Dainese Rival Pro Kneepads 2022 Mountain Bike Review

Dainese Rival Pro Kneepads 2022

Reviews / Body Armour

Dainese 2,117,160

At a glance

The Dainese Rival family of protectors is designed to offer maximum resistance and protection, and the unique freedom to ride without constraints. The Dainese Rival Pro knee guards bring extra protection in the shape of a steel plated knee cap protector. This, combined with the flexibility and breathability of Pro-Shape 2.0 technology guarantees excellent freedom of movement and a lot of protection.

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About the brand

Dainese has been setting the benchmark for protection for ages. The company was founded in 1972 by Lino Dainese after he went to London and saw lots of motorcyclists wearing protective leather garments. Soon after he started creating his own, the first article ever made was motocross trousers. Not long after they started creating suits and jackets, collaborating with the world's fastest motorcycle racers. In 1979 they created the first back protection in collaboration with British motorcycle legend Barry Sheene.
In the 1990’s when mountain bikes started to take off, they took their knowledge to the trails. The gladiator suit was the go-to item for any downhill racer at that time (and you could even see them in some of the world's more extravagant discotheques.). All in all a very rich history.
When it comes to sustainability, Dainese has an impressive code of ethics to which they hold every single step of their company. It has an extensive list of behavioral guidelines https://www.dainese.com/gb/en/code-of-ethics.html .

The product

The Rival Pro knee pads are a sleeve style knee protector, with a super flexible padding area that looks extremely breathable. The first thing you notice is the metal knee cap protection, something you definitely don’t see every day. Dainese have their roots in motorsports and know all too well that decreasing friction results in less injuries. Besides, steel is a pretty decent impact protector too.

Besides the metal impact cap, the main part of the protector is made of a flexible PVC plastic and is extremely breathable. The protector is attached to a sock made from a light breathable fabric to maintain comfort.

The elastic calf straps can not be adjusted but are really ergonomically placed, giving you great support in keeping the pads in place. Overall the pads feel very comfortable, and can easily be worn on long rideouts without being irritating.

Out on the trail

The Dainese pads saw a good amount of riding in the past few weeks and quickly became some of our favorite protection. The wrap around design is really comfortable and has no annoying stitches or seams to cause discomfort.

Choosing the right size is definitely important though, as there are no adjustment options with straps possible with this model. Dainese do have an extensive size chart on their website available, so get that measuring tape out before you order.


Dainese is an authority when it comes to protection and when it comes to their new Rival Pro knee pads, they live up to their stature. A well manufactured, well fitting pad with an extreme amount of protection with the metal knee cap protector. The only thing we missed was some extra adjustment options on the strap, but if you choose the sizing right it’s not really necessary.

In case metal is not your thing, do note that there is the Trail Skins Pro knee pad which is basically the same pad but without the metal, and retails at 85 GBP.

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This review was in Issue 70 of IMB.

For more information visit Dainese


By Jarno Hoogland
Jarno's life has revolved around two wheels ever since he swung a leg over his first BMX at age 4. After a BMX and DH racing career, he moved on to work for bike shops, distributors and brands before ending up in the editors seat at IMB. Based in the ultimate testing ground in the Swiss mountains, he runs his guiding operation and makes sure every IMB issue is filled with top notch content.

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