7iDP Sam Hill Knee Pad
REVIEW

7iDP Sam Hill Knee Pad

Words AJ Barlas
Photos AJ Barlas
Date Apr 4, 2018

Thanks in large part to the explosion of the enduro race format, we mountain bikers have a lot to be pumped about. Our trail bikes have gone from strength to strength and are now as capable as downhill bikes were ten years ago. And we can ride them all day long, up, down and around our local trails. This progression isn’t unique to the bikes that we ride. Body armour has gotten more comfortable, lighter, smaller, and in many cases more breathable than before. 

One brand that has been prominent on the world's fastest enduro racers is 7iDP. The Transition knee pad was a popular choice both for teams partnered with 7iDP and free agents during the 2017 EWS. Riders along the Sea to Sky have also been drawn to the minimalist design. Sam Hill was one of 7iDP's riders who sported the Transition pad last season but he wanted more protection without affecting the comfort of the pad. That request led to the Sam Hill pad you see here.  


7iDP Sam Hill Knee Pad on the Bike

The Pad & Where it Differs

The Sam Hill knee pad is held in place with a compression fit like the Transition version. A lycra sock with breathable mesh down the back and an ergonomic fit hugs the skin. It's light and were it not for the pad on the front, it would be almost like wearing a knee warmer. The kneecap area of the pad, which makes up the majority of the protection, is made of a moldable foam by Sas-Tec. It's a little stiffer when cold, but is very easily shaped when it’s warmed by ambient temperature or body heat. It's reasonably soft and comfortable when riding but firms up in the event of an impact. A similar technology can be found in a number of other foam pads available today.  

Where the Sam Hill differs from the Transition is in the additional foam protection around the sides of the kneecap. The extra foam does come at a slight cost, with the pads coming in at 79.99 USD against the Transition's 69.99 USD. Of note is the price drop, with the Sam Hill  costing the same now as the Transition did last year, so it's essentially the same price, if you could go back in time… 


7iDP Sam Hill Knee Pad with cap foam removed

The Sam Hill pad features a removable insert for the kneecap which makes washing a breeze. The foam is by Sas-Tec and like others is soft but hardens under impact.

7iDP Sam Hill Knee Pad insides

The knee sits up against this lycra panel. Note the outer foam pieces are not removable. The slit for pad removal isn't noticed when riding. 

The lycra sock is quite long, going further up the thigh than many of the pads available on the market today. This can result in a little extra warmth on the trail, but it goes a long way to helping the pads stay in place while also being quite comfortable, with little opportunity for punters gap. Any riders that prefer a slightly shorter leg length from their riding shorts take note, this will provide more comfort when climbing while seated. The upper and lower extremities of the pads have a smooth silicone strip that also assists with keeping them in place, but it's not so aggressive that it will rip the hair off your legs. 

Across the areas that include padding is a more robust, tear resistant material. Most lightweight trail pads feature a similar material across the knee and it’s not usually until looking at a more DH specific pad that the hard shells are included in its place. Despite the soft foam pad material the Sam Hill, like the Transition, passes the appropriate CE safety standards.  

7iDP Sam Hill Knee Pad's long lycra upper

The long upper increases hold and keeps the pads in place.

Fit & On the Trail

Having spent some time in the Transition pad it was surprising to find the Sam Hill even more comfortable when first fitted. One could easily be forgiven for assuming that more padding would mean less comfort, but somehow 7iDP has managed to improve the fit over the previous, lower protection version. The pad forms a very well fitted bond around the knee, one that makes it very comfortable to pedal and ride in. 

On the trail, the Sam Hill pad remains in place with little sign of sliding down. In the event of a spill it can get shifted but has remained up in the right region – covering the kneecap. The extra pieces of protection go unnoticed when riding but have already proven themselves when getting a little out of control and smacking the sides of the bike during such moments. 

With the weather just heating up in the Northern Hemisphere now, we’re getting our first dose of how they feel in warmer conditions. Based on last summer in the Transition, it’s a small price to pay for some protection on the trail. It is one of the more comfortable trail pads available.   

7iDP Sam Hill Knee Pad Mesh Back

The Mesh back is comfortable against the back of the knee and allows more airflow. 

There is one downside to that lightweight protection and its one that is common across any pads with a similar purpose. Due to the materials used in their construction, these require a little extra care as a firm snag against a pedal pin or abrasive vegetation can tear the material that makes up the compression sock. As with most things in life, it’s a game of compromises and if you want a lightweight, breathable knee pad, the appropriate care will need to be taken. That said, these have been through a washing machine a number of times now and there are no issues  to speak of with the construction. The tear from a careless smack into a pedal while hiking hasn’t worsened from going through the wash, or from regular use. 


The Verdict 

The Sam Hill knee pads remain comfortable during long days in the saddle and offer ample protection for even aggressive trail riding duties. Like the Transition pads before, expect to see the updated Sam Hill pads popularity increase out on the trails this year because like it’s predecessor, its light and comfortable but also does it’s job well. 


More on the Sam HIll Knee Pad



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Comments

7iDP
7iDP
4 years, 5 months ago
+1 mike

Hi Mike, So you  must have the Transition Wrap? Great to  hear you rate them. We're hearing similar comments globally, slowly  but surely the word is spreading  and we're gathering momentum!! As one of the few independent brands in our market ( ie not owned by venture capitalists/big business), we really appreciate the  support we get from riders. We've got some great projects in the  pipeline too including our first totally  bespoke full face helmet  which will have its  first airing at Eurobike, It's going to be a 'game  changer'! Thanks  again for choosing 7iDP.

