The Best Mountain Bike Knee Pads To Keep Yourself Protected

The mountain bike knee pads are considered essential equipment by the experts who practice a mountain biking discipline. But how to choose them and which are the best? Read our article to find out more about them or use the links below to jump to our selection of the best mountain bike knee pads.

Whether you are passionate of downhill or a freeriding enthusiast, mountain biking requires the use of adequate protective equipment.

One of the most important elements of this equipment are the knee pads, a type of protective gear designed to keep your knees safe in the event of a fall.

Knee pads are used in multiple disciplines. In the cases of mountain biking, the opinions are divided. The enthusiasts of cross-country or other “light” disciplines claim that they are uncomfortable and useless. On the contrary, the lovers of adrenaline who practice more aggressive types of cycling sustain their use in all circumstances.

The truth? Mountain bike knee pads are a must-have even if you are only practicing cycling on flat terrains. Trust us. If you don’t want to experience the negative effects of a knee injury, wear protective gear even if you are only riding a bike occasionally.

Essential Mountain Bike Equipment

Mountain bike knee pads are part of the essential mountain biking equipment. So, if you’re embracing this discipline for the first time, you might want to find out what essential gear you need to wear.​

1. Helmet

Whether you are practicing freeriding, cross-country or downhill, a helmet is an essential gear that helps you keep the most important part of your body, namely the head, protected.

A distinction should be made between cross-country and all the other disciplines when it comes to helmets. The helmets for the first discipline are lighter and less protective while the others have a padded upper part and cover the cervical area in a better way.

For such disciplines, such as downhill or enduro, it is recommended to use a full-face helmet.

2. Gloves

To protect your hands, the gloves are a must-have protective gear for mountain bike.

The gloves provide a greater grip on the handlebars and greater comfort to the hands by absorbing a part of the vibrations. They also protect the palms in the case of an incident.

When choosing the mountain bike gloves, make sure you choose a padded model and with full fingers.

3. Sunglasses

The sunglasses, apart from protecting the eyes from the sun, are considered a true protective gear when it comes to mountain biking.

Cycling sunglasses can protect your eyes from dust, branches, or other elements, especially if you choose to ride your bike without using a full-face helmet.

Some models of cycling sunglasses have lenses that change color according to the light conditions to avoid limiting visibility.

The choice of the sunglasses should be given by the aesthetic considerations but also by a matter of comfort.

4. Knee Pads

Knee pads are generally considered official protective gear in the gravity disciplines, yet all mountain biking enthusiasts should wear them.

Knee pads are divided into soft and rigid, or long and short.

Apart from the protective function, knee pads allow for a smooth pedaling and according to the discipline, the technical specifications change.

As such, for enduro and other disciplines except downhill and freeriding, the soft shell knee pads are the best choice as they allow the maximum freedom of movement.

For downhill and freeriding, on the other hand, rigid shell knee pads are recommended as they provide a superior protection from injuries.

5. Elbow Pads

Just as the mountain bike knee pads, the elbow pads are divided into soft and hard and designed to provide adequate protection for various disciplines.

They should be chosen in a way similar to the knee pads, based on the freedom of movement or level of protection that is needed.

Best Mountain Bike Knee Pads

1. JBM BMX Bike Knee Pads and Elbow Pads

As a general rule, if the discipline you are practicing requires the use of knee pads, you might need to wear elbow pads as well. For this reason, investing in a set could seem the most logical solution.

A great elbow and knee pads set to consider is the JBM BMX Bike Knee Pads and Elbow Pads, a set of protective gear that is impact resistant and made of durable PP and PE materials and with breathable polyester sleeves.

JBM BMX Bike Knee Pads and Elbow Pads

The JBM set comes in a universal size and it can literally fit all cyclists thanks to the adjustable straps that offer plenty of flexibility.

Apart from being extremely well-built, this protective gear is also fashionable thanks to the attractive elements of design.

Things We Liked
  • Three-gear pack: although advertised as knee and elbow pads set, the package also includes a wrist guard which is a great additional element.
  • Multi-purpose: the gear is developed specifically for BMX and mountain biking, yet it can be used for a multitude of other purposes, for example for skating, riding a motorcycle or a scooter.
  • Shock absorbent: the flexible pads are provided with a hard shell that provides an efficient shock absorption and thanks to the exceptional construction the pads are breathable and comfortable to wear.
  • Attractive design: these pads boast a fashionable design and fit awesomely men and ladies alike. The set comes in three sizes suitable for children, teens, and adults.
Things We Didn't Like
  • The universal size is sometimes too small for some people.

2. Bodyprox Protective Knee Pads

Protective Knee Pads

If you don’t really like rigid shell protective gear but still need some knee pads able to provide adequate protection in the case of heavy-duty disciplines, then the Protective Knee Pads from Bodyprox might be the right solution for you.

These mountain bike knee pads are made of high-density foam that provides an exceptional flexibility and breathability.

Apart from these features, the pads are really ergonomic and super-lightweight, providing adequate freedom of movement yet adequate protection to be suitable for all disciplines.

These knee pads are suitable for a wide variety of outdoor activities except cycling and keep the knees warm preventing the stiffness of the muscles and joints.

Things We Liked
  • Effective impact resistance: although provided with a soft shell, these knee pads have sufficient padding to protect your knees effectively in the case of an impact.
  • Satisfaction guaranteed: the manufacturer offers a 100% full-refund in case you don’t like the product, therefore you can easily try the knee pads and see if they are the right ones for you.
  • High-quality material: these knee pads are made of a high-quality elastic material that provides adequate protection while ensuring breathability and comfort.
  • Increases blood circulation: the pads promote blood circulation in two ways. On one hand, they keep the joints warm. On the other hand, they apply a moderate compression on the knees while exercising, ensuring a better oxygenation.
Things We Didn't Like
  • Although the material is breathable, they don’t have any ventilation windows to help release sweat. Except this, the pads are awesome.

