7iDP Project Knee Pad
Earlier this spring I reviewed 7iDP’s Sam Hill knee pad and was impressed. It’s a new pad but it builds on the brand’s popular Transition knee pad. The Project knee pad, on the other hand, is a completely new pad aimed at a similar audience and draws many similarities. It’s lightweight, flexible, it uses a compression fit and includes extra protection on the sides of the knee. The silicon grips inside the top and bottom openings remain, and there is plenty of length to help keep the pad in place and prevent punters gap. The pads also pass CE/EN 1621/1.
Where they differ is in the materials and construction. The Project pads include a knitted, breathable sock, a flexible hard cap that is bonded to the front of the pad, and what 7iDP refers to as the ‘Centre Strap System’ across the top to help secure it around your upper thigh. Thanks to the construction and materials used it costs 40 USD more with an MSRP of 119.99 USD.
Fit & On The Trail
When sliding the Project knee pads on for the first time, the quality of construction and materials is immediately noticeable. The knitted sock feels great against the leg and provides a very comfortable amount of compression, securely holding the pad in place. The addition of the thigh strap will be welcomed by some while being nothing more than an added security measure for others, a nod to how well these fit without adjusting the velcro straps. The Centre Strap System includes two straps, one on either side, that wrap around to the front of the pad. I've not personally had issues with traditional single sided straps but the centre strap was comfortable and worked well.
On the trail, I found that for my skinny legs the straps needed to be tightened each time the pads were put on. The fit is excellent but it isn’t quite as form fitting as the Sam Hill and the added security was needed to prevent the upper thigh from being pulled down my little legs. They’re comfortable to pedal in all day but without the strap being tightened I found the pedalling motion would tug the upper down a small amount. The pad itself never moved but I preferred the upper to remain firmly in place and once the strap tension was right I was able to forget about mid-trail adjustments.
In cooler temperatures the knit sock is like a best friend – you want them around all of the time. The comfortable material is a pleasure to wear and it means the Project pads can double as knee warmers. When the weather got warmer they remained comfortable, though the knit sock is warmer than the lycra of similar pads, including the Sam Hill. The knit sock is more durable and despite a number of incidents, some involving pedal pins, it shows no sign of damage.
It’s the same story for the front of the pad. Where the Sam Hill knee pad and others like it feature a tear resistant material, the Project has a flexible hard-shell. The hard-shell is used to allow the pad to slide across objects in the event of a crash and is more durable than the material covering the front of similar pads. Behind the knee of the Project pad is an opening to help with ergonomics and prevent chaffing at the back of the knee, which I had no issues with. The ergonomic shape – they're slightly bent/curved – adds to the comfortable fit on the trail.
The Project pads are closer to a knee-shin combo in length, providing generous coverage. Extra foam padding provides protection on the inside and outside of the knees but compared to the Sam Hill, the padding here is on the slender side. The Project’s side padding is integrated really well but, again compared to the Sam Hill pad, it provides less protection.
I’m a big fan of the Project pad, despite coverage being smaller and the upper thigh of the sock being less flexible. The knit material is very comfortable and more durable than the lycra used on similar pads in this segment, and the pad feels solid enough to ride bike park while remaining comfortable enough for full day pedalling. They're durable and still look new after several months of riding.
Head to the 7iDP website for more on the Project knee pad.