At A Glance
Dainese know their stuff about high-speed sports, hailing from the heyday of motobike racing in Italy. Their mountain bike kit has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, and the second generation of the Trail Skins knee pads are an impressive piece of kit to look at. Based on a geometric pattern of predominantly triangle shapes, the curved outer is shaped to the knee. The pattern allows for strength to be built into the structure without adding extra weight - the added advantage also being improved breathability.Buy Body Armour on
As well as the main protection there are memory foam side panels to help against less major impacts. The back is a stretch lycra fabric which holds the pad in place along with two Velcro strips on the elastic top and bottom.
On The Trail
For a lightweight pad, these are definitely a set that could take a hammer to the kneecap and probably do a fair job of keeping them intact. The fractal-like pattern on the front provides an impressive amount of structure for front-on impacts, yet remains flexible enough to form smoothly around the knee.
The fit is good around the knee, but they could do with more overlap on the velcro straps. if you are near the top of the size range, the Velcro only just meets and leaves some spikey Velcro to exfoliate one's legs. A bigger size could help but would have been too baggy around the knee itself. As usual, sizing is key and it is advisable to try them on beforehand so you get the right option and fit to best suit your size and needs.
All day comfort is good, and apart from a gradual sliding down of the top strap, and the aforementioned slight Velcro abrasion they work exceptionally well.
Protection is far beyond anything else for this weight of knee guard. Although I have no empirical evidence, they really have to be felt to understand how they work. Pliable in the hand, they feel flexible and light, yet try and compress the material and it won't happen; it's clever stuff without resorting to D3O type materials which harden on impact.
Probably the best weight to protection ratio of any knee pad, they really feel like they are more than just a token knee warmer despite the lightweight and flexible feel. Comfortable enough to be worn all day, they need careful sizing to be perfect, but aside from that they are highly impressive.
By Ewen TurnerEwen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.