Brief review of body armor (knee/shin) for technical XC/all mountain- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 40 of 40
  1. #1

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    65

    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead! Brief review of body armor (knee/shin) for technical XC/all mountain

    I am writing so that others might benefit from my experience looking for knee/shin protectors for technical xc. I ride every weekend about 8-9 miles with a couple of friends from work on technical single track with roots, logs, drops etc. The drops are about 1'. After taking a few low speed falls scraping my knees I started to think about body armor. To promote skills development I also replaced my clip-in pedals with wellgo platforms. For all these reasons I wanted a pair of knee/shin protectors.

    My main requirements for the protectors were: not too hot (I live in NJ), good to pedal in (chafing is a no-no), stays in place with adequate protection. I tried to research pads on this board and on ridemonkey.com. However, many of the users used them for down hill where pedaling comfort is not as much of an issue. After reading the reviews and the forums I decided to look at: RockGardn Landing Zone, RaceFace Rally FR, and Fox Launch. The latter I found in a local store, the other two I ordered online. So, for an additional expense of $15 (shipping one pair back and forth I was able to test the pads pedaling performance.

    Fox Launch: I tried these in the store. The buckle system seemed pretty smart, I would though be a little concerned about durability. The pads seemed fixed in place by the straps. The real deal breaker were the straps behind the knee kept the knee protector in constant close contact with my knee. Everytime I flexed my knee the foam would rub my knee. Furthermore, I prefer to have no straps right behind the knee to avoid chafing during long rides. For both these reasons, I think the Fox Launch would be very uncomfortable to pedal with for any period of time, especially when sweat makes the skin soft and irritable.

    RaceFace Rally FR: these felt very comfortable when put on. The anatomic design made them feel like they really fit my leg. I weighted them and they came in at 350g per protector. The felt really good pedaling and I liked them in general. I chose not to get them due to the straps crossing almost behind my knee. I could feel the straps annoy me when I flexed the leg. The other issue was that I felt my knee rather exposed when flexed. Hadn't I gotten the RockGardns I would have stayed with the RaceFace.

    RockGardn: these were the most burly pads. Each weighted 450g. The also provided more coverage on the side of the leg and knee than the other two. However, due to larger ventilation holes than the RaceFace they did not feel hotter. They are however definately hotter than going without, but that is a tradeoff I am willing to accept. Among the three these were constructed the best. The three lowest straps prevents them from sliding down and it is not necessary for the top strap to pull the knee protection into constant contact with the knee. The straps are also designed so that the area behind the knee where all the flexing takes place are free of straps, thus no chafing. Finally the knee protection for most of the pedal stroke does not touch the knee, but is slightly in front. However, due to the burly calf strap I feel pretty confident that when needed the knee protection is still the best of the three. An additional note: initially I tried to get the top thigh strap very tight. After asking around I found out that that is not necessary. The protector does not depend on the thigh strap to avoid it sliding down.

    So the RockGardns to me were the most comfortable, best for pedaling, well ventilated, and well constructed. The only downside is the added weight and more burly feeling (if not needed). I would have liked the RockGardn to come in different sizes so perhaps the burly bottom strap would not be needed (might make them a little cooler). All in all however I like them.

    Hope this helps you.

    Morten

    BTW. I have no economic interest in RockGardn and am not affiliated in anyway other than as a satisfied customer.

  2. #2
    crashes in parkinglot
    Reputation: EricTheRed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,257
    good write up. I've heard very good things about RockGardn as well, haven't had a chance to use or even see them up close yet.

    I've been using Dainese for several years now everything from dj,trials, AM, shuttles (aka point to points) and lift assisted riding. They have served me well, though i've crashed hard enough to get rug burn through one of the shin pads before. If i ever need new pads i will look into the rockgardns though.

  3. #3
    ride hard take risks
    Reputation: dogonfr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    25,412
    Did you test ride each pad set from a dealer or did you order each one for testing

  4. #4

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    65
    I tried the Fox Launch in the store and decided immediately to not bother. Just flexing my knee in the store I could feel it rubbing me.

