Sweet Protection Bearsuit Light Knee Pads review£79.00

Knee protection that's easy to pedal

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Sweet Protection comes from Trysil, Norway where it focuses on helmets, clothing and protective gear. The brand was started in 2000 by a group of friends who needed better gear for skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and kayaking and mountain biking in the summer. I've been testing out its Bearsuit Light knee pads for trail riding — the lower weight versions of the burlier Bearsuit Pro pads, with my medium test pair coming in at 318 grams.

Pads for pedaling

Pedaling is a way of life for most mountain bikers. Sure there are a select few who live at the base of a resort and lap the park all day, but for most riders what comes down must go up first.

There are a couple of ways to ride up with knee pads. You can stash them in your pack, but that requires stopping before the descent and kitting up. You can pedal with your pads down around your ankles, and while this is cooler, it kind of looks dumb. And last but not least, just wear your knee pads where they belong. The reasons the other options exist though are because most pads are either too hot to pedal in or are just plain uncomfortable.

The Bearsuit Light knee pads can be worn when pedaling thankfully. The 3D anatomical knee cups fit my knees well and the elastic top straps, combined with the rubbery grippers at the top and bottom, made sure the pads stayed in place. 

Rubberized grippers top and bottom work with the top strap to keep these pads locked on
Rubberized grippers top and bottom work with the top strap to keep these pads locked on

Behind the knee, where most knee pads tend to bunch up, is a very thin polyester. This is a good design as the minimal fabric is unrestrictive no matter if you're cranking hard or getting loose on the downhills.

The thin, silky material in the bunch-prone spot behind the knee is a well-sorted design
The thin, silky material in the bunch-prone spot behind the knee is a well-sorted design

Bearsuit Light protection

The Bearsuit Light pads have a bit more padding than other trail-specific offerings. The formed visco elastic foam knee cups look more akin to a gravity knee pad with a noticeable egg-shaped protrusion while other trail-oriented knee pads have a much slimmer look and profile. 

The visco elastic cups are removable too, which makes throwing the Bearsuit Light pads in the wash pretty easy.

The visco elastic knee pad is removable but doesn't have any holes — so no air gets in
The visco elastic knee pad is removable but doesn't have any holes — so no air gets in

Bearsuit Light fit and feel

The size medium pads I tested were very snug. The top elastic strap was at the end of its adjustment limit. The good news is that they've yet to stretch or pack out. The take away is that you may want to size up. 

The other thing, likely due to the additional padding, is that the Bearsuit Light pads are warm. The material surrounding the knee cup is perforated, but the knee cup material is not, so it's not enough to offset the warmth.

Perforated side material tries to let the air in
Perforated side material tries to let the air in

Russell Eich

Tech Writer, US
Russell fell head over heels in love with bikes in the '90s, and has been involved in the bike industry ever since. Between wrenching in bike shops, guiding professionally, and writing about bikes, Russell has honed an appreciation for what works, gained knowledge of what doesn't, and can barely contain his enthusiasm for what comes next. His two-wheeled passion continues in the Rocky Mountains high above Boulder, Colorado.
  • Age: 39
  • Height: 6'3"/190cm
  • Weight: 175lb/79kg
  • Waist: 34in/86cm
  • Chest: 42in / 107cm
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: High altitudes, forgotten singletracks, bike parks, roads without cars
  • Current Bikes: Custom Meriwether steel hardtail, Specialized S-Works Enduro 29, Kona Jake the Snake, Trek 69er, and a bunch more
  • Dream Bike: Yeti SB5c, Intense Tracer 275C, Black Cat custom road
  • Beer of Choice: Gin + Tonic
  • Location: Rollinsville, CO, USA

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