Trail Knee Guard Round Up: 10 Options for Different Body Types

Apr 25, 2019 at 15:06
by Nikki Rohan  



In the Pacific Northwest, most the riders you see on the trails nowadays are wearing some type of knee guard, and unless you are a lycra loving cross-country buff who regularly pins on a number, you likely own a pair or three. I've been reviewing soft goods for Pinkbike now for the past five years, and one of the questions I see most often is, "What knee guard do you recommend for someone who is short/tall/skinny/keg legs/etc". Reading the tea leaves, I've realized that finding a knee guard that fits your individual body isn't easy. It takes time and research, or trial and error as some may say.

So to shave off some time finding what should fit and work best for you, Pierce and I have put together a group (all non-sponsored) of 6 women and 5 men in order to look at brands and fit. The biggest lesson learned is that EVERYONE is built differently and - no big surprise - we all have different preferences when it comes to brands, fit and styles of knee protection. The style preference for riding around our local town of Hood River, Oregon, is lower profile knee guards; we don't have a ton of particularly technical terrain as compared to some other mountain bike meccas. Drive five hours north to Bellingham, WA, or another three hours up to Whistler, BC, and you'll likely get a completely different set of preferences for knee guards. Below you will find a selection of each rider's "top pick" knee guard along with their height, their quad and calf measurements (at 6 inches or 15cm) above and below the middle of the knee cap. Note: The sunglasses and shoes in the photo are in no way representative of rider skill level.



Tall Riders

Pinkbike Knee Guard Round Up
Pinkbike Knee Guard Round Up

Dakine Slayer Knee Pads


Details: The Slayer Knee Pad is Dakine's lightweight, breathable, all-mountain knee guard. It features a Dakine branded low-profile CE-certified foam impact pad, silicon gripper cuffs, 4-way stretch perforated material on the backside, and an ergonomic pre-curved design.

From the Tester: I've been using the Dakine Slayer pads for the last three seasons. They are comfortable while pedaling, low profile/not too bulky, and most importantly they work! I've put them through the wringer and my knees are one spot that stays unscathed. - Adele Mery


About the Kneepads:
• Colors: Black or Vibrant Orange
• Weight: 350g
• Sizes: S-XL
• MSRP: $65.00 USD
dakine.com

About the Tester:
• 6 years riding MTB
• Height: 5'9" (1.75m)
• Calf Size: 14.75" (37cm)
• Thigh Size: 17.5" (44cm)
• Size Tested: Dakine size Medium


Pinkbike Knee Guard Round Up
Pinkbike Knee Guard Round Up

Leatt AirFlex Pro Knee Guards


Details: Leatt is one of the few companies who offer an XXL sized knee guard. Jack, our 6'4" tall model has some gigawatt producing legs and usually struggles to find pads that fit, and these fit him like a glove. Like other companies, Leatt is a proponent of investing in advanced new materials for protection, such as the 3D molded padding in these guards that is soft and pliable during normal wear, but hardens upon impact. These pads also offer some side and top of knee protection which many others usually lack. Perforated Anti-odor MoistureCool and AirMesh wicking fabrics keep things cool in the coming age of hot sweaty weather.

From the Tester: I don't always wear knee pads. But when I do, I prefer Leatt. I want you all to know that just because I am now a famous knee pad fashion model that I won’t forget where I came from. Stay humble, my friends. These pads are extremely comfortable while riding. Not too tight and they stay in place, but post ride I forget they are even on. Comfortable enough that you forget you’re wearing them until you need them. - Jack Trumbull


About the Kneepads:
• Colors: Black only
• Weight: 300g
• Sizes: S - XXL
• MSRP: $79.99 USD
leatt.com/

About the Tester:
• First bike was a Schwinnn High Plains
• Height: 6'4" (1.75m)
• Calf Size: 17" (43cm)
• Thigh Size: 21.5" (55cm)
• Size Tested: Leatt size XXL




Short Riders

Knee Guard round up
Pinkbike Knee Guard Round Up

Specialized Atlas Knee Pads


Details: Specialized's Atlas Knee Pads are well ventilated for all day trail riding, and use a pre-formed anti-shock foam pad for impact protection, along with a few strategically placed pads on the sides of the knee. The extra tall silicon gripper equipped sleeve ensures a secure fit while pedaling and helps keep the pad in place in the event of a crash. The pads feature an open back behind the knee to prevent bunching while pedaling. This is perfect for hard trail riding, but it stops short of the kind of protection required for the rowdy riding found in bike parks and DH tracks.

From the Tester: The Atlas Knee Pads have been my go-to knee protection for just over a year. Climbing in them is not a problem because the material covering the thigh and calf is quite breathable and light-weight, and the behind-knee opening prevents bunching or pinching. The upper gripping band is high enough to cover (short) liners and prevent "gaper" gap. Although there are no straps to fine-tune thigh and calf connections, for me the elastic is tight enough to stay put absent any dreaded mushrooming or discomfort. The over-knee padded portion is somewhat flexible, large and concave. This creates air space between the knee and pad material for lack of knee cap pressure while pedaling, but results in a bulkier look. These are definitely not a DH oriented knee pad, but a solid pick for long days out on singletrack. - Julie O'Brien


About the Kneepads:
• Colors: Black
• Weight: Unknown
• Sizes: XS-XL
• MSRP: $50.00 USD
specialized.com

About the Tester:
• 5 years riding MTB
• Height: 5'6" (~29" inseam)
• Calf Size: 13.5" (34cm)
• Thigh Size: 16.5" (42cm)
• Size Tested: Specialized size Medium


Pinkbike Knee Guard Round Up
Pinkbike Knee Guard Round Up

7iDP Project Lite Knee


Details: The younger sibling to the Project Knee Guards, the Project Lite Knee Guards from 7iDP are a lightweight option with minimal padding targeted more towards abrasion resistance than full on impact protection. There is a small bit of hardshell material on the pads, designed to slide over obstacles instead of hanging up on them. Most people we talked to rave about the knit sock webbing that hold the guards in place. The pads have a tall thigh sleeve to help prevent the dreaded gaper gap, and can almost double duty as a leg warmer for those chilly mornings.

