The G-Form philosophy is to not only to eliminate pain, but also any fear of it. I like this statement. I like this statement a lot! I ride with pads so frequently, that without them I feel more vulnerable than I would in an interview with Oprah. Like a mountain bike of adequate stature and specifications for the trails you ride, mountain bike armor should also inspire the confidence you deserve to ride hard. G-Form may have just hit that fear-killing, confidence-inspiring sweet spot with their Elite Knee Guard.
The all-new Elite Knee Guard offers the same technology and structure as other G-Form protectives, but fills a gap in coverage between the Pro-X and Pro-X Knee-Shin Guards. I’ve been using the Elite Knee for the last few months, measuring their comfort, durability, and protect-ability. To complete the package, G-Form also sent me a set of Elite Elbow and Pro Ankle Guards, which I’ve reviewed separately.
Elite Knee Guard Specifications
- CE EN 1621-1 certified for motorcycle protection
- Body-mapped, impact-absorbing RPT padding
- Moisture-wicking, UPF 50+ compression fabric
- Upper and lower silicone grip bands
- Mesh back panel
- Sizes: S-XL (M reviewed)
- Colors: Black/Yellow, Black
- Weight: 357g (size M)
- MSRP: $99
Free Range Form
A G-Form pad is widely-recognizable from its exoskeleton-like structure. The modular design sets G-Form apart from the competition while serving a key function in movement and comfort. Through Singletracks reviews and purchases of my own, I have five sets of knee pads. I still cycle through three of the five on a regular basis as they each have different qualities I like. None, however, provide as much range of motion and articulation as the Elite Knee Guard.
Despite its superior ability to move with me, the Elite Knee Guard never moved away from me. I’ve always preferred that second skin feel of compression sleeve knee pads over straps, but a common fault among many is the tendency of the pad portion to move independently of a snug sleeve. This floating phenomenon is because most sleeve designs create a separate pocket in which the pad rests. G-Form pads are directly sewn into the moisture-wicking sleeve. This, coupled with a highly-flexible, soft pad means that the entire structure works with body movement, not against it.
Protection on a Molecular Level
The molecules of a G-Form pad inherently move away from each other, making the pad soft and flexible at rest. Upon impact, the molecules move closer together and the foam hardens to slow and disperse energy transfer. After impact, the foam rebounds to its preformed state. G-Form calls this bi-phasic change Reactive Protection Technology (RPT). For the wearer, it means superior comfort and fit throughout the range of motion, with excellent protective qualities when you need it.
Outside of the occasional light contact with Mother Nature, I never suffered the misfortune of a hard crash during my time with the Elite Knee Guard. Even still, they’re burly enough to invoke high speeds and aggressive riding with the confidence that, should an unintentional dismount occur, you’ll be riding intact the next day.
The Elite Knee Guard features a longer compression sleeve than their Pro-X line, but shorter than the Pro-X Knee-Shin. The longer sleeve extends coverage to the distal shin which might make flat pedal strikes more tolerable. Combined with the right sock, the entire lower leg can be covered, making it a great option during transition months when trails are muddier and temperatures are lower. Running from top to bottom, the back of the sleeve has a sewn-in mesh panel to exhaust heat — a necessary feature when employing a full-length sleeve design.
The pad area on the Elite Knee has also been expanded for better coverage. Rather than haphazardly making the pad bigger, G-Form maps the shape of their pads to cover the most vulnerable areas of the knee and shin. Body mapping ensures coverage in key areas without excess material and weight. Despite broadening protective coverage, the pad still maintains the low profile for which G-Form is known.
When it comes to body armor for mountain biking, there are many design options to fit the needs of various types of riding. While the Elite Knee is a bit much for the lycra-clad XC crowd and potentially under-gunned for DH racing, they’re perfectly poised for anything in between. And that’s a lot of trails! With a wider area of coverage, low profile, and the ability to stay put, the Elite Knee takes aim at the greatest amount of protection with the least amount of fuss, making them more of a friendly companion than a “tool of ignorance.”
Thanks to G-Form for providing the Elite Knee Guard for review.