The knee protectors have been tested in the Netherlands, Italy and France in forest and mountains (excl Dutch Mountains 😉 ). Asfalt, unpaved roads, singletrack and freeriding in temperatures between 20 and +30 degrees celsius.
Not without my POC’s. That was my conclusion after 4 weeks of riding and testing the knee protectors by POC. The reason for that is that my riding “style” (if you can call it that) is an unstable fusion of suruplus of ambition and a lack of the necessary skills (as of yet) to meet the requirements of said ambition. To quote Captain Stinger in Top Gun: “Son, you’re ego’s writing cheques your body can’t cash.” In tat sense I am the ideal crash test dummy for protective gear. I feel the need for speed (as did Maverick in the aforementioned classic) and love the challenge that steep, technical routes put to me.
The feeling of being well protected helps in making this conscious choice for not always the safest way down. And as I didn’t always manage without taking a spill or two, the POC knee protectors really showed their worth. No knee wounds or injuries due to the mishaps I enjoyed. (Check the video review for images of two of those.)
That the knee protectors would be well worth their money on downhills tracks was immediately obvious; but I was a bit worried about wearing them on the way up. Wouldn’t they cramp my uphill “style”, forcing me to take them off when I didn’t need them? I am happy to say they hardly bothered my at all: sure you can feel them and the knee isn’t as free if you had nothing on, but I never had the feeling that I could climb less efficiently due to my wearing them. That is due to the great fit, the comfortable and flexible materials used, the elasticity of the kevlar reinforced stretch fabric and the breathablity of the protectors. Even during long and steep climbs at high temperatures they didn’t bother me.
Compared to the hardshell elbow protectors I put on during some really rock strewn technical tracks, the softshell VPD’s are a breath of fresh air, and during downhills you just forget you even have them on. Untill you (or I in this case) crash and count my blessings I was wearing them in the first place.
For longer enduro or XC rides with nice downhills these are really excellent protectors; for more risky and rocky hard core downhills I would imagine that a hardshell variation of the knee protectors (which POC also sells, the Joint VPD 2.0 DH Knee) would protect even more against direct and hard impact. Having said that, the technology in the VPD 2.0, is such that at impact the Visco-elastic Polymer Dough instantaneously stiffens to provide extra impact absorption qualities. So comfort and protection are not separate worlds any longer.
- Great fit due to elasticity
- High measure of protection
- Light and comfortable to wear, also during climbing
- Breathability of the material