Falling off and scuffing your knee is always inconvenient, but gash it open (or worse, break it) and you could be heading to A&E and maybe facing weeks out of action. To ensure a tumble does not turn into anything serious, a good set of knee pads is becoming a trail essential.
Troy Lee KG5400 pads are fairly small in terms of overall coverage. Nevertheless, a hard plastic cap with a deeply recessed concave shape over layers of foam does a good job of shielding most of your knee. There’s an extra-thick, wide foam pad that protects the area prone to pedal and rock strikes across the junction of the shin bone and patella too but that’s it — these guards are cut to the bone to save weight and allow riders to pedal efficiently.
>>> The best mountain bike knee pads: a buyer’s guide
And that’s exactly what they deliver — they are so comfortable, lightweight and cool you instantly forget you’re wearing them. At first glance, with just an elasticated rear cross-over sleeve, and no further straps, they look like they won’t stay put under hard pedalling or on long descents, but we’ve used them in all conditions and with the silicon gripper-lined interior, they don’t move a muscle. Troy Lee claims its Vent-Trak technology moves air through flexible channels over the skin, and whether this is the reason or not, the KG5400s are clearly one of the coolest pads available.
If your requirements are for an unrestrictive, low-profile pad that is comfortable and well vented, yet gives enough protection to take the sting out of an everyday incident, then the Troy Lees are perfect.
There’s a good reason why you’ll see these puppies in this magazine so often — our staff repeatedly choose them above all others, and after completing thousands of trail miles, they still look decent, have held their shape and are working perfectly.