The new Oak Pro Aluminum knee pads from Dainese incorporate the clever Boa Closure System directly into the pad, allowing you to easily fine tune the fit with a quick turn of the dial. When the ride is over you simply pull on the dial and the tension releases, allowing you to slip the pad off. Dainese Oak Pro Aluminum knee pad details:
• New knee pad for 2012
• Uses the Boa Closure System
• Aluminum knee cup
• Multi material 'Crash Absorb' soft protection above and below the knee cup
• Open back for cooling and to prevent fabric bunching
• Silicone gripper strips to help hold pads in place
• Available Feb, 2012
• MSRP: $199 USDWhat is the Boa Closure System?
Long used on high-end cycling shoes, the Boa system is a clever design that uses a single lace, made from woven steel with a protective coating, that is routed in such a way that tightening the lace provides a quick way to custom fit the amount of tension without having to deal with standard laces or Velcro. Tension is controlled via a single dial - turn it to the right to increase the lace tension in incremental steps (one click of the dial equals just 2mm of lace adjustment
, then simply pull the dial out to quickly release all of the tension. The Boa Closure System is not only lighter than buckles or multiple Velcro straps, but it also can provide you a much more uniform feel that is free of pressure points. While it looks complicated from the outside, the design uses only three parts: the dial, a small inner spool and the lace itself. The Boa system may be ideal for use on knee pads because it offers a quick way to adjust the fit of the pads without having to step off the bike or even stop.
This simple dial controls how tight the Boa Closure System grips. Simply turn the dial to the right in order to bring the tension up, or pull it out slightly to instantly release all tautness. The lace (there is only one that per pad
) runs out of the dial, along the side of the pad and down to the bottom, then up the other side and back into the opposite side of the Boa dial.
The Boa lace itself is actually made from aircraft-grade stainless steel twisted together and then woven into other bundles and covered with a protective coating. It runs through hard guide loops within the pad to keep it from tearing the material. Dainese spent a lot of time experimenting with lace position in order to find a route that provides a uniform and comfortable feel all around.
The pad's knee cup is made from aluminum. Why? Dainese wanted to use a material that would slide over rough surfaces, allowing you to better absorb the impact instead of stopping dead when you hit the ground. We had to admit that it also looks pretty damn cool in person. Above and below the hard aluminum knee cup you'll find soft multi-material protection that is made from a mixture of polymer foam and nitrile rubber. Instead of simply layering the material Dainese employs an interesting looking honeycomb layup that they say performs a better job of absorbing impacts.
There is no denying that the Oak Pro Aluminum's $199 USD asking price is a hell of a lot of dough for a set of knee pads, but they are quite different - and possibly better - than what else is out there. If you don't want to spend that amount of money on pads Dainese also offers a $149 USD version that includes the aluminum knee cup but without the Boa Closure System, as well as a model that goes for the same price but forgoes the aluminum cup and includes the Boa. For $89 USD you can get the standard Oak knee pad sans Boa and the aluminum cup, but we could see these being a hit with all-mountain riders or those looking for a lighter duty option.
Dainese was also showing off their new Second Skin upper body protection. Made from the same honeycombed polymer foam and nitrile rubber, the Second Skin is light enough that it could make sense for aggressive all-mountain riders who are looking for more protection, but don't want to wear constricting and hot standard upper body armour.
Visit the Dainese website
to see their entire lineup. Stay tuned for more from Eurobike 2011