Review: Racer's Profile Knee D3O Pads

Jul 23, 2018 at 9:09
by Daniel Sapp  


Racer is a French company, founded in 1927, that manufactures ski, moto, and bike gloves, along with other protective equipment. You may have heard of them, depending on where you live and ride, as their distribution is mostly in Europe and Canada. They are working to expand in North America.

According to Racer, the Profile Knee is designed for mountain biking, and also for snowsports and motorsports. It's CE certified. The pad is soft and flexible, using D3O instead of a hard plastic to absorb impacts. Profile Knees are presently available in Europe, as well as Canada, through Brick & Mortar stores and sells for $148 CAD.

Profile Knee Details
• Gravity/DH Knee Pad
• T5 D3O protection
• CE certified
• Slip-on, with Velcro straps
• Colors: Black
• Weight: 640 grams
• MSRP: $148 CAD
www.racergloves.com


Velcro straps help keep the system tight to avoid unwanted slipping.
The back of the knee pads are a combination of breathable mesh and Airprene.


Construction

The Profile Knee is designed to be the most advanced and protective of Racer's MTB range. It utilizes T5 D3O to maximize protection. D3O has been used in a lot of different pads over the years. It is lightweight and flexible, but when it encounters an impact, it hardens to provide impact protection.

Holding the D3O pads in place is the shell - a combination of Airprene (breathable neoprene) and mesh. It is reinforced on the sides with aramid cloth and D3O. There is an anti-slip material that contacts the skin on both the top and bottom of the pad, which fits with the kneecap directly contacting the D3O material through an opening on the inside (see the photo below). There is more anti-slip material sitting around the kneecap to provide additional insurance against slippage.

The stretchy Airprene shell, coupled with the anti-slip material, work together to keep the pads in place. Additionally, a large strap at the top of the pad and a smaller one on the back help to fine tune the fit.


Anti-slip material on the inside of the kneepads keeps things in place, while the sides are reinforced for added protection.


Performance

Typically, unless I'm in the bike park or on a more technical ride, I forego kneepads. Therefore, when I do wear them, I'm pretty picky about fit and comfort. There are a lot of options out there, several from some pretty big brands that I think are complete garbage. There's no sense in spending any money on a pad only to have to tape it to your leg or have a loose fit that doesn't properly protect you. In the hierarchy of importance, I would take a moderate reduction of comfort for a pad that remains firmly in place.

The fit of the Racer pads is tight and snug, but not too much so. The anti-slip material keeps the pads in place, exactly where they are supposed to be. In addition to providing protection against impacts, the pads fit me in a way that supports my knees. They feel almost like a brace. The top of the pad sits high enough that there was none of the unacceptable "gaper-gap" between the top of the kneepad and my shorts.

I'm typically in the middle of the "medium" size range on most pads. These fit me well, as a medium, but I wouldn't want them to be any tighter. Buyers should do what they can to try on a pair before purchasing, as the snug fit will dictate what size you use. As always, fit of gear is personal, everyone is built differently, so Racer's design may not work for everyone, but I would wager that with the correct size, they'll fit most.

The Profile kneepads offer much more protection than more minimalist pads and are still very comfortable. The shell is soft and flexible and allows you to have a great deal of movement and motion. There is no pinching or binding of the material at flexion or extension and there's no Velcro pricking you, as sometimes happens with hook-and-loop closures. The anti-slip material is soft and really clings to your skin. The area around the kneecap will pull on unshaven legs a little, which is most noticeable while sitting on the chairlift, but it's pretty minimal and was not enough to consider as an issue. That said, if you have a skinned knee, these pads are going to be pretty uncomfortable. You may as well forget trying to wear them with a bandage or a scab near your kneecap.


Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesRacer's Profile Knee is a well-constructed and successfully executed pad. The fit is dialed and slippage or unwanted movement is never a thought. These pads aren't inexpensive by any means, but they're built solidly, and are easily up to the task of protecting and supporting your knees in the event of a crash.Daniel Sapp







77 Comments

  • + 23
 not a single picture of the whole thing is not very helpful
  • - 2
 I agree, what pointless review if you're not even shown the product
  • + 21
 It's a knee pad. Jesus.
  • + 23
 Ummm....the very last picture in the article?
  • - 4
flag Xc2dh1 (Jul 27, 2018 at 7:25) (Below Threshold)
 Ugly af
  • + 6
 Huh...reminds me of 20$ volleyball knee pads..
  • + 3
 @saltheguinea: It wasn't posted this morning when the article was published
  • + 1
 Especially not in pedal position to show how high up they go
  • + 0
 Bottom right picture dude full view and 2 sides
  • + 11
 All future knee pad reviews should include measurements of the test-rider's legs.....quad, calf, etc.....that would help alleviate some of the fit-fear that stops folks from getting a pair.
  • + 6
 The one thing I hate buying for mtb are kneepads. its so hard to get one that doesnt feel like I’m wearing a corset. I’ve always had muscular thighs and most kneepads look like it was meant for sticklegged marathoners. Not that I have anything against marathoners mind you. This one looks about the same, so I’ll have to pass.
  • + 3
 Man I'm with you! I have very large thighs and big calves. If I buy a pad that fits my thighs and calves its usually loose around the knee which causes the top to slide down frequently. I pretty much hate every knee pad I've owned.
  • + 3
 Same boat. Consider G-Forms. They don't have DH-level protection but fit different sizes very well. For rides that involve pedaling they are much better than nothing.
  • + 20
 I'm that stick legged marathon runner. I dream of moving from chicken legs to Turkey drumsticks one day.
  • + 6
 Yea, I'm in the middle of stick/turkey. It's been a progression haha. But I've found the IXS Daggers are the most comfortable kneepads I've worn & most people would never think about, since it has a massive hardshell on it. But man, are they comfortable. I'll literally ride a full enduro race with them on and not complain. They breathe well, fit great, and work. No knee-ginas in my future!
  • + 5
 @dasendurbro: agree, IXS daggers are very comfy and dont slide on thick thights and calves. Cant recommend enough
  • + 0
 It's like condom.
  • + 2
 @chyu: Finally! A fellow reproducer that like to velcro it up!
  • + 3
 @dasendurbro:
That i agree, I have a pair of IXS daggers, rode them through from long xc rides to riding down dh lines. The hard plastic knee cup and padding at the sides has taken alot of abuse and of coz protecting my knees from injuries. But it is falling apart, 4 years of use, the webbing at the back is getting torn up and the loop around the plastic buckle has ripped. I've been shopping for a replacement, thus my griping. I might just go with another pair of daggers. They're pretty affordable as well so thats a big plus.
  • + 1
 @ryan83: Actually I did but the lbs here don't stock up on xl or xxl.