From the Tester: The size small 7iDP offer a snug fit for me - snug enough the pads don't shift or sag when pedaling. These are one of the thinner, lighter option knee guards out there and are designed to make spending all day riding out on the trails comfortable with a basic amount of protection. I wouldn't want to crash in a rock garden in these. I do really like the length of these pads - they stretch well above and below the knee and hopefully would stay in place and protect against light abrasion if one happens to slide in the dirt. My only complaint is that the back-of-knee cutouts have a thick roll of material as edging that can bunch up and pinch slightly when your knee is fully bent. It is never a problem on the bike, but off the bike I find it annoying. - Kyle Ramey


About the Kneepads:
• Colors: Blue/Grey only
• Weight: Unknown
• Size: S-XL
• MSRP: $109.00 USD
7protection.com

About the Tester:
• Riding MTB's since the early 90's
• Height: 5'5"
• Calf Size: 12" (30cm)
• Thigh Size: 15.5" (39cm)
• Size Tested: 7iDP size Small




Large Quads

Pinkbike Knee Guard Round Up
Pinkbike Knee Guard Round Up

iXS Flow EVO+ Knee Guards


Details: The iXS Flow EVO+ knee guards offer a comfortable thin and light knee guard for all-mountain riding. The guards feature an exchangeable/removable X-Matter protection foam pad, and are EN1621-1:2012 certified. They have silicone grippers to help keep them in place, but still utilize a single, strategically placed velcro strap for security in the event of a crash, and a moisture wicking, breathable AeroMesh material. The X-Matter uses an open cell flexible viscoelastic polymer that remains structurally sound even with multiple impacts.

From the Tester: I've been using knee guards for about 1.5 years. The iXS Flow are very form fitting and low profile in the scheme of knee guards. The material on the back is very comfortable and I can climb easily in them. The only downside was the first couple rides while I was breaking in the knee pads they were super clammy and hot, but then the material seemed to form to my body and they loosened up. In general though, they fit my rather large quads comfortably while not being too big in the knee cap, which is a problem a lot of women with big quads have when looking for the correct size knee guard. - Taylor Kennedy


About the Kneepads:
• Colors: Camel or Graphite-Black
• Weight: 315g
• Sizes: S-XXL
• MSRP: $89.90 USD
ixs-sportsdivision.com

About the Tester:
• 1.5 years riding MTB
• Height: 5'6"
• Calf Size: 15.5" (39cm)
• Thigh Size: 18.5" (46cm)
• Size Tested: iXS size Large


Pinkbike Knee Guard Round Up
Pinkbike Knee Guard Round Up

Dainese Enduro Knee Guard 2


Details: Dainese is well known for the impact protection covering motorsports to snow sports. The Enduro Knee Guards are an aggressive trail riding option from Dainese that are made of both an impact resistant ABS technology outer shell and their breathable, flexible "Pro-Armor" material for maximum comfort and protection. This knee guard provides excellent coverage of the knee, including three added "Crash Absorb" pads on the inner leg that keep you from uttering high-pitched expletives when you bonk your knee on your frame. You can find a current review of these knee guards here.

From the Tester: Finding a knee guard that fits me is like looking for a good microbrew in a Texas bar. Almost impossible. When I was approached for this round-up, the only knee guards that I had ever successfully found to fit me were SixSixOne. Out of the bag, the Dainese looked pretty lucrative. They offer an XL size, a hefty amount of protection, and are pretty comfortable on the climbs. Although on hotter days, I definitely have to keep these guys off for as long as possible as they have a lot of heft and material to them. I haven't had to crash test these bad boys yet, but when I do, I am confident they will at least keep my knees from serious injury. - Jared Jensen


About the Kneepads:
• Colors: Black only
• Weight: 520g
• Sizes: S - XL
• MSRP: $129.99 USD
dainese.com


About the Tester:
• 6 years riding MTB
• Height: 6'3"
• Calf Size: 19" (48cm)
• Thigh Size: 21" (53cm)
• Size Tested: Dainese size X-Large




Skinny Legs

Pinkbike Knee Guard Round Up
Pinkbike Knee Guard Round Up

Leatt AirFlex Pro Knee Guards


Details: No, you aren't seeing double; yes, this lightweight knee guard was also featured above for our tall XXL sized rider. That being said, this knee guard is also one of the top picks for those with skinny legs looking for a comfortable size small. As mentioned above, the Leatt AirFlex Pro features side and upper knee protection along with a moisture-wicking, anti bacterial, vented Airmesh fabric, as well as a 6mm CE certified 3D molded knee pad. And it's also an excellent option for riders looking for a slim fitting, flexible knee guard that goes all day.

From the Tester: These pads offer full and comfortable coverage of the knee, without irritating the skin on the back (your knee-pit). The fabric breathes incredibly well and the knee guards stay perfectly in place, no slippage issues at all. I do pull the knee guards down when starting off on a long climb, but the more I break them in and they mold to my body, the less cumbersome they feel and the more I wear them climbing. - Jen Klee


About the Kneepads:
• Colors: Black only
• Weight: 300g
• Sizes: S - XXL
• MSRP: $79.99 USD
leatt.com/

About the Tester:
• 20+ years riding MTB
• Height: 5'4"
• Calf Size: 13" (33cm)
• Thigh Size: 16.5" (42cm)
• Size Tested: Leatt size Small (note our leg measurement locations do not line up with each company's size chart)


Knee Guard round up
Pinkbike Knee Guard Round Up

100% Ridecamp Knee Guard


Details: 100% has rapidly grown to making a large range of cycling apparel and accessories, usually with a distinct style you can notice out on the trail. These knee guards are branded loud and proud with the 100% logo and are a crazy lightweight option aimed at the XC end of the spectrum or for light duty riding in warmer weather. The pads are pre-curved, include a tacky neoprene non-slip band on the inside, and have a perforated mesh backing for breathability. The padding is pretty minimal and more in line with a foam than an actual hardshell padding, so crash protection seems pretty minimal. Do these qualify as down-country? You be the judge.

