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G-Form was one of the first companies to really push soft body armor as a viable alternative to the classic, storm trooper-style hard plastic protection. And now, years later, almost every protection brand also offers a similar style of soft, low profile armor in the same vein as G-Form. But that hasn’t kept G-Form from consistent growth, and you can expect to see their pads on most bike shop shelves and at almost every major trailhead.

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The core of the G-Form pads are the impact-absorbing RPT™ cells. Essentially, as you’re pedaling along these pads are soft and pliable, providing maximum mobility. But as soon as you come off the bike and hit the ground, they stiffen up, protecting your body from harm.

While I had tested some G-Form pads back in 2012, my European Tour last summer, complete with endless shuttle and chairlift rides, afforded me plenty of opportunity to put the latest (at that time) Pro-X pads to the test.

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By Greg Heil
 
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Photo: Zach White

On my first ride in Europe last year we began by pedaling about five miles before the bulk of our descent. As I slid my pads in place before descending, I questioned myself: “Did I really need to bring these? They seem uncomfortable, hot, and bulky.”

Note that anything seems uncomfortable, hot, and bulky when you’re not used to wearing any pads and as little clothing and gear as legally possible, but I put the Pro-X knee pads to the test within 30 seconds of sliding them up and in place.

The combination of an unusual bike, unusual tires, an unknown trail, and an excess of confidence sent me rag dolling off the side of the mountain, straight into a scree field filled with sharp-edged boulders. I bounced right back up, attending to a spot of pain and quickly-coagulating blood on my elbow, as I’d foolishly left the Pro-X Elbow pads at the hotel. I didn’t give a second thought to my knees until later in the day, when I looked at the pads to discover a few scuff marks, and a slight cut in one of the cells–wow, my knee pads had really done an incredible job! Despite smacking them hard, they protected me superbly.

Excellent silicone grippers

Excellent silicone grippers

I went on to crash repeatedly during my stint in Europe, and thankfully I was diligent about using my pads for big, rowdy descents, with all of the endless shuttle routes and lift rides we explored. Despite all the lift rides and shuttles, there were still plenty of climbs to pedal and transition zones in between lift rides, which gave me plenty of occasion to test the pedal-ability of the pads.

G-From touts how comfortable their pads are–so comfortable that “you’ll never again worry about compromising your movement and performing your best – in fact, you won’t even realize you’re wearing them,” according to G-Form’s website. While I found them to be radically more comfortable to pedal in than most pads, I definitely did realize that I was wearing them.

Photo: Zach White

Photo: Zach White

Perhaps this is because I rarely wear padding, and when I do, I’m abundantly aware of the pads. Maybe I’m just being picky. But despite an excellent fit and a very flexible design, I still didn’t find them comfortable enough to pedal in routinely. Instead, I took to sliding the pads down around my calves for extended climbs, pulling them back up and in place when it came time to descend.

But since I began my review of the Pro-X pads, G-Form has released a new line of pads, dubbed the Pro Elite range. The Pro Elite pads have many more, smaller cells for padding than the Pro-X, which in theory would allow the Pro Elites to articulate and conform to the body even better. G-Form isn’t content to simply rely on one proven line of protection–they continue to innovate by introducing new products on a regular basis.

MSRP: $69.99

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By Greg Heil
 

Thanks to G-Form for providing the Pro-X Knee Pads for review.

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# Comments

  • Joel DH

    I ride with a pair of 661 EVO AM kneepads, and those puppies are rated for full on DH. They are also the hard version, but they are surprisingly comfortable! I rode 30 miles in Dupont yesterday with them on…no problems!
    Speaking of which: Greg, were you at Dupont yesterday?
    I need to demo these so I can compare them to my 661s.

    • Greg Heil

      Nope, wasn’t at Dupont–about 1,600 miles from there 🙂

  • hazard

    Great summary – have to say I’m jealous of your testing location!

    I’ve been using a pair of the knee pads for 2 seasons now – starting a third now. For someone who is not used to wearing pads, I can appreciate your awareness that the pads are present. As someone who usually wears pads, these were a blessing. Especially when used to something like the Fox Launch pads.

    It’s amazing the impacts these pads will protect you from. I had mine with on a day of DH shuttles (I had them as a back up pair, these would not be my first choice for DH) and a friend forgot his pads, so figured these would be better than nothing. I think on the first run he had a high speed impact/slide out, and pads did a great job of protecting his knees. Still got some dirt rash but he was impressed enough to go get a pair for trail riding.

    I’ll probably replace mine this season at some point, the stitching is beginning to separate alongside the foam padding. But anyone wondering about the longevity of these can rest easy, they hold up fairly well.

    Thanks for the review (and reminder to check out shins) and be careful out there!

  • Downhill Mike

    They are super comfortable, light and provide great protection for trail riding but I wash my pads after every second ride so they only last me usually half the season. Not very durable compare to my IXS downhill knee pads but G FORM are still the overall best trail pads on the market.

  • matthew_wj_miller

    Nice little review here, I am a fan of Leatt but recently when i get muscle pump in my calves it is the nicest feeling to remove the pads. I don’t have big legs but my calves are pretty sizable, so much so i have to use large pads, and even then the blood flow is restricted. struggling to find a pair that sit consistently over my legs and knees. How would you say that these compared in this circumstance. I am only 75KG max yet as i said sizable calves.

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