The flexibleisation (it’s a word – trust us) of body armour is one of the best innovations in trail riding over the past few years. Lightweight, breathable and flexible padding has meant that XC and trail riders can now wear slimline knee and elbow pads instead of having to resort to heavy plastic-capped stormtrooper-style pads. In fact, knee pads are getting so good that there really is little excuse for any mountain biker not to use them.
Drawing together some of the most popular lightweight knee pads currently on the market, we assembled a ‘Pads For Pedalling’ group test in Issue #112 of Singletrack Magazine, where we put 14 different knee pads to the test. One of those pad options came from US brand G-Form, which offers a futuristic knee pad called the Pro-X, and you can read the full review here.
Using a proprietary technology called RPT (Reactive Protective Technology), the Pro-X knee pads (also available as an elbow pad) use a 3D style protective pad with cleverly shaped panels that are designed to enhance articulation and flexibility during pedalling. The protective pad is then sewn on to a Lycra sleeve that you slip on like a knee warmer.
Looking to up the protection stakes, G-Form has just introduced a new knee pad option in the range called the Elite. With thicker padding, more coverage and some changes to the Lycra sleeve, the Elite knee pad is designed for more aggressive riders and enduro racing. In fact, it’s the knee pad of choice for gravity queen Tracy Mosely.
“For elite-level protection on rugged trails and fast tracks, Our Elite Knee Guards are CE 1621 Level 1 certified, the highest standard for motorcycle amour” – From G-Form.
G-Form Elite Knee Guard Features
- Pedal friendly lightweight, slip-on soft knee pad
- Extended coverage for added shin protection
- CE Certified 1621-1:2012
- Body-mapped, impact-absorbing RPT (Reactive Protective Technology) pads protect from impact
- Moisture-wicking, UPF 50+ compression fabric keeps wearer dry and comfortable
- Sleeve-style, with 2-panel design for second-skin fit
- Technical mesh back panel for breathability and moisture-wicking
- Sizes: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
- RRP: £85
Compared to the existing Pro-X knee pads, the Elite pads are visually much beefier. Each panel is larger in size, and the whole pad is significantly thicker overall too. The idea is to put more material between the ground/rock/dog and your knee in order to slow down the shock and absorb as much energy as possible.
In a similar way to POC’s VPD material, and D3O, the RPT material feels quite soft and spongy to the touch. However, using the power of science and physics, the clever little molecules lurking beneath the TPU coated surface come together during an impact, firming up the material to absorb and distribute forces so your knee cap doesn’t have to.
The lycra sleeve of the G-Form Elite knee pads is similar in fit and feel to the Pro-X knee pads, except the whole tube is longer overall. The upper cuff extends further up the thigh, while the lower cuff sits further down the calf to help everything stay in place whilst riding.
Also changed over the stock Pro-X knee pads is the addition of a full length mesh panel that runs vertically down the back of each leg. This lightweight mesh construction increases breathability and moisture wicking, so your legs don’t end up a sweaty mess on warm climby rides.
The overall fit of the G-Form Elite knee pads is snug and form-fitting, though the flexibility of the Pro-X knee pads remains – albeit with simply more coverage overall. We’ve got a set of Elite knee pads to test out over the coming months, so look out for the full review.
You can find out more about G-Form protection via the UK website: gform.uk