Pinkbike Product Picks

Jul 13, 2012
by Brad Walton  
Dakine Descent Short

Dakine's Descent short is built for aggressive riding - whether pinning it in the bike park or sending it on backcountry booters, the Descent is packed full of gravity-inspired features. Built around a highly durable 400D nylon shell exterior that is lined with vented mesh for next-to-skin comfort, the Descent employs a stretch, rubber lined waist to keep it from sliding around. A sturdy ratchet buckle mechanism is also used to allow for precise waist sizing. Perforated nylon leg panels serve to keep the breeze flowing inside, and a rib knit stretch panel that lines the gusseted crotch allows for freedom of movement in the legs. Two zippered side pockets offer enough room for a wallet or cell phone. For crash impact protection, the Descent integrates a molded EVA lumbar pad along the lower back. The 'freeride fit' Descent short comes in a long-ish 16" inseam length and is available in sizes small through extra-large. Color options include black or timber camo. MSRP: $110 USD. Dakine

Dakine Descent Short
Built for downhill speed, the Descent is a durable short with fit and features for gravity-assisted riding.

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThe Descent short is Dakine's short for, you guessed it, descending. Built for abrasion resistance and overall toughness, the carcass of the short is meatier than some other options on the market. Stretchy panels in the back and crotch areas allow for the thick nylon to move with the body rather than bunch up like some other shorts, and bar tack stitching at the critical seam junctions reinforces the durability aspect. Tasteful embellishments like bold contrast stitching and screenprinting accentuate the subtle yet stylish design.Tall riders will especially enjoy the longer cut, which is comfortable without being overly baggy. Leg openings are generous enough to have ample room for knee pads as well. With minimal ventilation and a long cut, the Descent isn't the best choice for earning your turns, but it is perfectly capable other than on the warmest days in the saddle. The molded back panel serves for piece of mind knowing that there is some impact protection in case of a pile up. With no lack of features for the gravity-oriented rider, the Descent is our go-to short for downhill use.
- Brad Walton



Sensus Swayze Lock-On Grip

The Sensus brings us a soft compound, extra long, ODI-compatible lock-on grip for dirt jump and freeride. The 143mm length Swayze grip offers nearly an inch more grip surface than most popular lock-ons, as well as a taper at each end that covers the grip locks from interference with hands. Big rubber rings on the inside of the grip area help with hand placement when the riding gets tricky. Thick, plastic end plugs protect handlebar and grip clamp from crashing. Compatible with all ODI brand lock-on grip clamps. Made in the USA by ODI. MSRP: $32 USD, (including lock-on clamps, hardware, and end plugs). For dealer inquiries please contact cameron@thesensus.com The Sensus

Sensus Swayze Lock-on Grip
Take advantage of those ultra-wide bars with some extra-wide grips. The Swayze's are super comfy and spacious.

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesWe were sold on the Swayze grips the first time we saw the lock-on covers at the end of the grip. No more careful positioning of the clamps to get that bolt head away from your hand, and no more metal spurs in the hand after gouging the aluminum in a crash. The tapered grip cover design helps to keep hands centered within the ends of the grip. We found the big rubber rings on the inside of the grip to get in the way of shifter duty, so we trimmed them off without affecting the integrity of the grip surface. After our little modification, the Swayze's lengthened grip surface is optimal for large hands. The raised, super soft rubber compound initially felt spongy, but with gloves on, proves to be very comfortable and sticky. Grip diameter is similar to ODI's Ruffian, which we already love, but the Swayze is slightly grippier, softer, and a heck of a lot wider. The comfort of the grip clamp cover with the wider profile is an instant win.
- Brad Walton



POC VPD 2.0 Long Knee Pads

Backed by a team of Swedish medical doctors and researchers, POC designs products to reduce the severity of injury in the event of a crash. The VPD 2.0 knee pad is comprised of 3D molded visco elastic polymer dough. This 'VPD' material is very flexible when warmed by body heat, but stiffens on impact and absorbs impact energy. The 2.0 version of VPD is less susceptible to stiffening and tearing in cold conditions. A Polygiene fabric treatment utilizes the natural properties of silver to inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria, and is Kevlar reinforced for durability. The VPD 2.0 is available in Knee length and Long Knee (tested). While both versions are held in place with a stretchy back sleeve, the Long version offers the additional support of an elastic calf strap. Sizes include small, medium, and large. MSRP: $129 USD. POC Sports

POC VPD 2.0 Long Knee Pads
The VPD 2.0 gets a little warm inside, but stays put and feels like it's custom molded to the wearer's knee.

