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  1. #1
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    Knee vs Shin+Knee pads

    After a few skinned knees I'm realizing I should just man up and buy knee pads.

    Can I get away with knee pads only or should I just get knee+shin pads?

    Ride mostly in Southern California. Shin pads could protect from the chapparal scratch I suppose but seem less comfortable.

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    EDR
    Reputation: eatdrinkride's Avatar
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    Mostly the folks around here who ride flat pedals are the ones using shin protection in addition to knee. Most clipless riders I see (including myself) will only use knee pads.

    Smacking the shin with a pinned flat pedal is not any fun.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by eatdrinkride View Post
    Mostly the folks around here who ride flat pedals are the ones using shin protection in addition to knee. Most clipless riders I see (including myself) will only use knee pads.

    Smacking the shin with a pinned flat pedal is not any fun.
    Makes perfect sense. Thanks!

  4. #4
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    Agreed. I actually have soccer shins I wear for Xc and the climbing portion of my AM rides then add the knees for the downhill. Shin slap riding flats on chunky uphill is too common and the shins have been a huge saving grace
    Keep the rubber side down

  5. #5
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    trying to decide too! i ride flats

  6. #6
    Perpetual Hack
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    Both

    Light knee only for trail-riding (G-Form)
    Full knee and shin for gravity (Nukeprof Critical)

    Flat pedal rider

    michael
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  7. #7
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    Good point.. Fox launch knee pad short are great and Kyle st8. 661.. Are awesome as well

  8. #8
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    Every time I see a rider with shin guards they are usually just DH fashionista's and usually pushing their bikes over technical sections. I figure between my knee pads and shoes, my shins are protected from 90% of harm. The rest i'll chalk up to part of the game.

    The new Race Face knee pads are nice, open back with velcro closure. You don't have to take your shoes off to remove them if you have a long pedal on a hot day.

    I like the G Forms, but to get them on and off you have to remove your shoes, and I've had them pushed down over my shins leaving my knees bashed and bloody when a crash leaves you prone. Knee impacts though, they are a great pad.

  9. #9
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    I have gform knee pads and put them on my shins to start, then to the knees. I even climb in them for 20 min and not even notice.

    They are good for direct impact with limited sliding. If you're doing 40 mph on a dh, they are not the best.
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

  10. #10
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    I use the fox launch knee. light, durable and excellent knee protection, front and side as well.

    tried the knee+shin but these got to hot and also kept sliding down.

    pedal striking shin events will be less and less the more you ride.

  11. #11
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    I ride with the shin-knee combo. I do a fair amount of downhill stuff, but nothing that really requires the shin portion. If you're not riding clipless, the shin protection can be pretty great. I got sick of screwing up my shins when I was starting out and hadn't figured out smooth pedal strokes yet. Even now, I still lose a pedal now and them and am thankful for the protection. If you do a lot of riding in desert areas where there's prickly crap snagging you as you cruise, the shin protection is also grand.

  12. #12
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    People I ride with on local trails don't use knee pads and say they're for downhillers only. Yet the trails I ride have some steep, gnarly downhill sections and I'd like to protect myself. Any recommendations for a knee pad that won't be a pain to do a lot of climbing and fast rides in?

  13. #13
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    I just ordered g-form pads tonight and supposedly that's what they're great for--long rides with lots of pedaling where you don't expect super gnarly downhiller crashes, but do expect a moderate tumble every now and then. As soon as I get them I'll be updating on here! I ordered both knee pads and shin pads so we'll see! I'm excited to give them a go. I don't do any super extreme downhill stuff, but a lot of what I ride definitely falls into the "downhill" category. I enjoy the gnarly stuff every now and then. I have some full on hardshell knee/shin guards but they're a pain if you have to pedal at all. I'm hoping the g-forms will be a good compromise on comfort but still provide safety!

  14. #14
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    Thanks! I'll check them out.

  15. #15
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    Ive been thru quite a few knee pads and for the riding I do (mainly xc) I really like the g-forms..its feels good to have some protection when riding..I hurt my knee last spring and it still isnt the strongest yet..but when the g-forms on I feel somewhat confident riding again..I did take a spill a while back and they did very well..the problem is its been 4 mos since I got a pair and the stitching is coming a part...I do like them because they do not get in the way and after a while it feels like you have nothing on..but the ruggedness part they need to work on...somehow.
    We Can't Stop Here...This Is Bat Country.
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  16. #16
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    Yet the trails I ride have some steep, gnarly downhill sections and I'd like to protect myself.

