Review: Alpinestars Moab Knee Protector
Not all pads are created equal, some are crafted by designers whose bread and butter is protective moto gp and motocross apparel. Alpinestars produces some of the best protective gear for recreational and professional motorcyclists, and that heritage is evident in the fit, finish, and attention to detail of their protective gear. Of course, nothing is without its quirks.
The Alpinestar Knee Protectors are heavily vented for breath-ability. Their slim profile allows them to be worn unobtrusively under jeans (or “pajamas” if you prefer.) The pads are pre-curved and are intended to rest comfortably when in an aggressive riding stance. At first, due to the curving, the pads feel slightly uncomfortable when walking or during light peddling (say from the top of the lift to the trail head), but they’re incredibly comfortable once you start downhill.
The pads are strapped into place by snapping the red buckle, and then adjusting the straps for fit. The “seatbelt buckle” allows the pads to be put on without the need to remove your shoes. This also makes them a snap to remove when looking to cool down and rest between runs.
The only drawback is after a few continuous DH runs, when you’re hands are beginning to claw, it can be a chore to unclip the buckles.
The knee strap uses a dual velcro system which allows you to adjust the inner strap, snap the buckle, and pull back the outer velcro strap to dial in fit. This system offers an extreme range of adjustability.
The downside is that the knee strap is sort of bulky. Peddling while wearing the Moab Knee Protectors reminds me of that one year I played catcher for the softball team and had to wear knee savers. You can feel the bulk of the strap interfere with your peddling when wearing them under (or over) jeans.
When coupled with shorts, the bulk of the knee strap almost disappears, but the velcro sometimes got caught on my shorts.
The Knee Protectors, like most hard shell armor, doesn’t provide full coverage. The entire back of your legs are left unprotected, which is great on hot days, but earned me some unintentional pedal bite during a low speed dismount (i.e. fall) in a steep technical section.
A hard plastic shell surrounded by dual density foam, which extends upwards towards the thigh, protects the knee. This design offers minimal protection against top tub strikes due to minimal side padding.
The main issue I encountered with the lack of extended knee coverage is that the kneepad slid when I crashed. The Moab won’t budge in a superman style slide, but drag the kneepad sidways, and carnage will ensue.
The Alpinestar Moab Knee Protectors hit almost all the right marks, but a few niggling issues keep them from being perfect. The pads are constructed of high quality materials and feel great when riding, but they lack sufficient knee protection. They work well when paired with shorts or pants, and are well vented and breathable (for plastic leg armor), but I wouldn’t strap these on and head out for an all mountain ride. These pads feel most comfortable during rugged descents where a full knee and shin combo is needed.
The bottom line is: if you’ve struggled to find a combination knee and shin pad that fits just right, at $90 MSRP, the Alpinestar Moab is a worthy contender. The range of adjustability offered by the unique dual velcro and buckle system is outstanding.
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