recent signing of Shaun Palmer is any indication, Fly Racing's expansion into the mountain bike world is rolling right along. The Prizm knee guard is the Boise, Idaho, company's newest addition to their line of protective wear, a low profile pad that also achieves CE Level 1 certification. At the heart of the Prizm is a high density memory foam that's been strategically sliced in several places so that it better conforms to a rider's legs, similar to the way a tire is siped for additional traction. The foam is also claimed to be body temperature sensative, becoming more pliable once the pads are pulled on.
When it comes to fit, Fly Racing haven't skimped on the Prizm's details, and the knee guards are full of features meant to help keep them securely in place. From the floating patella cap, complete with strips of silicone for extra grip, to the elasticized drawstring that cinches the pad in around the calf, it's clear that Fly Racing didn't hold back in their quest to prevent the pads from slipping down during a crash. Available in sizes S, M/L, and XL, the Prizm knee guards retail for $84.95 USD. Fit and Function
The Prizm knee guards have a fairly low profile appearance, but there's still enough padding in place that I never felt like I was underdressed, even when dropping into terrain littered with sharp, jagged rocks. I did have a few encounters with the ground when wearing the Prizms, and in all instances the pads (and my knees) survived unscathed. There are a couple of cuts on the mesh fabric from pointy pedal pins trying to puncture my calves, but I'd rather have a couple tiny holes in a set of pads than in my leg.
Pedaling comfort is excellent, and I didn't experience any chafing or hot spots when wearing the pads. Riders that prefer to slide their pads down on the climbs will find that this method isn't quite as convenient with the Prizm due to the extra length underneath the kneecap, and they also get a little warmer than thinner options, but both are acceptable tradeoffs for the amount of coverage the pads provide.Issues
The only thing I wouldn't mind seeing is a slightly taller upper cuff. The knee cup and cinch at the back of the calf kept the pads from ever sliding down, but the cuff does have a tendency to slide a little and bunch up a bit at the top of the pads - a slightly taller and thinner cuff would be a simple way to fix this. Pinkbike’s Take:
|There seems to be a strange trend lately - as bikes have gotten more capable, and riders are able to go faster and faster without worrying about their equipment failing, knee pads have gotten smaller, often providing only a hair more protection than a set of knee warmers. Those knee warmers in disguise may be fine for a casual trail ride, but for laps in the bike park, or really any time where the speeds are high and the terrain is technical, something a little more substantial is required to help keep your skin where it belongs during a crash, which is where the Prizm knee guards come in. |
For DH riders looking for a low profile option that still provides enough protection, or even all-mountain and enduro riders looking for a little extra coverage, these guards fits the bill thanks to their super-secure fit, CE Level 1 certification, and well thought out design. - Mike Kazimer