Forcefield Grid Knee Protectors - Review

Jan 8, 2016
by Richard Cunningham  

Forcefield Grid Knee Guards 2016


Forcefield hails from the UK, where they have been developing high-end body armor for mountain bikes, snow sports, and motorsports since 2003. Their Grid knee protector is the most aggressive of the two models in their mountain bike range. The core technology of the Grid knee is a 9mm thick molded pad made from a slow-rebound material dubbed NeT. The pad is webbed with triangular forms which facilitate air-flow and function to dissipate impact energy laterally across the pad instead of into the body. The removable pad is housed in an abrasion-resistant mesh pocket capped with a special anti-scuff fabric called Dyneema. Forcefield is all about conforming to the highest official standards for armor, which in the case of the Grid knees is CE-2, reportedly, the highest standard for impact protection.


Construction

Heat-formed side and top pads provide some additional protection and stretch fabric cuffs with silicone gripping strips at the thigh and calf openings help to keep the guard in place. A two-way stretch mesh back conforms well to the leg and knee profile and a unique double-strap configuration at the thigh and calf ensure that there is no tendency for rotation when the guards are adjusted. The Grid knee is long enough to protect the shins, and thin enough to fit under most baggy shorts. Much care was taken to ensure that the Grid protector was comfortable and cool, beginning with its heat activated conforming NeT pad, followed by the liberal use of two-way stretch mesh fabrics. The medium size we tested weighed 300 grams per side. Four sizes are available (small, medium, large and X-large) and the MSRP is $189 USD. Forcefield
Forcefield Grid Knee Guard 2016

Forcefield Grid Knee Guard 2016
Generous gripping strips on the upper and lower cuffs.
Forcefield Grid Knee Guard 2016
The NeT pad is molded into a tapered grid to spread impact energy.


On Trail

Initially, the Grid knees felt like one of the more comfortable DH pads I have used, but too confining for all-mountain or trail rides. The cupped pads did not fit over my kneecaps well, and I was sure that the tap tap tap I felt with each revolution of the crank would convince me to stash the guards under a bush and retrieve them later. I'm glad I didn't though, because (as advertised) the stretch material settled in and the molded NeT pad adopted to the shape of my knees and shins. The process took about a mile of pedaling, but afterwards, they remained comfortable and unobtrusive for the duration of the ride.

Yes, I did crash test my Grids. Once in the rocks with a healthy blow to the shin, and had another off into heavy brush and pointy sticks without fanfare. Before I had my actual offs, I pre-tested the effectiveness of Forcefield's NeT pads with a big spanner wrench - softly at first, and then I banged away at my shins with considerable force (I strongly recommend that you do not try this) and remarkably, I only felt a dull thud from the inside of the Grid's molded pad.

The dual-strap arrangement is something that I'd like to see more often. They feel more comfortable at higher tension than single straps and there are no "belt loops" to fuss with. The extension cuffs above and below the pads are a nice touch, but the upper cuff needs to be slightly longer to get up and over a defined quadriceps muscle.
Forcefield Grid Knee Guard 2016
The twin hook-and-loop straps and stretch-mesh back kept the pads cool and comfortable.

Like most knees, the Grid's stretchy fabric tends to bunch up slightly once it conforms to the legs, but never enough to be a bother. As an enduro/AM knee, I'd give them a seven out of ten for comfort. And I'd say that the Grids would be among the more comfortable full-length DH pads.



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesRiders seeking an everyday knee that disappears on the legs for miles of pedaling are not Forcefield Grid customers. The Grid's full-length protection and CE-2 impact certification is intended to provide over-the-top protection for gravity racing, or for trail riders who ride fast and take chances. I don't reach for them daily, but I have two local trails populated with boulders, drops and sketchy roll-outs, and that's when I toss the Grids into my gear bag. - RC






101 Comments

  • + 100
 MSRP is $189 USD !?

