Troy Lee Designs Raid Knee Guards - Review

Apr 27, 2016
by Olly Forster  
2016 Troy Lee Designs Raid Knee Guards Review

For those of you who were not riding ten years ago, Troy Lee Designs had a set of knee pads which changed everything. Everything as far as protecting your knees that is. They did this with their original T-Bones, which literally broke the mold and rewrote the rulebook, dictating, as many TLD products inevitably do, the way the marketplace would look for some time to come. But that's seemingly where it started and ended for TLD and their game-changing knee protection. The competition inevitably caught up as the years went by as did the technology and materials available. And TLD, well, they were somewhat left behind as far as premium joint protection was concerned. That is until now...

2016 Troy Lee Designs Raid Knee Guards Review
Troy Lee Raid Details:
• Neoprene construction
• CE certified D3O(R) knee pad
• Fit-Lock calf band to prevent slippage
• Sizes: XS/S, M/L, XL/2XL
• Durable abrasion-resistant cover
• Knee cap integrated w/flex panel for pedaling articulation
• Breathable mesh back panel
• Foam side padding
• Silicone gripper band
• Weight: 414 grams (size M/L)
• MSRP: $115 USD

The TLD Raid Knee Guards are a slip-on design built around a neoprene sock with a single elasticated velcro strap at the top - thankfully the hooked part of the velcro is on the strap and not on the body so there's less chance of it getting clogged with crap. To the rear, a mesh panel stretches the entire length of the sleeve offering a degree of breathability. Keeping the whole thing snugly in place is a combination of elements. The most noteworthy of which is the 'fit-lock' system, which is effectively the red band you can see at the rear of the pads and no, it's not just there for aesthetics. Offering increased security around the rear of the pad, it helps keep things where they should. A molded knee cup, a velcro strap (already mentioned) and a silicone gripper strip at the top all work in harmony to keep the Raids in place.

Each pad is anatomically designed specifically for right and left orientation with two additional, smaller foam pads to the right and left of the D3O pad in the center and a longer one just above it. Measuring 50mm at its widest and 250mm from top to bottom (size M/L tested), the D30 pad covers the leg from just above the knee cap and ends just above the midpoint of your shinbone, depending on your dimensions of course. All the pads are covered in a thicker and more durable material to keep them in one piece after a crash or tumble into the cabbage.

2016 Troy Lee Designs Raid Knee Guards Review
TLD's 'fit-lock' design keeps everything nicely where it should, needing only a single elasticated velcro strap at the top.
2016 Troy Lee Designs Raid Knee Guards Review
Much of the magic which makes these so good is on the inside, like the cup your knee sits in and the silicone gripper band.

What is D3O?

D3O is a unique material that's sensitive to impacts that strike it at speed - to put it simply, D3O is pliable and soft to touch, but hit it hard and fast, replicating a crash or a fall and it becomes more solid, delivering protection to whatever is behind it. The arrival of D3O has inevitably had a massive impact (no pun intended) upon the sports equipment market and for us mountain bikers, we've been increasingly seeing it in elbow and knee pads, but this is the first year that we've seen this wonder material in a product from Troy Lee Designs.

On the Trail

With a good amount of protection on offer, the Raids have a distinct nod towards the stickier and more dangerous end of the spectrum making them ideal for everything from downhill to enduro. But don't let their immediate credentials fool you as these are incredibly comfortable and have accompanied me on more rides that required pedal power than machine power to get me back up the hill. But that's what makes these new pads from TLD so good, or at least one part. Slipping them on is a pleasure, and you know those pads you just can't wait to rip off after a few hours? Well, with the Raids, you'll just as easily forget you're wearing them.

2016 Troy Lee Designs Raid Knee Guards Review
A party in the front and...
2016 Troy Lee Designs Raid Knee Guards Review and ventilation in the rear.