I tried L but i only manage to get the band up above my knee.
  • + 1
 @I agree. Best knee pads I've found to date as well
  • + 1
 Take a Look at the Scott Grenade. Im lifting weights so also bigger legs than normal people. These fit like a glove... Yes heavy and sweaty but a lot of side protection.
  • + 1
 POC would be worth a look. Great adjustability, no slip, and as the pad warms it moulds to the contour of the knee. Not cheap but had mine for 4 seasons of hard riding now, everywhere from Santa Cruz to the Alps.
  • - 3
 @Kickmehard: Nobody actually cares or asked for you to say that
  • + 2
 @Joelukens00: tough day?
  • + 3
 I have standard southern English (AU) calves (=big) and have found both POC and RaceFace fit me well. Mind you the context of that is coming round a corner to see a fellow who had just had a minor crash but landed on one of the Adelaide Hills lovely sharp rocks. It had torn his kneecap off, left it hanging by the flesh on the inside left of the knee. I made the mistake of having a close look, can still see it clearly in my mind. I will NOT EVER ride without knee pads. Even landing on one of our local rocks at 10 kph without armour will do serious damage. Not interested in that. So to the author of the article, I think you are taking an unnecessary risk man. Send a big double instead Smile
  • + 3
 @dasendurbro: Totally second that - I'm also mid-stick/turkey. I've tried fox launch, the old kyle straits, the innovative race face ambush. The IXS is far more comfortable and the level of protection is immense (pretty sure Rachel Atherton among other pro dh'ers use them)....
  • + 6
 150 bucks? and after one slideout on a rocky surface they will be torn like every other kneepad
  • + 3
 Competitors take note: side protections made of D3O to provide actual protection ! I am about to replace my Alpinestar Alps2 that didn't age well and one of the reason I'm not buying the same ones is the absolute lack of protection on the sides. After having a look at ION, Fox and IXS that were high on my list, all have been dismissed because of the lack of side protection, only Racer is doing it right at the moment reason why they will be my next ones.
  • + 5
 some of the IXS pads have side protection eg Carve Evo
  • - 1
 @russthedog: nope, no more than Alpi Alps2 which is fine to not get skin rash but hass zero impact protection. I was considering them, went to touch them at Eurobike to my disappointment, same with Ion with has shtity soft foam, even worse on the new Fox with hardshell that I was digging quite a bit. So far I only found Racer to use proper impact material on their side protections.
  • + 1
 Scott Grenades Pro. D3O. Side protection. Comfy as F... Never, never slips. A bit hot though. Looks a lot bulkier than these and a lot more protective. Don't think I'll ever put my leg in something else, but who knows... life is full of surprises.
  • + 2
 7iDP Sam Hill Edition...
  • + 1
 If your observation leans to side protection, ION K-PACT truely has more IMO, the sas-tec padding "visco elastic" on the side is incredible… might wanna take a look to that.
  • + 2
 @mae-fr: I got the Ion K Pact too and they are great. I wanted side protection, because I hit side of knee on top tube twice in falls and it hurt bad, which previous pad did not have. Also wanted straps because previous pair got loose over time and straps can make that up. Highly recommend them.
  • + 1
 @mae-fr: from what i saw the side protection on the kpac is just shitty foam not SAS-tec, the same you used to find on 661 KS side protection, better than nothing but still not D3O or SAS.
  • + 1
 Check out the POC ones also, great side impact protection.
  • + 1
 @Balgaroth: you are right, although the racers doesn´t have D3O on the sides either.. still is just different likings anyway..
  • + 1
 @mae-fr: I went on their stand at Eurobike and even tho it might not be D3O (havent checked) it is some sort of impact foam which is good enough for me.
  • + 2
 @danielsapp I read somewhere that 3d0 cannot be washed with any sort of detergent. Do you know if this is true? Every once in a while I throw my (toxic) pads in the bathtub with some washing detergent and not being able to do so would detract me from getting pads like these.
  • - 1
 D3O pads in my sixsixone kneepads are removable; i expect these to be similar
  • + 1
 @bigtim: damn. I’ve washed some Fox D30 gloves in the machine at 30 a couple of times. Didn’t know this! Doh.
  • + 0
 Foam pads in my pads are detachable and I've washed them with soap many times, no problem. I guess what they mean is not to put strong stuff like pure bleach directly on them as it might melt the polymer.
  • + 0
 I washed my RaceFace D3O knee pads with detergent several times. I usually put it into a plastic basin for a day. My friend macine washed it without problems. Knee pads are fully functioning, we’ve tested it Wink
If I remember correctly my old RF pad’s manual said they can’t guarantee the same performance over 6 washes..
Now I can’t find any restriction in the newer model’s manual.
  • + 3
 D3O says that you should only wipe the pads clean and that "you should NEVER use cleaners, detergents, or launder your D3O product." - certainly a drawback. You can get the large front piece of D3O out of the pad via the hole in the knee but you can't get the side protection out, it's sewn in.
  • - 2
 @danielsapp: If you are to cite the website better take the whole paragraph...

