The Bluegrass Eagle Skinny is a no-frills, no-fuss knee pad that's robust and pretty light too. Thick knee cups promise decent protection and they're secure when pedalling, but fit is poor and they tend to move, chafe and rub. Discomfort on pedally rides ultimately makes the low price feel less of a bargain.
The Skinny is the lightest in the Bluegrass range, a pad the brand says offers 'streamlined protection' and breathable fabrics. In reality, it sticks out noticeably at the sides and is pretty bulky, while the non-breathable bits cause problems the mesh can't help with.
Despite this, the actual pad is pretty thick for good impact-softening, and – though it's pretty unmalleable and won't mould to your leg even when warm – it stays securely in place.
The main body is a very breathable mesh, but that big, cumbersome pad gets your kneecaps hot and sweaty rapidly. The whole lot's held in place by silicone grippers top and bottom, plus an elastic strap around the calf.
Unfortunately, the large pad doesn’t flex with the knee, and instead levers the upper silicone away from your leg. Your knee cap is then free to move and rub the pad, which leads to chafing.
I tried wearing the pad lower down, but that just created continuous chafing on the very top of the knee cap rather than the front. Higher is not an option, especially as the lower cuff is already super-tight on my calf; although it keeps the pad secure, it gets uncomfortable on longer rides and the elastic shows no sign of bedding in or easing up.
On the upside, the Skinny should survive crashes without moving, and coverage on both the front and the sides is good. It's also only £49, so if you're planning little to no pedalling, they may well be a good option. Interestingly, there's a £90 D30 version of this pad that may well solve a lot of the problems simply by being malleable – look out for a future test.
Otherwise, if you really can’t stretch another £21 to a set of Race Face Indy D3O guards or similar, the Bluegrass Eagle Skinny will protect your knees from knocks at the expense of comfort.
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