From pedalling up annoyingly long fire roads to long and sweaty days shuttling and hiking DH tracks to session a line, the Raids have proved time and time again that they could easily be the comfiest pads I've tried in a while. Even inside 'DH pants', something which I've struggled to find in the past - a set of knee pads which are comfortable enough to wear yet give a sufficient amount of protection - they've impressed me. They don't move, they haven't rubbed the skin off my knees and regardless of the many trips through the washer and impromptu rolls through the undergrowth, they're still in great shape. I haven't however had a big crash - a few minor ones, but really just small tumbles and while they didn't represent a thorough test of the Raid's protection abilities, they also didn't move and were exactly where they were when I slipped them on.

Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesAside from the price tag, which, let's be honest, is ball park for D3O knee protection, there is little if anything to complain about with the Raid Knee Guards - they tick every box and then some. Troy Lee Designs have created some absolutely stellar knee protection for gravity addicts, and done so with comfort and versatility at their core. - Olly Forster

MENTIONS: @troyleedesigns

Author Info:
ollyforster avatar

Member since Jun 8, 2005
78 articles

  • 88 4
 Should've been called the D3PO.
  • 38 2
 oh... I C what you did there.
  • 15 1
 And it begins
  • 42 1
 these kneepads must be a life saber when falling on those tough rock gardens
  • 16 5
 I would buy it if was 3NDU4O.
  • 24 0
 I have a bad feeling about this
  • 10 23
flag Boardlife69 (Apr 28, 2016 at 2:54) (Below Threshold)
 We don't kneed any more puns please. That said, I heard your girlfriend is looking for some T.L.D.
  • 10 1
  • 20 1
 meh, not the knee pads i'm looking for
  • 1 2
  • 23 1
 Pretty nice these seem. But work hard they must, if shrug off the Force of a crash they will.
  • 3 0
 Hello..what do we have here?
  • 8 1
 I've been looking around for a new set of knee pads, these certainly obi-won the competition.
  • 35 0
 What's on the top?
It's a Strap!
  • 11 0
 I told my riding partner "I love my knee pads." He said, "I know."
  • 3 0
 @Steezwhip: Comment of the year!
  • 37 6
 Not sure this beats the Race Face Ambush knee pads that have been around for years and can be put on/removed without taking your shoes off.
  • 11 2
 Oh yeah. I like my Ambush pads.
  • 6 0
 Same here. Love the Ambush pads.
  • 9 2
 Yup. Third that. Love mine. As soon as I read slip-on I was so much less impressed.
  • 3 1
 Ambush Knee Pads, very nice! Ambush elbow pads, not so much.
  • 26 0
 *Any elbow pads, not so much.
  • 5 0
 @bhd13: I've got POC elbow pads and..... couldn't agree with you more.
  • 19 5
 being able to take the pads off with your shoes on isn't really important.
  • 3 0
 @bhd13: Have you tried TLD 5550 elbow pads? These are great you don't notice when riding but do the job when you crash.
  • 3 0
 I had them. They are ok, not that great. Ambush are a little bit sweaty and bulky, these ones looks better in that. And the hole in the back (or the ass of the kneepad, if you wanna call it like that) didn't match my "knee articulation", but I guess that depends on your type of leg. I think closed knee pads are harder to slip in a crash, that's a good trade off (to me).
  • 3 0

how about 661 W/D30 foam for $29 dollars Smile

i just got a pair and they are pretty nice...
  • 2 0
 @redman733: mmm looks a bit light imo.. like all these 'enduro pecific kneepads' these days Big Grin
  • 1 0
 7idp control for me, replacing my desintegrating Kyle strait. But I would definitely consider those tld
  • 1 0
 @oldfut: they're awesome, and will be hard to beat any time soon.
  • 4 0
 @poah: yes it is
  • 9 0
 who needs to take knee pads off? wear em to the bar and all the ladies will see how x-treeme you are.
  • 1 0
 @poah: when you have long climbs just to get to the good stuff it is. Or maybe, a long ride to the trail head
  • 2 1
 @vandall: I wear my trail skins without any issue. I have no need to take them off to cycle on the flat etc.
  • 23 0
 the world needs more kneepads with padding on the inside of the knee, you know the body part you can hit on your f*cking frame / seat
  • 25 2
 Clearly, you're riding your bike like a Colin
  • 4 0
 So you are speaking about old T-Bone then. On several occasions I really appreciated those three soft honeycombs on the inside.
  • 11 0
 @Waldon83: i dont know what that means, but as an actual colin, i take offense.
  • 6 0
 @Waldon83: the correct spelling is Joey.


