At A Glance
The Launch Enduro pads from Fox are their most lightweight knee pad, aiming to be exceptionally comfortable and pedal friendly. The design is elegantly simple, a pull on neoprene sock that is kept in place by the elastic nature of the fabric and silicon gripper strips. Comparable more to a substantial set of knee warmers, they are low profile, low weight, and with no straps, they shouldn't interfere with pedalling.Buy Body Armour on
Available in two colours, either grey or red, they feature the classic fox logo and will easily match up with whatever you ride in. The actual knee padding is minimal, but the abrasion resistant fabric will hopefully prevent too much blood being spilt. Protection is there for your knee, but there is no solid cap to protect the mechanics of the knee.
On The Trail
Straight away these are some of the most comfortable pads I've used, and I instantly realised why so many folks swear by them. Easy to put on and even easier to forget about; they go unnoticed, and even on long rides have never given me any cause for concern.
The long nature of the pads comes well up the thigh, ideal for those with long legs who regularly get 'the gap' between pads and shorts.
The protection they offer is admittedly low, given the very thin nature of the pads. My initial judgement of them being no more than glorified knee warmers was quashed by so many other riders' anecdotal evidence of these pads saving their skin! Here though the crucial word is skin, as they may well be great at saving knees from cuts and grazes, but a full-on blow to the knee would have a different outcome.
The crucial test would be to take a hammer to knees in different pads, but this is probably unethical, and definitely painful, however I know a hard shell plastic pad would fair better. It's at this point that we must remember that the best pads are the ones you are willing to wear, and all the protection in the world won't help if you leave it in the garage as it's too heavy, hot or uncomfortable.
This incredible level of comfort is where the Launch Enduro pads win every time, as they remove any excuse to not wear a knee pad. Fair enough, you may wish to strap on some stormtrooper kit for big days in the park, but for everyday trail use, these are excellent.
How much protection you use is a personal choice, but anything that makes us safer for very little compromise has to be a winner. These pads are by far the most comfortable knee pads I have ever used, and although they obviously don't have top levels of impact protection, they are certainly worth wearing to protect against minor trail arguments. Simple, lightweight and comfortable Fox's Launch Enduro pads are excellent, just don't pretend they offer more protection than they do and strap on something more substantial for that road gap!
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.