G-Form Knee Pads Review

Dec 21, 2011
by Mike Levy  
G-Form's knee pads, along with the rest of their protective line up, make use of their RPT - Reactive Protection Technology - that allows the padding to remain soft and flexible during use, but instantly harden upon an impact. While not the first to employ a material that changes density when struck, their pads are far slimmer and more form fitting than any before, making them useful for more than just lift assisted riding. The G-Form knee pads can be had in either black or yellow, with sizes ranging from 2XS to 2XL. They retail for $49.95 USD.

G-Form pads
G-Form's slim knee pads use density changing padding that hardens upon impacts near instantaneously.

G-Form knee pad details:

- Uses density changing RPT (Reactive Protection Technology) padding
- RPT padding is molded with depressions that act as hinges for flexibility
- Repeated impact absorption won't degrade padding
- Padding is attached to a thin compression fabric
- Lifetime warranty
- Sizes: 2XS - 2XL
- Colours: black, yellow
- MSRP: $49.95 USD/39.99 GBP

The details: G-Form employs a density changing padding material, referred to as Reactive Protection Technology, that can go from soft and pliable to extremely firm within an instant, allowing it to be flexible and conforming until needed. G-Form's RPT isn't the first type of padding to change its durometer under impacts, with d3o doing a very similar same thing, but they claim to have a number of advantages over d3o based protection, including the ability to mold it into much more ergonomic shapes. A knee or elbow pad that uses d30 is required to lay the material up in a simple manner without much concession for any flexibility or comfort, as well as requiring a layer of protective fabric over top to prevent abrasion damage. The result is padding that makes sense for use on a downhill bike or in the bike park, but can end up being somewhat bulky for riders who like to wear pads on their all-mountain or cross-country rides. G-Form's RPT padding doesn't require as much abrasion protection, only needing a thin layer of protective film to keep it from being damaged in a crash, with the final product being much more svelte and ergonomic.

The padding is laid out on the fabric with flexibility in mind, using a central, round section that is positioned over the kneecap and smaller segments that fan out on all sides. Depressions are molded into the RPT padding that serve as flex points, allowing it to have little to no restriction in movement. Coverage extends both above and below the knew, as well as smaller sections of padding that wrap around the sides, although the amount of protection afforded by these are somewhat limited.

The padding is applied to a very simple compression fabric that resembles a knee warmer, and does without any of the Velcro straps or rear cutouts that you might find on a more traditional knee pad design. This makes the G-Form pads simple and extremely lightweight, but you'll have to remove your shoes to pull on. Both the top and bottom cuff are quite stretchy, with the top also featuring a grippy silicone strip to help hold them up.

G-Form pads
The padding's depressions act as hinges, allowing it to flex with little to no resistance.


Performance: Despite the area of coverage being roughly the same as a standard knee pad, the G-Form's don't give you the sense of having the same level of protection. This isn't a surprise considering their slim and form fitting design. What is clear, though, is that the science behind their Reactive Protection Technology padding does perform as advertised, with the soft material instantly turning harder when struck. There were a handful of times where we came down on our knees, fully expecting an open wound or at least a proper bruising, but walked away without a scratch. That's not to say that the they will absorb the same amount of energy as a full sized BMX style knee pad, we have our doubts on that front and G-Form doesn't make that claim, but they do offer great coverage and protection without the bulkiness and disagreeable fit of a larger design.

The G-Form knee pads are pull up, meaning that you'll have to remove your shoes to get them on, but they do a good job of staying put. There is no noticeable migration down the leg over time, even when sliding across ground. This is impressive considering the design depends on the elastic properties of the cuff and the silicone gripping strip, but the pad's somewhat tight fit likely helped this cause as well. Besides the snug openings, they are likely the most comfortable knee pads that we've ever worn, so much so that we found ourselves sporting them even for three and four hour trail rides - we can't think of any other pads that we can say this about. The RPT padding makes use of depressions that act as hinges, allowing the padding to articulate enough to be undetectable as your legs go through the motion, which helped in their unobtrusive presence. They have also held up well, not looking any worse for wear after many crashes and countless washings. We paid extra attention to the stitching at the edge of the padding because it does look a touch vulnerable, but not a single stitch has gone awry.

