Winter Mittens from Empire- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Winter Mittens from Empire

    Almost bought pogies this year, but heard about these lobster mittens from Empire Wool & Canvas Company. Took a while to get 'em as they're not made in mass quantities, but worth the wait. Construction looks solid, the materials are nicely spec'd, and while I've only used 'em a couple times in 20-30º rides, I'm very glad to own a pair.

    The mitten on the right has been treated with Sno-Seal:





    Empire's description:

    ICEBIKE Mittens: Winter cycling's nuttiest hand wear yet...


    Mary Shelley has nothing on us. Part winter mitt, part bike glove, a real genetic mess. The ICEBIKE Mittens were born in 1998 for our chilly Duluth commutes. What began as a straight-up tech fest 14 years ago, has devolved to a curious mix of new and old. They have a rabid underground following, despite our best efforts. Every season we swear that we're done with them, yet we keep sewing. Let's pick them apart:

    The Shape and Size seem odd at first, but they're a natural for those who grip flat bars on a bike. Two fingers of each hand hold on for dear life, two fingers work the brake levers, one thumb on your nose towards OPEC. They're kinda bulky, but that leaves acres of space for extra liner gloves, hot packs, etc. Skip the refined drop bars. You won't even be able to flip the bird, let alone tinker with your touchy road gear ratios. For the real whackos who equate shifting and braking with defeat, we make a regular 'no-split' mitten that keeps their digits together. Both styles have a natural curve built right in.

    The Palms are made from the annoyingly sustainable Whitetail Deer. Deer skin is as strong as it is supple. It will survive loads of abuse, and still transmit every bit of trail feedback directly to your teeth. No guilt about leather here. We miss our raspberry bushes and Hostas.

    The Gauntlets are our own quirky Oilskin. Over the last 14 years we've tried every synthetic WPB under the sun. They're all weather resistant. They all shed slop. And they all breathe like garbage bags. Our Oilskin just doesn't degrade with age. The fabric will keep you dry-ish in the rain, let you brush off sleet and ice in the winter, and develop personality with age. It also gets nice and stiff in cold weather, so you can leave the draw cord cuffs open for air. There's a webbing cinch across the back to tweak the fit.

    The Back Panel is 3 mil Neoprene. It's flexible, soft, and great for blocking wind chill. Ours has a short pile backing for wiping snot. (You will. Trust us.) We anchor a nice strip of reflective tape down the tips for inter-vehicular communication.

    The Liners are our own 80/20 wool blend blanket material. Snap them into place in the AM. Pull them out to dry on the radiator at work. Stuff them right back into place at quitting time. When they flatten out from use, wash them right back to fuffy.

    Sizes: S, M, L, XL. Colors will vary: 5.5 ounce Oilskin with deer hide palms, and Neoprene uppers. Liners: 80/20 Wool/Nylon.

    Empire Wool and Canvas Company. Winter Smart Clothing

  2. #2
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    pros/cons of heavy gloves vs pogies?

    Con - Why carry around a heavy set of gloves when you can leave the pogies affixed to the bike?. Operating GPS, phone requires you to remove the gloves, as opposed to slipping hand out of pogie.

    Pro - ?

  3. #3
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    Those look cool. I opted for poagies. I may purchase a pair of glove for winter use for when I'm not on the bike. I need to look into them. Thanks for posting.

  4. #4
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    Interesting. How do they breathe? Seems like leather + neoprene would make for very sweaty hands in very short order.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by boogman View Post
    pros/cons of heavy gloves vs pogies?

    Con - Why carry around a heavy set of gloves when you can leave the pogies affixed to the bike?. Operating GPS, phone requires you to remove the gloves, as opposed to slipping hand out of pogie.

    Pro - ?
    Fair point about the phone, GPS. Guess I tend to ignore my phone when riding, and I rarely use a GPS. I own one, but prefer to use maps in my CDW map case. Old school, whatever that's worth.

    For what it's worth no. 2: these are pretty light, even with the wool inserts.

