POC’s newest mountain bike knee pads, the VPD System Lites, are a mid-level protective piece that’s perfect for aggressive trail riding and enduro. The VPD System Lites meet a European standard of protection, the EN 16211, Level 1 and are 3D molded for an improved fit.
The shell of the knee pad has a natural curve with vents above and below the patella. Underneath is a mesh fabric that is also breathable, and around the collars of the pad are silicone POC logos for added grip and retention.
Most people that own a 150mm+ travel bike are often setting out on more advanced trails regularly which means donning a set of pads like the VPD System Lites. Finding the right knee pad is not an easy task. Some have too little protection and are thin, falling down like loose socks during a ride. Others are too bulky and are a better fit for the bike park. These POCS seem to fit the bill for a pad that covers the aggressive rider whether they’re on a trail ride or at the bike park.
I received these POC pads this spring and they have been holding up well over my time with them. I don’t think there is a knee pad out there that you’re really going to “forget” about on a ride, whether they’re falling down or hanging on just a little too tight or chafing and collecting just a little too much sweat. Most of the time, mountain bikers are just picking a knee pad that minimizes these traits as much as possible.
The POC VPD System Lites do a good job at this. No, they don’t feel like wrapping velour around your knees, but the minor discomfort is always better than the chance of something worse.
For having about a quarter-inch of the VPD (Visco-Elastic Polymer Dough) protection, they are rather flexible and wind from the ride can be felt making its way through the vents onto the knee. The VPD material offers “extreme impact absorption,” according to POC and hardens upon impact. POC says that VPD can also sustain more impacts at a time or over its lifetime compared to other materials.
On the inside, the mesh materials that meets the knee is soft and has a little cush to it for added comfort. The silicone POC logos on the inside of the knee are more subtle than a lined silicone gripper along the whole thing, like other kneepads, but the natural curve and elastic collars kept them right in place on all my rides with the pads.
Standing up, the natural curve protrudes out a bit, but isn’t too bothersome. They are meant to be comfortable enough to pedal in, so off-the-bike comfort is secondary.
The POC VPD System Lites are a great choice for riders who need a pad to cover knees on aggressive rides as well as at the bike park. They are light, breathable, and have a confidence-inspiring-level of protection.
Thanks to POC for providing these pads for testing.