  • 14 0
 @northerstdhdad - even if he is... I will confirm every word he says. Ive gone through 3+ sets of knee pads in the last couple years trying to find the ones. G-Form provides no real protection, tore em up on my first fall. Leatt Airflex Pro are comfy and have EN1601 rating but were a little too much on the light side - mentally I was just wary when things got hairy and felt like they were going to tear like G Form. I live in SLC and there is plenty that requires a bit of pedalling to some legit gnarly stuff where i want more than XC level protection. I had a pair of TLD Semenuks that were burly but not super comfy, about 520g for the pair. I was hoping to find somethingnlighter yet burly, so went to the Backcountry retail store to check out these, new DaKine Hellion, Leatt 3df, Scott Grenade Pro, Alpinestars Alps... These TLD Raid and the DaKine Hellion were the top picks first pass. After 5 minutes wearing one of each it was obvious the TLD Raid was the one. And i mean "the one" ive been looking for since 2001. ~400g for the pair XL/XXL, EN1601 cert, D3O, and these feel like knee sleeves. First ride confirmed how comfortable they were - i thought the red calf thing was a gimmick but holy shit they feel Amazing with zero movement and incredible range of motion for a 'full gnar' knee pad...
Beleive the hype - TLD always makes great shit and they DELIVERED on these. Dont beleive me? Just go try em on... But you will fall in love so bring a credit card
@iamamodel - hope this helps!
  • 13 3
 My pads are 10 years old? I really kneed these I guess.
  • 3 0
 I just bought a set of Fox Launch knees and would be interested to hear from anyone who has tried both in regards to comfort in warm and hot weather and which are more comfortable after two hours of pedalling. I really like my Launches - I needed something for long rides and these TLD look a bit less flexible.
  • 2 1
 Lanches FTW better aint exist for that price.. ! I got mine for 5 years now and it still perfect ! and can't complain about comfort.
  • 2 0
 Yeah I've had my launches for 2 and a Half years, still perfect. I wear them on basically every ride, I barely notice them. I've probably put in a few thousand miles on them, never get super sweaty or anything
  • 1 0
 @ithomas: Wouldn't be fair to compare the two in that aspect. Just by visual inspection the TLD pads clearly offer way more protection.
  • 1 0
 @Freerideguy14: true, while both pads are definitely very good all around, the launches are clearly geared more towards pedaling than the TLDs
  • 1 0
 @ithomas: what makes you say that? Interested in both...but tend to pedal to all descents
  • 1 0
 @nicolai12: my launches are very basic, just one layer of padding on the front of the pad, nothing on the side like the TLDs. if you're looking for just some simple protection, nothing to special for long pedally rides, the launches would be perfect
  • 1 0
 @ithomas: Looking for DH worthy protection, but still able to pedal for 20+mi
  • 1 0
 @nicolai12: if you want that much protection, I'd go TLD
  • 3 0
 Anyone here have experience of D30 in cold weather? I have the dianese trail pads an they're not very good especially in the cold! Their version of D30 type protection stiffens up on cold UK winter rides an has mafe me weary of buying this type of protection again. Any options appreciated.

