Design, features & fit
The simple slip-on design negates the need for clips and straps and the articulating, perforated neoprene chassis also features an abrasion resistant knee-cup padding.
A thin silicone strip on the inside of the knee pad secures them to the thigh and the protection is mostly in front of the knee where it’s needed, with a little bit of added padding around the sides. A rear stretch panel also adds to the great range of motion, comfort and cooling on hot days.
Getting the right sizing and fit is very important with knee pads so I would recommend a trip to your local retailer to ensure correct fit. Bear in mind they are a minimalist option so for riders who take on gnarly rides – especially very rocky trails – I would suggest something with a little more meat on them like the Launch Pro or Launch Pro D3O versions.
On the trails
I have clocked hundreds of kilometers including some five-hour trail rides and can say without a doubt they are incredibly comfortable. I never experienced any rubbing or chaffing issues and yes there is naturally some added heating with them as opposed to riding without knee pads but the protection upside is well worth it.
Crashes happen and there have been small ones and bigger ones whilst riding the Launch knee pads. The crash list includes slamming my knee into roots on a blown out turn, getting gusted by the South Easter whilst airborne in Tokai and putting the back wheel over a berm on the Higgo trail last month. Fortunately, there were no dramatic injuries to my knees, the skin, soft tissue or bones — it’s quite remarkable how much protection these slim knee pads offer. Pricing is around R799 which is a hell of a lot more cost effective than a trip to ER.
If you like pushing the limits on the trail, or are happy to stay within your comfort zone yet want the peace of mind from knowing you have some protection on your knees, you can’t go wrong with these.
Images: Gary Perkin