The march of time affects everything and sadly, it has meant that the Dane Fyre heated Gore-Tex gloves are now discontinued, though if you hunt hard enough, you can still find them around albeit in limited sizes. It's worth the effort.
The reason they are worth the effort is that they're excellent. They were hailed as the world’s first Gore-Tex heated glove when released and I wore a pair through two winters of solid commuting and was incredibly impressed with them.
Formed in aniline leather, they feature a deep cuff – inevitable to house the batteries for the electrical heating – but then, as a winter glove, it is hardly surprising. I find that they fit my hands – wide main section and shorter fingers – perfectly and the feel for the bike’s controls and bars is surprisingly good for a winter glove. They have a plush interior and the Thinsulate insulation keeps the hands warm as the temperature begins to fall.
When it gets very low, then you just fire up the heating elements, which run around the back of the hands and fingers, as the diagram shows and instantly you are cosetted with warmth ranging from barely-noticeable-but-keeps-the-cold-away to toasty warm.
There is a perfectly-located wrist strap to keep them on and the wide cuff is large enough to go over most jackets. However, this is where one of the limitations comes in. The batteries that come with the gloves are a fair size.
While this offers heating for a handful of hours depending on the level you choose, they inevitably increase the bulk at the wrist. This can not only affect how easy it is to get a jacket cuff underneath but also, the overall comfort of the whole set-up and how they sit on the hands in relation to the jacket cuffs.
The obvious solution is the optional hard-wire kit to connect the gloves directly to the bike’s battery and deliver power using a Y-lead that runs inside your jacket and down the sleeves. This does away with the batteries and makes the gloves much less cumbersome and more comfortable. It also means you will never run out of heating power and gives access to the ‘Ultra-high’ heating mode that will keep you super-warm in even the coldest conditions.
One criticism I have of the gloves is protection – or rather, the perceived lack of it. They are CE approved but not rated and they use soft knuckle protection there is also a soft pad on the heel of the palm, though this seems to be part-way between the heel and the scaphoid.
Concertinaed panels just below the knuckles allow easy movement though and there is a suede visor-wipe section (though this can cause smears in light spray) and the fingertips are touchscreen compatible.
One other thing to be aware of is because they are Gore-Tex (and this is for any glove that uses the ubiquitous membrane) is that you shouldn’t use them with heated grips on in the wet. Many riders love heated grips but the action that drives moisture from inside a Gore-Tex membrane to outside (getting rid of sweat, for example) is based on the temperature difference.
So your warmer hand drives moisture to the colder outside. However, if you have heated grips on in the rain, the hotter outside drives moisture into the glove, as I discovered on a long trek to Wales from MCN Towers. After that, I just used the gloves’ built-in heating and my hands were never wet again.
It’s a shame that these are so difficult to find, as I have found them to be excellent. I have owned them for several years and still use them.
They have stood up very well to thousands of miles of use in all conditions – wet, dry, cold, chilly – and other than using the heated grips when I should not have, they have never let me down.
However, as I said, time marches on and other manufacturers using their own membranes, more reassuring protection and frankly, a lower price, has meant that the Fyre has all but disappeared from the market. But if you can find a pair, they would be well worth considering.
Gore-Tex membrane for waterproofing and breathability
Three levels of electrical heating
Protection feels lacking by ‘modern’ standards