The Grenade EVOs are an upgrade on Scott’s classic Grenade Pro II knee guards. Like the original, the Grenade EVO is aimed at riders who are looking for a set of pads that’ll take the full brunt of the worst crashes. The guards features two very healthy slabs of D3O padding—the pliable stuff that gets real firm real fast when you smack into things—that get assists from a generous ring of EVA foam padding that runs atop and alongside the main D3O pads.
Scott Grenade EVO Details
• Flexible D3O knee pads
• Abrasion-resistant front panel
• Localized, EVA side padding
• Perforated, neoprene construction with stretch-mesh back panel
• Weight 630 grams
• MSRP: $129.99 USD
The problem with heavy-duty pads is they usually feel like heavy duty pads—nothing you’d actually want to pedal around in. The original Grenade Pros already had a reputation for being surprisingly comfortable. The EVOs take it a step further, with the addition of a full-mesh back panel. The EVOs are a bit lighter (30 grams on my scale) and breathability has, no surprise, improved as well.
But let’s get back to protection, the Grenade EVOs feature a tough, abrasion-resistant cover over the tops of the main pads. The D3O inserts work as advertised—offering the kind of protection that you’d expect from a hardshell guard, without the nagging, back-and-forth drag across your kneecap. Bike park? Downhill? The Grenade EVOs are a solid choice.
Plenty of pads skip on side protection, but you can't say that of either the old (right) or new (left) Grenades.
The Grenade EVOs also make sense for riders who aren’t
beholden to the chairlift. For my money, these are the most comfortable, full-duty guards out there. They’re also far less bulky than many other pads offering this much protection. That said, you will
notice their weight. The EVOs weigh 30 grams less than their predecessor and the breathability is better, but they are still heavier and hotter than the current generation of strapless, knee-warmers-on-sterioids pads. You're toting around an extra 200 to 300 grams than you would be if you were sporting a set of lightweight kneeguards. Then again, the EVOs never slip and they completely outclass those lighter pads in terms of impact absorption. As a guy who eats shit a fair bit, I consistently reach for the Scotts. I have to admit, to be fair, that the mercury on my backyard thermometer rarely raises its head above 90 Fahrenheit (32.2 Celsius), so perhaps I’m a bit more forgiving of warmer pads than riders living in hotter climes.
At left, the old Grenade Pro IIs after two seasons. At right, the EVOs after one. The new, mesh back panel is a bit too light for my tastes.
I do have one nit to pick with the new EVOs. That new mesh back panel reduces weight and increases comfort (the previous model was mainly neoprene with a tiny bit of mesh directly behind the knee), but it’s also prone to tearing. When removing the guards, you need to be diligent about grabbing and pulling down from the front of each guard. After one long ride, I came home exhausted and (not thinking too clearly) grasped the guard too closely to the mesh as I pulled them off—RRRRIP. Crap.
I’m also noticing a fair bit of wear on the mesh panels that is simply a byproduct of pedaling. In short, while I laud Scott for trying to make their Grenade guards more pedaling-friendly, they’ve inadvertently created a weakness here. I’ve been riding the pads with one large hole and a couple small holes in the mesh panel for the better part of a season now—they still work just fine—but this is something Scott needs to rectify with their next generation of guards.