From the Tester: Usually I despise wearing knee pads, and for the most part don't wear them (I know, sorry Mother). The Ridecamp guards have changed my mind about wearing knee pads, and I have found myself wearing them for pretty much every ride lately. They are super lightweight, don't have any chaffing, and stay where I put them, which is my main complaint with knee guards. The protection is a little suspect though, as they don't seem to provide much more padding than a standard chamois pad, so I am not sure how much they will actually help me in a crash. - Pierce Martin


About the Kneepads:
• Colors: Grey, Black, or Red
• Weight: 97g
• Sizes: S-XL
• MSRP: $59.00 USD
ride100percent.com

About the Tester:
• 15 years riding MTB off and on
• Height: 5'11"
• Calf Size: 15" (38cm)
• Thigh Size: 18.5" (47cm)
• Size Tested: 100% size Medium




Average Sized

Knee Guard round up
Pinkbike Knee Guard Round Up

G-Form Pro-X Knee Pads


Details: The G-Form Pro-X are an OG sleeve-style, ultra-lightweight low profile knee guard that offers a rate-dependent technology for maximum impact protection with minimum bulk. The Pro-X are CE certified (CE EN 15613:2008 ) and feature a moisture-wicking compression fabric to keep the rider dry and comfortable. Their "Tron" look was initially ridiculed but now has more than a few imitators.

From the Tester: The G-Form Pro-X knee guards are a wonderfully comfortable addition to my riding kit. They are easy to pedal in, feeling just like my knee warmers, but with the perfect amount of protection. I prefer to ride cross-country terrain with plenty of uphill, and these knee pads imposed no burden or impedance over miles of pedaling, while they added peace of mind to the technical sections of the trail. The upper portion of this pad doesn't extend very high, so be sure to wear longer shorts if you don't want to flaunt a gap of quad on your rides. But then again, maybe you do! - Sarah Brown


About the Kneepads:
• Colors: Black
• Weight: 112g
• Sizes: XS-XL
• MSRP: $59.99 USD
g-form.com

About the Tester:
• 5 years riding MTB
• Height: 5'7"
• Calf Size: 15.5" (39cm)
• Thigh Size: 18.5" (47cm)
• Size Tested: G-Form size Large


Knee Guard round up
Pinkbike Knee Guard Round Up

POC Joint VPD Air Knee Guards


Details: The Joint VPD Air knee guards are POC's lighter weight/trail riding guard that showcase flexible padding and a low-profile design that offers a barely-there feel. Visco-elastic Polymer Dough (VPD) utilized for protection is a space-age material developed by POC that transitions from soft to hard to disperse the shock in the event of an impact. Another benefit of the material is it will naturally form to your body as the VPD heats up. The VPD Air range is the lightest weight of POC's three tiers of protection. This results in more breathability and flexibility, but sacrifices protection if you're cruising for a dirt nap. The pads feature reinforced stretch fabric, an elastic strap for a tailored fit, and ventilated panels to keep you cool.

From the Tester: These knee pads give me plenty of downhill confidence and protection. They are comfortable enough for short climbs but not the best for extended wear while climbing as the back of my legs will begin to chaff. The elastic strap on the top keeps them secure on your knees and allow you to snug them around your calves when earning your turns. The downside - due to how compact they are, you will have to accept a gaper gap even when paired with POC Shorts. - Jim Wood


About the Kneepads:
• Colors: Uranium Black
• Weight: 362g
• Sizes: XS-XL
• MSRP: $80.00 USD
pocsports.com

About the Tester:
• 10+ years riding MTB
• Height: 6'
• Calf Size: 16" (40cm)
• Thigh Size: 19.75" (50cm)
• Size Tested: POC size Large




Top Pick

Knee Guard round up
Pinkbike Knee Guard Round Up

7iDP Project Knee


Details: The 7iDP Project Knee is a reasonably lightweight, hybrid hard/soft shell knee guard designed for racers and riders. It uses an innovative and durable "tall" sleeve design (forget about gaper gap; these sit well above mid thigh) crafted from a knit sock material with a single velcro strap for a secure fit. The heavy lifting of protecting one's knees is done by a combination of a rubber "skid" pad over the patella mated to a removable Sas-Tec foam pad; this combo creates a protection level of EN 1621-1 (an MX rating). Check Mike Kazimer's write up from last year for a more thorough review here.

From the Tester:
I upgraded to the Project Knee from the 7iDP Transition Knee this year because of the knit sock-like fabric and extra protection. I’m so stoked I did! The thigh comes up high enough to overlap with my chamois liner so I have a nice compression from my shins on up (a gaper gap even under my baggies drives me crazy and can chafe the saddle on soggy PNW rides). I wear them about four days a week and not only climb with them, I ride the three miles on the road to the trailhead with them up and ready for action. They’re that comfy. - Amy Black


About the Kneepads:
• Colors: Knit Blue/Black
• Weight: 434g
• Sizes: S-XL
• MSRP: $119.990 USD
7protection.com

About the Tester:
• 7 years riding MTB
• Height: 5' 5.5"
• Calf Size: 14" (36cm)
• Thigh Size: 17.5" (44cm)
• Size Tested: 7iDP Medium




