Mountain bikes have evolved over the years and today, they are as sophisticated as ever. However, the possibility of hitting the deck is still not off the table. Things can still go wrong while you’re riding your mountain bike and, in that case, protecting yourself from any damage is extremely vital. Under such circumstances, mountain bike knee pads not only shield your knees from getting scratched but also prevent serious injuries such as dislocated or crushed kneecaps. We have tested and reviewed the best mountain bike knee pads in 2019 so that you can remain safe and protected every time you ride your off-road beast.
Top 7 Best Mountain Bike Knee Pads in 2019
- Material: neoprene, [calf band] polyurethane, [back panel] mesh
- Closure: pull-on
- GREAT PROTECTION: Designed with XRD technology, the Recon knee is flexible while you ride,...
- SECURE FIT: Features stretch mesh back, elastic strap, and upper and lower silicone...
- Material: XMatter viscoelastic foam pads, lightweight Aeromesh
- Closure: hook-and-loop straps
- Perforated Neoprene enhances venting and moisture control
- Terry lined for wicking and comfort
- Material: AeroMesh, ArmadilloDuo compression shells
- Closure: LoopLock
- Material: 35% neoprene 35% polyurethane 15% nylon 8% polyester 7% EVA
- Closure: zip
- Material: 3DF AirFit ventilated soft impact foam, MoistureCool and AirMesh wicking fabrics
- Closure: non-slip leg straps
Gone are the days when wearing a helmet was the only mode of protection for mountain bikers. In fact, being equipped with knee pads is the new standard in the biking community. But the variety of knee pads available in the market is nothing less than a minefield, so it’s hard to pick out the one best for you. This comprehensive buyer’s guide will run you through everything you need to know about mountain bike knee pads. So let’s not waste any time and get started.
Why Should You Wear Knee Pads
Investing in quality knee pads is crucial for your safety as you ride a mountain bike. This is because the skin on your knees is thin, while the terrain beneath you is rough and rocky. You might have the misconception that knee pads are only reserved for professional riders who perform risky stunts, but that’s not an apt representation of facts. The truth is that crashes and accidents on the trail can happen anytime even to expert riders, and facing catastrophic injuries is highly likely if you’re not laced with durable protection gear. For the same reason, protective equipment such as knee and elbow pads have become increasingly common amongst mountain bike riders. So if you’re planning for a mountain biking adventure in the future, be sure to equip yourself with a pair of quality knee pads.
How to Choose The Best Knee Pads
MTB knee pads have not only improved in terms of style and construction but also in the level of comfort and protection they provide – they are more durable, breathable and lighter than they have ever been. But if you’re new to mountain biking and buying knee protection for the first time, here is everything you need to know about mountain bike knee pads.
Heavy-Duty Vs Lightweight Vs Trail
Heavy duty knee pads offer the most protection and coverage. Since they cover a large area of the skin and are highly padded, heavy-duty knee pads offer the most protection in case of a crash. However, their heavyweight makes pedaling substantially difficult which makes them undesirable amongst beginners.
Lightweight mountain bike pedals, as the name suggests, are the least bulky of all the types of knee pads you can buy. The reduced weight and slim fit make them perfect for long rides. However, lightweight knee pads offer the least amount of protection but can still protect you from scrapping and losing skin if you do get into an accident.
Trail pads are a mix of heavy duty and lightweight knee pads. They offer high protection and are easy to pedal in, but some riders find them slightly on the heavier side. Nonetheless, trail pads are perfect for medium length rides on rough terrains.
The level of protection you require from your knew pads depends on your riding style. Cross country mountain bikers can manage with lightweight knee pads but as you move on to rougher terrains, you may require a higher degree of protection. Internal protective paddings in knee pads can either be directly sewn into them or placed in slots so that it can be removed when required. Some knee protection gears also have hard shell plastic paddings to prevent rocks from piercing through the pads.
Even the most expensive knee pads are useless for you if you don't feel comfortable wearing them so always try them on before buying. An ill-fitted knee pad can be quite uncomfortable and turn the entire riding experience into a disaster. Moreover, features like fastening straps, zips and seams can also add up to the discomfort if you don't wear the right knee pads.
A good fit will keep you from slipping and protect you effectively in case of a crash. Knee pads are available in different sizes and finding the right size for yourself is crucially important since a loose pair might shake free off your knees while you’re riding while a tighter one may be extremely uncomfortable. Silicon strips or elastic fastening straps help hold the knee pads in place while strapless knee pads require a snug fit to stay in place and offer the best protection.
Generally, knee pads consist of inner foam lining with a hard protective shell over the knees for top-of-the-line protection. Some high-end knee pads also use special high-shock absorbing materials like D3O that become stiff in case of an impact to reduce the transmitted force. Similarly, materials like Kevlar in the outer layer add up to the durability of the knee pads and resists sliding in case of a fall.
Quick Tips to Keep in Mind
Picking the right knee pads can be a daunting task but things can become a lot easier with these guidelines on your fingertips:
- Ensure the product complies with the international standards
- Take your measurements above and below the knees and refer to the size guide to find the right size for yourself
- Try on the knee pads to check their fit and comfortability
- Prioritize the level of protection over the style and design
- Think about how heavy the material might get on being exposed to rain
- Check out online reviews and testimonials
Safety should always be your utmost priority when riding a mountain bike and to ensure that, you need a pair of knee pads in your arsenal of protective gear. It’s a good idea to do your homework before going out to make your purchase, and we hope that this guide has been helpful in making things clear for you. Remember that mountain bike knee pads play an important role in ensuring a safe and adventurous biking experience, so take your time and have fun while you shop.