Forcefield probably isn't a name that comes to mind when considering a new set of knee pads, but the UK company might be worth checking out of you're looking for something a bit different. They specialize in upper and lower body armour for different sports, including a massive range of pads for snowboarding, moto, and mountain biking, and it's their multi-sport Limb Tube Knee Protectors that we review below. The oddly named pads retail for $99 USD, and are available extra-small, small, medium, and large sizes.
Limb Tube Knee Protectors Details:
• Removable, moulded CE approved Nitrex Evo padding
• Detachable retaining straps (not on XS size
• Machine washable (with armour removed
• Vented panels for increased breathability
• Repeat Performance Technology
• Ergonomic design for increased comfort
• Made in Portugal / insert in Taiwan
• Certified EN1621-1:1998
The Limb Tube pads are slim and comfortable, although the graphics do look a bit odd.
Materials and Construction
Each sleeve is a bit like a knee warmer, has a breathable back panel, and is completely separate from the two elastic retention straps.
The Limb Tube pads employ a simple upper and lower strap system to hold them in place, with the 1.25" wide elastic straps being detachable (except on the XS size
) and wrapping completely around the top and bottom of each pad. The removable protector slides into an internal pocket, allowing you to pull it out when it's time to throw the Limb Tubes into the washing machine, and the set weighs just 375 grams when all together. They're also flexible enough to easily stuff into a small pack, or even a jersey pocket, and Forcefield have taken care to make the inside soft and free of any irritating seams.
The Nitrex Evo injection moulded insert is designed to dissipate impacts by using multiple and varied layers of energy absorbing material that cover the entire surface of the insert, and Forcefield says that their Repeat Performance Technology means that the padding won't be compromised after multiple impacts. They are also certified to the EN 1621-1 testing standard. Fit and Function:
My large-sized Limb Tube pads measured fourteen inches top to bottom, and while the size of the actual pad provides good coverage over the knee cap, these aren't the pads for a rider who's looking for extended protection above or below the knee. As their name suggests, the tube-like construction means that you have to pull them on up over your feet, so you'll have to remove your shoes to make that happen. Once on, the adjustable Velcro straps do potentially allow you to get just the right amount of tension applied, although that took me a few tries to get right. They began to slide down during the first few rides, enough so that I had to stop and make adjustments, and it took me a bit of fiddling until I had the right amount of strap tension to hold them in place for an entire ride.
Riders who wear knee pads while out for a longer pedal (not just in the bike park or during shuttle laps
) will likely find the Limb Tube pads comfortable compared to anything else on the market, although I did get a bit of odd chafing on both knees during the first ride. However, the more I used them the better they seemed to fit, and I never had any other issues with them in that regard after the first day. They're reasonably breathable as well, which is nice if you're riding in warm temps. After a few rides, plenty of exposure to dirt, and a trip to the washing machine, the Velcro strips weren’t too keen about staying staying engaged, which is a bit of a bummer. Forcefield wasn’t too generous when sewing in the Velcro, and the short strips just don’t provide the range of adjustability and good engagement to make the pads feel as secure as I prefer. Pinkbike's Take:
|The Limb Tube name is a bit weird, but Forcefield's knee pads do deliver when it comes to protecting your knees. Comfort and fit got better over time, which isn't something that's usually said when talking about knee pads, and longer Velcro strips would be one of the few changes that we'd request. A different take on knee protection from a name that you might not have heard of before, but they're worth checking out. - Chris Johannes|