Reply

IslandLife
IslandLife
4 years, 6 months ago
0

I'd be interested in your thoughts regarding how these compare with Raceface's Indy knee.  Which I guess would compare more with the Transition as they don't have the same padding as these.  Need some new pads soon and was looking at the Indy's as I've heard good things...

Reply

AJ_Barlas
AJ Barlas
4 years, 6 months ago
0

I actually haven't spent any time in the Indy. We'll see if I can change that and report back with some comparisons. As you note though, these do offer more protection in a still lightweight and comfortable package.

Reply

wishiwereriding
John Keiffer
4 years, 6 months ago
0

You will probably get a lot of requests to compare. Here's mine... This pad sounds good, but would like to know if you've ridden the Kali Strike pads.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
AJ Barlas
4 years, 6 months ago
0

Haha. For sure. Unfortunately I haven't tried the Strike from Kali either. Another good option to compare this to, for sure. We'll see what we can do!

Reply

IslandLife
IslandLife
4 years, 6 months ago
+1 chachmonkey

Sounds like a "Soft-Pad Shoot-Out" is in order!!

Reply

AJ_Barlas
AJ Barlas
4 years, 6 months ago
+1 IslandLife

You read my mind. :)

Reply

Endur-Bro
Endur-Bro
4 years, 6 months ago
0

Assuming these pads are flat-pedal only compatible?

Reply

IslandLife
IslandLife
4 years, 6 months ago
+2 AJ Barlas Endur-Bro

You mean, as opposed to old school clips?

Reply

AJ_Barlas
AJ Barlas
4 years, 6 months ago
0

Nah. Whatever floats your boat.

Reply

thegromit
RYAN STIMAC
4 years, 6 months ago
0

How about those shoes?

Reply

AJ_Barlas
AJ Barlas
4 years, 6 months ago
0

The GR9? Look for the review in a few weeks time.

Reply

flowrider
flowrider
4 years, 6 months ago
0

I know it isn't fashionable but did you try the elbows? I'm trying to find a pair of decent elbow pads for park and janky days.

Reply

7iDP
7iDP
4 years, 6 months ago
0

Hi Flowrider, check out  our 7iDP Transition Elbow, it's designed on the same basis as our best selling Transition  pad  and the Sam Hill knee  ie  offering super  comfortable, low  profile   pads that also give  you  great  protection.  You  can  check them out  at 7protection.com

Reply

flowrider
flowrider
4 years, 6 months ago
0

Thanks. Who sells it in the lower mainland?

Reply

7iDP
7iDP
4 years, 6 months ago
0

Hi, will try and  find out and get back  to you.

Reply

LoamtoHome
Jerry Willows
4 years, 6 months ago
0

I got my 7 IDP at Different Bikes... now Comor Sports

Reply

DemonMike
mike
4 years, 6 months ago
0

decent looking design , was hoping they would have a upper strap.

Reply

7iDP
7iDP
4 years, 5 months ago
0

Hi Mike,

I understand why  you  might  want  an upper  strap ( we use one on  our new Project Knee as is is constructed  using  different sleeve material to the  Sam Hill), but we've  been running the Transition Knee  for 3  years and testing the Sam Hill  knee for over 6 months  before  going to market  and it  really doesn't  need an  upper  strap. It  says put.

Reply

DemonMike
mike
4 years, 5 months ago
0

I have the Transition Knee and love them , the dual strap setup works amazing . Set the straps at the start of the ride and never need to adjust them during . IMO the best knee pad I have owned .

Reply

7iDP
7iDP
4 years, 5 months ago
0

Hi Mike, So you  must have the Transition Wrap? Great to  hear you rate them. We're hearing similar comments globally, slowly  but surely the word is spreading  and we're gathering momentum!! As one of the few independent brands in our market ( ie not owned by venture capitalists/big business), we really appreciate the  support we get from riders. We've got some great projects in the  pipeline too including our first totally  bespoke full face helmet  which will have its  first airing at Eurobike, It's going to be a 'game  changer'! Thanks  again for choosing 7iDP.

Reply

Andeh
Andeh
4 years, 5 months ago
0

Hey 7iDP, when are these going to be available for sale in the US?  I'd love to give these a shot.  My upper shins thank you in advance!

Reply

7iDP
7iDP
4 years, 4 months ago
0

Hi Andeh,  our  first  shipment should  drop   mid/end  July.. apologies  for the  delay -  but we needed to  tweak and get absolutely  right  prior to  launch.

Reply

7iDP
7iDP
4 years, 4 months ago
0

Hi Andeh,  our  first  shipment should  drop   mid/end  July.. apologies  for the  delay -  but we needed to  tweak and get absolutely  right  prior to  launch.

Reply

ssk77077
ssk77077
4 years, 4 months ago
0

For fit measurement, how far above the knee should we measure the thigh?

Reply

cyclotoine
cyclotoine
4 years, 4 months ago
0

Hi AJ, 

Thanks for the review. Just wondering what size you tested and what your measurement is? 

To 7iDP, where should we measure exactly? The largest part of the quad around 15cm above the knee? I get 45cm so a medium but being a pretty tall dude I wonder... are they all the same length or are the smaller sizes shorter? I'd be concerned about the upper portion slipping down if it were too short.

Reply

seabird55
seabird55
1 year, 8 months ago
0

just purchased the sam hills and couldn't be happier.  comfortable and great protection.  i was using a pair of gform x2 pads but just found they didn't stay in place.  the sam hills seem to stay/lock onto the knee and while more substantial than the gform x2's are still very comfortable.  i read that some felt they would not be good in cold weather due to the stiffness of the pad but i rode today in 5 degree weather in vancouver and had no issues at all...still very comfortable.  would recommend

Reply

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