"If applicable, D3O® protectors should be removed carefully from the garment
before washing. D3O® protectors are wipe-clean only, using a damp cloth.
NEVER use cleaners or detergents on or launder your D3O® product. This
may result in irreparable damage and will severely reduce the effectiveness of
your D3O® product. After washing, allow to dry in a ventilated space at room
temperature; do not use hair dryers or other heaters to dry your D3O® product."

www.d3o.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/D3O-Consumer-Care-Instructions.pdf

--> washing protection with/and inserts in the sink with a tad of soap is fine. Yeah, if you can avoid, don't put them in the washing machine. D3O compounds is basically plastic, don't put any product that can potentially harm plastic.
  • + 1
 @adamdh: More than that... www.raceface.com/media/FitandCare_Guards.pdf

* Items with D30 should be washed a maximum of 30 times and a water temperature no higher than 40°C.

BTW pads look quite nice except for that gawdawful d30 graphic.
  • + 2
 Is this just for d3o stuff or does it affect other pads as well? I've chucked my tld pads in the washing machine loads.
  • + 2
 Light knee pads have achieved much toward increased rider protection. Before that, all we had were plastic shells covering knee and shin, and while the overall protection may still be higher, these were hot, itchy, hard to wash and on par with spandex in terms on style. All the arguments to put them the least you can.
I got a pair of poc vpd2 few years ago and now put them virtually every time I ride, meaning they'll likely be there when I need them. D3O ( and others) pads have made body protection go from Jerrysending to mainstream riding gear status, and that's a good thing.
  • + 1
 I need a solid cup over my knee as the last 3 pair of similar pads did not protect my knees. The 661 split and so did my knee. The other 2 softies folded like a cheep suit when saying hello to rock gardens. I am considering a hard cup BMX pad as I can't find XL shorties with a solid cupped knee.
  • + 0
 "You may have heard of them, depending on where you live and ride, as their distribution is mostly in Europe and Canada. They are working to expand in North America."

Uhhh last I checked Canada, was part of North America... So it's Mexico and many others. Yup I just got all geographic up in here, sucka!
  • + 11
 "Expand" in North America ... hence distribute to more than just Canada...
  • + 5
 @Jaguar83: correct you are sir, I'm hanging my head in shame.
  • + 1
 Top 3 worst jobs 1. Professional Ass wiper 2. Crime scene cleaner 3. Pinkbike product reviewer because no one is ever happy and all they do is talk shit and complain about the most minute things
  • + 1
 These look awesome. I like the added side protection which probably increases overall support too. I'm looking for something to allow pedaling but also give some support for a torn ACL.
  • + 2
 Sorry, I still don’t get knee pads without shin guards.
If you dont understand why I don’t.......you will eventually!
  • + 1
 I wish a pad company would sell the pad without the d3o I know the d30 is somewhat expensive and I want a couple extras from when the rest of the pad gave up
  • + 1
 It's going to be hard for them to expand to North America without an online buying option. It's a shame because these look really nice.
  • + 1
 I really like Specialized Atlas knee pads for general MTB riding, and the FOX Launch knee and elbows for rowdier days. My legs are not huge.
  • + 1
 I've had pretty negative experiences with soft shell pads. Hard shell pads all the way!
  • + 1
 looks very good and comfortable... actually I am using dainese trail skins 2, but they are not so good as I thought Frown
  • - 2
 We are lucky to have RACER as the team's sponsor for the gloves and the protectors. The products are designed for the most demanding users it shows. Their full-length vests possess the best of options and are super comfy and they have the lightest knee and elbow guards on the market too. Their products are developed in France close to where live all the French national DH and enduro riders. We recommend their products of course ;-)
  • - 1
 Racer's products are all good. My Racer Motion Top Evo armour is simply awesome. I tried Dainese, Fox, 661's products and bluegrass product but Racer's products are still better, comfortable, very strong and look nice.
  • + 1
 What's the back protector like length wise on that? Looking at maybe getting some new upper armour but loads of options have really short back protection for some reason. It's kind of hard to tell from the pictures how far down it goes.
  • + 0
 they seems to look nice, unfortunately not a pic with the entire thing shown
  • + 1
 So cool!
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.061379
Mobile Version of Website