Fox recently sent us a handful of things to test from their new mountain bike apparel and protective wear lineup. Our first item covered was the Speedframe Pro helmet, and now in this article we’re on to covering their Enduro D3O kneepads – a mid duty, sleeve style knee guard. These pads are from the same vein as many current popular offerings in the sense that they are soft, breathable and unstructured, rather than a hard plastic kneepad. Read on to see how they performed…
- Removable D3O insert
- Moisture wicking, open stretch mesh at back of knee
- Abrasion resistant Cordura fabric
- Silicone anti slip thigh grippers
- Colors: Grey and Black
- Sizes: S, M, L, XL
- $84.95 USD
With three different sections of varying fabric and an outer abrasion resistant panel at the outside, the layering of the Enduro D3O is well laid out.
The tougher outer panel is relieved at the sides to allow things to move and bend freely.
The silicone leg grippers are soft and grabby, but not over the top.
The back of the pad sees a mesh panel that’s extremely lightweight, breathable and flexible.
The guards feature a thigh cuff that sits about six inches above the top of the knee.
The removable D3O pad lays flat, but is formed with relief throughout so as to better conform to the knee’s contour and also starts to taper away at the edges for a smooth transition into the sleeve.
On the trail
Starting with sizing, I found these pads to be spot on accurate. With four sizes available I opted for a Medium and they did fit on the slightly snug side for me. In hindsight, I could likely also make the size Large work as I land roughly between the two sizes. In any case, they didn’t slip even in the slightest throughout all of my testing – I feel that would also have likely been the case with a size Large, and this is mainly due to their design. The sleeve that houses the removable D3O pad is quite comfortable and stretchy. On the front portion they are made from a stretchy spandex material which deals nicely with the constant bending of the knees. The outside area that houses the pad is made from a tough Cordura fabric, and after multiple slide outs and a couple of minor crashes, they have not given way at all. On the inside, the pocket which holds the pad is made from a very plush fabric so as not to irritate your skin during long days in the saddle. I found the top cuff to be just the right height. Personally, I’m not a fan of pads which sit way up on the thigh as it’s just more sweaty material to deal with. Speaking of the cuff, it held just the right amount of tension and provided ample grip. I think that factor is largely responsible for the fact that the Enduro D3O pads refused to slip or slowly shift down the leg like many pads do. Lastly, on the back half they are made from a meshy, woven material that has a chain mail look to it. I appreciated the fact that this section had no seams or threads, so as to avoid irritation. However, it did bunch up ever so slightly in the crease in the back of my knee. All things considered, I barely noticed it, but I do feel that having an articulated shape (as opposed to a flat lay style construction) could help avoid this completely.
So how was the padding itself? The D3O pad came in at around a half an inch thick, so it didn’t feel overly bulky. Like the sleeve, it also lays flat and doesn’t feature a cupped, formed shape. Rather, it achieves its form fitting nature through some gaps in areas where it needs to articulate as well as a tapered edge running all around its perimeter. Personally, I’m a big fan of D3O – it’s a highly effective material that does what it claims. That is, under normal circumstances it is relatively soft and pliable, so it moves with you while you’re pedaling and working the bike. Then, under impact it firms up and offers excellent impact absorption and thus, protection. As far as duty, I felt the Enduro D3O kneepads to be sufficient for most bread and butter trail rides, even on more aggressive terrain. I do however think that for Enduro racing per se, where riders are taking on significantly more risk – despite the name, it would be wise to consider a more comprehensive kneepad with a bit more protection. Particularly, if you’re racing on dangerous terrain and you’ve suffered knee injuries in the past.
At the end of the day, Fox has delivered and excellent kneepad here. It has some tough competition from other offerings like the Scott Soldier 2 and the Troy Lee Designs Stage – both of which offer slightly more padding. That said, if you’re looking for something that’s lightweight, tough, breathes incredibly well and flat out doesn’t slip, then the Enduro D3O is very much worthy of consideration. They deserve high praise for the fact that their sleek outline and well executed minimalist approach still manages a surprising amount of protection. Best of all, they’re nearly an afterthought when pedaling.