Sweet Protection Bearsuit Light Knee Pads
Size Tested: M
Intended Use: pedalable protection
Reviewer: 5’9” 155 lbs
Test Duration: ~2 months
Test Locations: Whitefish, MT; Nelson, BC
Sweet Protection is a Norwegian brand that’s been making protective gear for all kinds of outdoor activities for a while now. We took a look at their Bushwhacker Pro Carbon helmet in our MIPS helmet comparison, and I’ve been spending a bunch of time in their Bearsuit Light knee pads.
Sweet offers two different knee pads: the Bearsuit Light, and the Bearsuit Pro. As the name implies, the Lights that I rode are a bit smaller, and designed with pedaling in mind. The Pro’s are a bit bigger, with additional padding on the top and sides of the knee.
You know how every once in awhile you pull on a piece of gear for the first time and say to yourself “Oooh, this is nice!” I did that with the Bearsuit Light pads.
The main sleeve on the Bearsuit Light is a stretchy, rubbery material that kind of feels like the stuff used in thin wetsuits. It wraps around my leg perfectly — it’s snug without being tight, and it’s grippy without tugging on my leg hair.
A single strap at the top helps keep things secure, and there’s enough velcro so that when the elastic (inevitably) stretches out over time, I’ll still be able to snug things down.
I usually fall squarely in the middle of most companies’ Medium sized products, and I’d say the Bearsuit Light pads fit true to size. They’re snug, but not too tight.
The pads are built around a visco-elastic material that hardens on impact. This is generally similar to the products used by a bunch of other companies, and for good reason. The material is flexible and works well for a pad that has to accommodate a pedaling motion, but on impact, it firms up quickly.
The actual padding in the Bearsuit Pro is a bit thicker than some of the other comparable pads on the market, which is certainly beneficial in a crash. The other nice thing about the pad in the Bearsuit Light is that it’s removable, which means the sleeve can be washed more easily.
Finish on the product is definitely high end. The pads look and feel well constructed and solidly put together. There aren’t any straggly threads or unfinished edges that create itchy spots.
True to its intentions, the Bearsuit Light is really comfortable to pedal in. It’s shaped to work well with a bent knee, and it flexes easily throughout the entire pedaling range of motion. I’ve done a few 15-20 mile rides in them and they were comfortable the whole time.
The downside of the Bearsuit Light is that it’s a bit warmer than some other comparable knee pads. While there is some perforation on the sides, these pads definitely run a bit hotter than, for example, the Leatt Airflex Pro or the G-Form Pro-X knee pads. But I’d say the Bearsuit Light is more comfortable in terms of the pedaling motion than either of those, and it also offers more protection.
I only took one crash in the Bearsuit Lights, but it was a good one — a full tomahawk through some roots. The Bearsuit Lights faired ok; they warded off the biggest impact, but they also scootched down a little bit and I ended up with a raspberry just above my knee. I think if I’d had the upper strap cranked down tighter they might have stayed put better, but a tighter strap would have made them less comfortable to pedal in.
Sweet Protection’s Bearsuit Light knee pads are super comfortable to pedal in as long as it’s not too hot out, and they offer a bit more protection than some of the lighter weight, pedal-oriented pads. While it’s true they did pull down a little bit in my crash, I’ve had bigger, more DH-oriented pads pull down even more in smaller crashes, so at the risk of sounding like an apologist, I’m not holding this against the Bearsuit Light too much. I’d recommend the Bearsuit Light for anyone who’s looking for a really well made, comfortable pad for rowdier riding that involves getting to the top under your own power.