Pinkbike Product Picks Dainese admits that in the recent past, they hadn't been paying much attention to their mountain bike products. In the last year or so, they began to work on creating a modern, updated line of protection that lives up to the company's high standards. Trail Skins kneepads are one of the first fruits of that renewed focus. Aimed at all-mountain riders, Trail Skins are designed to offer are a lightweight option, for riders looking for the a compromise between mobility and crash protection.Details:
We are big fans of the styling on Dainese's Trail Skins kneepads. The fit is excellent and the branding is nice and subtle.
• Purpose: All-mountain/trail/enduro
• Sizes available: S, M, L, XL
• Pro Shape protector using Formula One technology
• Tested to EN1621.1 standards
• Weight: 292g for the pair
• MSRP: $69.95 USDConstruction
Dainese are confident that Trail Skins are some of the lightest kneepads on the market right now. We think there are probably lighter options you can find, but not lighter options with this level of protection - a full kneepad with both front and side protection and as such, that weight is very impressive. The body is made of a four-way stretch material that is used to provide maximum flexibility for the body of the pads. At the top and bottom there is an elastic silicone strip to hold everything in place on your leg and a velcro fastener to adjust the width to your leg. Quality of finish and stitching on the Trail Skins is superb too, noticeably higher than what we see from many mountain bike-only manufacturers.
The honeycomb structure on the main pad covering the knee is the Pro Shape material that makes these possible - it is light, breathable and, we found, very effective at absorbing impacts. The side protectors are well-thought out, moving together with the main pad construction to leave little of the knee exposed when the knee is bent. The fasteners are small, which is good news for blood flow when you are pedaling.
The protector itself is made of a material called Pro Shape that is commonly used in Formula One cars. There are several similar materials on the market, best-known is probably D3O, that are soft to touch, but harden on impact to distribute the force. Dainese are confident that Pro Shape is the best material available - saying it is lighter, and offers better flexibility and impact absorption than anything else out there. It is also perforated, which means air can flow through the protector and help to stop you from overheating. The knee protector is tested to EN Standard 1621.1. On the sides of the pad are small, less-substantial areas of padding and although these are not as burly as the main protector, the coverage there is a welcome addition, in our eyes.Out On The TrailGeneral fit:
When you pull Trail Skins on, the first thing you notice is the weight - at only 292 grams for the pair, they feel more like a set of knee warmers than a set of kneepads. The hook-and-loop fasteners at the top and bottom are simple system, but combined with the silicone gripper bands, you don't need to close them too tightly for the pads to stay put. That is an important detail, as it means they don't restrict the blood flow in your leg while you are pedaling. We have been using these pads almost daily since January now, and can say that the system is as effective as it is simple. In that time, we haven't had a single issue with a pad moving out of position. On our first rides, we did notice our knees moving inside the pad, not rubbing, but just moving a little against the protector through the pedal stroke - although to be clear, the pad itself remained perfectly in place. After a few months we have realized that we don't notice this any more. In honesty, we couldn't tell you whether it is because the material of the protector has formed around our knees, or that we're just used to it now, but it is no longer something we notice when pedaling. In their instructional video, Dainese say that you can roll the pads down around the lower fastener, but they are so light and comfortable we have never felt the need to do as much.
Trail Skins pads offer every-day riders a good amount of coverage in a lightweight option.
Again, they stay in place perfectly. In our time with the Trail Skin pads, we have had a couple of fairly big crashes and we are nothing but impressed with them, especially considering their weight. They stay in place well and offered far more protection that we expected a pad this light to be able to. That said, and Dainese make no bones about this, these are not big, burly kneepads and if we were going out on the downhill bike, we would reach for something more substantial. Rather, these are an ideal kneepad for any ride where you are spending a significant amount of time in the saddle, but don't fancy hitting the descents unprotected.Pinkbike's Take:
| The time and effort Dainese have invested into the Trail Skin knees is apparent. They are superlight, very comfortable and offer a surprising amount of protection. We particularly like the fact that they have included some side padding - something missing from virtually all the other lightweight alternatives. Considering how much some high-end kneepads are retailing for these days, we'd say they are also good value for money too, especially considering the production quality. Dainese have upped their game and created a trail kneepad that we think is worthy of their illustrious heritage and other protection manufacturers are going to have to work hard to catch up to the Italians. - Matt Wragg|