POC’s new VPD 2.0 extended-knee pads are almost as comfortable to wear as knee warmers and they offer very good protection, too. Just make sure you select the proper size.
Over the past three months, BikeRadar testers have been putting an array of POC’s VPD 2.0 (Visco-Elastic Polymer Dough) protection to the test and the extended-knee pads have emerged as some of our favourites.
We've used them everywhere from a local all-mountain loop to an epic three-hour heli-drop downhill run in Whistler, BC. They weigh only a few more grams than the regular version and are just as comfortable to pedal in but have more protection against slipped pedals.
POC's new knee pads are almost perfect, as long as you choose the right size
Correct sizing is crucial, though. The VPD 2.0 pads have two straps, as opposed to the original VPD’s one, but rely more on the sleeve than the straps to keep them in place. If you're in between sizes, we'd advise sizing down for the best hold and resistance to slipping.
If you end up with pads that are slightly too big, the tops have a tendency to pull away from your legs when pedaling; this doesn't reduce protection but does make the VPD 2.0s less comfy. With the correct sized pads, we only had one minor complaint: some slight pinching on the back of the knee due to bunching. However, this was only an issue during extended bouts of pedaling (ie. all-day rides). Apart from that, we've nothing bad to say about them.
The back of the pad does bunch slightly during all-day usage but that's our only criticism
The 2.0s are very slim, so they stay out of the way of the top tube when pedaling and also fit well under jeans – even the tight ones the kids are wearing these days. Protection is provided not by hard plastic armour or thick padding but by the VPD material's "microstructure" of linked air chambers.
During low impact movement such as bending, trapped air is able to leak, allowing the material to conform to the rider’s body. Under higher forces the air can’t escape the micro pores and it helps to cushion the impact.
This picture shows the upper strap and slim fit of the extended-knee pad
Our testers have escaped several crashes unscathed wearing the POC pads, ranging from slow-speed but reasonably high-impact trail get-offs to bails over hardpacked dirt jumps with a concrete-like surface. Not only has the VPD 2.0 material proved its worth but the outer fabric sheath that holds the pads together is also surprisingly durable and abrasion resistant. These pads have become BikeRadar favorites for all-mountain and trail usage.