While we'd likely turn to full sized knee pads when shuttling on the downhill bike, the G-Form's make a lot of sense for those times when you're looking for something slimmer for when you have to earn your turns, or when the terrain isn't as treacherous and a leaner pad will do the job. They are also comfortable enough that we didn't hesitate to put them at the start of a ride, even if there was a monster climb ahead of us, and their slim design also kept them from getting caught on open end of long shorts.

G-Form pads
While their exoskeleton appearance may look a touch odd, think of them as padded knee warmers on steroids.

Issues: The G-Form knee pads are not bike specific, so they lack a few of the cycling centric touches that we'd like to see. Some extra coverage for the inside of the knee, to protect it from banging the bike's top tube, would be first on our list. There is also no opening at the back of the knee that would prevent material from bunching, and while we have no complaints on the comfort front, this revision would improve the already agreeable fit even more.

When I first put the G-Form pads on I briefly considered the chance that my legs had put on about 30% more muscle, sadly, that isn't the case. They fit small, with the medium size of our test pair feeling a quite tight at the top and bottom cuff. I can't think of any other pads that I've ever needed a large size in, but that would be the case with these. Be sure to check out the sizing chart before pulling the trigger, and consider ordering one size larger than you think you need.

Pinkbike's take:
bigquotesG-Form's knee pads likely won't appeal to pure downhillers that don't put a high value on ergonomics, but they may be just the ticket for shredders who want unobtrusive padding that can be worn for the entirety of the ride. In a blind test we would likely say that we were wearing simple knee warmers - that's how invisible they felt on the legs - which is impressive considering they also offer a good level of protection. We'd like to see a few small tweaks, including more padding to protect the inside of the knee and a cutout at the back, but factor in their reasonable $49.99 USD asking price and we'd say that the G-Form knee pads are worth picking up for the trail rider who is looking for some knee protection.- Mike levy



www.g-form.com
www.g-formuk.com


119 Comments

  • + 63
 Kyle Straits. That is all.
  • + 18
 as much as I love my kyle straights, I gotta say they have a few big flaws... the perforated neoprene is about as durable as a wet napkin, the elastic in the straps failed within a week, and they often slip. that said, I do like them, they work great and arent too sweaty. but I feel there are better alternatives out there...
  • + 6
 I agree. Mine are in shreds from just pulling them on. Don't slip that often and they have saved me a few trips to the doctor. I find them somewhat cumbersome though.
  • + 1
 Nobble ^^^^
  • + 3
 I don't know what your talking about mine have lasted the whole year
  • + 3
 i won these in a raffle and they are super unconfortable .....hate em
  • + 2
 Unconfortable?! You must be using them upside down... Just kidding. I love my kyle straits, but the material is starting to rip off, and now they fall down when I fall off. :S
  • + 2
 B.T.W., Mike Levy, review Fox Launch Pro knee pads please, 'cus I'm seriously thinking on buying them. I just don't know If they're slim, or big... lol
  • + 1
 The knee/shin ones? Ihave a pair, the protection is good and they stay in place. However the arent very comfortable... Although i have bony knees/shins
  • + 1
 No, the "only knee" ones, mate Smile
  • + 1
 Nobble, i have had mine for about 6 months and they work just fine and are not worn out at all.
  • + 3
 I love my Fox "only knee" pads. My Kyle Straits were comfy but weren't very durable, the also twisted and slipped on falls. The Fox pads are comfortable, durable and relatively low profile. They never slip!
  • - 17
flag nouser (Dec 21, 2011 at 11:39) (Below Threshold)
 THESE LOOK MORE HOMOSEXUAL THAN GAY PORN!!!! Frown
  • + 1
 I have the g-form knee and shin and although i wouldnt use them for mountain stuff i am extremely happy with how they perform for street and park (i have yet to try them on dirt) unlike the article sais, i find they protect the inside of the knee well against hitting on the TT/rest of the bike.
Absolutely recommended, comfy, light, and protect much more than one would think ! Orten when i failed footjam tailwhips because of too much speed and kick and fell knees and shins right on the frame cranks and pedals and i thought "of f*ck this is gonna hurt" and in the end i didnt even feel it.
Plus the price is reasonable, especially for the quality of the product.
Another good thing is that when you fall on something kind of sharp on the part with no padding, even if it makes a hole, the hole does not extend even if you pull on the thing ! (not retardedly hard of course)
  • + 1
 Really like my POC soft pads. Too bad they've gone and improved them with small side tabs now, could use that. These look like a great trail pad with added compression
  • + 14
 These pads would be the perfect Park pads to wear under your jeans! I don't know why people are saying pads are for sissies, because if you spend countless hours trying that same trick, you would be quitting so fast because of the bruises on your knees!
  • + 1
 Agreed. They are slim enough to fit under jeans easily. They also so shin pads that would be nearly invisible as well.
  • + 1
 I see it is designed to protect the knee cap areas. However from my crash experience, accident doesn't look for you knee caps only, need more protection around the knees.
  • + 13
 these would probably be good for xc, cx & blow jobs.
  • + 7
 I had a set of these in the yellow, and wore them for a ride or two... they were the most uncomfortable pads I've ever tried!! It might be because my knees are rather knobby, or it my be due to the design... either way, I went out and purchased myself a nice set of 661 EVO knee pads, and have never looked back. And I wear them for XC/trail riding.