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThe VPD 2.0 Long Knee has a much different feel than any other pad we've worn. With the fit of a custom orthotic and the freedom of movement of a finely tailored kilt, the VPD is the epitome of comfort for biking knee protection. Although the fabric is somewhat perforated for heat and moisture control, the Long Knee pad covers the entire knee and just below it, which builds heat quickly. However, this full-coverage approach results in excellent pad security. The pads slide on easily but stay put, and the hook and loop straps above the knee and at the calf help to further customize fit. We feel pretty well protected with the VPD 2.0 Knee in a frontal impact, including some pedal shin-strikes with the 8cm longer Long Knee pad. The pad is a little lacking in side protection (such as impact with the bike) compared to some other brands, but the comfort is superb. We'd be most comfortable wearing the VPD 2.0 Knee for aggressive all-mountain pursuits with it's superior freedom of movement and frontal-impact-only design. To seal the deal, slightly refined ventilation without compromising the extraordinary fit would be much appreciated. The VPD 2.0 Knee either packs in or stretches out over time, so if in doubt, drop down a size. Overall, this could be the pad you forget you're wearing until it saves the knee from a crash. If the elbow version fits similarly, we'd probably be more apt to wear elbow armor as well...
- Brad Walton





72 Comments

  • + 17
 I still can't believe we pay 130 dollars for formed plastic pads to help minimize injury... These are more expensive than a decent handlebar, that goes through a LOT more testing/manufacturing I'm sure.
  • + 25
 Can you put a price on yoyr kneecaps though?
  • + 23
 The companys should be encouraging people to wear protection / armour though, not charging a bomb for them as some people will risk going without it.
  • + 14
 If I bought those and they said "made in China" I'd snap.
  • + 10
 In all fairness i think POC do put a lot of thought and testing and rider input into their stuff. It is expensive I'll agree but you see plenty of people with tld kit and theyre a similar price range as poc stuff. I guess if you want the best you need to pay for it xD
  • + 29
 @thisusernameisnottaken

Well, don't buy them or you'll snap...

POC have gone the way of every other greedy manufacturer of "high-end" goods. They design and test
in their home country, then outsource the production to China to make it dirt cheap. Then they pass the savings of inexpensive
manufacturing onto the consumer...oh wait, nope, no they don't. They still charge $130 for knee pads, $500 for helmets, and $350 for body armour...bleh
  • + 3
 To be fair POC are more of a designer brand. It's like buying clothes you can buy a pair of £30 jeans that will do exactly the same job as a pair that cost £130 granted the cheap ones may not look as good or last as long but they will still cover your meat and two veg
  • + 2
 I had to chose between those or the 661 d30 pads a few months ago. Went with the 661 as they felt more comfortable and were like 30% cheaper. They did not disappoint, best kneepads I ever had. No heat nor chaffing. Can't fault them at all.
  • + 1
 I totally agree with protection, but that's so expensive for just 2 simple pieces of plastic that strap on. I think they should definitely be encouraging people to use the stuff at a cost that doesn't hurt the pockets. Bike parts are already expensive enough!
  • + 5
 All of you guys who are complaining about POC's prices have no idea the amount of money it takes to develop and produce a hard good. The production costs start in conceptualization, and continue up until the product hits the shelf. My company just got a product into the Apple store and we almost went bankrupt paying for the production costs. Imagine that, you get approved for sales in Apple, but spend all the company's money to produce the product.
  • + 3
 Gotta stop paying yourself so much...
  • + 2
 We can complain all we want, especially since it's the consumer who has the last say by buying or not buying the said product. That's what I did by buying a superior product (in my opinion) for a much lower price from their competitor.
  • + 2
 yes, development costs can be high... but, if you do not make it a fair price for the customer, then only a few will buy it and all of the time, money, and hardwork spent on the development phase is out the window and useless in the end...

the only question in my mind is: Does POC build to a preconceived price point, or are they the type of company that ignores that in favour of quality and makes the price after all materials and other costs are assessed..?
If they're building to a preconceived price point, they need to be more realistic and competitive with other brands... the other brands have development costs too, so telling customers it's because of development costs doesn't always go over well...
  • + 0
 that price is ridiculous.
  • + 3
 those pads look like they would get rely hot, and for the price and lack of side protection i will stick to my 661 kyle straits
#best knee pad ever!
  • + 5
 POC is expensive but totally worth the price
  • + 5
 I really don't think that $129 for flexible pads that actually protect you is too much. Personally, I'm more willing to wear pads if they fit me well and I don't notice that I'm wearing them...and as somebody mentioned, knee caps are pricey units and the downtime on the swap sucks.
  • + 6
 Although the knee pads are pricey, they aren't just hard plastic knee pads. Similar to the pads on downhill ski suits, the polymer dough hardens on impact helping to protect. Otherwise, it is incredibly malleable. And although the price on these is high, other companies who sell similar padding technology sell it for even more. Ski companies sell back protectors for +$300...granted that they are made in Italy. I own a pair of the knee pads but got them half off...so I guess just wait for a sale? They are well worth the money. I guarantee you won't even think bout the price of your knee pads when you receive the hospital bill and recovery time when you break a knee cap.
  • + 5
 Remember this is POC. Look at their gloves for christ sake, they source goats leather from India because it wicks sweat away from out skin the best and will last much longer than a man made product. These are some pretty high tech knee guards, they're there for the people with money to spend.
  • + 0
 The pathetic thing about it is we still continue to pay for it. the problem isnt the products are overpriced but ourselves for allowing it instead of refusing to buy the stuff forcing manufactures to lower their prices. same concept with gas prices. if everyone wouldnt buy gas for one day oil companies would lose millions and prices would drop drastically. people have become give me give me NOW!!!! My grandpa remembers when every store in his town was closed on sundays yet businesses kept on rolling fine.
  • + 1
 Pads are actually MUCH harder to make consistently than hardgoods. Hardgoods there's a lot of expense setting up the process (tooling, programming, etc.) but the process itself is designed to be extremely repeatable and with maximum automation.

