The Alpinestars Alps 2 Knee Guard landed in our gear bag a couple months ago and since then, we’ve spent a bit of time on our enduro and DH bikes riding them on a good mix of terrain. They come in looking rather middle of the road in terms of protection as well as pricepoint at $64.95. Let’s see how they treated us.
• Highly flexible and lightweight knee guard constructed from breathable laminated rip-stop, PE foam and poly-mesh.
• Integrated soft shell, PE patella piece is covered with durable fabric made from aramidic fiber for abrasion and impact protection.
• Liner offers progressive protection while providing a soft contact against the skin.
• Snug design offers a firm compression fit and soft tissue support for all styles of riding.
• Velcro® top and bottom elastic straps to help keep the protection in place.
• Silicone printing on the inner liner also prevents the guard being displaced while riding.
• Stretch mesh panel for better stability of the guard while riding.
• Alps 2 Knee Guard is CE Certified.
While Alpinestars doesn’t exactly claim quite which discipline these are geared towards, judging by their looks, we deemed them to be appropriate for light duty downhill, enduro riding and some park laps. They’re a bit bulkier than some of the light, minimalist offerings out there, but they also provide more coverage and are still quite flexible.
When we first put the Alps 2 pads on, we appreciated both their thorough coverage up front as well as the mostly open/mesh area at the back of the knee. The silicone at the top and bottom aided in them feeling secure. The ergonomics seemed good and the straps landed in logical places. However, even with the straps fairly loose we could really feel their presence for some reason. Over time, this didn’t really seem to break in or go away.
On the trail
Once we started spending some serious saddle time with the Alps 2, we were relatively happy with them so long as we were descending. They didn’t slip or shift around and with minimal pedaling, they didn’t really irritate us. However, these pads just don’t work well for long seated days in the saddle. We’re at a bit of a quandary trying to figure out exactly why. They are lighter and more trim than your average heavy duty pad but we did experience a fair bit of chafing. Some irritation was caused by the silicone and some was caused by the mesh back panel.
When we realized that these just didn’t comply on big days we started using them for some DH and enduro shuttle missions and found that they worked quite well. We can’t really fault Alpinestars for their lack of comfort while being pedaled all day. After all, they don’t really claim otherwise. That said, we really liked the freedom these offered under pants while riding DH. We would caution against riding anything too gnarly with them because while the coverage is good, the padding is a bit thinner than a full on DH pad. Also, if you want a substantial pad for your days in a bike park then these are great. Just don’t expect to do any 4,000 foot climbs in them.