153 Comments

  • + 69
 And for those of us who want to carry them uphill and put them on downhill without taking our shoes off, or once done hate to scrape off all the mud from our calves as we take the knee pads off; Raceface Ambush.
  • + 42
 This Pink Bike is what I'm TALKING ABOUT! THANK YOU so MUCH!!!!!! Keep bringing practical content like this, PLEASE!!!!
  • + 8
 Love my Raceface Ambush pads. Strap those suckers to the handlebars on the climbs and put 'em on at the top for the rowdy stuff.
  • + 11
 I missed that option too. Ion K Lite Zip would also be a contender.
  • + 10
 I've had one set of Ambush knee pads as my primary pads for 5-6 years. I've had a few burly crashes in the,and they never slip. The fabric on the knee is JUST starting to wear through to the D30, and velcro for the middle strap has just come apart. I'm thoroughly impressed with the comfort and durability of them. The ease of taking them on and off is the cherry on top. I will never buy a different set of pads again!
  • + 3
 @dirtypants I have those Raceface Ambush pads too and really like them. Except for a near fatal flaw in my books is that the sticky velcro side is on the pad side, not strap side. This means any sticky velcro showing rubs and sticks to the inside of your shorts. The elbow pads are even worse...tearing up the sleeve on your jersey...but who wears elbow pads, right?! Wink
  • + 8
 i didn't even bother reading the article, went straight to comments. RF Ambush looks rather perfect. think i might get some. thanks dirtypants...
  • + 4
 I thought that sliding the pads down from knees onto the calves is in top 10 rules of how to be a genuine Enduro rider...

A helmet with detachable shin (or a fullface hanging on the backpack), elbow guards, giant backpack (alternatively 5L fanny) and... knee guards slid down. You see folks like that and you know they climb almost as well as XCers and descend almost as well as downhillers.
  • + 10
 So Jared testing Dainese has great knee protection but is clearly less worried about looking after his feet lol
  • + 4
 I keep my Ion K-pacts all day, even in hot weather. You can see the stitching imprinted in my skin when I take them off but it's never too much to deal with. Knee pads are so personal though, there are a lot of good options.
  • + 5
 Zippers on my Ion K-Pact zips too! Love 'em.
  • + 1
 @addatx: I wish I'd gone for the zips, they fit so well the most entertaining and silly part of my day is sliding them off my legs. Claustrophobic people watching usually have heart attacks, hahaha.

I guess they still the zips so I have no excuse. D*mn it!
  • + 1
 yup, and the xl ambushs fit tree trunk legs. on my second set, only because i saw them cheap and thought a new colour would be nice. 7 years and the originals are still going strong, quite a few big bails on them too.
  • + 3
 Good thing for RF Ambush, non of these commentors have tried 7protection Sam Hill or Projects. They would realize when its the right pad you end up forgetting its even on till you get home and undress.
  • + 1
 @H3RESQ: i do that regularly with my ambushs, its just nice to be able to whip them off if having a break, but they are more than comfy enough for 25 mile plus rides.
  • + 1
 @billbrasky: why? I put my knee pads on at the beginning of the ride. Why would you take them on and off?
  • + 1
 @H3RESQ: exactly I don’t even notice the new fox launches.
  • + 1
 I went from a pair of Fox Launch to RF Ambush and the RF's are not as comfortable. Plus the sizing is a bit small (size L is tight and my legs are not that big). They are more convenient though.
I am very tempted to try the K_Pact zips next.
  • + 1
 Came here to give a shout out to the Race Face Flanks if you cherish your shins and not taking your shoes off. Ya'll are brave with just knee pads. Won't post the link, but if you have a strong stomach, check out my carnage album.
Was wearing full shin guards too; )
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: you just described me to a T, big Evoc Enduro pack and all. And just like Honey Badger, I don’t give a .... :-D
  • + 12
 This is a great write-up! I’ve got a graveyard of guards at home that seemed good but just didn’t work for my particular leg shape. More reviews like these, please!
  • + 1
 well, give us the deets, pete!
  • + 2
 @yarbianthebarbarian: PM me. I’ve got L or XL in most major brands. Smile
  • + 1
 @DrPete: Whats the #1?
  • + 2
 @motard5: #1 in the graveyard, or #1 of the ones I wear? My quads are bigger than my calves so my active ones are Dainese Trailskins 2 for mellow and Leatt 3DF 6.0 for rowdy days.
  • + 2
 Not sure tis review is especiallt accurate - i have some big quads, and I couldn't ven get the XL IXS Flows over my calves, they were a tiny fit
  • + 9
 Dude in the Dainese looks like he's ready to get rowdy and raw! Beat your ass in a hacky-sack, but then drink a dank hazy home brew with you, but then make you sit behind him the next morning while you two slowly grind it out in the dry desert heat climbing single track to fartsville, ipa for a sweet descent.
  • + 6
 This is fantastic; thank you @nkrohan ! I've always semi-ignored protective gear reviews because I knew the decision would eventually come down to a comparison of size charts and measurements to find something that suited my (uncommon?) proportions. Thanks again and hope to see you do this for other wearables like riding kit.
  • + 8
 But what kind of knee pad will fit best in the drawer all of my other worn-once knee pads live in?
  • + 2
 I once sat down in a shop that had the full range of every single 7IDP pad in every size. Tried every single one on, none fit. The shop had a bunch of other brands & sizes to try out too and they all sucked except the Troy Lee Raid.

