The Bliss Minimalist has it all
With swatches of Armourgel mounted on a Spandex sleeve, the black and blue Bliss Protection’s ARG Minimalist remains stable when pedalling hard, but ensures your knees never end p wearing a similar colour scheme after a crash. Armourgel is a smart material, so it stiffens on impact, and the ventilation, comfort and stability are all first rate.
Bliss Protection has made some significant changes to its ARG Minimalist knee pad since we tested it 12 months ago. The new version still has a three-piece Armourgel pad bonded externally to the outside of the Lycra body but it’s now pre-curved to fit better – so much so that the whole thing curls up once you remove it from the packaging. It doesn’t bunch up at the sides when pedalling hard like the old pad and hugs the knee better than any pad here.
Like D3O, the Armourgel used for the knee protector is a smart material that stiffens during impacts but remains flexible and mouldable the rest of the time. The technology is effective but it does tend to provide a hard barrier between you and the ground rather than something like a crumple zone.
To improve airflow the knee protector also features an open re-entrant structure, which means it’s perforated to increase ventilation. This really does channel heat away from the front off the knee and forming holes into the material also reduces weight, making this one of the lightest on test.
The Lycra chassis wouldn’t normally offer a lot of support but with its pre-shaped pad, the ARG Minimalist feels surprisingly solid. To stop slipping, it gets wide elasticised hems top and bottom with a thin dots of silicone on the thigh. The upper portion of the pad is longer too, so can be tucked underneath your riding shorts. Flat lock stitching at all the seams ensures there’s nothing internally to irritate the skin.
The Minimalist isn’t cheap and doesn’t offer ultimate protection but it is easily one of the most comfortable. Since fit, comfort and breathability are top priorities with lightweight knee pad the Bliss Minimalist has it all.