The Charge Leg Guards offer a second skin for light riding if the thought of going out ‘sans knee pad’ leaves you feeling a little naked and exposed. The guards comprise of a long mesh sleeve and a padded knee area held in place by elastic and silicone grippers at either end.
The padded knee is thin, maybe 2mm thick at the most and covers from above the kneecap to well down the shin. These aren’t designed for impact protection, they are to stop your legs becoming akin to raw meat after endless bridleway bushes lay their claim on your skin. The padding is made of foam and covered by a stretchy Kevlar material which is tough enough to stop the penetration of any thorns or brambles you might push past on your cross-country mission.
Living north of Bath, if I ride from my door I am faced with only hedge lined bridleways so ensuring good use of the Charge Leg Guard was easy, making light work of getting my head down and pedalling through the weeds without leaving the evidence on my legs. Should you take a tumble the Charge’s are going to hold off gravel rash but you’ll still be bruised like a peach, that’s not a slight on the product though as it’s not their intention to be a full-blown knee pad.
The padded knee area is held in place by a long sleeve with silicone grippers fore and aft. The sleeve is long, I wore a size small which reached from mid-thigh to sock height, which I found a little extreme, the upper band of the sleeve needed to be pulled up high meaning it felt tight on the thigh. At 160cm tall, you might be thinking, "well, you're pretty short aren't you?" and as much as that might be true, I'm also testing the Race Face Indy Knee Guards in a size medium and they are a full two inches shorter based on a similar 'sleeve' design. The plus side to this is there is absolutely no chance of ‘thigh gap’ appearing between short and guard. Due to the length, they tucked up under my lycra shorts and stayed in place well, the silicone bands doing their job as it should. I did find the upper knee area of the sleeve a little baggy but this wasn't something that hindered comfort or performance.
The mesh sleeve is well ventilated and all seams flatlock stitched with the main join running neatly down the back the leg. They deal with water well, with no sagging if muddy or wet, drying pretty quickly in the aftermath too. At £37, they'll be a bit of an investment and one you'll probably only make if you do plenty of long miles and, like me, you feel a little lost without the 'safety belt' of a knee pad. They don't offer the protection you can get from other lightweight guards, such as the Troy Lee Speed Knee Sleeve or G-Form varieties which might be said to be aimed at similar customers but the design of the Charge Leg Guards set them apart for even lighter use and the price reflects this.
Such is the simple design, the Charge Leg Guards do what they say on tin – fend off abrasions whilst being all-day-pedal comfy, now it's just up to you to decide if you need that protection. I don these when I’m off to get in the pain cave on my cross country steed or even, dare I say it, the gravel bike!
Deputy Editor here ar off-road.cc, Rachael is happiest on two wheels. She's been riding bikes for a good few years now after horses got too expensive! Partial to a race or two Rachael also likes getting out into the hills with a big bunch of mates. She's been writing 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 and is equally happy getting stuck into a kit review as she is creating stories, she also coaches mountain biking and when she's not busy with all the above she's serving coffee from a horse trailer!