They better come with those shorts and those shoes for that price.
  • + 4
 It's even more than the 7idp tactic kneepad ahah
  • + 10
 And after 1 real Crash they´re scrap
  • + 8
 Yer, but your knee wont be "scrap" and thats the point. One real crash is all it takes to make them totally worth it.
  • + 20
 @joehollindrake I disagree: Being someone that hits his knees on the ground with relatively high frequency, and with little money to spare, my knee pads need to take multiple, hard impacts. Hard plastic shells are a must for this reason. My tld Lopes pads have saved me more times than I can count for the last 1.5 years. I'd be pretty pissed if I washed out in dry a corner only to ruin my fancy new Forcefields.
  • + 6
 @joehollindrake Your´re right! But there are alot knee guards that cost half the price or less and do the same Smile

I like the permeable area so you don´t sweat that much, but the material looks really thin!
  • + 10
 I've had a set of 661 Tomcats for about 7 years, crashed more times than I care to remember and apart from the material fraying a little, they're as good as the day I bought them, for $50. $189 is absurd.
  • + 2
 I cant trust a pad that relies on two straps to keep it fixed...full on pull on.
  • + 1
 Whatever happened to Hoots? Still the best knee pads I've ever used. f*cking indestructible.
  • + 1
 It almost seems like 2 helmets for your knees. But with you knees I do not see the point of all that technology. You can't get a concussion on your knee.
  • + 48
 ONEHUNDREDANDTENPOUNDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! breathe !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • + 10
 They aren't even enduro specific!
  • + 3
 You need at least one flannel slopestyle shirt to even be considered for them.
  • + 41
 I can rationalize many mtb purchases but $189 for knee pads is just not happening.
  • - 4
flag ibishreddin (Jan 8, 2016 at 18:40) (Below Threshold)
 It's the future. There is no escaping it.
  • + 1
 Buy up all current knee pads = profit
  • + 24
 On every single light weight Endurbro knee pads that are finished in textured fabric/material on the outside... you face the same thing... that grippy shit will 1 - hang on your shorts and more importantly 2 - grip like duct tape on dirt and drop faster than a prom dress. Textured surfaces which interface dirt grip and move, hard capped plastic slides. Color it blue, call it whatever you want, but basically it's guaranteed rug burn on your knees that you won't have earned the correct way.
  • + 18
 so after a nice ride you wash it and hang to dry and bam! hornets just moved in...Ai karamba !!!)
  • + 2
 Yeah, it really seems like the cloth exterior is more of a fashion thing than a utility thing. The Fox Launch Pro pads are great, but when the cloth rips there is nothing to hold the plastic guard onto the pad. Why even have the cloth I say.
  • + 1
 That is exactly why I prefer a hard plastic outer shell for my knee pads. Plastic slides - fabric sticks and I have had injuries occur after they have been pulled down during a crash. I still have my $40 Fox full length hard shell shin/knee protectors from years of abuse and they are still going strong.
  • + 19
 I think they need to put more logos and tags on the pads. 15 pieces of flair is the minimum.
  • + 13
 but if you wanna do the bare minimum that's fine too.
  • + 20
 You can also call it mud-carrier
  • + 16
 I could buy any other knee pads and still have enough money left over for a hooker and beer !! ...
  • + 15
 We like them cheap, those hookers, don't we?
  • + 16
 I see a Foes bike in the background. Is that your personal ride or is it also being tested?
  • + 16
 Stay tuned for a review.
  • + 14
 I will be keeping a force field around my wallet for now and live with my 661 EVOs
  • + 5
 661 and you're done.
  • + 6
 You all should save money and hollow out a coconut and rope half of the shell around your knees. It's the easiest way to make hard knee pads. Don't be a fool and spend money on these things.
  • + 8
 For the price, I'd expect an actual force field to prevent contact with the ground.
  • + 17
 ... that reminds me, I must go and see the new Star Wars at the weekend .... eat a wheelbarrow full of over-priced popcorn, have a few £8 beers, go for a Mexican after then on to a sleezy nightclub till 4am, get a taxi home, spew up my neighbour's garden wall ... and still have money left to buy a normal pair of knee pads ... winner !!
  • - 19
flag BurgundyRon (Jan 8, 2016 at 13:53) (Below Threshold)
 Han Solo dies, just saved you a few quid on cinema tickets Wink
  • + 8
 THERE'S A STAR WARS SPOILER IN THE HIDDEN COMMENT ABOVE.
  • + 4
 Chewaka come and eat this man's arm, please. He must pay for that
  • + 7
 FOX kneepads - working good - sick look - 80$ maximum

