Cycling News

Group test: five knee pads ridden and reviewed

Group test: five knee pads ridden and reviewed

Thanks to advances in material design, especially polymers like D30 and Rheon that are light, flexible and offer impact protection, there are more options for knee protection than ever before. You can get ultra-minimalist pads that are light enough for all-day rides or burly, tough pads that provide full protection.

We rode and tested five different knee pad options for this review. They cover a wide range of styles and levels of protection. Check out our impressions below and see which one works best for you.

Chromag – Rift  ($150 CAD)

While Chromag is now a global brand, it is based out of Whistler, B.C. Those roots show through in the Rift pads, designed for the distinctive combination of extended steep climbs and rowdy descents the brand’s hometown is known for. A Rheon Labs insert is flexible while riding but hardens on impact. That’s covered in a durable tear-resistant aramid fabric and held in place by a combination of silicon grippers and an elastic calf gusset. Chromag adds smaller pads on either side of the kneecap for additional protection.

On the trail, these strike an excellent balance between protection and comfort. They’re light and flexible enough for hours of riding, will fit easily under pants without putting pressure on the knees, and still provide real coverage. The gripper is wider than most, except Rapha’s, spreading out pressure while maintaining excellent grip. They’ve stood up to six months of very regular use and, while they need another wash, are no worse for wear. Chromag has a reputation for making quality bike parts. The Rift pads carry on this tradition into protective wear.

Chromag Rift pads come in five sizes from XS-XL.

Race Face – Covert ($145 CAD)

Race Face makes all kinds of knee pads, covering your knees for everything from full-on downhill and freeride to the minimalist Covert Knee. Using the new D3O Ghost pad and a highly breathable sleeve, the Covert Knees add just enough protection to keep you safe without adding bulk or overheating for long days pedaling. Perfect for rides where you really don’t want to wear pads but know you…

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