knee pads: yea or nay

FerralsFerrals Posts: 785
edited June 2014 in MTB general
I've been pretty surprised recently at the number of people I see plastering on full face helmets, knee and elbow pads in trail centre carparks (Afan/glyngorrwg). Given that xc racers don't wear them and they are going to be pushing it harder than most people on trail centres it seems a bit OTT? Even on my local woodland trails it seems standard (at least at afan there are lots of rocks). Have people been suckered in by marketing hype or are they really a good idea for general xc riding?

I thought about getting some when I started riding again, but decided it wasn't necessary. It was only last weekend when I saw that I was in the minority being unpadded that I got the heebie-jeebies and started to consider a lightweight pair again. I guess paying £50 is better than a screwed knee, but i have a nasty feeling I'd buy some and not bother wearing them most of the time anyway.

I'd be interested in peoples thoughts on when they wear them (if at all) -please either talk me into it or talk me out of buying some!!

I half wonder if I'd be more likely to crash having the extra protection to give confidence!?

Do you wear knee pads? 82 votes

Never
32% 27 votes
Always
54% 45 votes
Only specifically for DH / dirt jump session
12% 10 votes
«13

Posts

  • lawmanlawman Posts: 7,292
    Use them for my local xc trails but usually wear them when I go to centres just to be on the safe side. I've got some pretty light weight ones that are hardly noticeable when riding so may as well wear them just in case. I'm actually thinking of getting some even lighter weight ones for xc and keeping my existing pads for uplift days.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,904
    I think I hit the wrong button.
    I never wear them, but do have a scabby knee and scratched leg after coming off at Afan over the weekend.
    A friend with me always wears them, but when he came off at BPW on Sunday, he broke both his hands instead.
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  • ilovedirtilovedirt Posts: 5,798
    I didn't used to always wear them, but I do now, not sure why. I guess I just don't want to end up not being able to walk for weeks after if I have a nasty crash (I've had a few like that), or not be able to drive home.
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  • ThewaylanderThewaylander Posts: 8,767
    Always, seen a fair few peoples stretchered off with their knees shredded as they have crashed (it’s a rather exposed spot on the body) and had friend crash at slow speed gash his knee so deeply I had my fingers inside his knee to clean it to get him to hospital (he lost a month off work). For minimal cost and discomfort I think its not unwise to have some.

    Also take into account injure most bits of your body you can walk out no issues, smash your knees you need a stretcher…
  • FerralsFerrals Posts: 785
    Nice one guys - keep the thoughts coming.

    Waylander -its the stretcher thought that makes me think its a good idea, I ride alone most of the time, and when you look at strava and realise you've been travelling at 40+ km/h down rocky hillsides, it gives you pause for thought!!
  • bigmitch41bigmitch41 Posts: 689
    Yep I started wearing knee pads last year and theyve definately saved my knees several times, I got the Nukeproof ones from CR and dont notice them once on the move while on 30 - 40 km xc rides.
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  • Angus YoungAngus Young Posts: 3,063
    I never saw the need. Then I had a big off onto my right knee at full pelt. And I wasn't even riding anything difficult, just distracted for a moment and bam! Wear them all the time now. Don't want to spend another two weeks not being able to walk or sleep.
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  • mcnultycopmcnultycop Posts: 2,143
    I hardly notice they are there, so tend to wear them for pretty much everything other than just local easy rides.
  • duskdusk Posts: 583
    I ride to enjoy myself, that involves going fast and not crashing so wearing pads is a no brainer for me.

    I've also got a buggered wrist from an accident a few years back so having pads to land on rather than hands is a bonus. I've seen some pretty bad injuries from quite mundane crashes too(people without pads) which keeps me reassured.

    I could also compare it to a helmet in that even if you've never put it to use it's still nice to know it's there.
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  • peter413peter413 Posts: 5,120
    I usually wear knee pads but not always. Depends on the weather, bike I'm riding, trail I'm riding, how far I'm riding and even who I'm riding with. And it's not even as simple as that, sometimes I'll wear them and then not for the exact same ride twice.
  • My knees, along with hands, elbows, and hips, seems to the contact points that take most of the brunt when i come off.

    we ride a lot of natural technical trails, so not all that fast, but lots of silly low speed falls.

    the fact that my fox launch knee pads have chunks, cuts and holes in them is testimony to what they stop. they have also helped with a handfull of fast offs at bike parks.

    I wear mine most times i go out now. unless it just towpaths etc. now they have stretched in a bit, i can hardly feel them during a days ride.

    they make life nicer when you have to kneel down to fix a broken chain or something too! :P

    as for full face helmets... i bought one for FOD a few weeks ago. came off big, and hit face down....

    I wear a normal trail lid for 'normal' use, as its just a clammy thing to wear for sweating and breathing hard. wouldnt hesitate to use it if it wasnt as bad mind!

    Perhaps people have just become a bit more safety concious these days. look at the use of helmets in skiing since a few celebrities have died from head impacts.

    Downside is.. i think you feel a bit more bulletproof with it all on, which has its own problems!
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    I wear armour and full face for downhill but never for any other riding except just knee pads for enduro races.
    It's a personal preference thing based on your confidence in your ability, comfort on the bike and willingness to accept injuries.
    I'm fairly confident, I find armour uncomfortable but accept that it's worth the discomfort for downhill (hhigher speed, pushing my ability, bigger crashes) and I get private health care and unlimited sick pay so being off work isn't a problem. I can accept that what I do is dangerous, I WILL break bones and armour provides only limited protection.
    I won't ever ride any bike without a helmet.
  • duskdusk Posts: 583
    I'm sure a lot comes down to fashion too, I see a fair few people wearing neck braces now which has never crossed my mind.