    I bought both the RaceFace and RockGardn and had both of them for about 2 weeks before making a final decission. I walked in them inside and I rode several trips (1-2 miles) around the neighborhood to see how they felt pedaling, coasting, climbing etc. I finally returned the RaceFace for a refund. I did not ride them off road since I wanted to be able to return them. After I made the decission I rode my RockGardn at our local hang out for 9 miles without any issues.

    Morten

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    8,863
    True about the Fox's they will leave your knee raw. Roach's straps feel bulky behind the knee. I may look into the RG's, I currently use super comfortable Dainese but the amount of protection is minimal @ best.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: RobsterCraw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    1,417
    Of course we would also need to compare the Dainese, 661's, Troy Lee, etc. to be able to get a full on comparison.

  7. #7
    Custom User Title
    Reputation: coldsteele's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    1,282
    I thought 661 is now made by RaceFace. I could be wrong. But if they are like the old ones they will slip down while pedaling.
    Team MOJO Wheels.

  8. #8

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,145
    I'm interested in any opinions on the 661 Veggies, or similar Troy Lee T-Bones.

  9. #9
    it tied the room together
    Reputation: TrumbullCT's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    105
    Quote Originally Posted by coldsteele
    I thought 661 is now made by RaceFace. I could be wrong. But if they are like the old ones they will slip down while pedaling.
    Roach was bought by Race Face but their Rally pads seem mostly unchanged.

    Regarding the 661 Veggies, they are a soft guard, no molded plastic. Also, the 661's are rather small for clydesdales like me. For AM riding I am leaning toward some like the Race Face Rally FR.

  10. #10

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    135
    I am using the TLD T-bones after a similar search (but I don't care about the shins)!!

    The 661 veggies are totally soft and offer limited protection on the rocks. For that reason I am not a fan. However, they do have both the Kyle Strait and the Tomcats that are a neoprene with a hard insert, similar to the TLD t-bones.

    I the shop I found the 661 to bunch up quite badly behind my knee, mainly as the neoprene behind the knee was still quite bulky - but that might just be me. In the end I went for the t-bones.....

    Write up:
    Strengths - Superb amount of protection!!! Far better than most knee/shin pads, hard plastic cap, strategic pads all around the side and top/bottom of the knee. Also, they don't move in a crash (my 661 race knee/shins moved the only time I ever needed them and left a bit hole in my knee). They are extremely comfortable (once used a few times to break them in), they are machine-washable, the styling is good, and they come quite far down the shin so offer plenty of protection. I use these for up to 30mile XC loops now they are broken in. In fact, I use them whenever I am not riding on tarmac! (they even fit under jeans when you hit the jump spots).

    Weaknesses - the design around the back of the knee is good in that it is not bulky (so doesn't bunch up, which is good) but the material and seams can still rub/pinch a bit and cause sore areas behind the knee (mainly when new). However, I found that if you use a little bit of elastic bandage on the knee under the pad (about 3 inches worth) then this doesn't rub and they are supremely comfortable - it just gives a bit of "slip" to the material. They are also quite warm in the summer (but here in the UK that is only 2 weeks a year!!!).

    Overal - I have the 2005 ones, although I notice on the web-site that these may be changing (?). I love mine, and I might just buy another pair later in the year just in case they do change them at any point. I wouldn't want to go back to another pad now - I use these when I go DH racing too.

    Hope this helps.

  11. #11
    Your bike is incorrigible
    Reputation: Guyechka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    3,179
    First off, good write up. I have been looking into getting some lightweight knee/shin guards for some time now. I bought some Core Rat arm guards last year after having bashed my elbow pretty badly on a fall. So far, so good. But I've been waiting for something as lightweight and comfortable in the leg department. Has anyone tried the Core Rat leg guards? It just seems to me that I would rather put the things on and leave them on for the whole ride, whether it be five or twenty miles. I don't want to think about them--"oh here's a technical section coming up; better get out the armour". RF, TLD, Dianese...So many to test, so little time.

  12. #12

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,145
    Thanks CharmMTB, where I live it's around 30 degrees C most of the year. But I think I'd be willing to sacrifice being a little warm for saftery. Great review, I'm yet to see what exactly the bike shops here sell, but am looking for something to mainly protect the knees at this stage (due to a recent fall). Funny how it has to happen in retrospect most of the time!