Done & dusted. All knee pads are hot as hades & suck in the heat. If I had the Raids in a model that I didn't need to take my shoes off...I'd hate them like all the others.
  • + 10
 @bizutch: Hi Bizutch - I work at 7iDP, I'd really like to know a) which shop had all our pads on stock - as I need to give them a thank you shout out and b) which pads you tried on? Granted not all pads fit all shapes of legs - but we've spent literally hundreds of hours designing and testing our pads with guys like Sam Hill, Steve Peat, Josh Bryceland and Mark Weir :these guys are at the top of their game and have a shit load of experience, so we listen to them and their feedback goes into our production pads. We have one aim: to be the best fitting and most protective pads on the market and whilst we acknowledge we're not perfect we're pretty confident from the majority of our customer feedback that we're on the right track. NB Our Project Knee won a prestigious Eurobike Award in 2018 for design and functionality.
  • + 2
 @bizutch: I've been wearing 7 idp Control knee guard for a few years and it's been comfortable, solid, and pretty breathable. It was the 2nd model I tried, but def fits me better than most!
  • + 1
 @7protection: Hey, do you know if there are any plans on releasing XXL sizes in the future? Cheers
  • + 1
 @Ploutre: Hi Ploutre - not at the moment, sorry to say, but I w ill bring it up at our next design meeting in May.
Are you talking specifically about the Project?
  • + 1
 @7protection: Not necessarily, I have a pair of some previous knee pads from 7idp (can't find the name ... nor the picture ... looks like the Flex, but a bit burlier? Could be the flex actually), but the XL was just too tight. Not many brands make XXL sized pads, and I get it, the market is very limited, but I wouldn't mind buying expensive gear if that meant they fit me, are comfy and do the job Smile

Say £100 for the regular sizes and £120 for the XXL? I'm in.
  • + 1
 @bizutch: I totally agree. The only time I wear pads is when I'm at the park. 26 of saddle time and a slew of pads cast to the purgatory of a duffle bag has taught me that all pads are insufferable beasts in the day-to-day grind. This PNW rider has litttle use for them.
  • + 1
 @bizutch: Raids are nice but like most TLD they expand a full size or so after some wear. Also, you can't remove the 3DO and 3DO does not recommend the material ever gets laundered. That's an issue for me as other brands have removable padding.
  • + 1
 @7protection: It's not your fault, but the shop was Billy Goat Bikes in Asheville, which just closed it's doors last week maybe. I tried them maybe 3 years back, a gravity focused shop so they carried the whole line, which was nice, but no brand fit me happily really. I only mentioned your brand because you offer just about every variation and they were all right there to try, which is rare. No hate toward your designs intended.

I have a bum knee & the opposite knee doesn't tolerate contact pressure from the knee pad itself without instant inflammation. I also have big calves and small joints, so ALL knee pads fit me weird. The one pad you had that was designed with a pre-curve was the one with multiple pad inserts but my odd shape didn't fit my body shape.

My daughter's a "fit freak" too. Both very picky about abrasive or tight/loose fitting clothing. My wife won't shop with either of us & I take her to buy all sports gear cause I can relate. Most people I know can slap on stuff and ignore any tiny bugger thing about it, but I'll explode.
  • + 1
 @davec113: wait...D3O can't be washed? Like to prevent abrasion of the membrane? If so, they'd be unharmed inside a pad like the Raid.
Or D3O doesn't want them getting wet???
Or does detergent eat them?
  • + 1
 @bizutch: "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"

www.d3o.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/D3O-Consumer-Care-Instructions.pdf
  • + 1
 @bizutch: Our Flex Knee (Mark Weir's 'go to' pad) is the only pad in our current range which was on the market 3 years ago -it's awesome , you also need to try Transition/Sam Hill/Project Series... I guarantee you'll love them! Super comfy/all CE approved protectors. The feedback we get from most of our customers is that they ride up and down in our pads - no need to take off on the ascents!
  • + 1
 CE regs dictate that you shouldn't wash or launder the actual protector - just wipe with a damp cloth.
  • + 1
 @davec113: I've had mine for a few years. I would never think to read washing instructions for a knee pad. How the heck can companies like @troyleedesigns or @7protection make the consumer aware of that.
Wonder if I've damaged the D3O. Website doesn't tell you how you could possibly know.

Nobody's gonna read care instructions on them. Big Grin
  • + 1
 @Ploutre: We had a brief chat about this last night - it might be something we do on one pad to test the water, as we acknowledge there is a small % of riders who our XL pads don't fit. We'll probably trial the Transition or Sam Hill - as mid priced models, pricing would probably be in line with other sizes as material % increase would not be significant. Only issue from your perspective is that the lead time to make these thinks happen and get to market ( once we say 'do it') is a minimum of 6 months.
  • + 1
 @7protection: Thanks for the heads up, I won't be interested in those (a bit too lightweight for what I'm looking for), but good if you can make those anyway!
  • + 7
 Dude is wearing sandals? nice touch
  • + 4
 Sandals and knee guards, look after your knees but f*ck your toes
  • + 3
 Just stated into the season with a pair of the Dakine Slayers.... 10 rides in so far so good! really comfortable pedalling, no slipping. Haven't truly tested yet, but riding protection is like car insurance, you buy it but don't really want to use it!
  • + 1
 I have the Slayers too and the only issue I get is that the skin on the back of my knee get's a little worn after wearing them for a while.
  • + 5
 As someone from a metric country, I was a bit confused about a 1.75m guy in the 'tall riders' section. Until I saw that was a weird translation of 6'4" (1.92 m)
  • + 3
 This confusion could be avoided if manufacturers actually put out sizing charts that were actually worth a damn (i'm looking at you, Dainese and TLD). I personally hate the sleeved knee guards with no adjustment, hence why the 7idp flex knee pads have been my go-to for a while now.
  • + 6
 what knee pads would Jesus wear....this review told us: Dainese Enduro Knee Guard 2
  • + 3
 Don't worry about Jesus boy - God is sponsored by 7iDP and he's got his own signature line:Sam HillKnee !
Good enough for Sam - good enough for Jesus and all us mo fo sinners.
  • + 4
 Nice write up Niki! My wife is asking for some sort of shin guard so her shins aren't getting scraped up. Any good options that won't be a nightmare to wear that you would recommend?
  • + 4
 The 7iDP project knee pads come down fairly far on the shin. Also G-Form makes a knee guard (the Elite knee-shin) with an integrated shin guard that I have heard is very popular.
  • + 2
 She should try wearing soccer shin pads under long socks , or switch to clip -ins
  • + 2
 For a soft knee/shin combo Destroyer has the Guardsman, 661 has the Rage Knee-Shin, and Alpinestars has the Paragon.
  • + 1
 @nkrohan: Thanks! (and everyone else)....side question. I need something for Little Moab stuff. How do those 7dip pads compare to the POC VPD 2.0? Better?
  • + 2
 Ion k pacts also come with a shinguard. I'm really with the old model (without shinguards).
  • + 1
 I can't fault my IXS Cleaver knee/shin guards - they took a couple of rides to get comfy, but now they are I often don't bother to take them off to drive home. They probably look a bit old school these days, but I don't care and they've saved my legs on many occasions. There is minimal material round the back so I find they don't get too hot although I do live in Scotland.
  • + 1
 @Svinyard: Race Face Flank....my go to
  • + 2
 Well that's just awesome now that I have a hairline fracture of the tibial plateau. From not wearing knee pads. A mistake that I know I will never make again . Just pissed away half the riding season because I chose not to wear knee pads. ????
  • + 4
 Can also recommend ion k-pact for people with big quads. Not the lightest, but you get used to them and they offer plenty of protection as my knees can tell.
  • + 3
 Loved this thanks Pinkbike. I could really use a similar write up on elbow pads. My poc vpds are always sliding down. I had the same issue with fox launch. Knowing the lay of the land would be really helpful.
  • + 4
 Elbow guard reviews, please! Have not found a pair that don’t slide down.
  • + 2
 @hankthespacecowboy: I've never had any luck with any of the DH or other heavy duty elbow pads, but the Race Face Indy elbow guard has done a great job of staying put for me. They are a bit light duty, but they are comfortable to ride in and stay put which is more than I can say for anything else I have tried.
  • + 1
 @pacificnorthwet: Yah, the RF Indy wins for sure.
  • + 1
 @hankthespacecowboy: Ion elbows work well for me.
  • + 2
 Those IXS flows might be good for women with large quads but not for men, at least men that haven’t spent their lives cycling. I’m a former football player/power lifter and even in XL I could barely get the quad opening a couple inches above my knee cap. The rest of the knee pad is awesome but that opening needs to be much bigger and longer for those of us that are more muscular.

