As a mountain biker there are full face days and half lid days. The full face is usually accompanied by a set of kneepads or shin guards and occasionally elbow pads, but half lid days are different. They’re about heading deep into the woods and putting miles on the bike. On these days, I very rarely wear pads, because my normal setup is too bulky and warm. Its days like this were the lightweight G-Form knee pads shine.
These special pads are designed to be soft and flexible during normal conditions but harden upon impact. The hinged bright yellow padding is molded in place on a Lycra sleeve. These sculpted ridges enable the pad to flex with the knee so it never feels encumbering. They feel similar to other thin lightweight pads but their ability to harden on impacts offer more protection than most.
Manufacturers such as POC and 661 have incorporated similar technology into some of their pads, but the G Forms have them beat in terms of flexibility. The Poron XRD “reactive protection technology” used in their construction is abrasive resistant. So unlike competitors armor the G Forms special impact material doesn’t need to be enclosed in a protective shell. The shift from the traditional kneepad design into something more closely resembling an exoskeleton makes sense once you’ve tried it.
The G Form pads run tight. I recommend going one size up when ordering. The mediums fit my legs perfectly, even though I generally run smalls. The pads didn’t slip down during extended climbs or descents, but the elastic cuffs caused initially caused some discomfort on my first ride, but have since loosened up. The only fitting issue I encountered was the Lyrca sleeves tendency to bunch behind my knees. This could be mitigated by carving out a hole in the Lycra where the knee bends.
The padding extended just the right amount above, below, and to the sides of my knee, to offer protection against accidental encounters with the top tube and stem. They one caveat is they won’t protect you from your friends. Several of whom couldn’t an experimental punch to my knees once I explained the unusual armor. Their friendly punches is the closest I’ve come to testing them out in a real life scenario, as (knock on wood) I have yet to crash in them.
The G Form knee pads won’t be replacing my Kyle Straights on full face days, but they are perfect for epic all mountain adventures and trips to the pump track. They’re comfortable on long rides and light enough to stash in your pack – just in case. They also play well with spandex shorts, baggies, and jeans. At a retail of only $50 MSRP you can’t go wrong, a comparable set of kneepads from almost any other manufacturer costs nearly double. In short, I’m sold on everything but the color. If the bright yellow padding has you also turning green, the pads are available in stealth black. Look for a long term review in the future.