    EDIT: And I should note that I've never used pogies. Would love to try 'em someday. Definitely sound like a smart thing to have, with lots of perks.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cendres View Post
    Interesting. How do they breathe? Seems like leather + neoprene would make for very sweaty hands in very short order.
    My last ride: the temps started in the low 20s and by afternoon were in the low 40s. And these gloves were overkill in the 40s. A little too warm, but not dripping-sweat-hot. Definitely better suited to colder temps, with the option of unsnapping/removing the wool inserts and just wearing the shells (which is a nice option with these).

  7. #7
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    Poagies (Moose Mitts) are awesome.

    I usually only wear Mechanic’s Gloves and am toasty warm to 15-20F
    For colder temps just light winter gloves are all that’s needed under the Poagies and not interfering with the controls.
    Moonlander's
    Sandman Hogger Ti

  8. #8
    Vagician
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    Those are some sweet mitts. Empire is a local company for me, and although I don't own a pair I've been eying them for a few years. It hasn't been cold enough lately (It's been unusually warm the past few years and it's raining right now. WTF!) for me to need them.

  9. #9
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    Although I haven't the mittens, I can attest to the quality of articles that Kevin Kinney makes, my winter riding jacket is Empire's wool "Camp Coat". I have eyed the ice bike mittens a time or two myself, hope they treat you really well Mangoman!

  10. #10
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    wow....looks crazy warm. What part of the country are you from so we have an idea of temperature base ?


    thanks

  11. #11
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    Yellow Split Mitts!

    Sorta spammy....but if any of you are looking for a set of these I have a pair in the classifieds.

    Empire Wool and Canvas Icebike Split Mittens - Buy and Sell and Review Mountain Bikes and Accessories
    www.thepathbikeshop.com

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by nwmtb View Post
    wow....looks crazy warm. What part of the country are you from so we have an idea of temperature base ?


    thanks
    I'm in Ohio. Where the weather, like many areas these days, can fluctuate radically from week to week.

  13. #13
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    I like the way those look. I have the Pearl izumi right now, they do well, but these look a lot better

  14. #14
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    wrap?

    What did you use to wrap your bars? How is it working?
    Looks like those are Jones Loop H-bars. Just bought some in the aluminum version.

    Thanks

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by rides2slow View Post
    What did you use to wrap your bars? How is it working?
    Looks like those are Jones Loop H-bars. Just bought some in the aluminum version.

    Thanks
    Yes, they're Jones Loop bars in titanium. Favorite bar ever. I've got 'em wrapped in leather tape from Selle Anatomica - Store. Great stuff—haven't monkeyed with it for over 2 years since initial wrap.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yoreskillz View Post
    Although I haven't the mittens, I can attest to the quality of articles that Kevin Kinney makes, my winter riding jacket is Empire's wool "Camp Coat". I have eyed the ice bike mittens a time or two myself, hope they treat you really well Mangoman!
    Thanks for the coat reco', Yoreskillz. I'll take a look...

  17. #17
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    Hmm, those are interesting. They look very similar to some military mittens that have been split and resewn. I have a few pairs of the military mittens and may have to try it out. Similar wool liner as well.

    Thanks Mangoman, I've been thinking of doing my split mitten project, but haven't gotten to it yet.

    Dan
    In Brunswick, OH

  18. #18
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    thanks

    Thanks. I'm going to check it out.



    Quote Originally Posted by mangoman View Post
    Yes, they're Jones Loop bars in titanium. Favorite bar ever. I've got 'em wrapped in leather tape from Selle Anatomica - Store. Great stuff—haven't monkeyed with it for over 2 years since initial wrap.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by boogman View Post
    pros/cons of heavy gloves vs pogies?

    Con - Why carry around a heavy set of gloves when you can leave the pogies affixed to the bike?. Operating GPS, phone requires you to remove the gloves, as opposed to slipping hand out of pogie.

    Pro - ?
    Pro - Can move hands around the handlebars to break up the monotony especially on long and steep climbs.

    Can wash the liner often and can replace the liner for only $35, if needed. It is nice to have a clean, fresh smelling winter glove.

