New lightweight trail-specific knee guard from Troy Lee Designs with enhanced D3O protection
The Troy Lee Designs Stage Knee Pad is a new lightweight trail-specific knee guard from Troy Lee Designs with enhanced D3O protection.
It’s available in three sizes, pulls on like a sock, and a silicone gripper on the top hem stops it slipping down. Most of it is a polyester, but to improve breathability, the whole back gets a lightweight mesh, and to reduce wear and up the scuff protection, there’s an abrasion-resistant panel centred over the knee. To ward against bigger impacts, there’s a built-in D3O insert.
To briefly recap, D30 is a impact-hardening/energy adbosrbing material, which means it’s soft and malleable when you’re riding along, so it fits well against the knee, but hit anything and it stiffens, boosting the protection level. I’ve tested several knee guards with D3O inserts, and it works great, but there are a couple of downsides. The first is it’s expensive, meaning the Stage is at the upper end when it comes to cost. You also need to look after D3O, and that means you can only handwash this guard. That’s okay if you remember, but after a wet winter ride I often just chuck my knee pads in the washing machine with my other gear, and I suspect I’m not alone.
In terms of buld and construction the Stage is like a cross between the erstwhile Shock Doctor and more recent lightweight Speed Knee Sleeve. A combination of the two, it has the former’s level of protection but the latter’s ease of fit and comfort. My only gripe is the silicone gripper on the top of the Stage can chafe quite a bit. I’ve had other brands do the same, and I usually fold this over, but it does mean the Stage can slip down, which is annoying when it’s under a trail pant. That said, the fit around the knee is excellent and the Stage feels really stable, even when pedalling hard.
So far wear has been pretty good – lightweight pull-on guards like this can often split at the top, but the Troy Lee Designs Stage Knee Pad is still going strong. It’s a great knee guard, but I’ve docked a point because of the washing regime and high cost.