At A Glance
The Anthem is Dakine's latest pad and combines plenty of protection with the ability to remove the pads while keeping your shoes on. This easy on-and-off system aims to allow riders more choice, and for those with long climbs, the ability to stash the pads in a pack until needed.Buy Body Armour on
Big protection pads are always an issue on long rides, and then often the choice is to wear a thinner set for the whole day, making a compromise on safety and comfort. The Anthem packs a lot of knee-saving armour in the package in the form of 3D moulded foam which is flexible but confidence inspiring. The shape hugs the knee cap, but also extends down to the upper shin to give a healthy amount of coverage.
Four velcro straps, two above and two below the knee provide the attachment and fit to keep it all in place. Dakine even offers a 2-year warranty on the pads, but not your knees, unfortunately.
On The Trail
I usually go for medium weight pads that I can wear all day, rather than super light or very heavy duty pads. Initial tests of the Anthem centred around seeing if I ever would need to take them off, and long rides were the order of the day.
Fitting the pads is simple and very secure for a strap attached pad. The first Velcro strap holds it in place while the second strap then tightens it up to the desired level. This is repeated top and bottom of each pad. The effect is one of a very secure and firm fitting knee pad, the soft lining and the gripper strips keeping it all in place.
Comfort levels for pedalling all day are good, but I found I needed to loosen the straps slightly to be truly forgotten about on the climbs. The big front protection means little if any air flow, so they felt sweaty, especially coupled with the wrap around strap. Cold days there was no problem, but in the heat, it was an easy decision to take them off and give the knees some air.
With removal being so easy, it does make sense to stash these pads for a long climb, and they obviously lend themselves to a winch and plummet style of riding rather than technical up and down trails. There is usually a bit of faff at the top of climbs these days, and with the development of helmet chin bar, goggles and pads, a wardrobe change at the top of a descent is pretty normal.
Once on, they feel like 'proper' pads, not just a leg warmers with ideas above their station. I felt like my knees had a fighting chance of arguing with some rocks and coming out the other side relatively unscathed.
Build quality on the Anthems is impressive, with very few loose stitches developing despite an awful lot of velcro and complicated sewing machine work.
The Anthems definitely offer a level of protection beyond your standard trail pads. With that comes a weight and heat penalty, which is offset by the very simple and effective removal/installation process. These are an ideal pad for those big alpine style days when the climbs go on forever, but the descents have teeth.Buy Body Armour on For more information visit Dakine
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.