Soft goods require a TON of touch-time - almost everything is done by hand after the initial die cut of the fabric/padding materials. Because of this, you also have to have strict quality controls. It's far less costly in setup (and much quicker), but the actual piece price tends to be surprisingly high.

Also note that labor rates in China and Taiwan are going up very quickly (expect new bike prices to rise too!), so expect prices to rise. The good news is that this tends to move more production back to the US, Canada, Mexico, etc. - so it'll be good for our economy in the long run, it's just a bit painful now.
  • + 1
 The prices should go up and the business should stay there. Then the money should be passed on the sweat shop workers.
  • + 3
 Yeah, I'm sure that if we're charged more, it's so the chinese workers can get a better salary...
  • + 2
 yeah most likely not, they probably just want a bigger christmas bonus this year.
  • + 7
 why isn't there the answer: "I want ALL this stuff!!" haha
  • + 2
 i have the exact pair of shorts but last year's colors (turquoise instead of the green bits.) got them for more than half off on sale. the ratchet buckle is a nice feature for custom fitting, and the foam pad feels nice against my lower back, although i'm not so sure how much protection it will actually provide. the fabric has a good balance of being durable, but not restrictive, as it stretches for good range of motion. i also have the older version of the POC long knee pads, but i dunno if my legs are just too short, because it actually reaches almost all the way down to my ankles, just above my shoes. i guess it's a good thing in terms of getting more coverage.
  • + 2
 These grips are up to par with peatys. I love the squishy feeling and grip they provide. Awesome for cornering because the rubber is a little taller than usual, so folding to the left and right without too much flop when angling your hands is a nice. Movement without too much movement is almost fun. I've had these grips for over 4 months and they are great. If you use these grips without gloves it works great until you swet. The amount of "play" for my hands really lets you get into some technical riding , without gripping to the grips for dear life.
  • + 2
 After having bought and worn the POC VPD 2.0 DH Long knee guards, I am refuting the statement that they don't offer much side protection. They offer great side protection, in addition to great front protection. I used to wear the Troy Lee Designs KG5450 Knee + Shin. Those were great, but I exchanged them for the POC specifically because of the high level of side protection lacking in the Troy Lees that the POC VPD 2.0s provide. In the POCs, the only part of your knee not covered by the VPD 2.0 is the back of your knee (so don't fall backwards). They are also super comfortable. Once they heat up (and they do heat up), the VPD gets soft and I totally forget that I'm wearing them. They stay in place through rock gardens, jump landings, flat drop landings, and when pedaling. I haven't crashed in them yet, but in my experience, if a pad stays in place through the events just listed, they'll stay in place during a crash too. The only downside I've experienced with them, is as everyone has stated: the price. I however, am glad to have spent $130 on them, because they're awesome. I'm probably going buy the POC VPD 2.0 DH elbow guards too at $110.
  • + 1
 I have the POC Joint Knee Pads and I love them except for one thing. I bought the right size for me but I guess my small girly like calves don't hold them in place as they should. After a good downhill run or 15-20 mins of pedaling I feel them start to slide. They fit great and tight and double as knee support so I don't have to wear an addition support brace on my knees. Wish I would have gotten the long ones because the extra strap below the knees looks to be very beneficial.
  • + 2
 I've honestly tired all kinds of knee pads such as Fox, 661, and IXS. To be honest, the POC's are the best I've ever used and their super comfy. I use them for XC and I can go all day with them and not be uncomfortable.
  • + 2
 Have to agree with you there. A lot of people complain about the price of them, but when you're out riding all day (after day) and forget you even have them on... well, the price becomes well worth it. Excellent protection that isn't clunky or scratchy on your frame, light as a feather and also great to pedal in.
  • + 1
 I just bought a pair of Dakine Decents shorts. I got the color black although I wanted the blue and black option from last year but they only had large and X-large which are way too big for me. I can't wait to try them on when I hit the trails!
  • + 1
 I disagree with the vpd 2.0's being "the epitome of comfort" nowhere near as comfortable as my old first generation 661 d30 pads. The material pinches at the back of my legs over the course of the day, any idea if that will get better with time and wear? But saying that I only paid £20 for them with ebay customer service credit I had, would never have bought them in a shop for £120 had I tried them on.