The 7IDP project knees though are money. Stretchy so they can fit my quads and long enough not to fall down and create a gap. My fav knee pads by far.
  • + 2
 POC pads have a unique design and never slide down. I usually just slip them over my calves on the way up and slide them over my knee for the DH. If it's rolling hills I forget they are there when climbing. Elbow pads would be nice but I haven't found anything that is comfortable and cool.
  • + 2
 This is awesome. I have huge quads and pads never want to stay put. Looks like my thoughts about the IXS pads were right. Now to find a pair local. For others with the same problem, the TLD Kgl 450 work well enough as they are cut really close to the knee (room for dem quads!)
  • + 1
 as a rider that wears knee pads under flexy jeans I can say that there are lots more choices out there that have good protection on the side of the knee for higher consequence riding...and are low profile, alpinestars, & tld, 661, to name a couple.
but this was a decent read. post canyon trails, out of hood river are low consequence trails and this selection of guards seems applicable.
  • + 1
 Oh, and finally a review that takes body type into account. You should do this with all personal fit items (shoes, gloves, etc). Have a pool of testers and assemble info on which type of riders like which item. Super useful.
Of course, a good shop employee will know this sort of stuff too. When I was a student, I worked in an outdoor sports shop. After a while in the shoe department, I could tell which hiking boot would suit someone as soon as they took their shoes off.
  • + 1
 No knee pads for big quads and huge calves? Most pad's I've tried can hardly go up past my calves. Even XXL's. The only ones that fit me now are Race Face Charge XXXL's and they are still a little tight. My G-Form XXXXL's were great but they have been discontinued.
  • + 1
 If you’re considering the Leatt AirFlex pro, don’t. The stitching in mine began to fall apart within 3 weeks of buying. Also for skinny legged people like me (5’10”, 140 lbs), they tend to slip down a bit when riding. Most importantly I don’t believe they provide the protection of many of the others. Another article stated they absorbed 87% less absorption than sweet pads. After crashing and sustaining a tibial plateau fracture when hitting, dirt, not big rocks, I’ll be looking for something better.
  • + 1
 Anybody have any suggestions for us flat pedalers who only need shin protection (from the pedals) and not knee protection? Been thinking about trying these out after having one too many scars: g-form.com/pro-s-elite-shin-guards-aa
  • + 1
 I use Ion BD 2.0 socks. They're socks with shin protection. They've saved me about 4 or 5 times in the past month.
  • + 1
 Try long socks w/ pee wee sized soccer plastic shin guards stuck in them. Cheap at places like Target. Usually bought w/ a sock stitched around them. Just cut off the sock and stick them in your socks. Small so nobody even notices them.

