Years of riding bikes, in conjunction with genetics, have given me some monster quads. They’re great for mashing the pedals, but not so great at fitting into certain gear–knee pads in particular. I’ve tried numerous brands and models without much success. I do have one set of pads that fit well, but they are too hot and bulky for trail riding, which means they only get worn once or twice a year at the bike park.
When 7 Protection got in touch about testing some of their new gear, I was most interested in the Transition Knee ($70). It’s a lightweight, slip-on knee pad that looked ideal for pedally rides. Skeptical–but hopeful–I ordered a pair in XL.
Being a minimalist pad, they are light at 9.5oz (270g) for the pair. There are no straps on the Transitions; instead, they rely on compression from the Spandex and silicone cuffs to keep them in place.
The pad itself is thin and flexible. Even so, it exceeds CE EN 1621/1 protection standards. It provides ample coverage for your entire kneecap, as well as the upper part of your shin. They are machine washable, but definitely don’t put them in the dryer.
I’ll get right to it and say that these are the most comfortable pads I’ve ever used. The fit is spot-on for my legs–snug without being tight. They’re just like a good pair of leg warmers: you pull them on and they stay put. I’ve done multiple 20-30 mile rides in these things and haven’t yet needed to adjust them during a ride. For reference, I typically wear bib shorts underneath my baggies, and their cuffs likely help to keep the Transitions in place as well.
When you first start riding with them on, the pads do stick out to either side while your knee is bent. However, as the material warms up from your body heat, the pad begins to conform to your knee. After 15-20 minutes of riding, it’s like you have a custom heat-molded knee pad. Eventually, you forget you’re even wearing them.
With their mostly Spandex and mesh construction, they don’t have the sauna effect of bulkier pads. On a recent ride at Raccoon Mountain, temps hit the mid-70s, but I didn’t feel the need to take the pads off. For cooler rides–in the 40s and 50s–they pull double-duty as knee warmers. I can see them being too hot to wear all day in the summer, but that’s where their light weight and packable size is a bonus. Put them in your pack for the climb and slip them on at the top. I certainly wish I had these during our team meet up in Colorado last summer where we climbed for 10 miles straight and then descended for 10 miles.
As you may expect, the lightweight construction of the Transition Knee does come with a tradeoff in durability. I easily put a hole in the mesh when I snagged it on one of my flat pedal pins. I would advise taking a little more care when dealing with these. Don’t just throw them in your bag where tools could poke holes in them, and keep them away from Velcro. However, I should note that the material over the pad itself is much tougher than the rest of the mesh and Spandex.
That caveat aside, I enthusiastically recommend these to anyone looking for a light-duty knee pad that can be worn comfortably all day long.
Thanks to 7iDP for providing the Transition Knee for review