The 100% Teratec+ knee guards are designed to offer lightweight, slimline knee protection for trail riders looking to keep their legs a little safer.
Balancing protection, coverage, breathability and comfort is key to creating a great set of trail knee pads. So, has 100% got that mix just right for the Teratec+ knee guards or do they fall a little short?
100% Teratec+ knee guard details and specifications
The Teratec+ knee guards from 100% come in four sizes (S, M, L, XL) and forgo the need for any kind of Velcro strap to cinch them up or hold them in place. Instead, the guards rely on a leg-hugging fit to keep them where they need to be.
There’s also a healthy dose of silicone print inside the upper hem, along with a thinner strip that runs around the inside of the lower opening.
The rear of the pads uses a one-piece mesh sleeve, which should help to prevent too much in the way of heat build-up. Thanks to the lack of seams, it should also keep things nice and comfortable around the back of the knee.
The remainder of the sleeve is quite different, though, and far thicker, offering more protection over the standard Teratec knee guards. Up-top, the robust upper panel is designed to slide over the front of the pad to improve articulation. It’s anchored in place with a stretchy Lycra panel.
Lower down, the same thickly padded material is used either side and just below the main knee cup.
While there’s a decent amount of give in the mesh fabric used through the back of the pad, the thicker, bulkier material at the top and bottom has very little stretch built into it.
Taking care of protection duties is the SmartShock insert, which is rated to CE level 1 (CE level 2 is said to be more protective). Like D30, the pre-shaped SmartShock insert feels soft and flexible but will harden on impact to help absorb impact force.
Compared to the cheaper Teratec pads, the Teratec+ has more in the way of lateral protection either side of the knee, thanks to that thicker padded material, rather than just a SmartShock protective knee cup insert. That means they’re not the lightest at 424g, though.
100% Teratec+ knee guard performance
The Teratec+ guards feel pretty tight once on. That’s largely down to the lack of give through the thicker padded material that makes up the bulk of the sleeve.
I wore a size medium but wouldn’t shift up a size to try to rectify this. This is because the protective knee cup isn’t pulled particularly tightly across and over the knee when straight. The tighter fit helps to keep the pads in place and hold the protective sections where they need to be.
That makes it sound as if the Teratec+ guards aren’t particularly comfortable. That’s not the case, though. They’re not as plush, smooth or comfortable as the best mountain bike knee pads, but once you get riding, you soon get used to how they feel.
The benefit of the snug fit is they don’t slip down while riding, even when your legs are dripping in sweat.
The heavy pre-shaping of the pads can make them feel a little odd, especially when your legs are straight. Due to this shaping, the protective insert isn’t held particularly tightly against your leg, almost sitting proud until you bend your knee, at which point the design starts to make more sense.
It does mean, though, that the Teratec+ guards can feel less slim and a little bulkier than their counterparts. However, they’ll still work just fine under trousers.
They articulate really well when you’re pedalling, without shifting around or slowly drooping down over time. I did on occasion have to re-adjust the upper hem of the pads, but those times were rare.
The Teratec+ guards do get sweaty more quickly than a lot of other pads I’ve tested. That’s largely down to the thick material used throughout the sleeve. I wouldn’t say it hinders their performance massively, especially if you live in a cooler climate, but on warm days it’s certainly noticeable.
100% Teratec+ knee guard bottom line
While the Teratec+ knee guards do their job just fine, they’re certainly not perfect.
The additional padding offered over the cheaper version of these pads is a plus for your peace of mind, but means they feel hotter when you’re working hard. They feel tighter, too.
They articulate well and manage to stay in place without issue, however.
How we tested
In order to get the best possible idea as to how these pads perform, we rode in a variety of weathers, temperatures and on different types of trails, including everything from super-rocky and rough to long stints of pedalling for hours on end.
Why do weather and temperature conditions matter? Well, due to the make-up of many of the pads’ protective inserts (often a malleable material that hardens on impact), the temperature can have a dramatic effect on just how flexible (or not) these inserts are.
While some need warming up to get them moving and feeling comfortable once over the knee, others bend easily from the get-go.
Then, of course, there’s moisture to worry about. That includes a soaking from puddle splashes or heavy rain downpours, along with becoming saturated in sweat when working hard on really warm days. Will the pads stay in place even when dripping wet? And do they become any less comfortable when drenched?
Finally, it’s worth trying each set of pads when wearing shorts and trousers. Will shorts simply glide over the pads as you pedal or do they get snagged and bunch up awkwardly? Equally, are they slim enough to slide under the trousers comfortably or so bulky that they simply won’t fit?
Riding these pads back-to-back, and often with a different brand on each knee, ensured we could pick apart the differences effectively and work out which pads were worth spending your hard-earned cash on.
Also on test
- POC Joint VPD System Knee
- Rapha Trail
- Troy Lee Designs Stage