Will it move in a crash? Could. But it's good for pedal strikes and when you kick up rocks (this happens to me a lot).
  • + 3
 STOP RECOMENDING G-FORM!! False hope and false promise of protection ... HANDS DOWN the worst product ive ever felt stocked and sold
  • + 1
 I may no longer be able to ride, but I did manage to stack hard last year wearing G-forms and with my camera bag on for added momentum and force at moment of eating shit. I destroyed the left pad but didn't have a mark on my knee. They most definitely work. Can't say that they're ideal in pointy, rocky terrain, where you have to worry about penetration but for straight up impact they work great.
  • + 5
 Just bought fox launch pro knee guards and couldn't be happier.
  • + 1
 My pick too. Easy enough to pull down when climbing too.
  • + 1
 The hardest part is to find pads that are comfortable. All companies should tape their seams because it seems to be the area that irritates the most on long rides. The most comfortable lightweight pads I have found are the Fox Launch Enduro pads, but they don't have a lot of protection are not certified. However, Fox now has the Enduro Pro knee that are certified and may be a good pic as well.
  • + 4
 Um, TLD Raid kneepads are awesome! Didn’t even make the review?
  • + 0
 Agreed. Best pads that I have ever owned. My only beef with them is that flat pedal always hits me exactly under the padding... with 661 Tomcats or POC Airs, it’s been at least 2-3cm below so nobody to blame Smile
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Surprised you even wear kneepads. I assumed you rode spiked pedals barefoot with no pads and no helmet on your fully rigid 26er.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: So if you had to buy some new mid-protection knee pads for those rocky days (not full on DH parks)...what would you buy? I need something I can wear all the time that is better than the Paragons I have now. I was thinking the POC VPD 2.0 (seems like people like these) or perhaps these 7dip (sp?) if they are the real deal. Maybe I need to consider the Raids? They look super hot...but maybe that's all these mid-range pads like the VPD 2.0/7Dip
  • + 2
 I used POC VPD 2.0s for years and liked them a lot. Then I got TLD Raids. Like them a LOT better. Solid protection in a lighter package. Doesn’t get as hot, and don’t slip down. VPDs didn’t slip much either, but were more bulky and definitely hotter.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Are you a paid troll/commenter?
  • + 1
 Agreed! TLD Raids are awesome. I was surprised they didn't make the list.
  • + 1
 They pack out a full size or so and the 3DO is non-removable, but 3DO care instructions says never to launder the material. This makes the fit too loose and if you do launder them you have to wonder how much you compromised the protection. IME Ion K-Pact are far superior in these areas and a better alternative vs TLD Raid.
  • + 1
 @davec113: That is a stretched argument. I wash my D3O in 30C and it still works. If anything, the damage would be that it would not harden on impact. Which is an unnecessary property anyways. D3O is a half bullsht. Theory is one thing but vast majority of crashes require soft padding that is thick enough for an impacting object to not go through it. This is why every time I crash in my D3O I don't feel any improvement over Fox Launch without it. I choose TLD Raids because they are the comfiest and best fitting me soft pads out there that stay put.

Everything else would fall under rather psychological categories like:
1. I want to buy the best protection I can. I do not want to buy an inferior product.
2. I need to feel that I made the right shopping choice.

Hence a not removable D3O seems worse than option with removable D3O

Considering how much G-Forms or similarly thin pads cost, how poor safety level they provide, I see no reason to whine on TLD or POC for not having removable D3O.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: "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"

www.d3o.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/D3O-Consumer-Care-Instructions.pdf
  • + 1
 @davec113: my god... well I will keep using mild detergent at 30C. Did it to two sets of my pads and the inside always survived the outer skin. Want a pic of POC Air insides after at least 20 washes? I wouldn’t be writing this to you if I didn’t go through this on 2 sets with D3o. Now on 3rd one. Washed at least 5 times. Crashed recently, no issues.

I know common sense doesn’t exist but we can at least pretend we are trying to live up to it
  • + 1
 @Svinyard Raids are hot indeed. But not as hot as POC VPD2.0, which feel yuuuge. I mean the knee bit feels like it’s old 661 Tomcat. They feel quite stiff too. I had them for a few months and sold them uncrashed. I’d say Raid is a more heavy duty guard, it deals well with impacts and is still super comfy to pedal in. At least for me. I now want a second set of smaller pads after my PoCs Air died which I honestly wouldn’t recommend to anybody. I want some for Dirt jumping, summer XC rides and winter XC rides to fit under the trousers. Thinking of some small IXS or Sweet Protection, but still with basic beef. Gforms are laughable. These are scrap guards, not knee guards.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I washed my Raids at least a dozen times, in a front loader with "natural" laundry detergent, cold wash and rinse, and they still work. But 3DO's statement makes me nervous and I'd prefer to remove the protector before washing.

Common sense is all well and good, but without being an expert on 3DO type material it's hard to know for sure what's ok and what's not wrt cleaning the pads.
  • + 4
 7idp Sam Hill pads are the best! Love mine!
  • + 1
 Fractured my patella last summer - in a low-speed wobble crash on a freaking climb! Finally getting back to riding after 9 months, two surgeries, and shit-tons of rehab. Wear your knee pads, kids!
  • + 1
 Any chance for a similar roundup but for elbow pads? As a skinny guy, every elbow pad I've tried fits well around my forearm but is too loose around the bicep and I haven't found any that fit well.
  • + 3
 Time to pick up the dumbbells
  • + 1
 @matt-15 try POC Joint system VPD. I hate elbow pads but these worked for me.
  • + 1
 661 rage. I have skinny arms and the M fit snug but don't cut off circulation in attack position.
  • + 4
 where´s the ION in this? that k-traze would have done a killer job
  • + 2
 There are a lot of great brands not included, Ion, Raceface, TLD, etc.. There is no way to cover every option in one article. This is just a sampling of what fits these individuals. I am a big fan of the Ion knee guards - which is evident if you look at the photos in a lot of my past reviews.
  • + 0
 Great review concept. Review by body type is rad. However,

Looking at most of the pads my question is -Do you even crash? Most seem pretty damned useless to me. Why wear something that only covers knee caps? Why even have pads where if you are unlucky enough to have a rock go between ridges on your swanky g-forms it will cripple you (seen that one at Bootleg).

I have tried piles of different pads and they ALL slide down in crashes some while pedaling. I currently use flexible hockey tape above the calf to keep my alpine stars pads on. Not having a strap just below bend in knee seems silly if pad goes over calf. The calf is like a greased runway for a sliding pad when your hot a sweaty. Calf shape facilitates sliding.

In ref to WAKI's comments I have a road map of scars from rocks and debris just under the pad line. I see no clever solution for this from anyone short of a heavy old school DH knee shin that goes to the ankle.

Bottom line. No pad works well enough. Why not write about that?

