Protective Equipment Reviews

I thought I might try to open an “official” thread to collect reviews on protective equipment, as that information tends to be a bit scattered around on the forum. Helmet, pads, whatever you wear to hopefully help you not get injured.
I’ll start:

ION K-pact Knee pads
Positives:
I love mine. The sleeve structure makes them stay in place really well. They adapt super well to the shape of my knees due to the impact foam construction - I hate anything that feels like it limits my movement and these don’t feel like that at all. They also don’t move around on me, which means no rubbing on the skin.
Over the years I have them, they have protected my knees from impact really well, even on rocky sections I’ve never felt any hard impact, my knee has always felt nicely protected from all sides. Soft outer covering means that they probably aren’t for you if you kneeslide on asphalt, but with my Muni terrain, they haven’t developed any rips or tears after years of use.

Negatives:
The velcro straps are the wrong way around, if your knee brushes the frame when riding, it can open the velcro. Possibly related: after a few years, the velcro on mine has worn out, so if I don’t close it very deliberately, it sometimes opens accidentally when riding. They still stay in place pretty well then, but it is annoying (But not unusually with velcro that has been in use for a few years…)
Also there is no way to put them on without removing shoes.

Camelbak K.U.D.U. Backprotector/Backpack
Positives:
I have the 20l version, and I use it for pretty much all my muni rides. It has a level 2 back protector integrated, which you can unzip the main compartment from. The 3 Chest/Belly straps keep it in place really well, and in “protector only” mode, aside from me getting a sweaty back, it’s really unobtrusive.
In “backpack mode”, I’ve found it to be a great backpack. Lot’s of compartments, dedicated space for a 3L drinking bladder, dedicated space for tools, etc… If I go for a ride after work/uni, there is enough space to store my jeans,jacket, and lunchbox, but if I have it almost empty, I can strap it down tight enough to feel small.

Negatives
Not much, really. As a backpack, it’s not a very well ventilated one - but for a protector…well they are all not really breathable, are they.
Tiny complaint: the integrated helmet compartment doesn’t work perfectly, or at least you have to be carefull when running around with it.
It also doesn’t cover quite as much of your back as most dedicated back protectors - still decent coverage, but if I were to buy a protector for bikepark only use, I’d look somewhere else.

I’ll add a review of my new helmet (Bell Super 3R) and TSG Tahoe protective shirt when I have worn them for a few rides. (I had started writing up a review of my old helmet, but since you can’t buy that model anymore, I decided it would be pointless.)

1 Like

I bought myself a TechWare Pro Knee Compression Sleeve and am very satisfied. They are elastic, support the knee joint and have a cushion that absorbs impact in the event of a fall.

I use iXS Hack Evo Knee pads. Very happy with the fit, comfort and protection. These have saved my knees from several huge UPD’s that would have left me injured. They are still working well after 3 years and nearly 10,000km. The Velcro is wearing and they look slightly rough but good for that distance again. Not sure about me.

https://www.wiggle.com.au/ixs-hack-evo-knee-guard

I use Hillbillies half finger wrist guards and judging by the deep scrapes on the plastic, they have saved me from injury more than once. I don’t find them to significantly limit my grip while riding. Some of the stitching on the fingers of one glove started to come undone after a couple of months and had to be restitched. Overall, I’d say they are inexpensive and absolutely worth it.

For knee protection, I use K4 POD knee braces, and so far they have held up to repeated falls. It’s really nice to be able to land on your knees when you UPD without worrying about injury. These are actual knee braces, rather than knee pads and they aren’t cheap, but if you have had knee injuries they might be worth it to you. It’s hard to say if you would have been injured without something or not, but given the number of crashes I have had and the relatively few injuries I have had, they seem to be working.

I’ve had good luck with Hillbilly half finger gloves. They saw plenty of “action” on my 36er while learning to ride - several superman landings onto paved surfaces at a decent speed. I use them for muni these days.

I also use the ION K-Pack Zip knee pads for muni. Basically the same as those mentioned by @finnspin but you can put them on without removing your shoes. I like them but I haven’t taken any really hard falls on them yet.

I also have a pair of Black Diamond Telekneesis knee pads. These are lightweight hardshell pads, good for road riding because they can slide on hard surfaces. I don’t tend to use these for muni as they don’t offer a lot of side protection, but I do occasionally use them as they fit easily over long trousers.

After a fall or two last year, I got some nice G-Form brand knee pads.
They are sleeve type, so not a quick on/off. However, once on they don’t slide.

They are very low profile so you can wear them under clothing if needed.
(No thicker than 3/8" or 10 mm), The best feature is it’s flexibility.

The cushioning material is a special “non-newtonian” cushion behavior. .
It’s weird. The harder you hit it, the more it instantly “stiffens” to absorbs the stress.
Yeah…it’s like science fiction, but this behavior is well documented. Just look at all the youtubers “running” over cornstarch swimming pools.

They aren’t cheap, but when I wear it(only when doing new tricks or riding unfamiliar terrain) I forget they are on. Also, they look cool. I can either wear it over my knee in the conventional way, if I am riding fast and fear a hard fall. Or…just slide it over my shins like a shin guard…it stays in pace.