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Race Face Indy Knee Guards Review

The last few years have seen bulky, hard plastic stormtrooper-style knee and shin guards knocked out of fashion by lighter, more low profile options. Race Face's Indy knee guards are the company's latest entry into this category of protection, using a layer of D3O foam at the front to provide knee and upper shin impact protection. The guards slide on and have an elastic cuff at the top and the bottom, as well as a larger adjustable elastic strap at the top of each leg for fine tuning the fit. Silicone grippers at the upper and lower cuffs help keep them from slipping and shifting. Weight: 324 grams. Price: £64.95

The guards cover the entire kneecap and extend partway down the shin. Race Face have gone with a a simple, slip on design, using one elastic strap at the top of each leg.

On The Trail

The Indy knee guards have accompanied me on countless rides over the last few months, everything from laps in the Whistler Bike Park to long days of pedaling in Sedona, Arizona. The fact that they weigh only 324 grams and can easily be stuffed into a pack made it easy to justify bringing them along, even on rides where I might typically have chosen to forgo pads altogether. Overall, they were quite comfortable, but every once in a while the elastic strap at the top of the pads would roll up and twist behind the back of the knee, causing a slightly annoying bunching up of fabric and elastic. This usually happened on extended pedaling sections, and I never noticed it on on the downhills, but that's likely because my attention was directed elsewhere. Reaching down and straightening out the strap fixed this, but I found myself wondering if that upper strap was even necessary – the guards fit well enough that it doesn't seem like removing it would be detrimental.

Regarding durability, the fabric covering the D3O pad on the front of the guards has remained unscathed even after several scrapes with the ground, but the mesh fabric on the back and the sides has developed a couple of small rips due to slipped pedals or sharp sticks jabbing through the material. Those rips haven't extended very far, and I'd much rather have the fabric rip instead of my skin, but it's worth mentioning, especially for riders who run flat pedals with sharp pins.

When it really mattered the Indy knee guards did the trick, and whether I was bashing my knee into my stem, or getting separated from my bike after coming into a greasy turn just a touch too fast, on more than one occasion they kept me from adding to my scar collection. They also stayed in place remarkably well, something that anyone who has ever had a set of pads slide down during a crash can appreciate.

Pinkbike's Take:

"There are more options than ever when it comes to knee protection, and Race Face's Indy knee guards are a decent addition to the field. There are a couple of issues, but they're not total deal breakers, although there is room for improvement when it comes to durability. On the whole the Indy knee guards strike a good balance between fit and function, with a low profile, lightweight design that will work well for a variety of riding styles." - Mike Kazimer

Head over to Pinkbike for more reviews.

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