    Another reason for knee pads is anyone who's ever snapped/dropped a chain and hit their knee on the stem
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  • stubsstubs Posts: 5,258
    Got some wore them a couple of times and they irritated the hell out of me, threw them in a box and never worn them since.
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  • DCR00DCR00 Posts: 2,160
    Knee pads for trail riding, knee and shin for DH

    Knee pads saved my leg last summer after catching it on a tree stump after a stupid OTB
  • SoggzSoggz Posts: 221
    Im self employed,dont get sick pay, and a bit mental on a mountain bike...so,yes,helmet,knee pads and elbow pads too...and also padded short liners in case i have to go to hospital...;)
  • Tim.sTim.s Posts: 515
    Same category as a helmet and gloves to me. Although I wouldn't bother for a quick bimble.
    "Didn't hurt"
  • oxocube1oxocube1 Posts: 651
    The only time I don't wear knee pads is when riding to work, otherwise I have them on every single ride, even if it's just a half hour blast round local trails. They have definitely saved my knees from taking a beating a couple of times, that's all it takes to make them worth wearing!
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    dusk wrote:
    I'm sure a lot comes down to fashion too, I see a fair few people wearing neck braces now which has never crossed my mind.

    Another reason for knee pads is anyone who's ever snapped/dropped a chain and hit their knee on the stem

    Im seriously considering getting a neck brace. I have crashed head first pretty hard a few times and had a very painful neck for a few days after. Makes me wonder how close I came to a more serious neck injury.
    I have also seen someone go face first in to a tree at 35-40mph and other than concussion and getting winded and knocked out he was fine. I'm pretty sure his neck brace saved his neck and possibly more. Didn't save his brand new Troy Lee D3 helmet getting destroyed though.
  • jmillenjmillen Posts: 627
    Interesting to see peoples responses. I bought some 661 elbow/forearm pads and knee/shin pads a couple of years back. I wore them a few times without needing them, and then they started to irritate the back of my knees so I stopped wearing them.

    Typically of course, I came off the bike a couple of weeks later and had a nasty cut on my leg, which I wouldn't have got if I had been padded up. I vowed from then on that I would always wear them...yet a couple of weeks after I had stopped again...Since then I have been to Afan/Bike Park Wales and other more local trails without wearing any of them. I do always have that thought in my mind "what if" but the discomfort/heat of riding some of my local trails (I live in Devon, so nothing is flat) just makes them impractical.

    I'd certainly be interested in getting some more subtle pads which don't irritate during rides so much. Perhaps then I may actually wear them !
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  • Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
    Knee and elbow pads for trail centre rides for me (Nukeproof Criticals currently), it's a no brainer, IMHO.
    jmillen wrote:
    I'd certainly be interested in getting some more subtle pads which don't irritate during rides so much. Perhaps then I may actually wear them !

    New Dainese Trail Skins look like they might be an ideal compromise, specifically designed for pedally trail riding, rather than gravity.
  • stubsstubs Posts: 5,258

    New Dainese Trail Skins look like they might be an ideal compromise, specifically designed for pedally trail riding, rather than gravity.

    They look like something I might wear I dont want armour just something to stop me scraping my knees.
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  • Angus YoungAngus Young Posts: 3,063
    Pinkbike like those. A lot.
    All the gear, no idea and loving the smell of jealousy in the morning.
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  • Kowalski675Kowalski675 Posts: 4,412
    I fancy trying some, definitely. The armour material is claimed to have better impact absorption than equivalent thickness D30, and is peppered with venting holes for air flow. They won't have the impact protection of full on gravity/DH pads, but should offer plenty of protection for all but the gnarliest trail riders, with better venting and articulation. They look ideal, I'd be ordering them now if I didn't already have pads.
  • FerralsFerrals Posts: 785
    Interesting replies guys, thanks, definately seems the majority always wear them.

    Those Dainese ones look interesting. On a similar vein I've been thinking about the fox launch enduros, and also the troy lee shock doctors or the leatt 3df ones, as I'd want some I can just wear all ride.

    One thing I wonder about though is if your going to wear pads, if it isn't better to accept a bit of discomfort for more padding. I guess if your knee slams a tree stump /rock at full speed those light weight ones won't do much?
  • POAHPOAH Posts: 3,369
    I'd wear knee pads if I could afford them and I don't have any issue with people wanting to protect themselves which there seems to be unless you are doing 20ft jumps.

    I came off last week and didn't do much damage but I'd not have bled with pads on. I also wear a FF helmet all the time now on road or off as I value the protection it gives my face. I can't afford to have time off work. I think the market has realised that people want protection for their body but don't need the full on DH gear.
  • stubsstubs Posts: 5,258
    Just ordered some Dainese Trail Skins from chainreaction. Hopefully be here for the weekend will get back with a review.
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  • FerralsFerrals Posts: 785
    Nice one - did you find a size guide anywhere? I was considering ordering myself (although now I'll wait to hear your verdict first :lol::lol: )
  • I confess I dont,

    I wear a helmet, gloves and some Fox armoured under shorts.

    The only reason for them is I have a hip replacement following an off. They certainly provide some padding over my hip where its full of scar tissue after 2 opps.

    But now I am not as fast and my bottle has gone the thought of having a big off makes me feel queasy :shock:
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    I have noticed that at downhill races I'm definitely in the minority wearing armour. Even neck braces are becoming less common.
    Injuries are quite common in races, the medics rarely have time to get bored.
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