Rapha has launched the Trail knee pads for mountain biking as the brand’s off-road diversification continues. The pads cost £80 / $110 / AU$140 / €95 and Rapha says its armour is lightweight and protective thanks to an active polymer that hardens on impact.
The knee pads slot into Rapha’s Performance Trailwear range for mountain biking. The collection already includes hip packs, a co-branded Smith Forefront mountain bike helmet and clothing, such as the Rapha Trail Windblock jersey.
According to Rapha, the knee pads offer Level 2, Type B protection. Costing as much as some of the best mountain bike knee pads, Rapha claims they are the most protective lightweight pads on the market.
London-based Rheon technology labs says its breathable armour is malleable until knocked into. Then the reactive element causes it to compress around the point of impact and harden for protection. A similar system is used on knee pads from Fox, Endura, Bliss and others.
The pads are said to fit as snugly as Rapha bib shorts and be unobstructive when pedalling.
The front outer layer is made from SuperFabric, which Rapha says is durable and tear-resistant. Leg grippers keep the pads in place, while air can flow through them to help keep you cool.
The release of the pads is testament to the one-time Team Sky clothing supplier’s ambition to expand beyond its road origins.
The brand former CEO Simon Mottram founded in 2004 remains associated with road racing as a sponsor of EF Education First Pro Cycling.
But recently, in tandem with the WorldTour team’s alternative race program spearheaded by Lachlan Morton, Rapha has tried to capture the gravel zeitgeist with its Explore range for adventure riding.