First Ride: 2019 Dainese Enduro Knee Guards

Aug 16, 2018
by Daniel Sapp  
Dainese Enduro Knee Pad


Dainese have been in the game of making pads and protective apparel for mountain bikers and moto for some time now. Over the years, their riding gear has been refined and revised as technologies have progressed and the sport has continued to evolve.

For 2019, Dainese is introducing their Enduro Knee Guard. The Knee Guard is their solution for enduro racing and aggressive trail riding. The pad is designed to offer a high level of protection, while also giving the mobility necessary for riders and racers who are going to be spending extended periods of time pedaling uphill in addition to racing down.
Enduro Knee Guard Details
• Enduro Knee Pad
• ABS molded protection
• Slip-on, with upper elastic velcro strap and fixed elastic calf strap
• Colors: Black
• Sizes: S-XL
• Weight: 18.34 oz (claimed)
• MSRP: $129.99 USD
www.dainese.com


Dainese Enduro Knee Pad
A Velcro strap up top keeps the pad in place.
Dainese Enduro Knee Pad
The back is designed to breathe, while the sides offer additional protection.


Construction

The conundrum with knee pads for enduro racing and trail riding is that in addition to doing their job of protecting the knees in a crash, they need to stay put while pedaling and be comfortable. I think that it's safe to say that advances in bike technology have far outnumbered anything in the arena of protection. Many of the pads currently available either offer too little protection, or ample protection, but without the comfort.

Dainese have attempted a solution, with the development of their Enduro Knee Guard. The pads are a hybrid of soft and hard-shell construction. Hard ABS plates on the front of the pad to deflect impacts and offer more protection to the kneecaps and shins than a soft material can. The plates are designed to offer mobility while on the bike and pedaling, and they're mated with Daniese's "Pro-Armor" and "Crash Absorb" side padding to give additional protection and coverage.

The ABS plates are pre-curved in a position that allow riders freedom of movement when climbing and descending. There are elastic bands that grip the legs on both the top and across the calf, and elastic gripper lining inside of the top and bottom of the pads. The pads have a soft and breathable "Airnet" material that's coupled with a jersey mesh on the backs.


Dainese Enduro Knee Pad
Dainese Enduro Knee Pad
Pressure points at the top and bottom of the molded ABS plastic is less than desirable when your leg is extended


Performance

I had the opportunity to spend the better part of a day in the kneepads outside of Whistler BC. The ride we did had a couple hours of descending as well as a substantial amount of climbing, traversing, and had a little hiking thrown in for good measure.

I first put the pads on while sitting down. The material was soft and comfortable. I tested a size medium, which fit my, what I consider standard, 5'10", 150lb, long-legged frame well. Upon standing up, however, the ABS pads reached their limit of extension and the bottom of the pad pushed into my shin with a noticeable amount of force, while the top applied pressure above my knee.

This is quite obvious, to the point where, if I were trying on a set of pads and looking at buying them, without a doubt, I would write them off. I mean, who wants what feels like the edge of a table or MacBook Pro pushing into their shins while they're standing? Alas, it was a review in progress, and we had a full day of riding ahead. I slipped them down and proceeded on. I knew there had to be some saving grace somewhere, although they had me wondering if anyone had actually worn the pads before today. After I hopped on my bike, my opinion started to evolve.

On the bike, the pads didn't move - pedaling or descending. The sensation of a blunt object in my shins all but disappeared. I wouldn't go so far as to say that they stay put better than anything else out there, but for the amount of protection offer, they do a damn good job. The pads breathe well and actually feel soft. No Velcro scratching at my skin and no hot spots on my knees.

I was successful staying upright, but one member of our party wasn't as fortunate and took a strong digger. He suffered a rock, straight to the kneecap and while it put a small hole in the abs plastic, I imagine that it would surely have resulted in a trip to get sewn up at the Whistletown medical center had he been wearing a soft knee pad.


What Dainese Says:

I brought up my concerns to the team at Dainese and they confirmed that others had similar thoughts about the pads being uncomfortable while standing upright. Some people may try to argue that it's a non-issue, since the pads are meant to be worn while riding, and that rigid armor offers a great deal of protection. I maintain, however, that it's a big issue and very possibly a deal breaker.

