Knee protection

I tried to outspeed a fall forward on my N36 and this happenned…

On the walk back to the car I started thinking about knee protection! I don’t do anything that adventurous so I am not sure I want to go down the route of the, no doubt excellent, KH armour but I would like to reduce the possibility of the above.

Has anybody tried stitching some leather to an elasticated knee support to offer basic knee protection. I thought I would try it but it is always useful to learn from others’ (mistakes;)).

I also broke the screen on my PDA which is really annoying, I can still offload the GPS data but the screen is cracked. It told me that a heavy 53 year old cannot safely UPD at 12 mph. Pathetic.


Believe it or not, there is a modern industry devoted to building such protection devices! Check out: Six Six One, Fox Racing or Kris Holm.

If what you find is too bulky, you might consider a simple neoprene wrap. They won’t endure many accidents, but they’ll keep you from losing too much flesh.

I just went through this exercize myself and what I landed on was the cheapest. I didn’t want big Skate pads since I don’t need to slide down ramps and such and I didn’t want full blown knee and shin protection. Inline skate pads tended to not cover enough of my knee. The side of my knee needs protection since I know how to fall and roll from martials arts but the side of my knee still gets scraped up.

Then I found a nice set of something or other at BIG 5. It was a knee/elbow/wrist kit for $39 I will call these in the ‘inline’ style but with more protection and I really liked them especially for the price. But for me if I got the right size for my knees the elbows were too big. So I started looking around at volleyball pads and found a set of knee pads made by BIKE marketed as All Sport Pads model 7275. They are soft but have a slightly firm material under the top surface.

For my knee’s needs these were perfect and they were only $8.99

Like this but mine are black:

Sorry just noticed you are in UK… but maybe some of what I wrote will help anyway.

Falls are rare enough on long-distance road rides that wearing bulky protection gets pretty annoying. One way to approach it is to use knee warmers:

They’ll actually do a pretty good job of mitigating abrasions. They won’t really protect the structures of your knee, but they’re a lot less annoying than wearing knee pads/leg armor.

And frankly, it’s hard to find knee pads/leg armor which will really stay where it needs to be when you’re coming off the unicycle in the forward direction. It might have protected you from this particular injury which is below the knee, but it often fails to protect from falls directly on the knee or to the sides.

And at the expensive end of the scale is the d3o armour such as the Evo range from 661.
I think Race Face are offering them too now (but that may be for 2010)

I have these. Purchased after I managed to put myself in hospital* with a knee injury, and then smack myself really hard on the knees about a month later.

They seem to do the job. They are slightly annoying to wear compared to no pads, but much better than big pads would be and now I’m used to them I don’t have many problems with them (I can happily do a 40 mile muni ride in them). I have crashed on rocks hard without hurting my knee badly. They are a few years old now and looking slightly tatty / battered, but work okay still.

As a bonus, they say Anarchy on them in big letters, allowing you to espouse your preference for a radical individualist liberal society and the demise of the nation state.

Although thinking about it, I didn’t wear them for ride the lobster, and I can’t remember why. Maybe they aren’t perfect for road riding for some reason.


  • A rather confusing French hospital which made it worse

Usually for road riding I go bare-knees. But last weekend I entered a mountain bike race (with MUni category). We did 25 miles with about 3400’ of climbing, so I wore my cheap hard-shell kneepads. These came in a set like the one mentioned above (but maybe only $20). When new, they were pretty tight and I didn’t even use the velcro straps. Now that they have a few years on them, just the top velcro strap seems to work well. Had to tighten them once during the race due to excessive sweat, but otherwise they were comfortable and stayed over the knees.

Unlike my worn pair of Bike brand volleyball kneepads. I wouldn’t recommend those as the friction of a crash might instantly pull them down, leaving you basically unprotected.

In RTL, I rode bare-knees except for the Criterium race. With 35 unicyclists (three heats) all going as fast as they could around a bumpy block, I figured that would be the most likely time for serious crashes. So I brought my old KH leg armor for that one part of the race.

Love my KH armour…

but that’s just me. Best $75 I ever spent! Followed closely by my Hillbilly full finger gloves.

Now that my beloved old Fox neoprene sleeve-style knee pads have basically disintegrated, I picked up a set of 661 Tomcat knee pads which are very nice. They hardly are noticeable when worn. I got them from Chainlove (a US woot-style retailer) for under US$30.

Oh, yeah, and John, is there a race report from the Long Course championships anywhere? I was going to race, too, but life intervened.

What was the knee protection that everyone seems to wear at UNICON XIV for the 10km and the 42km ? They looked pretty cheap but perfect for the competition.


I’ve recently switched to the Black Diamond TELEKNEESIS knee pads, designed for telemark skiing. They’re comfy, the top strap is elastic, and the bottom strap is non-elastic webbing that stays on well above my calf muscle. The whole thing flexes nicely, and they have a low enough profile to fit under clothing when it gets cold.

Mostly people wear various volleyball or skate kneepads. In a race, it’s a different situation from what most of us may do on normal road rides. Most of us are not used to riding in a pack, and you might be pushing your limits while tired or oxygen-deprived, so it’s not a bad idea to pad up.

I have never worn knee protection on the road, though I will now with the Coker I have yet to try out.

4umfreak, can you wash those Hillbilly gloves? I was looking at them but gloves become really smelly quite fast. I was hoping that particular brand could be washed. I wash my present wrist guards about once/week. Maybe I’m just stinky.

NOW I always wear knee protection on Coker.

I found some very small compact knee pads at a sporting goods store which are intended for speed-inline-skaters.
I’m 56 and went down ONCE, and that scared the ///// out of me. Always wear em now.

I prefer plastic skid plates on knee and elbow pads, but I never wear them for road riding.(yet)
Wrist guards(with plastic skid-plates) are the my #1 safety item when riding big wheels on the road.

I’ve got strawberries on 1-hip, 2-wrists, 1-knee, and an elbow on one fall. Now,
When I ride without safety equipment, I try never go faster than I can run.