  • + 1
 Take that back, they were awesome today, only my 3rd ride on them but also my longest.
  • + 1
 I own both the Dakine Decent shorts and the Sensus grips, i have the non lock on version though. I wear the shorts on every ride, whether i go XC, AM or DH, i have been running them for over 12 months and they'r still running strong apart from a little altication with the heater and drying rack...., and the grips are by far the best i have used. They dont feel big in your hands and are nice and soft, but you're not left with bits of grip on your hands when you take your hands off the bars. Amazing products.
  • + 1
 i would like to compair the grips to the longnecks as they dont look much different. and ive been running them for years on my MTB's, (not BMX) and love the feel of them. after trying various ODI designes over the years. I just find that the mushroom design of any sort as long as it has a good compound seems to work well.
  • + 1
 I have both the VPD 2.0 (short/reg) Knee Pro and Elbow Pro. They are very comfortable and don't slip/move around a lot. I actually forget I'm wearing them. The only problem is that POC specifically states that you CANNOT wash any of their gear that has the VPD in it. I guess being in water breaks down/deteriorates the VPD. So how the hell we get a season of funk outta the gear? Febreeze the crap outta it? I also picked up a pair of the VPD 2.0 shorts on departmentofgoods.com for 50% off but haven't tried them yet. Over all, POC gear does what it is designed to do. The knee pads have definitely saved my kneecaps on more than one occasion. Meh with the rest. ODI lock ons and Pearl Canyon/Kicker shorts work fine for me.
  • + 1
 For the smaller folks out there with stronger legs, be careful with Poc sizing. I am a small or youth in every other knee pad I've tried (SixSixOne, Fox, TLD), but the smalls don't fit over my lower quad/ upper knee. I wish I'd have bought a medium, but I would never have even considered it.Otherwise they're a great pad. I like the length and they're easy to get on and off. They're comfortable for shuttles and chair lifts, but I find them uncomfortable if I'm hiking or pedaling too much. That could be the size issue though.
  • + 1
 I got my Descent Short in blue colour last year and I really like it. It's really comfortable and you have the two big pockets where you can keep your tools and other stuff during riding. Recommended!
  • + 0
 If interested in the sensus grips just call ODI. I was looking for grips that were not on their website and the person I talked to said they hardly ever update it, which seems weird but I bet if you call they have them and they sell direct as well.
  • + 1
 For dealer inquiries please contact cameron@thesensus.com
  • + 1
 Haha! In looking at the left leg of the first pic of the knee pads, it looks like they should make the shin protection a bit longer...
  • + 1
 Any updates from users of the POC long Knee pads? Just received a medium and they seem really tight even though I'm in the correct range per their measurements.
  • + 1
 they stretch out
  • + 1
 16" inseam? Glad all you long-legged giants have shorts now!
But seriously, don't they drag like crazy over any knee protection?
  • + 1
 I have them, I dont have a problem.
  • + 1
 The Dakine shorts are the shit...been rocking mine for a couple of seasons now...but as a short guy, they ARE way too long and look like manpris or shants for sure.
  • + 1
 If Dakine had photos that good of the fit on their site, I'd have been more inclined to pull trigger at the time. B-Rad...what's your email these days?
  • + 2
 I'm actually shopping for shorts right now and those look pretty nice, will definitely check them out.
  • + 1
 il get some of those shorts oh wear knee pads help alot i love my lizardskins kneenshin combo
  • + 1
 $130 for a knee pad or possibly $K's in knee surgery.

Sorry boys, I'll go for the knee pad.
  • + 2
 I'd like to see some bmx product picks
  • + 2
 If you don't like the price then don't buy them. It's that simple.
  • + 1
 Are they selling the sensus lock ons to the public yet beacause there not on the sensus or odi site.
  • + 1
 Add me to the interested but can't find them list...
  • + 2
 For dealer inquiries please contact cameron@thesensus.com
  • + 1
 So funny I totally saw the knee pads and thought to myself, that looks like the back of Brads leg. Sure enough.
  • + 1
 all 3 look great but i really want to try the grips!!! now if only i could afford handlebars to match them...
  • + 1
 All 3 thankyou, now i just need some spare cash...
  • + 2
 Those shorts look nice.
  • + 1
 POC may be expensive, but you definitely won't regret it.
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