Great pads for those who are willing to sacrifice a bit of side protection in return for supreme comfort and unhindered movement
Dec 3 2017
Light and flexible
Stay in place very well
Limited side protection
Silicone grippers on inner knee would prevent sideways movement
Sizing is on the small side
You want a pedal friendly pad which will still see off a bad crash
All day pedalling comfort combined with an uber protective yet lightweight D30 foam knee pad makes the Race Face Indy Knee Guards a winner for those who are willing to sacrifice a bit of side protection for unhindered movement.
The Race Face Indy Knee Guards are the brands ‘enduro’ knee pad, aimed at those riders who want a pad which they can pedal all day in without sweating like a pig or chafing sensitive skin. Their answer to this is a tightly woven and elastic mesh sleeve with a large D30 foam pad covering the knee all held in place by silicone grippers and a wide Velcro top strap, at price on par with competitors.
Starting with the most important part of the guard, the foam knee, the Indy’s employ D30 technology, a rate-sensitive shock absorbing material which hardens to resist impact and then returns to a soft flexible state thereafter. The pad here is suitably large, shaped to the leg and covering the knee, upper knee cap and extending down to somewhere mid-shin. The minimalist nature of the guards means there is no side protection though, something that should you crash hard you’ll notice. Putting the knee pad into action in a ragdoll moment or two I found the pad itself to protect extremely well, the foam hardens resisting impact seeing off rocks, roots and gravel with ease. The pad does move laterally slightly when pushed, something which might be fixed by adding silicone grippers inside the knee cup too. It's also worth noting that the bottom edge of the pad did dig into my shin and rub for the first few rides, a problem that disappeared a couple of weeks into the test, never to rear it's ugly head again.
The Indy Knee Guards are basically a long, stretchy sleeve which even after months of use and weekly washes, has retained its shape and therefore its size ensuring they fit as well as the day I got them, with just a little 'fluffing' near the top strap caused by stray velcro in the wash. The sleeve extends well above and below the pad which means they stay in place perfectly. The Velcro top strap circumnavigates the thigh and is wide enough that is doesn’t ruck up or fold when fastened which is pleasing. Mesh venting at the rear keeps air flowing to the back of the knees and any seams, none near heavily articulated areas I was happy to see, are flat stitched and unobtrusive. The long sleeve with silicone grippers top and bottom means that no dirt makes an ingress should you tumble.
Living with the Indy’s is easy too, they wash well, just remember to do that Velcro tab up to stop it snagging other parts of the pad or anything else in the wash. On a more aesthetic note, their sleek appearance looks great under any shorts and the secure upper sleeve means there is never any of the dreaded ‘thigh gap’ on show. At just 364g for the pair, they aren’t heavy and they don’t soak up much water meaning they stay light too.
A word on the sizing, I’m 5’4”, sporting ‘cyclists thighs’ and usually happy in a size small kneepad but couldn’t get the small Indy Knee Guards over my calves so ended up testing a medium. This is at odds with the Race Face Charge Leg Guards which I also have on test but this time in a small.
Now they are worn in the construction of the Indy’s make these pads unnoticeable once they are on, they stay put and should you crash on the pad they deal with the effects marvellously. They are my go-to knee pads for weekend rides, only swapping them out for something more burly with all-around protection when I know the going is going to get really rocky or rough.
Previously Editor here at off-road.cc, Rachael is happiest on two wheels. Partial to a race or two Rachael also likes getting out into the hills with a big bunch of mates. In the past Rachael has written for publications such as, Enduro Mountain Bike Magazine, Mountain Biking UK, Bike Radar, New Zealand Mountain Biker and was also the online editor for Spoke magazine in New Zealand too. For as long as she's been riding, she has been equally happy getting stuck into a kit review as she is creating stories or doing the site admin. When she's not busy with all the above she's roasting coffee or coaching mountain biking in the Forest of Dean.