Mountain biking protection continues to improve, both in comfort and safety. Knee and elbow pads have evolved from bulky, hard pieces of plastic to ergonomic accessories that look and feel very much like arm or leg warmers—with material that hardens upon impact. Helmet-makers continue to develop new technologies to increase their effectiveness. Full-body armor is becoming lighter and more comfortable while retaining the same or even better levels of protection.
Here are just a few of the body protection products that we saw at Interbike.
Dainese (die-nee-say) is an Italian company specializing in lightweight protection for a variety of sports, including mountain biking. When designing gear, they take into account comfort, breathability, and ergonomics just as much as safety (but their products are rigorously tested for safety as well, of course). For 2017, the company has redesigned their most popular line of knee and elbow pads, and they’ve also rolled out some new pieces.
The Dainese Trail Skins knee and elbow pads have been reworked for the upcoming year to provide even more comfortable protection for trail and all-mountain riders. The Trail Skins 2 feature Pro-Armor material, which improves shock-absorption while also increasing breathability by 15%. Soft padding on the sides of the knees protects against impacts from multiple angles, and pre-formed shaping to conform to bent limbs ensures en ergonomic fit. The Trail Skins 2 come in sizes S-XL. Elbow pads retail for $74.99, while knee pads retail for $84.99.
Also improved for this year is the Rhyolite safety jacket (now the Rhyolite 2). It consists of a vest portion that uses Flexagon protection, a series of foam polygons that provide protection while remaining breathable and flexible. The vest can be used with or without removable sleeves that feature Pro-Armor elbow and shoulder pads. The improved Rhyolite jacket adds 7mm of back protection over the previous model, and it boasts 22% more breathability and 100g less weight. The Rhyolite 2 jacket is Level 2 certified. MSRP: $299.99.
Completely new for 2017, Dainese released the Trailknit baselayer collection, which combines wicking baselayers with added protection. The jersey includes a lightweight, flexible Level 1 back protector and Pro-Armor shoulder pads, all of which are removable. The short liners are designed to be worn under baggies, and include a chamois and hip pads. The jersey should retail for $189.99 while the shorts are set for $99.99.