G-Form is a rather small fish in a huge pond filled with protective product brands such as Leatt, Troy Lee Designs and 100%. But, thanks to its supreme comfort, great coverage, excellent build quality and level of protection, the Pro Rugged 2 knee guard deserves its place among the best MTB knee pads - and is solid proof that G-Form is a brand that shouldn’t be ignored. The pad comes at a reasonable price, too; the only niggle is that it’s a little over-designed.
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G-Form Pro Rugged 2 - Technical details
The Pro Rugged 2 is an update of the original design but G-Form says that all aspects of the pad have been improved to offer better protection, durability, fit and comfort. Though what makes this pad stand out from the ocean of its D3O-equipped competition is its SmartFlex tech. G-Form says that this pad is best used for enduro, all mountain, trail and even motocross applications.
The protection on the Pro Rugged 2 specifically is constructed of three layers, with the first, or the closest to the skin, being a soft foam for comfort and pad stability. Then the middle layer is G-Form’s SmartFlex, which is a non-Newtownian, impact-absorbing technology that is body-mapped. Finally, these two layers are covered with a DuraTx layer to add durability, tear-resistance and water repellant without shrinking or warping.
That’s attached to a seriously lengthy double-knit compression sleeve which comes sorted with a patch of foam on the shin for a smidge of extra protection. The sleeve then features seam-reinforced binding and an extra wide silicone gripper at the top. At the rear, there’s a mesh panel for breathability. Boosting stability is a Velcro strap towards the upper of the pad.
A big but easily overlooked benefit is that this whole pad is machine washable, without having to remove any component. It is also CE-1621-1 certified and weighs 281g per pair.
G-Form Pro Rugged 2 - Fit
Pictured here are the Pro Rugged 2 in its medium size. The fit is superb, though as mentioned before, its sleeve is very long, stretching from high up the thigh, almost to the ankle. While different, again, there’s nothing wrong with this and it clearly improves the pad’s stability. The main benefit, however, is that it minimises the chance of knee pad gap.
The Velcro strap is pretty handy as it helps refine the fit and further boosts the pad’s security but I’ve never needed to cinch it down for a better fit. It’s useful to have if you’re on the narrower side of the size, but it’s a feature that the pad is better off without. More on that in a bit.
G-Form Pro Rugged 2 - Performance
During testing, the Pro Rugged 2 has seriously impressed due to its all-out comfort and the manoeuvrability that it offers.
The double-knit compression fabric used for the sleeve graces the pad with a very high-quality feel and build. It’s thicker than fabrics used on other pads but it results in a durable, and very comfortable feel without compromising on breathability and airflow.
Then the SmartFlex pad is incredibly well-designed. It’s super bendy so it easily flexes around the knee, and the more it warms up with body heat, the better it moulds comfortably around the body’s contours. It provides a great level of coverage too but without it becoming too much. All of the important hard bits get their share of that SmartFlex tech. The foam at the shin is just a very neat bonus.
During longer rides, the Pro Rugged 2’s comfort doesn’t fade as I’ve often forgotten that I’ve been wearing it. The pad is also incredibly slim, making it possible to fit nicely under even the slimmest of trousers.
However, as hinted before, the Velcro strap poses a bit of an issue. Because the sleeve is so long, I’ve often pinched myself between the saddle and the strap when cornering or aggressively sprinting. Considering the pad’s overall security with little pressure on the strap, I reckon that the pad wouldn’t lose any performance or stability if G-Form were to get rid of the Velcro strap.
Durability-wise, the pad is holding up, but many of the graphics are looking worse for wear, even after just a couple of rides. Personally, I don't see this as an issue as the wear is merely cosmetic, but if you like your pads looking perfect, I can understand how this could be viewed as a downside.
G-Form Pro Rugged 2 - Verdict
G-Form has done well to price the Pro Rugged 2 competitively with an £83 price tag. It offers increased protection in a package that’s most found with lightweight pads. To compare, ArmaUrto’s Arma Hex is designed to offer a ‘second skin’ like comfort through the use of body mapping and it comes with another fancy impact-absorbing tech cap. However, its comfort and breathability aren’t close to G-Form’s efforts. That pad costs £79.
Upping the price a little is the Fox Enduro Pro knee guard, at £90. This one utilises a slither of D3O for its protective pad and an elastic strap to keep it in place. However, I found that it’s not as secure, or protective as the Pro Rugged 2 and, unfortunately, its bang for the buck doesn’t compete.
G-Form has done a very solid job in designing the Pro Rugged 2. If the marriage of comfort and protection is something that you appreciate, the Pro Rugged 2 offers exactly that but what makes it even better, is that it’s priced very competitively. Though, the Velcro strap could be done away with.