If you are a manufacturer and want to talk with an engineer who has thought deeply about pad design for ideas PM me. I don't have the bandwidth to do anything on my own but am happy to share my thoughts. There are opportunities for improvement.
  • + 6
 Old school DH knee shin that goes to the ankle is still my way to go if stuff gets rowdy. Downside: no enduro lifestyle.
  • + 4
 I crash regularly in slow technical rockgardens and as far i tried:
LEATT - 3DF - slide down under knee during crashing
IXS Carve - very little slide during first ground hit, but protection part still stays over knee (love them, but they are hot, so my bike park choice)
Dakine Anthem - slide down even when just pedal
Ion K-Lite Zip - hold on place during crash, some times necessary to update position after long pedalling (my every ride choice)

PS: i am usually just between M and L size, so this is only my personal experience
  • + 2
 My ion k-pacts are literally impossible to move from my knees. Takes a couple minutes to get them off my legs at the end of the day. Also great coverage and insane protection
  • + 1
 @argonaut45 @SickEdit checkbout super breathable out of the box @rockintor knee shin pads, they are on the way this season finally I heard...
  • + 1
 @Kubajz84: Now that's a test!
  • + 1
 @lindblomxc: Agree, my Ion K-Pact don't move and the couple times I've actually used them I was surprised how well they work.
  • + 1
 where is the IXS daggers?! I want hardcap protection that articulates well enough. pads are going to be hot anyways. might as well slide too.
  • + 3
 No need to be politically correct. Where's the ones for fat riders?
  • + 2
 Why do several of those riders look like they are on bikes a size or two too smalll!!!
  • + 3
 Was hoping for some pear-shaped people recommendations
  • + 3
 And the new ION K-Traze???? Awesome trail knee pads!!
  • + 1
 Worn the POC all last year and into this climbing everywhere I went, no chaffing here, dont ride without em. Stick them on and forget about them. Just my 2 bobs worth.
  • + 3
 Great write up. Ion's also nice for 'average' legs
  • + 2
 Great comparison, thanks so much! My IXS Flow Evo + fit great on my short legs with big quads. I love those.
  • + 2
 I have these too, they were great until a big crash caused my knee to hit brake/dropper controls just above the knee pad. Said knee ended up the size of a melon and black as my liver as a result... havn't worn them since.
  • + 3
 IXS Flow FTW! I have the older version Hans Rey for a couple of years and it's still going strong!
  • + 2
 Jack the kneepad model is the shit!
  • + 1
 I've got the leatts and yeah, they're comfy, fit well and I don't sweat in them!
  • + 1
 G-Form Pro-X Knee Pads: 112g - Did you miskey that? Looks more 412g as all others, Average 400-450g
  • + 2
 Thanks. Pics of the fastening system on the back would be great too.
  • + 2
 would have loved to see how high each pad goes up the thigh
  • + 1
 Even with my longest shorts and long kneepads, my tall ass seems to always have a gap when pedaling. Forever a nerd.
  • + 2
 You should do this same format for riding shorts.
  • + 1
 How about people with bow legs or knock kneed that affects figment of pads too I believe?
  • + 1
 how has nobody noticed that our man Jared has got "socks and sandals" on whilst riding his bike?
  • + 1
 What about "Giant Calves"? Frown
  • + 2
 Look at the measurements of our Tall guy and Large Quad riders. Both their calves were bigger than most the ladies quads.
  • + 3
 I'm about 5'11". My calves are 17.5"/44.5 cm (as measured 6" from the bottom of the knee cap). Quads are 26"/66 cm (as measured 6" from the top of the knee cap). I recently bought my first pair of knee pads: 7iDP Project Knee Lite, XL.

They fit similar to knee warmers (ex-roadie) or at least as close as I thought knee pads could with no frame of reference. And that's what I was looking for in my first pair: be comfortable climbing in Colorado where I live while giving my middle-aged knees at least some protection in the eventual crash.

I wore them in Moab (Mag 7) on their maiden ride and they felt comfortable right from the start. Under my shorts, I wore bibs with a rubber leg gripper that made a nice contact point with the rubber logo on the outside top of the "sock." Smart design on 7iDP's part, and I think this helped keep them up to some degree.

It didn't take long to test them. I fell on a rock slab directly on my left knee and while I definitely felt the impact, my knee was fine (no soreness in the days after). As the reviewer noted, you probably wouldn't want to crash in a rock garden....understandable for a lite knee pad.

Most importantly for me, they stayed in place the entire weekend. Even the gripper on my calves stayed put--not always the case with my knee warmers. This with no straps on top or bottom. I was pleasantly surprised.

I wore them again on Dakota Ridge (Morrison) over the weekend where they saw plenty of hike-a-bike action along with riding. Again, they stayed glued where they needed to--on my big quad and around my calf. While I knew I was wearing them, the compression sock construction made them feel not too dissimilar to knee warmers, albeit thicker versions.

Verdict: Comfortable, minimalist knee protection with a fit (XL) ideal for riders with big quads and calves. So far I'm happy. Hope this helps.
  • + 1
 I have relatively big quads and hams compared to calves. The only thing that really works for me is pads with an adjustable strip just above the calf, or at least a well fit strap around there. Most pads fall off my legs.
  • + 1
 Jack looks so hawt right now....will you sign my knee pad?!!
  • + 0
 So what if you're tall with skinny legs and large quads?

That's me in a nutshell.
  • + 1
 All skinny legged riders thank you....
  • + 1
 The Specialized Atlas pads are nowhere to be found on their website...FYI
  • + 1
 Yeah. Sorry we missed that. When I requested the pads they had some staff turnover. I would have hoped they didn't send me a discontinued product for this review, but that might be the case. Sometimes the stars don't all line up.
  • + 1
 21" thighs are large?



...for a roadie.
  • + 2
 The syncline!
  • + 1
 Buy hard shells and slide or get fabric face planted.
  • + 1
 6 ft 4 is 193 cm not 175 cm
  • + 0
 My bad. The metric conversions are not my strong point.
  • + 0
 I didn't really kneed this detailed of a review...
  • - 2
 Next......next......next.......next.....no new knee pads for me.
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