  17. #17
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    Just got my G-Form knee pads tonight. At first "test," I'm not exactly impressed. First thing I did after I put them on was drop down onto my knees. The motion came with significant jarring and I could definitely feel the impact. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be a happy camper if there'd been a rock in the way. The bright side is that they look good and feel good. Really sleek and totally comfortable. They should be great for pedaling.

    But as for their intended purpose of protection...? I'm already skeptical and I haven't even been out on the trail yet.

    Sizing is also super goofy. I'm 5'8", 140 lbs, wear smalls and extra smalls in all my clothing, and I had to order the XL in the pads, which was definitely the right choice. Smalls and mediums may as well be labeled kid sizes!

  18. #18
    Trail Ninja
    Reputation: Varaxis's Avatar
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    I had bad luck with knee+shin combos sliding down. I'm now wearing 661 Kyle Straits and miss the shin guards vs brush and pedal bite, but don't miss the sliding down.

    Also seems like every new set of knee pads require "skin break-in", where the first long ride (over 1.5 hours) in the pads chaffs the skin raw, usually behind the knee, but that's prob just me and how I like to ride full time in 'em, rather than carry them in my pack or wear them around my ankles.

  19. #19
    EDR
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArionRemedy8 View Post
    Just got my G-Form knee pads tonight. At first "test," I'm not exactly impressed. First thing I did after I put them on was drop down onto my knees. The motion came with significant jarring and I could definitely feel the impact. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be a happy camper if there'd been a rock in the way. The bright side is that they look good and feel good. Really sleek and totally comfortable. They should be great for pedaling.

    But as for their intended purpose of protection...? I'm already skeptical and I haven't even been out on the trail yet.

    Sizing is also super goofy. I'm 5'8", 140 lbs, wear smalls and extra smalls in all my clothing, and I had to order the XL in the pads, which was definitely the right choice. Smalls and mediums may as well be labeled kid sizes!
    Good info. I have KS knee pads but I live in Phoenix and other than winter time, MAN are they hot. Was looking at the G-F but will think twice about them now.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by eatdrinkride View Post
    Good info. I have KS knee pads but I live in Phoenix and other than winter time, MAN are they hot. Was looking at the G-F but will think twice about them now.
    Off-topic, but I'm not totally impressed with my GForm elbow pads. Fit is rather poor, they slide down, lack forearm protection, and still allow cuts and abrasions right through the pad... think they were designed more for low-speed street stuff and vert ramps, the higher speed stuff where you're more likely to slide and tumble. Basically, I get the impression that they only get the direct impact absorption thing really right. That all said, I really haven't found a set of elbow pads I liked, with RaceFace Rally FRs being the only one I trust for protection so far, and GForm for general comfort.

  21. #21
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    I use the Race Face Flank for every ride except FR and DH where I switch to hard shell. It's a D3O with about 60% shin coverage. They don't fall down, and I don't really notice them. They warm up a bit on hot days, but so do my balls, so what?

    Here's why I wear shins even on long XC rides: I love to shred. Because I do so at every opportunity, I also crash... a lot. In September, I went OTB in a rock garden, and just clipped the inside of my shin about 4" below the knee with the end of my right bar. I dusted off and rode another hour. When I got home, the inside of my calf was like a water balloon. Turns out, I ruptured the saphenous vein on the impact. My leg swelled and turned blue from above the knee to past the ankle. The hematoma followed my bone and tendons into my foot, and infiltrated the periosteo membrane. It cost me six weeks off the bike right as I was in peak form for MTB marathon season. The vascular injury did not hurt much, very little actually, but the doctors slapped the sense into me when they explained how serious this type of injury was. It sucked, and I never want that type of injury again, so I wear the pads with a little shin coverage 100% of the time now.

    Sure, I get teased when I wear my "San Francisco bedroom slippers" on XC rides. The numerous, deep scuffs on the knee cap of the pads are testament to their effectiveness. At the end of the day, I ride the way I like to ride, have fun, and get hurt less.
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