Review: Dainese's Updated Enduro Knee Guards - Second Time's the Charm

Apr 25, 2019
by Daniel Sapp  
Updated Enduro Knee v2


Last August, I had the chance to give Dainese's new Enduro Knee Guards a test. While the concept of a hybrid knee guard that worked well for enduro and heavy duty trail riding was sound, the pads had some major shortcomings. They were very uncomfortable to wear, which I addressed in the first ride at that time.

The pads were originally slated to be released in November, but Dainese held off and went back to the design phase in order to address the concerns that were brought up. The pads reviewed here are the result of those revisions.
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 updated - V2
Updated on the top, bottom, and in the middle junction, the Enduro Knee Guard is now a proper pad I won't hesitate to ride in.
Updated Enduro Knee v2
The back is designed to breathe, while the sides offer additional protection.


Construction

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

The ABS plates are pre-curved in a position that's meant to provide 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. The updated pad has more material at both the top and bottom of the ABS plastic, and the center section between the knee and shin protection has been revised to offer more flexibility.


Enduro Knee V2
The middle of the knee guard has just a little more of the 'Pro-Armour' material in it that allows for better flexibility.

Updated Enduro Knee v2
New: The updated pads have more padding above and below the ABS plastic. The strap that goes around the calf has also been moved higher up. This keeps the pads in place better than in the previous version.
Dainese Enduro Knee Pad
Old:The pressure points at the top and bottom of the molded ABS plastic on the original version were less than desirable when your leg was extended.


Performance

After trying the initial version of the knee pad, I was pleased with the amount of protection that they offered, but the discomfort quickly drowned out any benefits they provided. The good news is that the updated pads address my original concerns. They are much more comfortable, and I have no problems riding, standing or walking in them. They offer a great deal of protection and stay in place throughout hours of pedaling and descending. I tested a size medium, which fit my 5'10", 150lb, long-legged frame well.

The fit around the top of the pad is snug, and there's not a lot of room for adjustment. Ideally, I would have liked to have seen a taller and lighter duty mesh up here, something that would tuck under shorts a little more easily. It's the bunching up of material in this spot that's really the pads only shortcoming. Despite the bunched up material, the pad does stay in place and it is not uncomfortable.



Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesThe first version of Dainese's Enduro Knee Guard fell short, but the good news is that the revised pad hits the mark for an enduro-ready knee pad that can be comfortably ridden in all day yet still offer an abundance of protection.Daniel Sapp







29 Comments

  • + 32
 I have TLD Raids and to me the half shin protection, like these here seems rather stupid. Pedal always lands on the shin just under the padding. I would gladly welcome a knee-shin guard where knee is fat and well protected while shin piece is a thin and comfortable, well ventilated pad.
  • + 9
 100% agree. Pretty much all brands except for G-Form need to extend the shin guard. Doesn’t need to ben heavy duty.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns you are talking about the @rockingtor knee shin pads aren't you? I know the owners and after long development seems they finally will release them this season
  • + 2
 IXS cleavers have been the ticket for me, there incredible. 4 hour rides in 90f/32c weather and they have never bothered me once. I do tons of climbing in them and there always comfortable and much lower profile and lighter then pictures would suggest.
  • + 1
 They are not useless. They help to prevent crap like this:
www.pinkbike.com/u/Ferisko/album/Shin

I mean, more protection is always better, but these do help in certain situations compared to "knee only" pads.
  • + 19
 That honeycomb padding really looks like the bee's knees.
  • + 3
 People are buzzing about it.
  • + 3
 @tripleultrasuperboostplusplus: I'm glad someone else noticed that. Do these people ever have to clean the stuff they build?
  • + 15
 In my experience, most knee impacts happen in an angular fashion, where impact is directed downwards from above the kneecap. For many pads, this means that the hard part of the pad can slide down as you're impacting, and leave the knee exposed for the brunt of the hit (or at least the bony top part of the knee cap). I've had it happen multiple times, as have friends. It's resulted in me wearing my kneepads too high, so that the kneecap protector is actually above my kneecap, so that when a typical impact happens it slides into place right as my kneecap has the full impact.

I would far rather have pads that are built with this in mind than good shin protection. I've seen, and personally had, far more knee impacts than shin impacts.

Designers, please take note.
  • + 2
 You need hard shell pads. Like nylon flat pedals, the hard nylon plastic shell glides off impacts instead of getting tangled and sliding off ur knee
  • + 2
 Definitely can attest to this. My knee impacts are from the top after the pad slides down as you mentioned. And more on the side as it’s only natural to land on your side in most bike related crashes. Side protection is never sufficient enough on knees or elbows.
  • + 2
 @generationfourth: Agreed! When it's not hard shell it slides of the knee no matter if its kevlar, tissue or "rubberish" top of the protector.
But if the protectors are pretty tight you cant pedal them properly. It's always a compromise.

I'm quite happy with my 661 Evo knees for the rougher tracks where its most times down the hill and my Bliss Minimalist+ if lots of pedaling and uphill is involved!
  • + 1
 Exactly! Had my first decent crash yesterday, with bruising above the kneecap.
Most stuff is designed in labs/factories/mannequins, but doesn't get enough real world feedback and critique. Kudos to PB. Let's not keep all development secret like Crapple, you know how that ends up lately with some crumbs in your keyboard.
  • + 8
 How about mud collecting in the padding?
It will be a pain cleaning it.
  • + 1
 Dainese, I feel the name is sooo appropriate for the visual style of their products. They are very much a homogeneous blend of Italian and Japanese influences. even just saying Dainese out loud sound like a cool name of Japanese/Italian love child
  • + 2
 Anyone know of a nice lighter-weight pad that doesn't slide about? I have the Alpine Stars Paragon and while I love their level of protection vs comfort, they love to slide - the cuffs always slide both up and down on me.
  • + 5
 The Dainese Trailskins are pretty good. As long as the fit is right for you (wide upper, narrow underside) they won‘t slide and feel like they aren‘t there (until you need them, then they are quite efficient). But try befire you buy...
  • + 3
 Or Leatt Airflex Pro knee pads? I just got a pair and they seem pretty comfortable after trying them on.
  • + 1
 Confirmed. Solid protection, comfortable and well thought out design.
  • + 0
 IDK why anyone would choose these over the current TLD Raid/Ion/7/etc.. pads unless they are sentimental for their old-school Roach pads they had 12 years ago. I believe testing has shown the D30 type material offers better protection as well.
  • + 1
 I have yet to find something that did as well or as comfortable as my Roach pads, but they are too bulky for trail rides when all I need is a knee cover. They're still my go to for park days.
  • + 4
 Dainese? Die-knees
  • + 1
 Dainese don't have their own testers ? That's weird to think that nobody brought that up before
  • + 1
 "18.34 oz"

C'mon Pinkbike, really?
  • + 1
 18.34oz. Wow that's only about 2 Big Macs
  • + 1
 It would be great to find a knee pad that I could "ride in all day long".

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