The G-Form pads are exactly the same on the back/inside as it looks on the outside. Only a thin layer of spandex seperates the pads from your kneecap. G-Form did a great job in designing the pad for coverage, but I feel that they need to go back to the drawing board and rethink the design of the backside/inside to provide better comfort for the wearer.
  • + 5
 Very different experience from mine, but good feedback nonetheless. Just like helmets and shoes, it is always good to try them on before buying (if possible). We're all shaped differently!
  • + 1
 I was wondering how they would compare to the 661evo lite pads which I have.
( which I reviewed here on pinkbike a year ago sharonb.pinkbike.com/blog/sixsixoneevoliteknees.html)

These have been my goto pads all year and they've been holding out great!

It sounds like they offer the same level of protection - good protection against abrasion and light impact, not for hard impacts. Great for riding up in.

Benefit of the 661 is they wrap around and velcro on so you don't have to take off your shoes. which is a plus over the kyle straights which are too warm to pedal up in and a nuisance for longer rides if you pull them down to your shins.
  • + 1
 661 evo, could not get them to feel comfy no matter what i did, really wanted them but before purchase wanted to wait to try them - found a shop with stock, tried 3 sizes because I hated the way they felt..did not spend my money thank god.

reeeeeeeally wanted POC - no stock anywhere which was a massive drain and total bummer.

To the dude asking about FOX LAUNCH, amazing - i have the knee only version, comfortable as hell.

These things look great and I would take them in a heart beat for trail riding BUT until you crash im pretty sure you are always going to be wondering, how is this knee pad and rock garden going to treat me today if i hit it?
  • + 1
 I bought a pair of the POC knees to replace my Kyle Straights. I use them in the Whistler Bike Park, Shuttle rides and trails where the consequences are high if I crash. I can pedal ok in them, but there is one stitch that is always digging into the back and side of my knee- you know where that ligament kinda bulges out. They are very warm. The 661 evo wouldn't be very good in a high impact crash IMO.
  • + 5
 I can see what your saying by they wont be used by down hillers, this is where I have to disagree. They wont be used by downhillers in places like Alps, or anywhere where theres uplifts. However if you live in Britain and have to push the bike back up the hill your self after a run, Id be happy to sacrifice a little protection in favour of mobility for the rest of the day
  • + 2
 Kyle Straights. just undo the straps and slip them down while you're pushing up. Thats what i do.
  • + 1
 if were going to go down that route, i have a full foot 661 something or other that goes right from the knee cap down to ankle. And i just unstrap those. but its still unstrapping.

