Although new to mountain biking, Rapha has hit the ground running with its excellent Trail kneepads.
After spending years with the peleton Rapha has finally ventured off road and taken aim at the best kneepads on the market with a single model called simply the Trail. It uses a Lycra sleeve, which has a four-way stretch but unlike most is has an ergonomic cut, so fits really well around the back of the knee. The material doesn’t offer the best breathability but when working hard this knee pad never felt clammy. The front covering is constructed from something called SuperFabric, a sort of Kevlar type synthetic that’s durable.
Rapha has specced a wide leg gripper on the thigh with a thinner, narrower one at the calf. These get silicone ribbing rather than the big bands you see elsewhere and that means it holds without pulling the skin. Obviously, Rapha has some history putting gripper in roadie bib shorts that are used for hundreds of miles, and it shows.
Rapha has collaborated with a third-party, Rheon Labs, on the protector. It’s basically an active polymer like D3O, so is soft and flexible when you’re just riding along but then it intelligently strengthens when subjected to an impact force. It has an open cell structure to increase air and allow it to easily mould to the shape of the knee.
The Rapha Trail isn’t the lightest knee pad, it’s not the cheapest or the best vented and while the level of protection is high, other pads here are just as good. What it does do is balance all those things really well but what gets it over the finish line first is the comfort.
They say if the gloves fit you’ll wear it and the Rapha Trail has been our go to choice on recent rides. With a lot of knee pads to get protection you often compromise on comfort, with the Rapha Trail you simply don’t have to.