All day comfort and DH levels of protection, Dainese has a winner in their new Enduro knee pad…
Words: Toni Walbridge
Photos: Misti Walbridge
Dainese Enduro Knee Guard
I’d say I’ve tested, not reviewed Dainese’s Enduro Knee guard because in just a couple weeks time I’ve managed to hit the ground hard in these knee pads, twice, really f’n hard. In the first incident, I lost my front wheel resulting in a high speed slide out on a rocky section of trail. No idea what the hell was going on in my head, but clearly I wasn’t paying attention to the task at hand. As I transitioned from two wheeled bliss to sliding down the trail on my chest and knees, I noted that the hard shell of the Enduro knee guards glide over sharp rock with little resistance. When I finally came to a stop, I also noticed the pads had not slid down, twisted, or moved out of place in any way. The Enduro Guards picked up some fresh scratches but my knees were unharmed and I walked away with hardly a mark on me.
Dainese Enduro Knee Guard Specs:
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
MSRP: $129.00 USD
Construction: ABS plastic cap over knee and shin, ventilated armor on sides over soft, full wrap knee sock
Adjustments: Adjustable thigh strap, fixed calf strap
On the web at Dainese.com
The second time I slammed in these, a fresh, muddy berm in the Whistler Bike Park blew out as I pressed into it. I tried in earnest to ninja my way out of certain death with a quick foot out. Alas, my foot landed in more soupy mud and I proceeded to slam hard into my right knee and shoulder. My shoulder hit hard enough that I wound up getting a quick trailside lesson in the reduction of an anterior shoulder dislocation. My knee, on the other hand, suffered not even a mark. No pain or bruising made its way past the Enduro knee guard’s substantial armor and this is all fairly impressive considering how hard I hit. Maybe I should try a pair on my shoulders…
Well rounded coverage
Dainese packs protection all around the Enduro Knee Guards. The honeycomb like hard plastic protection is substantial enough outside of your leg from a home-run slide or impact with a tree or boulder but breaths well. Protecting the inner knee, soft pads keep you safe from striking your frame or even your controls in an OTB crash. Pretty much, no matter how twisted up you get in your next crash, your knees are gonna be pretty well protected in these guards.
Comfort in the saddle
The Enduro Knee Guard being, um, well, a knee pad intended for “enduro” means that it needs to be comfortable enough to pedal in for a good while. I did a few days 2-3000′ vertical climbing and just left them on the whole time. Other than a bit of heat and bulk, they make a great pad for pedaly rides into aggressive terrain. The fabric does not bunch or pinch nor did I have any rubbing from them while on my bike. I did notice that if I spent a bunch of time standing around, the hard plastic shin guard tended to dig in to my lower shin. It’s not an issue when you’re actually riding your bike, but, junk show rides happen and standing around is occasionally unavoidable. Overall, they deliver an impressive amount of comfort for a pad that can easily stand up to anything the trail might throw at you.
Apologies for the pale white upper thigh skin, it’s the only shot I captured that shows both the upper and lower retention straps. The Enduro Knee Guard’s sock style construction goes a long way to holding the pad in place. There’s also an adjustable strap above the knee and a fixed strap just above the calf. We already established that they stay put on me and I think they will for most. If you have particularly small calves, I could see them not grabbing that tightly so maybe try before you buy.
The final word
Folks, I can’t find a whole hell of a lot to complain about here. At $129 they’re priced right. They’re one of the few pads that combine DH levels of protection with all/most day pedaling comfort. The construction and quality is top notch and they stayed put no matter how hard I wiped out. I think the biggest consideration is making sure they’re the right pad for you. For less critical trails, checkout Dainese’s Trail Skins 2 pad and save yourself a bit of bulk. For bike park riding, enduro racing, or just pedaling out to that double-black diamond line that scares the shit out of you Enduro Knee Guards are a killer option.