Specialized’s new knee pads are designed to keep movement free and easy but still ward off scrapes and knocks should you take a spill. The ‘anti-shock’ foam covering the knee is relatively thin and very flexible, and there’s additional padding on either side of the knee cup – a nice touch, which doesn’t hinder movement when you’re on the pedals.
Specialized has opted for a strapless design that relies on an extended (it goes at least half way up the thigh), highly breathable mesh sleeve with twin elasticated cuffs to hold the pads in place. The upper cuff is lined with silicone print to help prevent slippage.
With no sizing adjustment it’s worth trying before buying – you’ll want as tight as fit as possible. We found that the upper cuff had a tendency to slip down once things began to heat up, but the lower cuff had a tight enough fit to prevent the pads themselves budging.
Pedalling in the Atlas pads is extremely comfortable, and the decent sized cutout at the rear of the knee means they don’t get too sweaty either. For general trail riding the Atlas pads are great. Once on, it’s easy to forget you’re even wearing them. Start riding slightly wilder trails though and you’ll want something a bit burlier.