i bought my knee pads for £25 and well 50usd is £30, wouldnt have minded paying a little extra to not have to unstrap all the time
  • + 1
 I wear my Straits all day long. They're so comfortable I usually forget they're even there.
  • + 4
 sorry they suck, I crashed on my knee last week with these on, knee hurts still and hurt like hell for 2 days and was not walking very good, STAY AWAY sent them an e-mail and they will not respond
  • + 4
 I'm guessing that your knee would hurt much more if you hadn't been wearing the pads, though? I'll certainly agree that they do not provide the same amount of protection as full sized knee pads, but they still do a very good job of striking a middle ground between no protection and bulky, hot pads.
  • - 1
 a friend of mine also had them and said they were terrible.. also pretty ugly..
  • + 1
 ugly or not its a personal thing i like my grey helment and people say its ugly as f*ck
i personaly think they look nice and perfect for enduro or allmountain not a DH wc race protection...
  • + 3
 I cannot stress enough how much I love my G-Form pads, The work great, and they also make shins and elbows as well, along with light weight chest and body armor to come out soon... Get some for your self too, Can't beat the price... and for an example of the actual technology, I think we can all conclude it works great, because when they dropped an iPad in one of their cases made of the same material out of an airplane.. and it was unharmed.
  • + 1
 I hope they do elbow pads next!!!
  • + 2
 i think it is utterly AWESOME that they come out with a technologically advanced product that doesn't rape the fuck out of your bank account. every other company that comes out with something new thinks it should cost at least triple what you are used to paying. i will buy these just to support a company that appears to care about bringing something viable to the market without adding to the overpricing mania that is so rampant in the bike product world.
  • + 1
 Correction, I hope you come out with a review on elbow pads next.
  • + 2
 I got mine at Interbike this year. I Like them. Unobtrusive, they fit under my jeans and they have saved my knees a couple of times. I ride alot of All mountain so they do well pedaling as well. They fall down a little when your legs get hot but not out of the way. I would recommend them, and they are not flimsy, despite how they look. Also they tend to get hard in cold weather, but don't react to impact any different.
  • + 2
 I've been running the G-Forms for about two weeks. I also have KS and a set of Kali's (which are exactly the same as the KS). The G-Forms look cheap, but they fit great and are substantially more comfortable on pedal rides. I'll stick with the bigger pads for shuttle runs, but for everything else, the G-Forms are very nice.
  • + 2
 survey questions are bogus - apples to oranges. These are not bmx pads, and are not intended to be used as such... so why ask? I'll stick with the 661's or similar designs. These seem ok for xc/am, but I'd probably go with Demon Dirt instead.
  • + 1
 i dont like the choices for votes, they seem to be either i will buy them or i just wont wear them or use them. i think for armour and other parts they should have a nother option that is more on the terms of i allready have a nice_____ and im happy with it, or mabe even an "other" selection were you can vote other and leave a a short message on why you would or would not buy them for these surcomstances ( i know a lot of this gets discused in the comments tho )
  • + 1
 A lack of padding on the inside of the knee is a big flaw. I smack my knee on the top tube or stem way more than having a full on collision with the front of my knee. Add some padding on the inside, and these look great, especially for the price point.
  • + 1
 drive.google.com/file/d/0B9XMWGdCvoggOXRVcFVXd3E0SVE/view?usp=sharing

Picture shows knee bruise after hitting asphalt road. Fall forward from unicycle at 30 km/h.