The Enduro Knee Pad isn't going to be available until November and Dainese say that they are actively working on a solution to this issue. While there's no confirmation of what the solution may or may not be, at minimum, I think we can expect to see some additional padding on the inside where the ABS pad contacts the shin on the final production models.

Dainese Enduro Knee Pad
To alleviate the pressure and get exercise at the same time, you can just squat instead of stand.
Dainese Enduro Knee Pad
The ABS plastic looks as if it will do a stellar job of protecting the knee.


bigquotesDainese's Enduro Knee Pads are designed to offer a great deal of protection for enduro racing or aggressive trail riding, and they deliver on those fronts. Overall comfort is another story. While these pads will fit everyone differently, pressure points were a common complaint among riders. If there are some significant revisions made before the final production model, I think that Dainese could have a hybrid pad that is a solid contender.Daniel Sapp







77 Comments

  • 15 4
 I've been really happy with the ixs dagger. It offers dh-level protection but is surprisingly well ventilated and easy to pedal while wearing, plus it offers a little bit of upper-shin and side-of-the-knee protection.
  • 1 0
 And they never move about ,fit and forget knee pads
  • 5 0
 And they stay on in a crash. Something my 661 pads did not
  • 2 0
 @ibishreddin: Yes they stay put ,I have worn many knee pads over the years and IXS Daggers are the best I have used so far , Also had mine nearly 3 years and they go in the washing machine twice a week and they are still going strong
  • 1 0
 Ixs Dagger, I love mine , solid knee cap, I don't trust all these self hardening foam pads, ixs pads fit really well, even the full length Cleaver are comfortable
  • 3 0
 Awesome pads nonetheless but breathable is not a word i'll use to describe them
  • 4 3
 @konacyril: washing machine twice a week? Shat is your sweat composed of? My Ghawd...
  • 4 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Well seeing as I usually wash my kit after a ride as it will always be wet and muddy and occasionally sweaty it just makes sense to pop them into the machine with the rest of my gear , And lets be honest we all know a riding friend that doesn't wash his kit as often as he should, He usually sits by himself on the uplift bus Frown
  • 1 0
 It’s nj@konacyril:
  • 1 0
 I just picked up a pair of IXS Carve Evo+ knee pads and they're great so far! I have a pair of IXS elbow pads too and both sets fit better and are more comfortable than any other pads I've tried.
  • 1 0
 @millsr4: how is the material? What other pads have you used that they compare too? I'm looking at these or the POC VPD 2.0. My kid uses these carve evo and they are nice but the pad is really hard and the material rubs the back of his knee a bit raw. So far they have worked tho for crashes
  • 1 0
 I have IXS cleaver and Dagger. I agree. Best pads I've tried to date.
  • 1 0
 I have the IXS Flow for All-Mountain riding and Dagger for Enduro/DH/etc. The amount of comfort and ventilation of the daggers was well above what I've expected!
  • 1 0
 @Svinyard: The X-matter is a bit stiffer than some others but it hardens exceptionally well compared to them as well. I personally don't have any discomfort at all. At this point I've only been on 4 rides with them and haven't had the chance to see how they do in a crash. I recently came off of a pair of Dakine Anthem pads and the fit was absolutely horrible for me. The seams on the inside were annoying and the bottom of the main pad rubbed my shin raw. In addition I felt like they could have offered more protection, especially on the sides, and they also tended to slide around in a fall.
  • 1 0
 @konacyril: You wash your gear after every ride and you don't even pedal?
  • 1 0
 @BrianColes: Yes wash after every ride and most of my riding is pedaling these days Smile
  • 4 1
 On the couch waiting for my broken patella to heal - let's just say knee protection is sort of on my mind right now. I think this is promising. The comfort issue could be resolved with a 'hinge' of sorts - have the ABS pad consist of overlapping pieces that slide over each other, so in extension they 'hinge' open a bit (and, while awkward feeling, don't actually dig into you the way they apparently do now), and in flexion they do just what they do now. A bit more expensive to make for sure, but the concept is pretty neat.
  • 2 0
 I shattered my Patella a few years back it'll be fine, just be patient and do the exercises the physio tells you.
  • 1 0
 Not sure if I got what you mean, but dainese dh pads do exactly that
  • 1 0
 Fox Launch Pro D3O.
  • 1 0
 I'd suggest after an injury like that to forget about breathability and go for 100% protection. I wear ixs dagger for dh and enduro. Never slipped on me and a hard shell, flexible enough too that I wear them to race enduro
  • 1 0
 If you want something with a hinge try the o'neal pumpgun. I have those for years now and they are great. Only three straps per side and they stay put.
  • 2 0
 I have the Dainese DH knee pads and the level of protection is top shelf the pressure point in the tibia is annoying when standing or walking. When you are riding DH they are super comfortable, glad they are trying to solve that issue because for that money they better be perfect.
  • 2 0
 I’ve got to say, I haven’t tried these - but a strap at the top drives me bonkers. That part of the leg narrows down - there’s no leverage to keep it there, other than sticky rubber.