3. Fox Racing Launch Pro MTB Knee/Shin Guard

A pair of full coverage knee pads that can easily provide adequate protection in a number of disciplines thanks to their exceptional characteristics, the Fox Racing Launch Pro MTB Knee/Shin Guard are made of both a soft and a hard shell and designed to fit well and stay in place without hassle.

The pads are pre-curved to fit ergonomically and provide a superior comfort during cycling.

Fox Racing Launch Pro MTB Knee/Shin Guard

Among the many characteristics of these knee pads, the one we like best is, in fact, the ergonomic fit of this product. The pads are fitted with a plastic knee cup which is flexible to ensure an optimal comfort. On the other hand, the perforated neoprene body of these pads adheres to perfectly to your skin and stay in place regardless of your activity.

Thanks to this characteristic, you will be able to stay focused on your ride and not on the pads.

Things We Liked
  • Perforated neoprene: the outer soft shell of these knee pads is made of perforated neoprene, a material that is able to provide an excellent breathability and grip.
  • Elastic strapping: although the neoprene adheres perfectly to the skin, these mountain bike knee pads are also equipped with top and bottom elastic strapping designed to provide further security to the fit.
  • Silicone gripper: a further characteristic of these pads is the silicone gripper fixed behind the knee and designed to keep the knee pads in place.
  • Ergonomic fit: the hard knee shell is flexible and comfortable, the soft shell ensures a perfect air flow, and flexing the legs with these knee pads is a breeze.
Things We Didn't Like
  • The knee pads’ sizes are not accurate and they are usually smaller than the stated size.

4. Fox Racing Launch Pro MTB Knee Guard

Fox Racing Launch Pro MTB Knee Guard

If you like the idea of having a pair of knee guards that are breathable and comfortable to wear yet that doesn't have a hard shell, you might consider the Fox Racing Launch Pro MTB Knee Guard.

Manufactured by the same company and similar in many ways to the knee pads presented above, these guards boast a thick knee padding and no plastic shell.

The absence of the hard shell is seen as essential in many disciplines such as the cross-country, where the flexibility is more important than the protection. Nevertheless, thanks to the impressive padding, these knee pads will still protect your knees from any injuries.

Things We Liked
  • No hard shell: these knee pads are flexible and comfortable. They boast a thick knee protection ensured by a bulky soft shell that allows unlimited freedom of movement.
  • Elastic strapping: to keep the pads in place and avoid them to slip, the manufacturer equipped them with top and bottom elastic strapping that fits all dimensions.
  • Silicone gripper: another characteristic designed to keep the knee guards in place is the silicone gripper located behind the knee. Adhering to the skin, this gripper prevents the pads from slipping.
  • Breathable: the main chassis of these knee pads are made of perforated neoprene which ensures a proper air flow and allows the skin to breathe.
Things We Didn't Like
  • It seems that the manufacturer makes all the dimensions smaller than the real sizes. Unfortunately, this applies to these knee pads, so if you want them to fit you might want to buy them in a larger size.

5. Alpinestars Men’s Paragon Knee Protector

Among the many manufacturers of knee pads and mountain biking gear, Alpinestars stands out. This Italian company is specialized in the production of motorcycle and racing equipment, so one can only expect their mountain bike knee pads to be superlative.

In fact, the Paragon Knee Protectors are manufactured according to the CE certification which guarantees the quality of the make and the fit to the purpose.

Alpinestars Men's Paragon Knee Protector

The knee pads are made of a combination of polyester, polyurethane, and spandex, boasting a lightweight and flexible construction that fits perfectly.

Although they are only fitted with a silicone gripper, the pads don’t slip and provide an adequate protection for less heavy-duty disciplines.

Things We Liked
  • Pre-shaped design: these knee pads are manufactured to ensure optimal performances, this is why they are pre-shaped and boast an ergonomic design.
  • Slip-on: putting on protective gear is usually a hassle. There are so many straps to tie and Velcro closures to secure that you might lose ages trying to put on your knee guards. Nevertheless, the Alpinestars model is slip-on and you will be able to put these knee pads on in seconds.
  • CE certified: the certification is the guarantee that the pads offer adequate protection in key areas as well as targeted coverage.
  • Breathable: one of the most important characteristics of these knee pads is the breathability of the mesh, as they will help you maintain a great level of comfort.
Things We Didn't Like
  • Although of very high quality, the pads tend to lose shape and grip over the time.

Conclusion & Final Pick

Picking the best mountain bike knee pads is a delicate matter. This gear has to provide ultimate protection against injuries, therefore choosing the best model is a matter of research.

After comparing all the models presented above, we reached the conclusion that the best mountain bike knee pads available on the market are the JBM BMX Bike Knee Pads.

Besides being the best, they come in a set with a pair of matching elbow pads, a feature that brings further convenience, as you will receive two items of essential protective gear.

Regarding the characteristics, the knee pads as well as the elbow pads are impact resistant and made of durable material. To ensure the comfort while riding, the mesh they are made of is breathable, providing a proper airflow in all circumstances.

This set can also be used for a multitude of purposes, not exclusively for mountain biking.

That being said, we believe that these knee and elbow pads are the best solution you can find on today’s market!

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