When the trail turns truly tough and technical, body protection is a must (unless you enjoy picking at scabs for weeks). But many traditional hard-shell pads are just so uncomfortable that it makes wearing them a real chore. And when wearing protection is a chore, fewer people are inclined to do it, which means more injuries are occurring than necessary.
Enter G-Form pads.
G-Form pads are made with “Reactive Protection Technology, a composite blendof PORON XRD material,” according to the G-Form website. In basic English, these are soft pads that conform to your body movements, yet when an unexpected crash happens the pad cells stiffen and absorb the impact. The pads are also good for impact after impact, unlike a helmet which needs to be replaced after just one crash.
The pad cells are attached to a tube of compression fabric that pulls up around your leg. There are no straps on the pads–instead, they depend on a tight fit and the compression fabric to stay in place. With 8 different sizes, it is important to order the correct one as there is no way to adjust the fit after purchase.
Out on the Trail
The fit of the pads is definitely as comfortable as advertised: this unique pad design really conforms to the shape of your knee and leg, allowing the pads to provide superb protection since they will always be as close to the skin as possible. While these are more restrictive than not wearing any pads, the soft-cell design allows the knee pad especially to flex as you pedal and move on the bike, unlike some stiff-shell pads that severely inhibit motion.
I’ve only crashed once while wearing these pads, but I came away unscathed and with my pads unmoved. I can only assume they performed their job properly, because I didn’t feel a thing!
Due to the really streamlined design of the pads, they could easily be worn under long pants in cold weather without bunching. In warm weather, while the fabric isn’t the lightest material, it is reasonably breathable.
My only gripe with these pads is that the knee and shin pads don’t fit well together. Due to the way the padding attaches to the compression fabric, there is a significant amount of fabric both above and below the actual pad. When trying to wear both the knee and the shin pads together, the compression fabric of one inevitably overlaps the actual padding of the other. You can kind of see what I mean in this picture below:
The connection between the two pads leaves much to be desired. While you can make it work, I could easily see a crash destroying the fabric instead of just impacting on the padding like it should. Plus, at $49.99 MSRP for both the knee pads and the shin pads, you’re looking at a price tag of $100 for this entire setup. Down the road, I think G-From would do well to produce a knee-shin combo pad.
Complaints aside, G-Form makes some crazy-comfortable pads that also provide serious protection when you need it!
Many thanks to G-Form for sending these pads over for review.