Knee Guards on Test

knee-guards

Body armour is a funny thing in sport as there are multiple examples of injuries increasing as the level of protection improves – people punch harder, tackle harder, ride faster, jump further etc resulting in bigger injuries when it all goes wrong. Body armour or no body armour though, mountain biking is by nature a risky sport and the majority of injuries people sustain can be negated by appropriate protective clothing. Knees are one of the more vulnerable areas and so I’ve had a look at four knee guards.

Fox Racing Launch Pro Knee Guards

fox-knee

RRP £59.99

The Fox Launch Pro knee guards promise a lot on first impressions and go on to deliver whole heartedly on their promise.

The pads are well made with generous lateral padding and dense anterior knee shells. Pulling them on I found I fitted the sizing chart well and the pads are then secured with a top and bottom strap that have decent rubber pads on the end to grab hold of them by.

When first on they are noticeably longer than the other pads here and I felt that pedalling in them might be an issue thanks to the anterior knee shells. It doesn’t take long for this feeling to subside though and once moving the they feel light weight enough and comfortable.  The large hole at the rear means no bunching of material behind your knee despite their size and they stay cooler than you’d think when first looking at them.

Overall these knee guards pretty much have it all I’d say – light enough to be used for XC but enough protection to be used for downhill. If you focus on a particular discipline you may want to look at other pads eg a lighter pad if you just ride XC, but as an all rounder, and at the price point they are, many people are going to be turning to these as their pad of choice.

What the others say

4.5/5 over 129 reviews on Chain Reaction Cycles

4/5 from Bike Radar

Available on Amazon

Fox Launch Pro Knee Pads – Black L/XL Black

iXS Flow Knee Guards

RRP £54.99

Straight out of the bag I weirdly had a good feel about these iXS pads though the lack of a top strap did make me wonder if they’d stay up.

Getting them on is a bit of a task as the silicone strip at the top of the pad pulls your leg hairs to the point you can’t imagine they’re ever going to be comfortable to wear. Sizing is good and once they’re in place, with the lower strap adjusted, they fit comfortably and stay where you’ve put them.

The pads are light and breathable with a lycra mesh panel at the back helping to keep your knees from getting too warm.

Protection comes from ‘X matter protective foam technology’ and this does it’s job well but I think a few people will find the coverage quite small and lack of side protection a bit disappointing.

Overall I liked these pads……I liked them a lot and were it not for me regularly bashing the sides of my knees on my top tube or the ground I’d have bought a pair.

What the others say

4.5/5 over 102 reviews on crc

4.5/5 from Bike Radar

Available on Amazon

IXS Flow Knee Pad Black black Size:M

POC Joint VPD Knee Guards

poc-knee

RRP £89.99

These pads seem a bit bulky when you first get them out of the bag with a seemingly generous anterior knee shell and side padding but there’s a ‘hidden secret’.

The POC pads are similar to the iXS pads in opting for just one strap but in this case the strap is at the top. I found I fitted the sizing guide well.

The ‘hidden secret’ (which in all honesty isn’t hidden and isn’t secret as it’s in the product name and written on the pads) is VPD (visco-elastic polymer dough) technology. After a minute or two of pulling the pads on your body heat softens VPD and it moulds to the shape of your knee providing individualised protection and a better fit. The technology worked well for me and the pads stayed firmly in place.

Overall these pads are really well made and offer something different to the other pads here and many others on the market. The problem is you pay for it and I wonder how many people will be convinced that VPD technology is worth an extra £30 over the Fox Launch pads for example.

What the others say

4.4/5 over 15 reviews on Chain Reaction Cycles

2.5/5 from Bike Radar

Available on Amazon

POC Joint Vpd 2.0 Knee Pad Black Uranium Black Size:L

Troy Lee Designs KGS 5400 Knee Guards

troy-knee

RRP £54.99

My initial and ongoing thought on these Troy Lee Designs pads is that they are firmly in the light-weight, low profile design category.

I don’t feel the build quality is up there with the other pads I’ve reviewed in this post and the lack of retaining straps means that you need to get your sizing right to ensure they stay in place.

I felt these were more of a light-weight summer pad and the decent sized hole at the back of the knee ensures you stay cool and the fabric doesn’t bunch up. They stayed in place well for me thanks to the leg hair pulling silicone strips.

In my opinion, the protection on offer here could be better and so you’d really be looking at XC riding in them.

Overall, for the same price as the iXS Flow pads you’d go for the iXS pads…..I can’t think of a reason why you wouldn’t.

What the others say

4.4/5 over 74 reviews on Chain Reaction Cycles

4.7/5 over 3 reviews on Evans Cycles

Available on Amazon

 

Troy Lee Designs KGS 5400 Adult Knee Guard Off-Road Motorcycle Body Armor – Black / Small by Troy Lee Designs

Adi

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