I use G-Forms for road riding and light XC. They are very light and cool. For hard XC and DH, where risk of hitting rocks and roots is higher I use Fox Launch Pro and feel very safe.
  • + 1
 I've got to go with Levy on this one, I've got POC pads, look brilliant, but uncomfortable on long rides, plus had a crash with them and one ended up round my ankle with blood p**sing out my knee. Got some 661's too, good protection and perfect for DH but irritate on long XC rides. Now I've bought some G-Form's, I'll be the first to admit they don't look sick, but you can ride all day long and have nothing to complain about, one big impact, didn't move an inch and didn't suffer any injury at all. Form over function? No thanks, I'll be wearing G-Forms when I'm riding up as well as down from now on, amazing product.
  • + 3
 "The G-Form knee pads can be had in either back or yellow, with sizes..." Shouldn't it be "BLACK or yellow" not "BACK and yellow"?
  • + 4
 This is the future for me.
And it's always gonna be debatable until it's established (like everything else)...
  • + 3
 I dont know about anyone else, but since i saw the demo with the ipad id like to put my hand under one and hit it with a hammer
  • + 1
 That is a demo that could persuade me to buy this product Razz
  • + 1
 i would like to see this product get hit with an apple or pear inside it - that would convince me.
  • + 4
 i thought knee pads were for sissy's before i crashed on DH www.pinkbike.com/photo/5865287
  • + 1
 ouchh!!! thats gotta hurt!!!...are you back on your bike??
  • + 6
 dude....little warning next time
  • + 1
 I'll take your post as a warning Smile
  • + 1
 Dude that is one nasty injury ! Hope you recovered well
  • + 0
 Sorry, had to give you neg props cuz that was disgusting!
  • + 1
 i have these pads at my shop and there great! there light and fit way better than my 661 evo knees and they almost have just as much protection without restricting my leg movement at all, and like mike said you can wear these pads all day comfortably unlike my evo's which i carry to the trail head and cant wait to get em off at the end. there also really good for park riding because they are almost unnoticeable under jeans
  • + 1
 I tried these on, and would have got a great deal on them. But I passed for 3 reason. The XL's were super tight and I thought I would rip them over time just putting them on. (But now I see they have 2x) There is no protection on the outside of the knee for those low-side slide outs, and because of the of protection on the out side of the knee it seems like the pad would be destroyed after your first slide out. I could be wrong. But if they added more protection I would be all over them.
  • + 3
 why is there no padding on the top of the knee? why is there no side padding? looks like they were designed to go under jeans.
  • + 1
 These are probably going to be my next knee pads.
I love my Kyle Straits, but they do slip down (they're the right size for me), and I get a bit of sweat rash on my knees from time to time, which gets very sore! They're also quite bulky and don't fit great under some of my shorts.
  • + 1
 I'v got the G-FORM pads (in yellow) and a set of Kyle Straits and they are both great pad. I find I use the G-FORM for longer xc ride and the Kyle Straits for more DH/AM riding. The Kyle Straits are more bulky but do work very well, however they can get hot where the G-FORM don't get hot.
  • + 1
 I've been riding with these knee pads most of the summer now. I race DH and am used to wearing a more robust full hard shell knee/shin combo. But I must say I really like these. They are perfect for aggressive trail riding. Today I put them through a real world test for the first time. Wiped out on a fast left hand corner over loose gravel. Wheels came out from under me and I slammed pretty good on my left side. Knee took a good hit but I walked away without any cuts or abrasions. The pads did a great job of protecting me from the ground. I liked these before I crashed on them, and now that I've actually had them save my skin in a good fall I'm convinced. I still use a more stout knee/shin combo for true DH riding, but these are a great product for what they are intended for.
  • + 3
 they look pre sick i just don't like there look ill stick to my six six one knee pad's
  • - 1
 they are the exact same as the 661's, gform ripped off d3o it looks like.
  • + 3
 @ redline-45,

There are actually some substantial differences betten d30 and G-Form's padding, even if they both react similarly to impacts.
  • + 0
 i bought the shirt and shorts, fallen hard twice now, first time ripped my 661 elbow pad scraped up my arm pretty bad, shoulder fine... second time cracked my helmet (thank god for my leatt brace) and shredded my jersey I was wearing over top, just some light bruising on the shoulder. I will still stick with my d30 661/bluegrass pads for elbow and knee since I don't like the idea of 100% slip on pad but cold dig the g form knees for trail riding where i currently where nothing.