and then this: ugly - 2 to3times the price

ccl: no thank you
  • + 3
 I second this, Fox Launches, not the pansy-assed pros with their fancy dancy cloth. Nope good old school launches, $80, protects your knees better than a father protects his firstborn daughter, breathes fine, pedals as well as you do, and will leave you with change to go out for a pint or 12, at your local watering hole.
  • + 7
 I'll never wear full length knee pads, make's me look like a dad or something
  • + 8
 Ill take looking like a dad to save my shins
  • + 16
 Ah 18 years old, what a great injury free age !
  • + 13
 I am a dad so I'm cool with it
  • + 4
 Heck, why bother with a helmet then if that is your logic? May as well toss the gloves, shirt, goggles and shoes away too. I'm a Dad and I wear all those things on occasion. Though after your shins have been torn to shreds I suspect you will change your tune. Cheers!
  • + 5
 Hails from the UK my arse. No one from the UK would have pads that have 'mesh' on them, especially ones that look like they will hold a shed load of mud.....
  • + 3
 Using the word new very loosly there arn't we , I mean its not even road legal. Still tooo much money for knee pads though
  • + 2
 $189 for a couple of dirt vacuums.
It's up to the market -US- to to tell manufacturers what we want, and how much we're willing to pay for it.
If IDIOTS, I mean 'people' buy these things in large enough numbers, then all the other manufacturers are gonna think we all want petrified dog shit in a bag, and want, not willing, WANT, to pay through the fricken nose for it.
Regardless, POC is now gonna be pissed off because someone else came on the market at a higher cost than they are, so expect their prices to increase forthwith.
  • + 5
 Why would you put a mesh material in the contact area? Dainese knee guard and be done with it.
  • + 4
 I use a similar test as this guy for my goggles, only instead of a spanner to the shin pads I test my lenses with sharpened pencils.
  • + 4
 Ooo ooo is that the Foes Mixer you're riding Mr. C ? How do you like it? Gotta know, gotta know. Is this the new standard? Whoops shouldn't have asked
  • + 2
 Forcefield makes excellent, if expensive protection. I have a 5-year-old pair of the kneepads - similar to these - that have been through countless spills and the mesh is still holding up. They really are comfortable enough to forget they're there. As for protection, I also got Forcefield armor to replace the BS foam that came in my motorcycle jacket after a friend of mine wearing full Forcefield armor survived a head-on collision when a car came into his lane around a corner at ~ 40 mph with little more than bruises- the EMT's could not believe he was not injured more.
  • + 1
 I own a pair of Scott Grenade Knee Pro II Knee guards. They are EXTREMELY comfy to wear on long rides including on hot days too. (Surprisingly)

Only ever crashed once with these on and my knee hit and broke the branch off the log on the side of the trail I clipped my pedals on. Needless to say my knees are good and so are the pads.
  • + 1
 What the hell is going on with the bike industry.....just looked at my Bike is now $2500 more then when I bought it new, pads that cost $250 Cdn....They better help my knees pedal the bike!