  13. #13

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    65
    Quote Originally Posted by RobsterCraw
    Of course we would also need to compare the Dainese, 661's, Troy Lee, etc. to be able to get a full on comparison.
    Perhaps you should buy all of these and post your opinion?? I thought that spending $15 on shipping one extra pair back and forth was enough.

    I wanted to try the Dainese Revolution. However, I could not find any dealer in the US with a reasonable return policy (I did not want to also pay for restocking). I also read that in general Dainese leg armor does not stay well in place.

    The reviews I read of 661 did not encourage me to invest effort in trying those out. Looking at the comments at the mtbr.com product reviews the well rated units were RaceFace, RockGardn (not too many reviews), Core Rat, and Troy Lee.

    I considered the CoreRats, but I saw no ventilation holes in the shin protectors. Visually they looked rather warm. Also there seemed to some divergence in opinion, even discussions about whether the rating accurately reflected the quality.

    Morten

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation: gravitygod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    29
    I have the RockGardn's and they are extremely good. I bought them primarily for shuttling and resort riding with not too much pedaling in mind. Some of the shuttles, however, have a few sections of climbing and I wouldn't say the pads are uncomfortable but they are a little bit more noticeable. The nice thing is you can just undo the thigh strap for the climb and presto, problem gone. Ten seconds at the start of a down hill and they're strapped back on, good to go. For downhilling they are the way to go.

    For short rides by my house I don't use them because they can be overkill and they are long so they stick out on the sides of my pack on the climb up. Most rides I just want a little protection from the brush which can over take the trail quickly so I take my Fox Ventilators which have beat back more vegetation over the years than a weed whacker.

    Since we're taking about RockGardn their gloves with the carbon knuckles are amazing. Hands down the best gloves I have ever ridden with. You will not be disappointed. I like the flack jacket as well and use the elbow pads by themselves all the time. The elbow pads are easy on and easy off with excellent protection. They even make one of the few all black tops on a riding sock. The foot is nice and thin but the top is like a crew sock so your ankles get some extra protection as well. Quality company and some good deals at ride-this.com.
    Last edited by gravitygod; 05-11-2006 at 04:12 PM.

  15. #15
    Three sheets to the wind
    Reputation: Bawitdaba's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    736
    I'm on my second season with Rockgardn and I'm very happy with the fit, wear and comfort...

  16. #16
    Too Kool for Skool
    Reputation: theg1ant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    321
    Like my fox launch. They do chafe but only untill u get the straps the right tension. B4 i got them right i cut part of an old gym sock to stick around my knee and that also worked
    Quote Originally Posted by coma13
    it's short but it's pretty.... just like a guatemalan hooker...

  17. #17

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    65
    Quote Originally Posted by gravitygod
    I have the RockGardn's and they are extremely good
    Quote Originally Posted by gravitygod
    Some of the shuttles, however, have a few sections of climbing and I wouldn't say the pads are uncomfortable but they are a little bit more noticeable. The nice thing is you can just undo the thigh strap for the climb and presto, problem gone.
    gravitygod do you have the 2005 or the 2006? Mine are 2006 and they are as comfortable also for pedaling. As mentioned earlier last weekend I rode 8-9 miles of technical XC with a lot of ups and downs. I pedaled for at least half of the distance with no issues.

    Morten

  18. #18

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    135
    Over here in the UK we don't really get the Rockgarden stuff, and the place is dominated by 661 and Dainese (although Race Face are now OK to get too).

    As I read the other comments here, I forgot to mention that with the TLD (or any other knee only pad like the 661 Kyle Strait) because your shins are still exposed, they are nothing like as hot generally. The lower leg still getting some breeze makes the world of difference as compared to riding with a combined knee/shin pad. If you are riding on clips anyway, then the shin aspect is less critical than the knee in terms of injury potential.

    Just a thought for those of you living in hotter climes than me.....

  19. #19

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,145
    Yeah thanks ChamMTB, it's good to know. And tha's why I'm only getting a knee guard - because I ride candy c's so no big risk injry to the shin apart from a knock - unless I end up impaled on the chainrings or something!
    I'll have to see what the LBS here sells and go from there - like the look of the TLD Veggies though.

