G-Form Elite knee pads review£85.00

XC pads move well into all-mountain

BikeRadar score4/5

G-Form has built a sizable market share in the body protection world with its unique pads-on-the-outside body armor. Its lightweight, super flexible pads have been a hit with cross country riders as well as a staple at bike park rental locations. In addition to the bike world, G-Form makes protective gear for skate, soccer, baseball and snow sports.

G-Form Elite knee pad features

  • Extended knee coverage
  • Body-mapped, impact-absorbing RPT pads protect from impact
  • Moisture-wicking, UPF 50+ compression fabric
  • Top and bottom silicone gripper bands
  • Mesh back panel for breathability and moisture-wicking
  • Small, Medium, Large, and X-Large sizes

Soft turns hard

One of the standout features of G-Form pads is how soft and flexible they are. Yet, upon impact they stiffen up dramatically to dissipate hits. G-Form calls this Reactive Protection Technology (RPT) and says it's proprietary and patented. 

Upon impact, the RPT molecules bind together to disperse the force of the hit before it reaches the soft, squishy human inside. G-Form claims they are CE (European Conformity) certified even for motorcycles. That means the pads meet the highest standard for motorbike armor. 

They're bigger than the Pro-X pads as well
They're bigger than the Pro-X pads as well

Does it work? I can actually say "yes," as my left knee (probably both, but definitely my left) smacked the ground violently during a stupid crash that afterwards had me nursing my shoulder more than my lower extremities.

Outside of testing how hard the ground was with my body, I appreciated the extended coverage that encompassed both sides of my knees. The pain when one of my knees banged into the top tube while cornering was lessened with the Elites shielding my delicate, bony tibias.

Protection that can be pedaled in

Nowadays there's a whole slew of knee pads available, from minimal XC knee sleeves to full-on, blast-proof gravity hard shells with every level of protection and pedalability in between. 

Mesh on the back prevents bunching of the material while pedaling and provides some ventilation
Mesh on the back prevents bunching of the material while pedaling and provides some ventilation

While most well padded, downhill-worthy knee pads suck when it's time to crank, the Elites are rare in that they're both burly and can be pedaled in easily. 

This remarkable feat is thanks to the thin mesh back panel and lightweight compression fabric found throughout. Once situated, they do almost disappear while riding. 

Interesting fit and warm on front

The Elite knee pads do come in four sizes (S-XL) but interestingly run pretty small. I tested the Large size and found the lower calf gripper to be snug, despite having skinny legs. 

That said, the tight fit does an excellent job of keeping the pads in place which negates the worst thing any pad could do, which is spin and not protect during a crash.

Plenty of length prevents the dreaded thigh gaper gap
Plenty of length prevents the dreaded thigh gaper gap

The tight fit also makes the bunching of the pads on the sides of the knee more pronounced. It was something I noticed at first but soon forgot about. 

While the backs are vented with thin, mesh material, the padded front sections are definitely not. That extreme contrast between sides makes the warmth in front much more noticeable, but it's a worthwhile tradeoff for keeping the pads low weight and pedal friendly.

The last thing regarding the fit is that these pads require slipping your shoes off before pulling them on, but since they pedal so well, it's not much of an issue.

Silicone rubber grippers on the upper and lower hems keep the pads in place
Silicone rubber grippers on the upper and lower hems keep the pads in place

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