Review: G-Form Knee Pads
Earlier in the year I took a jump and didn’t land it properly – resulting in a severe laceration (as documented in this prior post), and ever since then I’ve taken padding and armor more seriously (prior to that I didn’t really care about the odd scrapes and bruises).
My first order of business was getting the Troy Lee Designs Lopes Knee Guards, and they’re awesome… but overkill for XC/lightweight trail riding. So I was looking for something more lightweight when I’m in casual mode (as given the opportunity I’ll still take advantage of a nice jump or short descent).
I ordered the TLD KG5400 through an Amazon store, however they sent me the wrong Troy Lee product, and Amazon itself didn’t have the right size to replace, so I decided to give the G-Forms (available at Amazon for $50) a chance. Although many reviews say go up a size, I decided to stick to the sizing chart and go with small. The main consideration over whether to go up a size or not is dependent on comparing your knee circumference vs. your calf circumference. If you have thick stocky calves, then go up a size, but if you’re like me and have legs like a chicken, then the sizing chart is accurate (and I spend an aggregate 30 minutes a week just on calf raises to compensate for such genes).
Although I’ve only just started using them, I’ve found them to be quite comfortable. When riding I don’t really notice it, they don’t slip when doing a lot of climbing, but I do find I have to make an adjustment now and then as they’re prone to bunching up at the bottom, and have to pull the bottom part back down.
Oddly enough I did crash with them on this first run. There’s a tricky spot on this very technical descent of my favorite trail, a spot that many friends have taken a spill on, and although I’ve done it many times before – for some reason I went with my instincts instead of trusting in physics, and didn’t go into this steep drop with a big tree root in front of it fast enough.
My knee did take a bit of a beating. The part where the rubber was covering the knee were fine, but you can see in the product picture that its coverage area is limited. And for me, any spot where there wasn’t rubber, was the part that got banged up.
But that kind of maneuver is beyond what I would expect from these G-Forms. The rubber compound they use is quite interesting – it’s a reactive compound that supposedly hardens on impact, and is much thicker than what you’d expect from the pictures.
Overall I would recommend these if you’re looking for minimalistic and lightweight protection for XC/casual trail riding. If you’re going to go more aggressive, I would look into something that provides more coverage (e.g. Troy Lee KG5450’s, Troy Lee Lopes knee guards, etc…).