I'm just hoping that now Kyle S is back on 661 his signature knee gets a re'make , best pads EVER
  • 2 0
 I bought some POC VPD Air for a summer hike a bike trip to the Alps but with plans to use them in UK winter to keep knees warm too! Instructions say not suitable for cold and wear inside layers when skiing (as if anyone would run them outside!). Sure enough, stiff and uncomfy in the UK 'winter' - turns out winter includes April this year. So I guess it's a general D30 issue.
  • 1 0
 Yeah not a fan of D30 tbh. Tried it in 661/RF pads and POC's VPD it stiffens up in the cold and holds on to moisture when it's warm/wet. So 90% of the time in the UK it's a non-starter
  • 1 0
 Cheers guys, was wondering whether it was a brand thing or all of these types of protection suffer. Guess I'll save some £ an get some old fashioned hard caps
  • 2 2
 @gravityslaves - have you crashed in VPD Airs already? Because I just fell to the side after I lost balance and couldn't clip out. I would not recommend them for anything else but volleyball. Worked fine as knee warmers down to +5, but just that.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Yes, a few times in the Alps, mostly knee slides. They did the job well enough - not close to DH pads, but perfect to stop me de-gloving my kneecap on a slide and stayed in place even on a big OTB down Super Morzine roots. I wear Kyle Straits for the chunky days.
  • 1 0
 @nojzilla Must be a UK winter issue, or I have bashed my knees and legs so much that they don't feel anymore. My Ambush knees w/D30 seem fine in colder weather, although I will admit to living on Vancouver Island, my coldest ride this year was only probably 0 to -5 Celsius, so not super-cold. For what its worth...
  • 4 0
 @VwHarman: "0 to -5 Celsius, so not super-cold"...Socal-ers take note!! haha
  • 1 0
 I agree with you on the dianese in the cold. Ive just impulse bought some of these TLDs off the back of this review... ( i love TLD armour). remind me in a month and no doubt i will have crashed by then... i'll let you know how they compare!
  • 2 0
 @VwHarman: I've got the same Ambush pads and also live on Vancouver Island. They are great winter riding pads and I haven't had any issues with the D30 firming up in the cold. They are warm for summer pedalling.
  • 1 0
 @gravityslaves: Just to clarify guys, neither POC nor Dianese use D3O materials! If the guy at the shop told you they did you should probably kick them in the nuts - let's hope they're wearing a D3O cup!
  • 1 0
 @yellowman88: Maybe I wasn't too clear, but wasn't calling POC out as D3O, it's VPD and was sold/bought as VPD. I was making the comparison between two impact hardening materials, which function in a remarkably similar manner under different trade names, therefore saying I expect similar cold weather traits from D3O as VPD.

"Upon impact, the VPD immediately stiffens and absorbs the majority of the energy from the impact."

