Some rides are long epics on less eventful terrain, some rides are fast and hard thrashes through the woods, and some rides you’re really cruisin’ for a bruisin’. Regardless of the work order, sometimes you need more protection and sometimes you need less, and those needs can vary widely even within the same ride. 7iDP (intelligent design protection) created a transformable, customizable, and packable pad to fit such a need with their Covert Knee pad.
Bottom Line: the Covert Knee is for those who wear knee armor as much as they can get away with, engage in a wide variety of terrain and style from downhill shuttles and bike parks to epic backcountry and in-town loops, and are not afraid to invest in high-quality gear. Seriously, unless you do all of these types of riding to some degree, you don’t need these pads (and you’re probably not having as much fun as you should either).
- Color: Black
- Sizes: S, M, L (tested), XL (7iDP size guide)
- Weight: 415g
- MSRP: $89.95
The Covert Knee is devoid of any straps or buckles and instead uses a 4-way stretch, Poly/Spandex mesh compression sleeve that, when slid on, runs from the lower third of the upper leg to mid-calf. The bottom length is longer than most knee-only guards and, although it has a tendency to work its way up and over the calf, makes sense as an additional precaution against abrasion. The stocking conforms, acting like a second skin, stabilizing the armor while your legs moves unrestricted. The back and lower anterior panel is open mesh to provide adequate ventilation. The outer knee covering is a durable, pleather-like shell sewn into the stocking and, besides its main function as a snag-resistant layer, I thought the design really added some bling.
The armor is removable from an inside pocket and those who ride padded on a regular basis know how important this becomes when frequent washings are required to keep the stench at bay and, perhpas more importantly, you need them dried out quickly. Removing the Covert Knee armor reveals three separate layers of varying and customizable densities of protection. This modular design enables the addition or subtraction of protective thicknesses depending on the nature of the ride. The layer closest to the skin is a thicker, porous, more flexible foam for light duty rides or long days in the saddle. The middle layer is a thinner, stiffer, closed-cell foam added to increase the overall density and protection. Both foam layers are covered by a quick-drying, anti-bacterial fabric. Add the most outer, hardened plastic layer when it’s really time to braap. All three layers are contoured to match the knee’s anatomy when flexed at about 45 degrees, integrate effortlessly using a series of tabs, cuffs, and straps, and all three together exceed the European safety standard for motorcycle armor (CE EN 1621/1).
I enjoyed mixing and matching the three pads, but ultimately settled with the thicker, less dense foam coupled with the hard plastic knee cap for the majority of my rides. The hardened cap gave me peace of mind in the event of an unintentional dismount while the deletion of the stiffer, middle layer foam lowered the profile. Again, the beauty of this system is the ability to slide in that extra layer (or two) depending on how rowdy you want to get.
In many cases, the more moving parts and gimmicks added, the more likely you will experience failure, but I just don’t see that happening with 7iDP’s design. In fact, the ability to strip down and separate the inner pads from the main compartment and individually care for each piece may improve the lifespan. Saying that I “approve” or “highly recommend” the 7iDP Covert Knee would be an understatement. Their comfort, performance, and versatility lends itself well to those who ride everything from XC to downhill, but don’t want to fuss with multiple sets of protective gear for specific disciplines. With the Covert Knee, I can now toss my light duty knee pads, sell my heavier set, and just roll the 7iDPs 24/7, no matter what the trail has in store.
Thank you 7 Protection for supplying the Covert Knee for review!