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation: gravitygod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    29
    Morten,
    I think they are the newer '06 ones. There not bad at all just a little more noticeable on the climbs. They are the ones currently on, http://rockgardn.easystorecreator.co...parent_ids/0,1

  21. #21
    jbf
    jbf is online now
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jbf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    305

    Anyone use seperate knee & shin guards ?

    I've been using Fox BMX shin guards for quite a while and have been thinking of getting some better protection that will also cover my knees. I like what I hear about the TLD knee pads and was wondering if these would work well with seperate shin guards. Does anyone do this?

  22. #22

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    135
    jbf - I doubt the TLD's will work with a separate shin guard. They come about 6 inches down below the knee as it is, and the grip the shin, which is how they stay in place so well. They would overlap with the shin guard too much.

    661 knee guards might be OK as they don't come as far down, and I think that the 661 vegies have a separate knee and shin guard, and that these can be joined together (with some tab or similar).

    Hope this helps.

  23. #23

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    208
    Hi,

    Can anyone tell me how much shin is left exposed on the troy lee knee guards?

    Thanks

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    370
    Mace 'Tectonic' for me. I noticed a little rub but only on the side of my left knee after one ride. Maybe incorrect strapping on my part because there was none on my right knee. Otherwise they felt comfy in the store and during my ride. It was fairly warm and damp where I rode this Sunday and the ventilation seemed acceptable.
    http://www.macegear.com

    Sylvain

  25. #25

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    135
    JKWITS,

    The TLD's finish about 6 inches below the knee - so depends on how long your legs are! For me, that leaves about 10-11 inches from the top of my foot.

    Try some on if you can.

  26. #26

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    208
    Thanks Cham

    Would try some but none of the LBS have them stocked. I am after more shin protection ideally but was hoping to avoid spending too much cash.

    Like you say I really need to try them on. Might just go on whatever is available locally for these I think.

  27. #27
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    342
    Nice writeup!

    Im in Jersey as well & have been using the 661 4x4 knee/shin pads. I usually wear them no matter what trail I'm on...even easy stuff. Have one bad knee & can't take another direct blow to it. Overall...661's are 'ok'. They haven't chaffed my legs too much, but the straps across the back of the knee's can be one point of discomfort. They're also very hot.

    I think I may look into the Rockgardn's after reading your review. Ive liked the 661's in the winter since I can pretty much just wear long socks/shorts & the pads take care of my legs for warmth, but this summer I need something w/ better ventilation.

    Maybe I missed it, but did you order the Rockgardn's online? or local shop? If local, whereabouts in Jersey?

    Thx,

    Mark

  28. #28
    screamer
    Reputation: budgie's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    1,331

    661 tomcats

    I haven't tried the TLD bones or the 661 veggies, but I've had really good success with the Tomcats. They have a rigid knee cup, and straps above and below to hold it all in place. So far, there's been no chafing from the neoprene sleeve, although I haven't ridden in really hot weather (ie: over 85 deg.), nor in the wet. I basically forget that they're even there, until I need them!
    I got size large, which fits me well; my leg measures 18" just above the knee. Not sure if they make an XL, because the L would probably be too small for a clyde.

  29. #29

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    65
    Mark,

    I bought them online from RockGardn.com. Most NJ bikestores I went to had hardly anything. I tried the Fox Launch at Planet Bike in East Brunswick. That is why I had to order both the RockGardn and the Raceface pairs.

    We ride in Hartshorne every weekend. If you are interested in seeing them before ordering shoot me a private message and I can let you know the next time we will go to Hartshorne.

    Morten

  30. #30

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    208
    I bought some MACE knee/shin guards which I haven't heard mentioned on this forum.

    I nearly bought some TLD's online but decided it was something I had to try first. I only had a choice of two from my LBS. I tried the TLD guards but these resticted my movement much more and pressed against my shin when I tried to straighten my leg.

    The mace guards had some knee pivot system which was much more comfortable and the guard covered all but the bottom couple of inches of my shin. Haven't taken them for an extended ride and will take some getting used to but I will be a lot more confident on drops and jumps now I know I won't be removing anymore of my precious skin (at least from my legs).

  31. #31

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,145
    The 661 VEggies seem to be the only decent ones that my LBS stocks, so will probably get a pair soon.

