After crashing with these things on beyond just these two incidents, I’ve noticed a theme: I get to focus on important things like how many more crashes my helmet can take before needing replacement, and not the giant gaping hole in my knee cap. And I can say this with all honesty: every time I’ve put them on before riding, that’s the last time I touch them before taking them off. They don’t slip while riding, and, more importantly, they don’t slip while making memories and scars. I know every pad review on the planet says the same thing, but, here, check out my resume:
It’s safe for me to say that, out of the box, these are the most solid knee/shin pads I’ve ever owned. I haven’t owned everything out there by a long shot, but a lot of that is because I can tell total crap when I see it without having to pay money to be insulted by whoever “designed” them. Seriously, these are good pads.
Since all-mountainers who all-mountain have recently become increasingly concerned with all-mountain pads to go with their all-mountain bicycles for all-mountaining, I’ll go ahead and say this: you don’t want to spend a lot of time climbing in these. They’re DH pads. For DH’ing on DH bikes on DH trails. If you’re scared of your local XC loop that’s existed and been ridden on smaller bikes for years, or that terrifying two-foot drop that you need your all-mountaining skills for, just throw these on your pack. That secure neoprene setup with the overstraps is fine for short sprints or descents, but your VO2 will suffer. Don’t blow your KOM on strava… just throw them on your pack.
There is one somewhat significant gripe I have with these pads. I don’t know who their model is, but every single strap on these pads fits my legs just fine, except for the most important one: the calf strap. Whoever that guy or gal is who serves as the template, they have basketballs for calves, and then skinny-ass lower legs.
To compensate, I end up over extending the calf strap, which not only leaves this annoying little tail, it doesn’t provide a full purchase on the Velcro. It hasn’t been a problem, so I haven’t changed it, but I still may pull the Velcro off and sew it farther back on the strap. It’s not a huge deal, but with pads that get so much right, it’s just annoying that this was done kind of poorly. I don’t think I have alien-shaped legs, so I’d bet I’m not the only one with this issue.
The main “body” of the pads is that pegboard-looking padding sewn into mesh that’s so common in knee/shin pads. I haven’t torn mine yet—even with some long slides—so it seems to be holding up really well.
The Lizard Skins wrap around the leg a good bit, so they’re not the coolest things out there, but they’re not ovens, either. The vents on the exterior plastic do work, though. On fast trails, I can feel air moving across my shins. This is not really a big concern for me, but it’s worth mentioning that I’m not exactly pouring sweat while wearing them. There’s no neoprene anywhere but that knee area, which keeps things reasonable. Bottom line, these aren’t any noticeably hotter or cooler than anything else I’ve owned.
But they do work better without modifications than anything else I’ve owned. And to me, a pad “working” means crashing in them, not merely being comfortable while going on a trail ride.
Some footage of pads in use. (On the guy in blue.)