When did things change? F-in-hell,
  • + 1
 Another exposed honeycomb grid product? Just like Smith's Forefront helmet, the honeycomb is just going to be a nasty mud and bug catcher that will be impossible to keep clean. I don't know what I am complaining about - don't we all only ride on dry blue-sky days? Ha! Not in Washington. ;-)
  • + 5
 Look nice, but why is everything "ENDURO" tested nowadays ??
  • + 12
 yeah, i´m gonna wait for the downhill version tho
  • + 9
 I will wait for AM version
  • + 12
 Probably too much to ask for a Mountain Biking version...
  • + 7
 I ride enduro with a Hardtail so I will wait for those specific kneepad
  • + 1
 Freeride version in purple coming soon as well
  • + 1
 @Snowytrail yeah perfect to match with Hope purple components serie
  • + 2
 Pricey but they're CE Level 2 certified. Forcefield make top notch stuff and seem to innovate a lot, but it's never been cheap.
  • + 4
 It's called poc vpd for less than half the price...
  • + 2
 For everyday trail riding I grabbed a pair of RaceFace Indy with D30 insert. Couldn't be happier for $36 shipped. Fox Launch pro is my go to DH pad.
  • + 2
 They look like great impact protection but that spandexy stuff on the back will it last?
  • + 2
 Plastic caps on the outside so the pads don't slide off when you fall are proper. The rest are fashion
  • + 2
 Don't waste your time - just buy POC - pretty easy to see why after the first off
  • + 1
 Do they slide down in a crash? One crash on my 661 rage and they were at my ankles and had a huge gash in my knee, kind of defeats the point really.
  • + 1
 Ixs flow knee pads, think I paid 60-70 bucks for them. Full whistler 'enduro' season and now wear them every day I go snowboarding.
$189usd is $266cad today haha
  • + 2
 Forcefield makes great stuff, I wear it under my moto gear. Spendy, but worth it when you need it.
  • + 2
 Why doesn't a company make a bottow/bib with low profile kevlar covered knee and hip pads integrated?
  • + 2
 To me it looks like one good crash and that mesh that hold in the pad would be shredded.
  • + 2
 Wtf,what's there profit margin?
This is what's wrong with the bike world.
I call rape!!
  • + 0
 The idea of paying that much money for some plastic just so you can ride a bike cracks me up. There sure are many gullible bike riders out there.
  • + 2
 lel, i'll stick to my cheap 661!
  • + 2
 They look good, but you'd really need to test them to know.
  • + 0
 I'm telling you check out Leatt for body armor. Leatt has the best most innovated real world protection. And Leatt has by far the best looking pads.
  • + 1
 And here I am, just bought Kali Aazis pads for 15€ with shipping. Damn it, could have gotten such a sweet deal!
  • + 1
 Some decent features, but the Leatt 3DF pads must be a better choice, same protection for less pennies.
  • + 3
 One word : fugly
  • + 1
 No thanks, dainese only the best!
  • + 1
 look cool for am but for hardcore usage only leatt!
  • + 2
 ....LOOK AT THE PRICE!!
  • + 1
 Lost me with those mustard yellow pads inserts.
  • - 1
 forcefield knee can't even begin to compare to Leatt knee pads which are better looking, offer more protection, and the coolest pads by far i have ever used.
  • + 1
 May the force be with you
  • + 1
 I saw a 29er in the background, I stopped there
  • + 0
 Ok I take back that comment for one, excellent write up (read it after I commented) and shoot man much respect RC, still waiting to bump into you out on your/our local trails.
  • - 3
 These knee pads are way too hot. Leatt makes the very best body armor by far. Leatt is even much better than POC. Forcfield is a loosing product for mtb because all their body armor is ridiculous hot to wear. We don't ride street motocycles but instead of to pedal.
  • + 1
 @DirtyHal look for a Foes review shortly!!
  • + 2
 Good Catch!!!! Thats the Mixer 27.5/29'er!!!!
  • + 0
 If that rear stocking went any higher we'd call you RC Caitlyn
  • + 1
 Mixer! How is it???
  • + 1
 CE-2??? No such thing.
  • + 3
 I think it should read CE 1621-1 level 2
  • + 0
 He managed to slip tossing in to the review
  • - 2
 Looks some of you kids need to ask mummy and daddy to increase their credit card limit.
  • + 0
 Looks very nice.
  • - 2
 Bloody hell, might as well wrap toilet paper round my knees I would better protected and save myself £150
  • - 2
 No one actually owns a Foes...

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