  32. #32
    Custom User Title
    Reputation: coldsteele's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    1,282
    I rode the Fox Launch K/S and just had a little rub sore on the inside of my right knee. We did a trail ride on our 42 # DH/FR bikes. For a total of 4 hours, probably 3 riding. I hit the inside of a turn,at speed, and the front end washed out fast. I didn't even get to put my leg out and I was down. I did not even need to adjust the pads or even consider them because my arm, which was not protected, hurt. This was the first long ride with the pads and I really like them. Now if someone can come up with a elbow/forearm pad that didn't slide that would be great.

    BTW my friend has the Launch E/F pads and was constantly adjustind and shifting them.
    Team MOJO Wheels.

  33. #33
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Mr Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    214

    New question here. Launch K/S and E/F

    Quote Originally Posted by coldsteele
    I rode the Fox Launch K/S and just had a little rub sore on the inside of my right knee. We did a trail ride on our 42 # DH/FR bikes. For a total of 4 hours, probably 3 riding. I hit the inside of a turn,at speed, and the front end washed out fast. I didn't even get to put my leg out and I was down. I did not even need to adjust the pads or even consider them because my arm, which was not protected, hurt. This was the first long ride with the pads and I really like them. Now if someone can come up with a elbow/forearm pad that didn't slide that would be great.

    BTW my friend has the Launch E/F pads and was constantly adjustind and shifting them.
    Launch K/S and E/F whats the diference
    Looking into getting some of these is there protection on the lower leg just above the ankle?

  34. #34
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    810
    The only knee and shin pads I have been able to get to work for me on trail/AM rides are the Dainese they are very comfy not too hot do not chaf etc. The protection is not all that great though. I also have the Roach pads which I always choose for DH and shuttles they are also sweet but too much pad for pedaling IMO.

  35. #35

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,145
    Never having used pads before I'm still getting used to the 661 veggies. Do they wear in a bit with use & become more comfy?
    They seem pretty good, like they won't be slipping donw or anything, just bulky feeling riding with them as I never have before. My legs got pretty sweaty underneath (I live in a warm climate though) but didn't feel overheated or anything: I imagine for anyone with prior injuries the warmth would probably help with easy movement of the joint!

    I know that the padding is there for a reason & if you crash will do a great job. I was just wondering if anyone uses neoprene ones with relatively thin padding? The thought crossed my mind that perhaps I should have gone for something like that to provide mainly protection from cuts & grazes but still super flexible for pedalling. I'm not exactly a full on or agressive rider but do push my abilities at times, and of course like most people have a half decent fall now and then.
    I think I already know the answer - less padding = less protection. Just after your opinions if anyone has ever had the same thought & tried it out?

    Cheers

  36. #36
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    1,156
    http://www.skinzprotectivegear.com/

    Anyone tried them? They have a lightweight set that looks pedal friendly?

  37. #37
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    470

    those look like they suck

    HOT?? they look it. and just looking at some of the photos it seems like the fabric bunches up a lot at the joints. Don't waste your money, get the Rockgardn's or the Roach Rally FR pads.

  38. #38

    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    1,145
    For the knee guards, I would have thought the strap would be better up top? Depends on the flexibility of the pad - if it's real flexible then it would be just like wearing leg warmers or something. I reckon they look like they'd slip down & possibly become annoying (bunching up).
    It's the sort of thin I was talking about those basics ones.

    The Elbow ones would be allright I reckon. Full leg guards would be hot.

  39. #39
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    313
    Does anyone have experience with the 661 Kyle Strait knee guards? http://www.sixsixone.com/catalog.asp...48e269&pl=BIKE

    Seems similar too the TLD T-Bone guards in that they seem fairly soft and both cover the upper part of the shin.

  40. #40
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Mr Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    214

    Cool-blue Rhythm Dainese Knee guards 3X

    Hi all
    Just bought some Dianese 3x Knee guards.
    Brand new this year so little informaton on performance. They are designed to allow pedaling and articulate about the knee .
    the straps are on the shinguard and on the thigh strap leaving the Knee guard free .
    Could be great for that all day adventure in the French alps.
    I wll report my findings in 2 weeks

Members who have read this thread: 0

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2019 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.