloves, they are gone after a few rides. I did have one near disastrous episode where my right index finger missed the lever in a crucial berm, but I attribute that more to pilot error than glove malfunction. A few spills later, and these gloves are no worse for wear. I do prefer gloves that fasten on the inside of the wrist, rather than the top, and these are top-fasten. The wrist protection is nice, but does not offer quite as much protection as some other gloves on the market.
Palm strength on the gloves is admirable, however. A couple of spills where I broke a fall with my hands yielded no damage to my precious palms, and no visible damage to the gloves themselves. Finger stitching also appears to be quite durable, as by this time with most gloves, I would have started to bust through the ends of my braking fingers. Not so with these Rockgardns.
Bottom line, if weight and heft are not an issue, and protecting your valuable digits is, these gloves are an amazing value and are constructed to take whatever mishaps you can throw at them.
I've also been testing a pair of these for review. Daniel bought his on his own and I thought it would be best to get his perspective. For myself, I owned the old FATE gloves from a few years back with the solid one-piece carbon knuckle. These new FATE gloves are far and above the old version which un-threaded quickly, lack digit mobility, and would require a lot of TLC in hot weather because the palms would dry out, begin cracking and really hurt. I tossed those and didn't look back till Mark called me to review the new version. The newer version of the FATE had fixed all these problems with different glove material, individual carbon knuckles and good manufacturing.
The only problem I've had is a bit of fabric ripping on the underside of the wrist where one grabs to pulled the glove up and on. The softer neoprene like material has started to pull away from the stronger leather. So now I just use the leather to pull on.
The palm and finger fit of the glove is good, the XL size fit just right, not too snug and not too loose. Most importantly the gloves offered great grip and the bars, comfort and digit mobility.
5 out of 5 Stars
4 out of 5 Stars
A word from Rockgardn:The FATE Carbon Gloves™ feature a new, 1 X 4 split-knuckle design. Rather than one large knuckle piece, there are four independent pieces sewn to a leather surround that is, in turn, sewn to a floating, ventilated neoprene panel. This panel glides over the underlying Airmesh layer, allowing the knuckle pieces to articulate with the position of your hand, eliminating pressure points whether you're gripping or braking. The FATEs also feature: