Knee protection is one of those pieces of gear that often gets overlooked until you get hurt. As a rider who’s had his share of spills both on and off road, I am abundantly aware of the need for good knee protection.
This month’s gear review is of the Leatt Dual Axis Knee Guards. For those not familiar with the Leatt brand, they are a South African company known for producing heavily researched protective gear. They are best known for the their neck braces, but have recently begun branching out into other pieces of protective gear.
The Dual Axis Knee Guards derives its name from the two pivots on the knee cup, which allows the guards to mimic the natural motions of the leg. The outer shell is a hard plastic that covers the shin, kneecap, and the lower thigh. Beneath the hard shell is CE certified padding to absorb impacts. They are slim enough to fit easily inside boots and have some ventilation built in.
The guards have medium soft lining (read not super plush) and three adjustable straps which secure using plastic clips. They are anatomically fit to your legs, so there’s a left and a right. Leatt offers three sizes, S/M, L/XL, and XXL, and they weigh in around two pounds for the pair in size XXL.
I bought these originally for off-road, but have started using them for sporty road riding. I found them to be very comfortable and easy to get on and off. The straps are Velcro adjustable and have a wide backing to them so they don’t dig into your legs. The attachment clips are nice because once you get the straps adjusted where you like they’ll fit the same each time.
The venting is okay. They wear a bit cooler, but more noticeable is the lack of a full sweaty soaking after a good hard ride. They do hold some heat and moisture, but feel better than the average hard cup knee guard.
They fit nicely under most pants thanks to their slim fit. I can easily wear them under normal jeans or off-road pants. The articulation of the dual axis felt natural and kept the protection in place regardless of my knee’s position. Only at extreme bend angles does the thigh portion start to lift away from your leg, but it wasn’t a normal position for me when on a bike.
My only gripes are the attachment clips and the lining. The clips feel a bit fragile; careless handling could break them. Replacements parts are available, but I’d prefer a couple spare clips included or beefier clips. The less than plush lining is a little rough for extended wear. Their fine for a short ride directly on your leg, but if wearing them all day I like a guard liner under them to limit chaffing.
Overall these are great knee guards. They protect wonderfully, preventing the invariable bumps, scrapes, and whacks that happen, especially off-road. True to our mission I threw myself to the ground on an MX track to test them and came away unharmed. To get more protection than this you’ll need full medical grade knee braces. The best compliment I can pay them is once on I forget I’m wearing them.
The Leatt Dual Axis Knee Guards retail for $89 per pair. A premium price for sure, but for that you get a quality bit of protection.