2nd Look: G-Form Pro-X Knee Pads
Size tested: Small
Blister’s Measured Weight: 119 grams/pair (size small)
- 5’2” 125 lbs.
- Thigh diameter: 16.5”
- Calf diameter: 14”
Test locations: Colorado Springs, CO; Moab, UT
Test duration: ~30 rides
Noah Bodman recently reviewed G-Form’s Pro-X Knee Pads and concluded that they are a good option for mountain bikers looking for some knee protection that doesn’t sacrifice pedaling comfort and efficiency.
I have also been blown away by the comfort of the Pro-X’s, so here is a 2nd Look that discusses their comfort, fit, durability, coverage, and some comparisons to the POC Joint VPD Air kneepads.
Like Noah, I am in between sizes (Small and Medium), and chose to go with the smaller size. They fit well and don’t slide down, but are a bit tight around my calf. The upper portion has stretched out a bit within a month of riding, so I’m glad I didn’t get a size larger. I wouldn’t recommend downsizing too much due to the tight calf cuff, but it’s better to err on the smaller side if you are in between sizes.
The Pro-X Knee has a slip-on design with padding on and around the kneecap sewed directly onto a lightweight sleeve of material. The padding is only about 1/3 inch thick, and has ergonomic cutouts to allow for knee articulation while pedaling. The sleeve is made of thin spandex-like material that is extremely breathable. I figured this sleeve would wear out or tear easily, but it has held up extremely well.
I agree with Noah that the Pro-X’s are very comfortable, stay in place and don’t heat up too much. I usually forget I’m wearing them within 15 minutes. They don’t slide down or bunch up behind the knee due to the stretchy material and a silicone grip around the thigh. Unless it’s a hot day, I don’t think twice about throwing them on before most trail rides.
I haven’t had any hard impacts directly to the padding, so I’m not sure how well G-Form’s RPT (Rate-Dependent Technology) foam works.
It has helped decrease small glancing impacts from sliding out to my knees and flying rocks hitting my upper shins. The foam definitely cushions some impact, but I doubt it would prevent serious patella injuries that beefier DH-oriented pads (e.g., the POC VPD 2.0) are designed to handle.
This is the inherent sacrifice of trail-oriented pads that are comfortable to wear while pedaling. However, some other “soft” pads offer more protection than the Pro-X’s. I wore the POC VPD Air for a few rides, and while they are a bit more cumbersome, they seem to offer more protection with thicker, less pliable padding. (See below for more on these two pads.)
My main complaint about the protection of the Pro-X is the lack of coverage on the inner knee. Most hard impacts to my knee are from my frame. While these injuries are relatively minor, they happen a lot, and these knee pads do very little to prevent them. The Pro-X wouldn’t lose much comfort, if any at all, with increased coverage on the inner knee. This lack of strategic coverage is probably because they aren’t designed only for mountain biking, and therefore bike-specific coverage isn’t a priority.
The Pro-X pads have held up better than I expected based on their lightweight build. The sleeve material and padding are still intact despite quite a few minor falls, and they don’t seem too worn. Parts of the construction, however, have not fared well; in multiple places the stitching is unraveling, and it seems a bit premature for $70 knee pads to start falling apart after one month of use.
G-Form Pro-X vs the POC VPD Air
The G-Form Pro-X is lighter weight, more breathable and more comfortable while pedaling than the POC VPD Air. This is because the sleeve of the Pro-X is much thinner and is less noticeable behind the knee. The padding is also thinner, and offers more mobility while riding due to the articulated design.
The POC VPD Air is still much more comfortable than hard knee pads, but the Pro-X feels more like a knee warmer than a knee pad.
However, the Pro-X provides less coverage, especially on the inside and outside of the knee. I would also expect the VPD Air to offer superior protection against hard impacts because POC’s visco-elastic polymer dough (VPD) is less pliable pre-impact and seemed to harden more than the Pro-X when I hit both with a hard object (although I haven’t had a hard crash in either).
The G-Form Pro-X knee pads are great for trail riders who want a bit of protection without sacrificing any pedaling comfort or efficiency. They are hands down the most comfortable pads I have ever worn, but the downside is that this isn’t a super durable, burly pad, and some riders will want more coverage.
So if you aren’t too hard on gear and would like some light protection, the Pro-X may be for you. Riders looking for more knee protection may want a slightly stiffer pad with more coverage.