My iXs pads have a strap right beneath the kneecap. It’s on top of the calf and therefore well positioned to stay put - it can’t slide down because the calf gets larger beneath it. It’s simple and perfect.

Oddly enough the corresponding elbow pads have a strap right at the bottom and they keep sliding down the forearm - instead of right underneath the elbow so the forearm would hold it up. So I can’t quite credit them with genius design...
  • 3 2
 Im still on my Scott Grenade.
After I crashed with my TrailSkins and knee hurtings for 2 weeks I Always wear my Grenades now

They are cheaper than These and offer a lot more protection (ie more Side protection). Yes they are warm but really comfortable.
And still going strong after 3 years.
  • 2 0
 Do you have the older trail skins or the newer ones (version 2 I think)? Id like to try some new pads and those cool pretty comfy but I don't want to jack my knees up. We are a full pad family (knees and elbows at all times) and FF super3r too (most of the time). Too risky and this is like one of the most dangerous, common sports out there.
  • 4 0
 @Svinyard: 4th year on tril skins, 2nd pair, new ones are better fit and don't stretch much after a year. Crashed bunch of times and knees were always all right. Even in the summer don't know they are there. Just my 2 cents..
  • 3 0
 @Svinyard: I have 2nd edition trailskins and really like them. Only flaw is the upper thigh strap wont stay put
  • 1 0
 @Jimmy0: ohhhh. Not just me then...good to know.
  • 4 0
 Reviews of protection gear need to be done by noobs... they crash more than experienced reviewers...+++++++++++++++
  • 3 0
 he's right, you know
  • 1 0
 Got some POC VDP long knee DH pads back in May, be wearing them 3-4 days a week and they offer amazing protection while being comfortable to cycle and hike with, I've tried most brands of knee pads over the years and the POC are my flavourite.
  • 1 0
 I was going to make a comment like yours :-D Also have a pair of those and they are the best I have tried. I have been on 661, fox, IXS and dainese. These POC are the best I have ever used.
  • 1 0
 I have a pair of Dainese hybrid pads. Like the trailskins but with a hard she'll in ones and top for shin. I love em. Not comfiest to walk in for first year but super comfy on bike. Good protection too. Highly recommend if it could they fit like everything else.
  • 1 0
 I got lucky and found these 2019 enduro knee pads for sale last week on amazon and i am kinda disappointed. They are pretty solid and provide adequate protection BUT the bottom of the plastic pad digs in my shins and after testing them on my first ride i ended with peeled skin. The design should allow the bottom part to be more maleable so it does not dig into the shins. So i give them a 2.5 stars. How could they miss this design flaw?
  • 1 0
 I’ve been using the trail skin 2 pads over a year and when I first saw these I got really excited because I’ve been dreaming of an improved version of the trail skin 2. Though they’re extremely breathable and good enough protection for most trail riding there is room for improvement. The first improvement is better/wider straps which they did on this. The biggest improvement IMO would solve their digging issue, make the padded front two pieces. Other than these two things if they could add a side closure so you can remove them with your shoes on they’d be in the top few enduro type pads on the market. Dainese, make it happen!
  • 4 4
 No knee pad is perfect, fit is essential imo, and it takes time to find the perfect ones, like shoes or helmets or saddles.
It looks like the reviewer should have tried the L size. 5’10 long legged should be L.
I have tried the old ones, size XL, and they did fit great on me. Most XL are too tight.

