When looking for knee and elbow protection there are a few stipulations I make, after all we all have a different ride style and we all ride different disciplines. for me they have to provide protection, not limit movement, be comfortable and perhaps add a little style to my get-up. The latter of these is not so important, but the Raceface Indy knee and elbow pads seem to deliver in all categories….
Initially when I started riding mountain bikes I never wore elbow and knee pads, sometimes still I won’t wear elbow pads but I will always wear knee pads. I can remember the turning point for me, when during a cross-country endurance race I rode past an injured rider being attended to my medical personnel. He had come off a skinny crossing a small creek and had shattered his patella and it looked like a butcher had attacked his knee with a meat cleaver. That point there, was enough to inspire me to wear knee pads.
As someone that started out riding cross-country when I moved across to more gravity-orientated riding the thought on donning more protection was not in my head. I had rarely had major crashes that required it, but in gravity riding it’s not an if you crash, it is when you crash. When you do crash you want to have some protection on to avoid nasty injuries that may keep you off the bike and home from work. Elbow pads became a staple for me on any gravity trails after a crash led to me needing a surgical wash out and debridement of my elbow and a dozen stitches or so, lessons I tend to learn the hard way.
So what pads do you wear and why? I always aim to balance comfort and light weight pads against protection and when it comes to knee pads I’ll change to heavier pads if I pick up a downhill bike. For all other occasions though I want a lightweight pad that provides protection and will do the job if I crash during an enduro race. Enter the Race Face Indy knee and Elbow pads for a long-term test….
Comfort and breathability
The Race Face Indy knee and elbow pads certainly feel comfortable and you can wear them in even the hottest conditions, such as the tropical Queensland climate where I live. I found that they actually felt like you weren’t wearing pads when riding, to the point where I’ll even wear the knee pads on any cross-country rides. The breathability is good and I found that they were not too restrictive, a point that had been an absolute failure for pads I had used in the past.
Freedom of movement and protection
Over the test period I competed in a number of racing styles from gravity enduro to downhill with a couple of long distance cross-country endurance races thrown in for good measure. The most positive point I found with these pads is the complete lack of restriction, you don’t feel like there is a sleeve on your knee providing resistance. A set of knee pads is meant to protect, not restrict and these pads certainly met the quota. I am certainly one that is not shy of the odd crash or two, after all if you are not crashing then you are not progressing, but these pads have certainly stopped and major injuries or abrasions. That being said, I probably wouldn’t want to take a big tumble on a world cup downhill track in them, but for an all-rounder trail / enduro pad they get the thumbs up.
Whilst not exactly the cheapest pad on the market, the Race Face Indy knee and elbow pads provide an excellent choice when donning the right protection for the trails. The lightweight feel, breathability and freedom of movement is exactly what this rider looks for in a knee and elbow pad combination…