Product Courtesy of Knox-Planet Singapore
Mountain biking has evolved over the years since its inception, with new bicycle technologies helping us go further and faster, on terrain which might seem unrideable just a decade ago. With such capabilities of the newer bikes, risks of injury have also increased as riders will be tempted to try new terrain. While previously in the domain of trial and downhill riders, more everyday riders have started adopting protection other than the basic helmet against crash injuries. This included full fingered gloves, elbow/forearm guards and knee/shin guards.
The Cross Lite knee guards are from a UK company called Knox Limited, and they have 25yrs of experience in the design and manufacture of extreme sports protection. They might not be as well known locally as some of the more established mountain bike brands because they started from motorcycle road racing. But with products like the Cross Lite knee guards, they aim to raise their profile here.
The Cross Lite knee guards came packaged in a small duffel bag with a sling and drawstring, allowing the users a means to carry the guards while riding to the trail, and to store them after use. The guards themselves are made of hard wearing nylon/ cotton with moisture management to prevent slipping in use. There are hard plastic inserts fitted to protect the riders’ kneecaps from hard crashes, and additional foam paddings at the sides of the knees to help reduce side impacts. Unlike other similar knee pads in the market, the Cross Lite has only one elastic strap which wraps around the center of the knee to hold the guards tightly and prevent it from shifting while pedaling. There are no straps on the top and bottom of the guards so as to reduce discomfort around the thigh area. The guards are also approved by CE to EN1621-1 standards. The guards have distinctive tribal graphics printed on it, which are a love/hate thing as not everyone is into loud graphics. Thankful when the elastic straps are attached, a good deal of the graphics are covered.
Putting on the guards are similar to that of wearing a sock, as the guards are a wrap around design. It might be abit inconvenient compare to guards of an open rear design, but knee guards tend to move around quite abit if it is not properly secured. After wearing the guards on, the user has to pull the elastic velcro strap across the centerline of the guards and adjust it to fit snugly.
Wearing the guards did not restrict the pedaling efficiency of the rider, but they do get abit warm after prolonged use. The lack of straps on the top/bottom lead to slight gaps between the rider’s legs and the guards when the knees are flexed. From experience, this could allow small pebbles and sand to enter and abrade the legs, but it did not happened in use as I was wearing riding shorts which covered the top of the guards.
The Cross Lite knee guards are great for riders who are seeking protection for their legs while riding without going for a full blown knee/shin system. The guards are lightweight and designed to be as unobtrusive as possible for all day riding. If the rear of the guard was made of a mesh material, it would help with keeping the rider’s knees abit cooler. The warmth doesn’t really distract the user while riding, but the rider will realise how warm it actually is upon removing the guards after a long ride. The lack of shin protection should not be too much of a detriment for most people as impacts from crashes tend to fall onto the knee area. However if you are seeking full knee/shin guards, Knox also sells the Crossmax knee/shin guards.
Personal protection for cycling always seem expensive on the initial cash outlay, but always remember that after the guards protect you from one big crash, it will have more than redeem its value. And for older riders who recover slower from injuries, it makes sense to have protection from leg injuries.