    Can use the gloves for other tasks - like when using the snow blower to clear the driveway in 15 degree Fahrenheit temperatures.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Icecyclist.com View Post
    Pro - Can move hands around the handlebars to break up the monotony especially on long and steep climbs.

    Can wash the liner often and can replace the liner for only $35, if needed. It is nice to have a clean, fresh smelling winter glove.

    Can use the gloves for other tasks - like when using the snow blower to clear the driveway in 15 degree Fahrenheit temperatures.
    not to mention...i spend a lot of time off the bike in varying snow conditions (either walking or falling LOL) and at -20C i have no interest in picking myself out of snow with mechanics gloves on, or carrying the bike through an unrideable section. gloves for me!
    what would rainbow unicorn do?

  21. #21
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    me too..
    pro- when you fall, your hand's aren't stuck inside the bike. Did a race today and fell more times than there were laps, best one was almost a full on yard sale. Snow was anywhere up to 2ft deep.

  22. #22
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    Resurrecting this old thread to say I'm still diggin' these mittens. Temps in the high 20s are too hot for these fuzzy ovens.

  23. #23
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    Me too!




  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yoreskillz View Post
    Me too!



    Nice shots!

  25. #25
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    I am currently using army surplus mittens that are like these in many ways. My problem with them is that my thumb gets cold. Any issues with that on these mittens?

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    I am currently using army surplus mittens that are like these in many ways. My problem with them is that my thumb gets cold. Any issues with that on these mittens?
    I haven't had that issue yet using the Empires.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by boogman View Post
    pros/cons of heavy gloves vs pogies?

    Con - Why carry around a heavy set of gloves when you can leave the pogies affixed to the bike?. Operating GPS, phone requires you to remove the gloves, as opposed to slipping hand out of pogie.

    Pro - ?
    Also add hands/palms profusely sweating in the heavy mittens due to restricted airflow. Then it doesn't matter how thick the gloves are, my fingers always freeze.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  28. #28
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    Empire is currently not making these. I hope they get enough inquiries that the bring them back.

  29. #29
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    Pogies AND lobsters for me! I use Sealskin 3-finger mitts, sometimes with a wool liner glove. They are waterproof, light and compact. When the mercury dips, out come the Dogwood Designs pogies from AK. Combined, my hands are OK from freezing to -40.

  30. #30
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    Damn... Empire makes some nice stuff.
    I like turtles

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkrobe View Post
    Pogies AND lobsters for me! I use Sealskin 3-finger mitts, sometimes with a wool liner glove. They are waterproof, light and compact. When the mercury dips, out come the Dogwood Designs pogies from AK. Combined, my hands are OK from freezing to -40.
    Ironically, this morning was the first day it was cold enough to ride to work again, in AK. Every other morning has been well above freezing with water everywhere and water on top of patchy ice in places. Was still icy, but finally stuff froze and I could go out without way overheating. Some crazy weather we've been having. There's no snow out in the Valley where the Iditarod starts.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Icecyclist.com View Post
    Pro - Can move hands around the handlebars to break up the monotony especially on long and steep climbs.

    Can wash the liner often and can replace the liner for only $35, if needed. It is nice to have a clean, fresh smelling winter glove.

    Can use the gloves for other tasks - like when using the snow blower to clear the driveway in 15 degree Fahrenheit temperatures.
    Most pogies have enough room in them to move around on the bars. I have full access to my j bend bar ends inside Dogwood Designs pogies. Most pogies can also easily be washed, after which they will dry significantly faster than thick, felted wool.

    Always good to have a warm pair of gloves for off the bike tasks in cold temps though. The Empire mitts are definitely good looking.

  33. #33
    GoCyco
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    Has anyone tried these "golfer" mitts?
    Only $19.99
    Men's Clicgear Mitts
    Clicgear Men's Clicgear Mitts at Golfsmith.com

  34. #34
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    www.thepathbikeshop.com

  35. #35
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    Message sent Donkey, I'll take those please.

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