At this stage in the game, it'd be easy to think that knee pad design has plateaued. After all, you just take some viscoelastic foam, sew it into a pocket attached to a knee warmer and call it good, right? That's the tactic that many companies take, and while there are plenty of good options based around that basic design principle, 7iDp's new Project knee pads go a step further. They're a hybrid of sorts, with a flexible rubber panel at the front of the knee that's designed to slide over the obstacles encountered during a crash. A removable Sas-Tec foam pad helps dissipate that impact energy even further, and there's additional foam padding around the perimeter of the knee.
7iDp Project Knee Details
• Sas-Tec main pad
• Flexible hard shell outer protection
• EN 1621-1 certified
• Weight: 423 grams (pair)
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL
• MSRP: $119.99 USD
The Project pads have a tall upper cuff and a hook and loop strap that wraps around the entire to help keep them from sliding down while pedaling, and to prevent the dreaded gorby gap from making an appearance no matter how short your shorts. A cutout around the back of the knee provides a little extra ventilation, and the entire sleeve is constructed from a breathable knit material. Available in sizes S, M, L, and XL, the Project knee pads retail for $119.99 USD. Performance
There's a lot to like about 7iDP's latest creation, especially that tall upper cuff. The last thing I want to be doing during a descent is trying to convince my knee pads to stay in place, and with this design that was never an issue. The overall length is great, but do wish that the elasticized portion of the cuff was a just little taller - if that were the case it probably wouldn't be necessary to rely as much on the velcro straps to adjust the pads' fit. All the same, these pads do a commendable job of staying in place while riding or crashing.
That extra padding on the side of each knee is a nice feature, and one that I immediately missed when I switched to a more minimalist set of pads while testing a bike with particularly wide seatstays that I kept smacking my knees on. That side protection isn't quite as robust as what you'd find on a more purely DH-focused pad, but it it's effective.
The Project knee pads' length and anti-slip design makes them more of a set-and-forget sort of pad – it's a little more of a hassle to pull them down before a long, sweltering climb compared to options with a shorter cuff. Luckily, they breathe fairly well, and considering the amount of coverage and protection they provide I found the extra warmth to be very manageable, even on warm summer days.
As far as durability goes, the Project pads have survived the last three months very well, and the only real signs of wear are the pedal-pin induced tears in the fabric that covers my calves. I did notice that the front rubber material is starting to peel up a little bit on the edges – a little touch up with some Shoe Goo may be in order, but the bulk of that material is still fixed firmly in place. I'll report back if that changes in the future. Pinkbike's Take