Outside of helmet and gloves, knee pads have become increasing popular as everyday ride wear for the AM rider, but with so many options out there, what does one look for?
The nature of the All mountain rider is that we want adequate protection on the downhill and flowing trails, without being too heavy or restrictive when climbing – similar to a great ALL Mountain bike, the knee pads need to be a great all rounder. Sure there are some compromises to be made, but advances in fabrics and materials have enable some forward thinking companies to come up with some suitable options.
MTB Knee Pad Review – What To Look For
– Easy to fit – ideally without the need to remove shoes, although many riders have different preferences towards a sock-like fit versus straps.
– Does not Slip Down – A fastening system or fabric fit system that ensures the knee pad stays in its place for the duration of your ride.
– Lightweight – When riding all day the last thing you want to be thinking about is the massive bricks on your knees. look for moulded plastic, D30 and other materials that form to your knee movement, rather than hard plastic exteriors, especially when pedaling.
– Moisture Wicking, Anti-Bacterial Properties – Again, the less you are aware of the knee pads when riding, the better – hot and sweaty = no good.
– Abrasion proof fabrics – As the name suggest you want hard wearing fabrics such as ballistic nylon, kevlar or fabric that has similar abrasion proof properties.
– Price range – All Mountain Knee Pads are starting around USD $50 through to $200. You can find a quality pair under a $100.
MTB All Mountain Knee Pads – Overview
The below is a overview or review of 10 MTB knee pads that are made for the all mountain rider or enduro racer. Designed for all day use with both downhill riding and uphill pedaling, factored into the design equation.
A complete fit, sock-like knee pad that has been ‘Specifically designed with the growing Enduro scene’, the Race Face Indy has a Knee and Shin extension for that complete protection without being too cumbersome and utilize the D30 protective foam, which has been a popular choice for knee pad manufacturers.
Coined as ‘ideal for Trail and Enduro riding’ the IXS – Flow Series has been developed with their team rider Hans Rey for that All Mountain rider with a decidedly minimalist approach to the design to keep it functional for the demands of all day riding.
A long time favourite for the All Mountain rider, the Fox Launch Pro‘s have been a popular choice. Given the styling of their Enduro racing, the Fox Launch Pros’ may now seem over engineered, compared to some of the minimalist styling options coming through to appease the Enduro racer, these pads however are still are proven performer on the trail.
Another manufacturer utilising the D30 technology, the TSG – Tahoe D30‘s is less pitched at the All Mountain rider and more a cover-all for multiple bike disciplines.
There is no doubt that the POC styling is attractive, from their sleek logo and subtle colour cues, to their well thought through product design. Using proprietary technology such as VPD (“VPD is highly impact absorbent, comfortable and adapts to create an individual fit and due to its high level of protection and the ability to transition from soft to hard during impact”) POC is one to watch in the protection’s space.
A smart looking Knee pad that is worn by some the worlds best, including the Atherton’s and the rest of the GT Factory team.
The strapless designed knee pads are ideal for all/everyday riding, holding that balance of comfort, breathability and impact protection. Once the sizing and fit is dialed, these Troy Lee KG5400‘s are a great lightweight option to consider.
The 661’s are well represented at trails and bike parks around the world indicating their popularity and performance in trail tested conditions. Sporting the D30 protection material the 661 EVO‘s have consistently performed well in peer reviews for their well thought through design and rider focused features – ideal for the trail/all mountain rider.
The G-Forms are striking in their design – especially if you choose the yellow. They use a similar reactive foam that hardens on impact (similar to D30) and are strapless. The minimalist design lends itself to trail riding where bulky knee pads are less effective. Not a bad option and well received by riders who wear them.
The Blueegrass Bobcat D30 are in my opinion the best looking knee pads in this mix. This Italy based protections company has implemented the D30 technology into a race proven knee guard. Neoprene and velcro fastening straps have ensured that the fit works with all sizes of riders.
All Mountain Knee Pads or Knee Guards are becoming more popular with trail riders and the MTB Enduro race format and this style of riding has brought to the product category a different set of product features that are well suited to the all mountain and aggressive trail rider. The above is a snapshot of the offerings available – check out places like Chain Reaction and Wiggle or your local bike shop on options for you.