As mountain bikers, we have a long list of equipment to grab. Most riders are good about snagging their helmets, shoes and
riding clothes but fail to remember a very important piece of protection. We’re talking about kneepads, of course. Kneepads follow the Murphy’s
Law of riding gear: “Any blow to the knees happens when you’re not wearing kneepads.” Our
test riders can attest to this. Thanks to modern
technology, pads are more comfortable, more
effective and more attractive than ever. Look at
the knees of any of the pro riders racing enduro,
downhill or other disciplines and you’ll be hard
pressed not to find a pair of sweat-wicking kneepads. When riders hit the ground hard, the idea
of looking cool goes out the window and safety
becomes the number one priority. So, let’s look at
five sets of pads in a head-to-head (or should we
say knee-to-knee) shootout and see which ones
come out on top.
All kneepads in this test were used while trail riding and then given
a star rating of 1 through 5 in the defined categories. The categories
selected for this test include: comfort, fit, breathability, protection and
Comfort, fit and breathability: The best kneepads are the one’s you
don’t notice you’re wearing. Different kneepad companies utilize different
retention systems to prevent their pads from sliding down. A good-fitting,
comfortable set of pads will have you grabbing them for every ride. As a
bonus, a breathable pad will keep your knees cool on long rides.
Protection: The amount of coverage, foam used and CE approval will
be considered in this category. CE stands for Certified European, which
is a standard used for protection products in the motorcycle and bicycle
industries. Every company claims it has the strongest pads, and we’ve
all seen the sales pitches claiming their pads can take a blow from a
wrench. Well, we crossed our fingers and took a whack for ourselves.
Price: Since we respect hard-working men and women, we thought
cost should be a major factor in our shootout. Telling you that kneepads
are a must-have item is something we do stand behind, but purchasing
knee pads shouldn’t involve writing your local bike shop another IOU.
Pads you’ll forget you’re even wearing