POC Index DH Glove w/ VPD 2.0
Size: 10 / Large
- Silicon Gel Palm protection
- Grip patches for brake fingers
- Adjustable cuff
- Synthetic suede on palm inside
- Touch Screen compatible
Duration of Test: About 2.5 months
Locations of Test: Trail and DH in Whitefish, Whistler, Fernie and some others.
The Index DH is POC’s most downhill-oriented glove, meaning that it has the most padding / armoring of any glove in their lineup. While I wasn’t a huge fan of the armoring, the Index DH is extremely well made and more durable than pretty much any other glove I’ve worn.
VPD 2.0 Armoring
The Index DH glove has a patch of POC’s VPD 2.0 armoring, which is a flexible, rubbery material that stiffens upon impact. This material is common in knee pads and other large pieces of protective wear, but it seems to be rarer in gloves.
Most armored gloves I’ve worn had either a rigid plastic / carbon guard or a thin rubbery shield across the knuckles. I don’t like gloves with the rigid plastic shield because, while they offer relatively good protection, it generally comes at the cost of comfort—I’ve found them to be hot and somewhat constricting. The alternatives with a rubbery shield were more comfortable, but they didn’t do much in terms of protection.
VPD seems to split the difference between the rigid armoring and the softer rubber. The patch of VPD on the Index DH glove is relatively thin (around 3mm), and it covers the outer three first knuckles.
(And for clarity’s sake, I’ll refer to the knuckles at the base of the fingers, or closest to your hand, as the first knuckles, the next set as the second knuckles, and the ones closest to your fingertips as the third knuckles).
It’s tough to thoroughly test the VPD material, but I did do a “punch the wall” experiment. In a shocking scientific breakthrough, my control group (bare hand) hurt when I punched the wall. Smacking the wall with the VPD patch hurt a little less than hitting the wall with other non-VPD equipped gloves. I didn’t find that the VPD noticeably firmed up on impact, but it did offer a bit more protection to my hand than gloves without it.
I found that the VPD material wasn’t perfectly placed for me. First, the VPD didn’t quite wrap around the outside of my hand—it left the outer ~1cm of my hand exposed. Generally, if I’m going to have padding on my knuckles, I want it to protect against trees I snag while riding.
Second, the VPD sits high on the first knuckles—it doesn’t extend down over my fingers at all. In my normal riding position, it’s the area between my first and second pinky knuckles that takes the most abuse, and the VPD patch doesn’t protect that spot.
The outer two second knuckles have small patches of silicon padding, but that padding is not made of VPD. While I’m sure those little silicon patches help for minor impacts, I don’t think they’ll protect against larger hits. On the upside, however, those patches don’t restrict movement at all.
Granted, I have yet to find another armored glove that solves these pad placement issues. If the padding is farther out or moved down the fingers, I think it would seriously restrict movement. So, while the VPD padding isn’t perfect, it provides a bit of protection without being overly cumbersome.
The flexibility of the VPD padding allows for easy hand movement in the glove. It doesn’t feel constricting, but the glove is snug across the first knuckles under the VPD patch. Over time, I found this to be fairly irritating—the extra pressure on my knuckles would make them hurt after a long day of riding. For a period, I had to stop wearing the gloves because they were making my knuckles too sore. Maybe I’m just being too sensitive, but it’s not a problem I’ve encountered before.
I think it’s important to note that the reason I haven’t retired the gloves is because, other than the armoring, I like them way more than any other pair that I’ve owned. And a lot of that has to do with the quality of the Index DH…
Quality / Craftsmanship
I was bummed that the padding wasn’t cooperating with my knuckles, because I really like the glove as a whole. The Index DH glove is probably the highest quality bike glove I’ve ever owned. In terms of materials and craftsmanship, it trumps anything I’ve worn from Troy Lee, Fox, 661, Dakine, etc.
In the past, I’ve considered gloves disposable. All of them, regardless of how much I paid, deteriorated very quickly. Especially when I (inevitably) end up wearing the gloves while doing trail work, they fall apart at an alarming rate.
The POC Index DH costs a bit more ($65), but you get a very high quality product. Even after riding in the glove for a couple months and doing trail work that involved moving sharp rocks, the POC Index is still holding up just fine. I have another pair of gloves (Troy Lee Air) I’ve only spent about a month in that are already starting to fall apart.
The palm material on the Index DH has held up extremely well and is not showing any signs of wear. The same goes for the backing material, which also breathes well (more on that below). The stitching is of a much higher quality than most other gloves on the market, and there aren’t any signs of the seams coming apart.
The palm has some thin patches of silicon padding, which normally I hate. On the Index DH, however, the padding is thin and placed in appropriate spots so that I don’t notice it. It does, however, provide a little extra crash padding.
The Index DH has a grippy material on the fingers and thumb for traction on the brake levers and shifters. This material works well, but (as is the case with every other glove I’ve owned), it has started to come off. The grippy stuff on the POC gloves is bonded pretty well, meaning that it took about six weeks for it to start rip off (which is better than the six days that the grippy stuff on my last pair of gloves lasted).