Complaining about the pads not being comfortable while off the bike, it is like complaining that a cycling jersey is too long in the back. I rather unstrap the pads while off the bike than having them sliding off - which most do. However I think getting the right size would eliminate the problem.

Dainese unlike all other brands, has extensive experience in moto gp, mx, etc. Arguably it has a bigger heritage than others, I bet they know how to desing protection that actually protects you rather than sliding off.
  • 3 0
 You’re correct. Dainese have a ton of experience in making good products. The complaint I have with the pads is one that was echoed through several people in addition to myself. As I said in the look, it stays put while on the bike and is comfortable while riding but the overall comfort is less than desirable. Dainese acknowledged that this is an issue, an issue that they are working to correct before the pad goes to final production. You’re dead on saying that fit is critical and what does work for one person may not work for others and vice versa, however, when a large test segment has the same concern, it is relevant. As far as sizing goes, I had the option of any size sitting in front of me and medium was the correct size.

Dainese are concerned about safety first and foremost - hence the creation of this pad. Enduro riding needs protection that is both durable and comfortable and while there are a lot of comfortable options on the market, what Dainese are doing with this pad brings a more appropriate level of safety into the mix. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the final production version and I’ll update thoughts on it at that time!
  • 2 0
 I am a big Dainese fan. Their moto road race leathers have served me well, as have their hucker MTB shorts (4 years and still going strong) and this other DH short of theirs that I wear.

Every company has some misses however, and Dainese is definitely not perfect. My personal experience is with the trailskins 2 elbow guard. I and two other owners of the guards all have issues with the pad sliding down during rough trail riding. They did protect well in one crash where the pad had not slid down yet thankfully, but as of now I only wear the pad with a 3/4 or full sleeve to help keep it in place. The trailskins kneepads are great though, so here's hoping they sort the fit out on these enduros.
  • 1 0
 The fit is about more than just the length of your legs. At 6 foot I would be wearing size large in most pads by your logic, but I'm pretty lean so the large sizes typically are too roomy to be a secure fit. As such, I wear a medium POC VPD 2.0 and it fits fantastic
  • 4 1
 When running their full suits back in the day, their stuff was good, but their individual knee or elbow pads didn't stay in place for s**t. Also, their hard caps have always had a kind of kind of bubble in the middle that I think is intended to provide more space between your knee and the cap interior. More "travel" in a straight on impact if you will. The problem with that is, with the poor resistance to spin and sliding out of place, the greater the depth of the pad, the more likely it is to get spun out of place when sideloaded, leaving the knee in the wrong area, with thin padding at best, or no padding at worst.

Anyway, point being, I would hope that 20yrs later, they would have their hardshell standalone knee/elbow game dialed, but from the sounds of the article, they don't. They have far too much experience, money, and R&D resources to be making these kind of rookie mistakes. I'd expect this sort of thing from a startup who is just rebranding some crap from a Chinese catalog company, but these guys have been involved in DH since the early-mid 90s!
  • 1 0
 I have big knobbly knees and skinny chicken legs. There are no pads that fit me. .
  • 1 0
 I've found IXS Cleaver's to be very comfortable, even for long days, and never too hot. They did rub little at the back of the knee when I first got them, but this didn't last long. Protection and durability is good too.
  • 2 0
 To Dainese and all knee pads manufacturers out there, do consider expanding your lineup to XXL sizes. Please and thank you.
  • 1 0
 Try leatt 3dp, they are massive , I'm xxl and they are too big
  • 1 0
 @pigman65: I'll check them out, but it seems they're a bit too light for what I had in mind. I have a set of light kneepads that fit (old 661 evo knee pads), but I'm lacking for DH riding. So far I've been using the 661s but they're a bit light, I wouldn't mind some plastic skidplate... Thanks anyway Smile
  • 2 0
 @Ploutre: they do a hybrid one now, with hard caps, got mine from Alpine Trek, buy online , try on, send back if poor fit, I think returns are free
  • 3 0
 Are they surly Enduro specific?
  • 1 0
 Dainese trail skins 2 the worst knee pads I have ever had... :/ always falling down, shame for me. Maybe this one will be better.
  • 2 0
 I have the Kali protective knee guards which are similar (licensed pad design I heard?) and they work great. Other guys I ride with love the Dainese trail skins 2 knee pads. So experiences do vary. The trail skins 2 elbows do not work for me however, and do slide down a lot.

