Blister Gear Review tests the DBX 4.0 Lite and Windblock Gloves
Size Tested: Large / 10
- CE tested and certified as Personal Protective Equipment 89/686/EEC
- CE tested as impact protection: Knuckle prEN 13594:2014
- 3D molded self-locating Armourgel impact protection
- NanoGrip palm
- Pre-curved snug fit seamless palm
- Thumb visor / sweat wiper
- Stretch fit comfort cuff
MSRP: $49.99 (Lite) $54.99 (Windblock)
Intended Use: Full finger gloves with knuckle protection
Test Location: Whitefish, MT
Test Duration: About 25 rides
Leatt is probably best known for their neck braces and protective gear, but over the last few years, they’ve expanded their lineup to include among other things, gloves. I’ve been riding in the DBX 4.0 Lite and Windblock this spring, and have come away impressed with both options.
DBX 4.0 Lite
The DBX 4.0 Lite falls in the middle of Leatt’s glove lineup – the Windblock is heavier and warmer, while the DBX 3.0 X-Flow is a bit lighter and uses more mesh. In terms of thickness and bulk, the 4.0 Lite falls on the light side of what I’d call average for a full finger glove. It doesn’t have any mesh panels to dramatically improve airflow, but the fabric throughout is fairly thin and vents well.
The 4.0 Lite is the kind of glove that I’d be happy using in “normal” riding temperatures, roughly 60-90° F (16-32° C). Above that and I’d rather use something with more mesh, like the X-Flow, and below that I’d like something a little warmer, like the 4.0 Windblock, or even something with some insulation of it’s really cold.
Fit on the gloves is a little bit on the big side. I’d say they fit larger than gloves from POC or Troy Lee, and a smidge bigger than gloves from Specialized or Dakine. The DBX 4.0’s that I rode were my normal size – a glove size 10 – and while they weren’t too big, I felt like I could have bumped down to a 9, especially since the gloves are a bit stretchy.
Construction and Features
Leatt touts the “NanoGrip palm” on the 4.0 Lite, which apparently uses “Nano fiber technology 7.500 thinner than hair.” They don’t give any units there, and I’m not exactly sure what that means, and my calipers aren’t that accurate, but there’s no denying that the palm material is quite thin. Thus far, I’m a big fan – the material is pleasantly soft while also giving great, unimpeded grip on the bar. There’s no padding of any sort – only a reinforced (but still thin) area at the base of the palm. The palm material also works with touch screens, so dealing with phones is slightly less fumbly.
The back of the glove is a stretchy ventilated material that lets air flow through pretty well, while also feeling sturdy. Leatt calls it a mesh, but it’s a pretty tightly woven mesh – you can’t see through it.
Like most good gloves, the thumb has a snot wiper on it.
The DBX series gloves are somewhat of a departure from many other higher end gloves at the wrist – they use an elastic cuff, rather than a velcro strap. While I was slightly skeptical at first, I’ve become a fan; it’s comfy and they’re quick to pull on and off. But if you’re not a fan, check out Leatt’s GPX series of gloves – they use a traditional velcro cuff.
Like most products made by Leatt, the DBX lineup of gloves use Armourgel for protection. On the DBX this is integrated into the knuckles. My past experience with armoured gloves has been underwhelming; it certainly doesn’t hurt, but it didn’t really seem to help much either.
The DBX 4.0’s are much better in this regard – I’ve done a few rides this spring on overgrown, brushy trails, and the gloves made thwacking through brush a decidedly more pleasant experience. They probably won’t save you if you punch a tree going fast, but for minor impacts, they actually help a lot.
Construction seems to be high quality. I did have one small hanging thread, but thus far the gloves are holding together well. I’ve taken a couple of minor diggers, and I’ve done a bit of trail work while wearing them, but thus far they’ve shrugged all of that off without any tears or frays.
DBX 4.0 Windblock
The DBX 4.0 Windblock shares a lot in common with the 4.0 Lite – the palm, knuckle protection, and cuff are all essentially identical, so I won’t repeat myself here. The primary difference comes on the back of the glove where, as the name implies, the glove gets a windblocking material.
Even though this is a windblocker glove, it shouldn’t be confused with something that has actual insulation or waterproofing – the 4.0 Windblock is still a lightweight, thin glove, and it doesn’t do anything to keep out moisture. But despite its light weight, I found it to be comfortable down to relatively cool temperatures – my hands were happy down to about 40°F (4°C). On the flip side, I found the gloves to be a bit warm above about 60°F (16°C), at least on rides where I was working hard.
My only real complaint on the DBX 4.0 Windblock is that the thumb on my gloves doesn’t have a snot wipe like the Lite, which is a bummer for a cool weather glove. But Leatt is now showing that the 4.0 Windblock does have a soft thumb like the 4.0 Lite does, so it appears that issue has already been resolved.
I’ve been quite happy with both of the DBX series gloves that I’ve tried – they’re well made, super comfortable, and between the X-Flow, the Lite, and the Windblock, you can pick a “weight” that suits your climate. They get extra points for offering an extra bit of protection, without being overly hot or bulky. All in all, if you’re in the market for some new gloves and you like a thin, precise connection to the bar, the DBX series are some of the best out there.