The Havok Knee Zip knee guards from Amplifi have proven to be a stable, comfortable and durable set of pads that provide an ample level of coverage. However, the Non-Stick Hook and Loop fasteners are a little strange, and they’re edging towards the pricier end of the scale.
- Buyer’s guide to mountain bike knee pads
- 7 Protection Sam Hill Knee pads review
- The best knee pads you can buy for mountain biking
Here, we’ve got Amplifi’s Havok Knee Zip guards on test. As the name suggests, they come with handy zips at the back so they can be removed without having to take your shoes off.
With that, they’re made using 35% Chloroprene Rubber, 20% Polyester, 20% Synthetic Elastomer, 15% Nylon and 10% Elastane.
Covering the SAS-TEC Level 2 protector is an abrasion resistance Kevlar fabric, with Power Webbing everywhere else for a bit of cooling. At the rear, as with many pads, there’s a thing mesh to aid cooling even more.
Unlike other pads, Amplifi has opted to use and embossed foam rubber along the hems of the pads for grip rather than silicone. Then, with the SAS-TEC protector, joint protectors are littered in all of the right places, each of which has been tested to EN1621-1 standards.
The Havok Knee Zips use something called Body Map Construction. It’s based on the latest anthropometric and ergonomic data, 3D body scans and advice from top sport scientists and injury specialists, says Amplifi.
Slip the pads on, and the coverage is instantly impressive. In fact, it’s pretty much perfect, so the Body Map Construction certainly works. The joint protectors sit exactly where they should, and there’s extra padding above and below the protective insert.
At no time during my test period with the Havok Knee Zips have I experienced any nasty rubbing or, in fact, any discomfort at all. At first, perhaps I had a little slippage, but that’s because I hadn’t cinched them up enough with the hook and loop fastener. That leads me nicely onto my next point.
The hook and loop fasteners wrap around the thigh the wrong way, in my opinion. Rather than wrap around the thigh in an anti-clockwise fashion, so the end of the strap faces away from the body it’s the opposite on the Havok Knee Zips.
While definitely a bit strange, it’s surprisingly not been an issue. Although, I expect that if you have too much dangling off, the strap could be vulnerable to being knocked out of place while pedaling.
They’re perfectly comfy though. During my time with the pads, I’ve not had any rubbing at all. Paired with that exceptional comfort is the pads durability. They can get a little sweaty on warmer days, but for a pad as beefy as this, that’s to be expected.
As with any mesh-backed pad, they’re prone to a bit of tearing if you manage to get it caught on something trailside or a flat pedal’s pins. Though, after quite a crash and a few washes, the Havok Knee Zips have shown no damage. So as long as you’re careful with the back panels, these pads will stand up to a fair bit of abuse.
They come at a price though, and at the upper end of £100, there’s a lot of very stiff competition. For example, the Endura MT500 Hard Shell knee pads, of course, get a shell for greater durability and a slightly slimmer package, but you’ll save £10 against Amplifi’s offering. The straps on the MT500’s are better thought out too.
Saving even more money is the 661 DBO knee pads, at £70. For the cash, they offer a decent level of protection with a D3O insert and reinforced nylon cap. They even look fairly similar to the Havok Knee Zip in their padding layout.
So with those two pads being as strong contenders as they are, it’s tough to justify the Havok Knee Zips on price, as they offer very similar performance while costing a little more. The Amplifi Havok Knee Zip knee guards are a durable, comfortable and stable option if you’re in the market for a fresh set of pads. Although, against very strong competition from the likes of Endura, 661 and others, they’re hard to justify for the price. If you manage to find them on sale, they’re definitely worth snapping up; you won’t be disappointed.