Park Tool MG-1 mechanic's gloves

By John Stevenson

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Sniff the glove
Photo: © Cyclingnews

Fixing bikes has always been a grubby job. Those of us who spend time getting our hands dirty with bikes just accepted it – scrubbing out the grime under your fingernails after working on a bike was just part of the process.

But in the last few year's we've all become far more aware that many of the solvents and lubricants we use are hazardous, and getting a good layer of them on your skin is simply not a great idea.

Park Tool's MG-1 Mechanic's Gloves provide a physical barrier that stops oil, grease, grime and DOT 4 from ever coming into contact with your skin. They're made from nitrile rubber, a material that, unlike natural latex rubber, is impervious to organic solvents.

As the US Department of Energy's Occupational Safety and Health regs put it, nitrile gloves "provide protection from chlorinated solvents (trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene). They are intended for jobs requiring dexterity and sensitivity, yet they stand up under mechanical use even after prolonged exposure to substances that cause other glove materials to deteriorate. They also resist abrasion, puncturing, snagging, and tearing."

It sounds like just the job for protecting tender human skin from chemicals, while still allowing the fine manipulation necessary to work on bikes. And this is what we find.

In the workshop

The MG-1 gloves are thin enough that you lose very little sensitivity while wearing them, and they don't add anything significant to the bulk of your fingers. Holding small screws and the like is therefore just as easy as without the gloves, and manipulating tools is unaffected.

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Textured for extra sensation grip
Photo: © Cyclingnews

The fingertips are textured, and the rubber isn't especially slippery anyway – I didn't find it impeded grip. Once I got used to the slightly odd feeling of wearing gloves while working, they were almost unnoticeable.

Park provides the MG-1s in a range of sizes, and I found the L was a slightly loose fit, the M was slightly tight. There's no powder in these gloves so squeezing into the tight version is a struggle. Once they were on, they worked superbly. However, the slight looseness of the L turned out to be almost a non-issue. With a box of each to hand (sorry!) I'd use M for long work sessions, L for quick jobs.

However long your bike fixing session, the best moment comes at the end. Instead of scrubbing to clean your fingers of that foul diesel particulate crud that bikes accumulate, you just peel off the gloves and sit down to dinner!

I found two disadvantages. The first is that your hands get sweaty inside a completely impermeable rubber membrane. No surprise there, but your fingers do end up with that wrinkled prune, fell-asleep-in-the-bath effect. The second is that when you really need your fingernails to, say, pick up the end of a piece of rim tape there's a rubber sheet over them and you'll need to use something else.


Protecting your skin when you're working on bikes is undoubtedly a good idea. Park's MG-1 gloves do the job, don't get in the way of your work, and you just peel off the dirt when you're finished.

Pro: Complete barrier against grime and solvents; no post-work hand-scrubbing
Sweaty fingers & wrinkled prune effect; loss of use of fingernails
More information: Park Tool 's website
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