I feel like I need to apologize to the Dainese Enduro Knee Guard 2.
After months of wearing these kneepads on the best of the dusty, rock-strewn, cactus-lined descents Southern California has to offer, at no point did my cross-country lifestyle truly test the levels of protection the Knee Guard 2 offers.
Dainese Knee Pads
These are big-boy/girl pads for the heavy stuff. They’re built for serious abuse during aggressive downhill adventures and they prioritize protection over everything else.
Their robust construction and materials reflect Dainese’s decades of motorcycle and motocross background. Though the Knee Guard 2 is absolutely a mountain bike piece of gear, they feel like they could take a motorized impact without blinking.
The key to this is their savvy blend of ABS plastic for the kneecap and shin areas and then softer, more flexible padding on the sides of the leg. The pads are held in place by an adjustable velcro strap at the top for your thigh and an elastic band around the back of your upper calf.
The result is a comfortable, hearty pad that’s just lightweight enough so as not to be cumbersome — particularly in hot riding — but heavy enough to inspire confidence in their abilities.
On more than one occasion I was able to test their ability to protect, including one particularly hard and fast large-rock-against-kneecap direct hit. Crashing in these pads feels like you’ve got the cheat codes to riding; take a digger and you have nothing to show for it save for a bruised ego.
They allow pedaling more easily than a DH-only pad will, though they take some time to break in properly and you definitely notice the pads’ presence while you’re pedaling.
Overall, if you’re an enduro or DH rider looking for a one-stop solution, the Dainese Enduro 2 ($129.95) are a great option.
The problem for me is that my ‘heavy stuff’ days are behind me now, and I have the titanium plates to prove it. I’ve devolved into a passable enduro rider who prefers the cross country end of the mountain bike buffet.
So these pads are a bit of overkill for the riding I do and for the types of impact I need to protect myself from. They’re also a bit too bulky to easily strap to your hydration pack. So while I appreciated their toughness and durability, an XC-oriented rider like myself might be better served with something like Dianese’s Trail Skins line of kneepads.