shirt and shorts are great for dh. not as good as a full on pressure suit but lets see how many laps you will rock in one of those when it hits 30 out there. the g form is relativity cool
  • + 1
 IXS SLOPE EVO- Amazing pads- good coverage, hard cap protection and super comfy and never slip- far comfier and offer better protection than my old kyle straits- they do look a bit silly though
  • + 1
 Yeah, they look Batman....but the haters have never tried these on yet. They are very comfy and should be regarded as simply arm/leg warmers that will save your skin and bones...
  • + 2
 I definitely think this is the future of protection, once perfected everyone will be running something similar to this I reckon.
  • + 0
 I've never been able to stand wearing any kind of padding, I wear knee/shins for DH but I ride AM/trail most of the time and I can't imagine a 3 hour ride with anything on my joints. Not to say I wouldn't try it and keep an open mind, I just don't think I could ever get used to having something around my knees or elbows all the time.
  • + 2
 These knee pads have also been used and reviewed by hockey goaltenders. Apparently, there are some issues with quality and inconsistent sizing. Buyer Beware.
  • + 1
 Do you know if you can wear both knee and shin versions together to make a full lower-leg-coverage unit? Just wondering if the overlaps would interfere with the gripper silicone...
  • + 2
 I already have a pair and the elbows as well. Bloody great and I'd say the review is spot on. You can buy them online in the UK
www.g-formuk.com
  • + 1
 Agreed
  • + 1
 It would be cool if they made a shin guard version too, because I use long pins on my pedals, if I slipped, I'd end up in the ER for stitches.
  • + 1
 Separate shin pads will probably fit on with those
  • + 1
 Wore my G-forms all summer, over a hundred rides with them. Very comfortable, very light, and good protection! My knees are bad, very bad but not one knee injury this year.
  • + 1
 would be good to see them in a knee and shin combo, little more padding around the knee and possibly more dense to use as in whistler etc. ??!!
  • + 2
 i think these would hurt my bad knee... Osgood Schlatter need somthing soft below the knee cap
  • + 1
 'knee pads are for sissys' sure, tell me that when you take a bunch of rocks to the knee caps
  • + 1
 If you are so thick calves.

This is my case.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/7518087

^^*)
  • + 1
 these would be sick for trail riding, ds, 4x, and dirt jumping. But idk about full on downhill
  • + 1
 cafe.naver.com/clubdh/18393


This is a review I wrote.

^^*)
  • + 1
 I don't like wearing any knee pads, but these look comfortable, i might give them a shot when i'll have some money to spend
  • + 1
 i wore these at blue mountain and they held up just fine. 6 hour day with them on and i forgot they were there.
  • + 2
 They look really naff. $50 for that? Holy cow.
  • + 2
 cycle cross or bj knee pads yo!
  • + 1
 I really hope that is not a typo and you really do mean knee pads for seedy, back alley wetwork.
  • + 1
 it's no typo, those look like seedy wet work wedges!
  • + 1
 My O'Neal Knee pads are plenty! Works for Dh and Bmx, Super flexible and Light!
  • + 2
 Mike, more interpretive style knee photo poses please!
  • + 0
 I've been needing some knee warmers, but something like this might be sufficiently insulating and have the added benefit of a bit of extra protection.
  • + 1
 were can we buy this in europe?
  • + 1
 Troy Lee T-Bones are THE best knee pads available. Simple as that
  • + 1
 RUBBISH......................A GLORIFIED BANDAID
  • + 1
 i wish their shin pads had more coverage.
  • + 1
 wheres a video of them being used????
  • + 0
 drop it out of a plane it will remain un harmed
  • + 1
 TLD T-Bones work great for me... i barely feel them when they're on
  • + 1
 I had T-bones for a while and had to cut the rear mesh out to get them breathing better - sweaty isn't comfortable. For Shuttles or park days now I run Alpine Star or Fox Shuttle knees as they are similar to the T Bones but breath a lot better for me.
  • + 0
 Don't buy these they are overpriced and shitty quality.
  • + 0
 Ugliest pads on earth. Even worse in person.
  • + 1
 Appearance will always be subjective. Personally, I think that they look great. Much slimmer than stupid looking BMX style pads that are designed to handle more abuse, but with a modern appearance that is sure to polarize riders. The G-form pads certainly employ the "form follows function" ethos.
  • + 2
 If by modern you mean "1950s prediction of the year 2000" modern, then I agree. Horrendous. You look like a Batman: the movie extra candidate reject.
  • + 1
 no d3o? i dont go!
  • + 1
 same thing if not better. i have d30 elbow and g form shirt, (i fall a lot...)
  • + 0
 pads ARE for sissys
  • - 2
 I fall down a lot. Frown
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