I feel the sliding of pads comes down to differential diameters in your limbs -- wrist vs lower bicep/triceps for elbow guards, and thigh vs calf muscle diameter in knee guards. Some brands/styles work for you, some don't. Adjustable straps help, but don't always deliver a perfect fit.
  • 1 0
 @WRainey88: the older Kali hardshell knee pads are the best pads I have owned sofar.
  • 1 0
 what is it with PB knee pad reviews? yet again, theres no picture showing the full length of the knee pad being warn. totally amateur product reviewing Frown
  • 1 1
 Check out Leatt 3DF 6.0, similar pad with the hard shell sliders better fit. POC VPD 2.0 are ace too. I have the Trail Skins 2 , good ventilation but minimal protection.
  • 1 0
 What do you think of Trail Skins 2 VS POC VPD 2.0? I thought trail skins would be better protection
  • 1 0
 @Svinyard: not even close, the POC VPD 2.0 are alot more protection. POC make the VPD air which is the lighter trail pad and their newest VPD system pad are really nice but super expensive.
  • 1 0
 @Beez177: is the vpd 2.0 still comfy and cool enough to wear in the heat? I need something that protects enough but that I can wear on every single trail ride I do.
  • 3 0
 @Svinyard: yes they are probably the most comfortable pads I have used. They strike a nice balance between comfort and protection. All pads get hot over a certain temp. I guess it depends on how hot it is where you live? Had mine for 3+ years still holding up great.
  • 1 0
 @Beez177: thanks!!
  • 7 0
 For the love of god never buy the POC Air. I should've rolled a joint with a hundred dollar bill instead.
  • 1 1
 @mollow: Lol, that's how I feel about pretty much all "trail pads" They don't protect above maybe a little slide out on smooth dirt. The VPD 2.0 are a different story they offer decent impact resistance.
  • 1 0
 @mollow: thanks guys, I was wondering if the Air knees were decent. Vpd 2.0 looks legit.
  • 2 0
 @Svinyard: If you want some photographic evidence of how good the vpd 2.0's are check out the photo of my knee I just uploaded for you to my profile. I ended up with nothing but bruising on my knee in a crash which broke my wrist, a couple of ribs and some soft tissue to my elbow. You can actually see where I took the impact on my knee...the knee wasnt even painful after, even if the bruising is mental.
  • 1 1
 IXS Carve, good enough for Phil Kmetz, good enough for me. Comfort, good side protection and they stay where you put them.
  • 1 0
 Are these too hard? My kid has the evo ones and the foam is hard. Worry that it'd cause bruising (tho he is fine so far in crashes). Are the comfy? I like their stuff and Phil is the man
  • 2 1
 Poc poc poc poc poc ! Only poc!
  • 1 0
 I have used POC VPD 2.0 leg and elbow pads for the last 3-4 years, always been super happy, to the point I just bought another pair of elbows pads as the others wore out.

That being said, this season the knee pads have been a bit problematic. I guess after too much use, the material has got too soft and seems to 'roll over' or bunch up on itself at the top of the knee. It's been pretty uncomfortable as it means the velcron rubs against my knee/thigh.

Was looking around at other options, but guess I'll get another pair of these too as they've always protected me through anything I've thrown at them.
  • 1 0
 I've never heard anything good about their Velcro straps.
  • 1 0
 If it’s not comfortable mean not on my list for enDHuro
  • 1 0
 130$? Really?
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