G-Form Knee Guards
Traditionally most knee pads have been designed for downhill and freeride applications, so whilst their level of protection is very good they’re generally just too hot and uncomfortable for trail and cross-country riding. Over the last few years we’ve seen some manufacturers making pads designed to overcome these limitations, but G-Form seems to have have taken the light, cool and comfortable ethos further than anyone else to date. Their unique-looking knee pads weigh just 150g per pair (medium), come in eight different sizes and are available for around $65, which seems a very reasonable price to pay to safeguard your essential mid-leg hinge.
The G-Forms are basically a knee warmer made from lycra compression fabric with a silicon gripper at the upper edge to help keep them in place; sewn onto this is the padding itself, made from a material called Poron® XRD™. Like offerings from some other brands, this ‘foam’ is relatively soft when you press it slowly, but becomes almost rigid under a sharp impact such as your knee hitting a rock or tree. Unlike the alternatives, however, the Poron XRD doesn’t need a protective outer layer, so the pad can be moulded and then attached directly to the inner fabric. This not only simplifies manufacture, but also reduces weight and cost. Unlike some others, G-Form also claims that this material suffers no deterioration from repeated impacts, so the protection levels remains unchanged throughout the life of the pads.
In terms of lifespan, I’ve been using these pads for over three months and they’re holding up far better than any other lightweight pads I’ve tested (and there’s been quite a few). The lycra may have stretched slightly, and the screen printed logos are starting to peel off, but otherwise they look pretty much perfect. Not a single stitch has popped, and despite some initial scepticism the padding has held up brilliantly to multiple slides and scrapes. They haven’t suffered any major impacts (normally I crash a bit more often) but the highly scientific ‘wrap them around your hand then bash it with a hammer’ test confirms that they’ll provide ample protection for the knocks and bumps of trail riding. The caveat here is that the padding doesn’t wrap very far around the sides, so cracking your inner knee on the top tube is still a possibility. Overall they’ve stayed in place well; during the first few minutes of a ride they settle into place and then don’t move around; if you take a sliding fall they can slip a little, but no worse than other lightweight pads. If you’ve got knobbly knees they’ll be a little more prone to movement so you may need to go down a size to get a secure fit. They’re comfortable enough that you completely forget you’re wearing them, too.
It’s always better to have pads and not need them than to need them and not have them; the beauty of the G-Form knee guards is that you really aren’t incurring a weight or comfort penalty by slipping them on. If you’re a trail rider who prefers to avoid unnecessary injuries, you should think of these pads as your new best friend.
Pushie Enterprises 0404 885 896 / www.g-form.com