The Alpinestars Paragon Plus Knee Protector is a good value, slim and light pad that offers comfy-pedalling protection. The elasticated sleeve is breathable, the armour extends some way down the shin and it doesn't move or chafe. The top of the sleeve does wrinkle down though, which is annoying.
Designed to be light, durable and easy to pedal in, the Paragon Plus from Alpinestars hits the nail on the head. It uses an elasticated sleeve design, encircling the leg from the kneecap to mid-shin for broad protection from falls and pedal strikes. While obviously not the beefiest thing, it offers a really good, useable balance of protection and comfort.
Whilst the front of the pad might be durable, the rear is a little delicate – I ripped the elastic sleeve on a pedal pin not long after these pictures were taken. It's pretty thin to help cooling.
You get silicone grippers at the top, a second one over the calf and the elasticated sleeve to keep the pad in place. The upper silicone strips at the cuff aren't sticky or wide enough, however, so the sleeve can wrinkle down to the fold on the top of the knee. Annoying. Wider elastic, such as found on these very similar Raceface Indy D30 knee guards, would probably fix that. Maybe for version 2.0?
Nevertheless, thanks to the good calf construction, the rest of the pad stays in place when pedalling. The pad does shift across the knee laterally from the top of you do hit the dirt, a combination of the flexible nature and the loose top allowing it some freedom when forced. They certainly aren't as secure in that respect as some of the 7iDP Sam Hill Lite knee pads I'm also testing.
I ended up tucking the sleeve under the lower edge of my lycra, which does help keep it in place for pedalling but it's neither foolproof nor ideal!
The armour itself conforms to the leg well. Alpinestars has used a good ergonomic shape and it's malleable in a rubbery sort of way. The pad curves around the knee cap at the top and cups it well, ensuring there's no rubbing.
At £45, the Paragon Plus isn't bad value. It's comfy, slim, great to pedal in and offers a useful (if obviously not extreme) level of protection from its well-shaped pad. I'd like to see a more robust sleeve and better security at the top, but even so, they don't slip around, are unobtrusive on the trails and fit like a glove. Or like a well-tailored kneepad, anyway...
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