First Impressions: Alpinestars Moab Gloves

When you think of Moab, images of slickrock, epic singletrack, and desert heat spring to mind. Alpinestars designed their Moab full-finger gloves to excel in exactly those types of conditions. I put the company’s gloves through the proverbial wringer to see if they lived up to their namesake.

Balancing ventilation and protection in a glove can be tricky. For its Moab glove ($44.95 MSRP), Alpinestars uses mesh/spandex main construction with synthetic leather reinforcements. Wrist and knuckle padding help protect against falls and impact, while the double-layer palm maintains a positive tactile feel. If I had to categorize the Moab, it sits in between a minimalist race glove, and more heavily armored gravity model.

AStars Moab gloves

The author’s Moab gloves after several months of use and countless launderings.

The Moab’s fit is slim, but not restrictive. I usually wear a large size glove, and the large Alpinestars fit me, well, like a glove. Riders with thick fingers or meaty palms may want to size up, however. While the majority of the glove is nicely proportioned, the thumbs are a bit shorter than expected. This created some tightness between the thumb and forefinger, but it didn’t seem to affect function or durability.

For warm weather riding, the Alpinestars gloves offer a reasonable amount of ventilation. They may lack the hands-in-the-breeze feeling of single-layer gloves, but they’re extremely effective at managing moisture. Despite my copious perspiration, the Moabs never felt clammy or slippery. The fingers’ silicone print offered increased grip and control during braking, and didn’t peel off after the first washing.

Although they lack the exoskeleton-like armor found on many enduro or downhill-oriented models, Alpinestars’ Moab gloves easily fended off branches and sticker bushes. I happened to be wearing the Moab gloves when I took a nasty spill back in May, and aside from some cosmetic damage to the rubberized graphics and minor abrasion on one palm, they remained intact (which is more than I can say for myself). Three months after the aforementioned crash, the Alpinestars gloves are still going strong.

Riders looking for a lightweight glove that still offers a modicum of protection would do well to consider Alpinestars’ Moab model. With sizes ranging from XXS all the way up to 3XL, and seven colorways to choose from, chances are there’s one that’s just right for you.

Disclosure: Alpinestars provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation for this review.

Under Test: SKS Airchecker Pressure Gauge

SKS Airchecker

Whether you ride dirt, gravel, or pavement, proper tire pressure can make all the difference when it comes to comfort and efficiency. SKS‘ Airchecker pressure gauge offers Presta and Schraeder compatibility, and an easy-to-read display that displays psi or bar.

Stay tuned…

First Impressions: ACROS Zero Stack Headset

The ACROS brand may not be a household name here in the US, but the company has been cranking out components in Germany since 1999. In addition to headsets, ACROS offers bottom brackets, hubs, and even a shifting system that eschews conventional cables in favor of hydraulics. The company’s extensive range of headsets includes external cup, zero stack, and integrated models.

ACROS ZS top   ACROS ZS bottom

With all the different head tube and fork designs currently available, choosing the correct headset can be a daunting task. If you’re not sure which one you need, the folks at Cane Creek have an online tool that will help you determine which headset is compatible with your frame and fork. Our 29er test rig utilized a tapered headtube (and steerer), so ACROS recommended their ZS-44 and ZS-56 units. The German-made assemblies feature CNC construction and sealed, angular contact bearings. For the fashion conscious, ACROS offers the ZS-44 uppers in eleven colors, and the ZS-56 lowers in black, red, or silver anodized finishes.

Our test process for the ACROS headset was pretty simple–install it and then ignore it. To insure that everything went together correctly, installation was performed by the pros at Vecchio’s Bicicletteria. During our eight-month test period, we alternated between Carver and Whisky carbon forks, as well as Thomson stems of various lengths. The only maintenance that we performed was limited to a quick wipe-down and inspection when swapping out forks.

ACROS ZS-44 top

So how has ACROS’ headset fared against Colorado’s winter, spring, and early-summer riding conditions? To be completely honest, we basically forgot it was there. We never detected any creaking, knocking, or other issues. The bearings have remained smooth, and based on our very infrequent inspections, the seals have done an excellent job of keeping out dirt and moisture. This is no small feat, either, as much of our initial testing took place on snow-covered trails and roads. While it’s too early to offer a definitive verdict on the headset’s long-term durability, we’ll follow up with a one-year update (or sooner should a problem arise). If you’re looking for a set-and-forget headset, the ACROS should definitely be on your short list.

ACROS components are available from select US retailers. For additional information regarding availability, visit the ACROS website.

Disclosure: ACROS Sport GmbH provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation for this review.