" Upon impact, the d3o compound stiffens dramatically to absorb much more of the blunt force than standard athletic foam padding."
  • 2 0
 Got a set of these and they are the best fitting pads I've had, been through 661, ONeal, Alpinestars and Leatt. The become more bendy when they warm up and I use them for 2-3 hour sessions in the saddle, get a tiny bit of rub. They have had a trip to the ground, stayed put and did their job, 100% recommended.
  • 3 1
 @ollyforster - these look amazing! Is there any padding between the knee and D3o? I have Pocs VPD Air with D3o only and they are worthless. Landed on my knee after unclip fail on uphill and was rolling by the side of the trail making Peter Griffin like noises. Uuuuuuuh Aaaaah. They suck on all fronts. They lack lower tightening strip and slide down as well. I guess this is not the case with these TLDs?
  • 2 0
 @wakidesigns There is a smart foam donut between the d3o and the inner liner, keeping the knee cup in place during an impact.
  • 1 0
 @stikmanglaspell: in my understanding (and feeling my knee after falling on it in non padded, thin layered D3o knee protection) the D3o acts as a hardshell during impact, which role is to spread the force of pinchy object on as large knee surface as possible. It still hurts as hell when you drop with bare knees on the flat floor. Not as much when you have something soft in between. So yea, these TLDs look legit then. How's them sliding while riding? The expandable strap under Pocs VPD Air just does not do the job, not nearly as well as pads with adjystable velcro strap down there.
  • 1 0
UPDATE your ya... ok, they are good. they are hot ( 35km in 20 degrees). they do not move a mm, including falling. The D30 does work, though the drop test to the floor in the kitchen was disappointing.. for reference the G-force stuff wins hands down for that, but it's too minimal for most rides - if they bulked up their product line - we would all ride with their massively effective compound strapped to our legs - also... the TLD did / do pinch the backs of my legs, as did the dianesse, until broken in.... they are a lot less bulky. Summery: I do 300km around Mt Blanc next month... I'm using the G force - its a singletrack holiday. I'm using the Dianesse for my local ride... and the TLD for easy transition aka enduro type days out where it gets burly. the TLD are not the sole answer to our prayers, but they are good.
  • 2 0
 @ovadebarz: thanks man. I will consider them. I remember Dainese Oaks fitting my leg like a tailored made condom Big Grin
  • 1 0
 Anyone have recommendation for knee pads? I had a fox launch pro (soft one) knee/shin pads, but they were always slipping down, especially when pedaling. I bought them in the largest size L/XL. I just measured and I have about 50-55 cm thighs about ~10cm above my knee 42cm calf.
  • 3 0
 Lol... hope they stay on, kuz my last tld pair... Haaaah! ;p My Knees are the proof in the pudding~ But these look just a bit better so let's hope!!! ✌
  • 1 0
 Had a set of Fox Launch pads and only used them for one ride. A pretty good crash caused them to ride off the knee resulting in a pretty good scrape where they should have stayed. Also chafed the back of my knee. Bought a set of IXS Carve pads a year ago and been running them ever since. They stay put no matter what and are extremely comfortable. $50.00 bucks less than TLD. I have TLD elbow guards and they are great but TLD needs to get their pricing structure more in line with the competition.
  • 1 0
 this "review" has lots of pretty pictures, and it's great that these pads don't move around when pedaling, but where is the critical info on how well they hold up/stay in place during a decent bail? people wear knee pads for protection first, everything else is secondary
  • 1 0
 Gwin, Fairclough, Shaw bros, Zink, Semenuk, L Peat, and more all tested and crashed on these all during development. The guys were all pleased with fit and durability, but more importantly, ability to stay in place in a crash.
  • 1 0
 @stikmanglaspell: Shaw's never crash. It's impossible. They're part feline, always landing right side up.
  • 2 0
 Still riding with my old TLD T-Bone's ( 3+ yrs) ... falling to bits. Great knee guards... but I think these might finally be the ones to upgrade to.
  • 1 1
 I'm a huge fan of the IXS Dagger pads. They never slip, even during a wreck, breath great with the built in ventilation, light weight. I've tired TLD knee pads, they've always slipped on me during a crash and they were the right size. Not bashing TLD, I love the D3!

  • 1 1
 You have "tried TLD pads" but, sounds like you haven't tried the RAID, you just came here to tell us about another brand you are a fan of? But haven't tried THIS TLD model?
  • 1 0
 @stikmanglaspell: That would appear to be what he is saying. Called an opinion, and he is choosing to share his. Thanks for captioning the world though.
  • 1 0
 @ProChargedZ28 not sure what your point is?
  • 1 0
 whatever their last kneepads were called, (all-mountain) were poorly built. They frayed, the Velcro didn't work after about a year. I love their clothes (especially the shorts) but I wouldn't spend a dime on these.
  • 4 1
 I think I kneed to raid my lbs for these
  • 1 0
 Yessss!!! So glad to hear!!! My fox knee pads fell apart after one fall..... I ordered these Sunday and they'll be here today!
  • 1 0
 Lets hope they're better than my IXS Carve knee pads that have failed stitching and awful build quality after roughly 5 hours use. Comfy but rubbish
  • 3 1
 how bout a link to buy them socks?
  • 9 0
 Buy who socks?
  • 3 0
 Haha right, running xx1 socks and a boxxer fork.legend
  • 1 0
 no comparison in this review against TLD's Shock Doctor?
  • 1 0
 2 different pads, 2 different type of rider types. In a nutshell, TLD KG series are more of a light duty all day pedaler-our best seller mind you, as thats what most MTBers do-ride all day---compared to the bike park type of rider, who is slashing runs all day on a bigger bike, on more technical terrain.
  • 2 1
 Seem like a great knee pad.TLD need a pat (ella) on the back..????
  • 1 0
 Knee pads or not hitting the ground at high speeds sucks.....
  • 1 0
 best pad I've ever worn !!!!!
  • 1 1
 not about to drop another $115 right after getting a new bike
  • 2 3
 im ordering asap
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