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PRODUCT REVIEW

Leatt 3DF 6.0 Knee Guards Reviewed

Words AJ Barlas
Photos AJ Barlas
Date Oct 4, 2018

Leatt started with neck braces but they’ve since firmly established themselves in protection, and not just in cycling. The South African brand manufactures protection from knees to head and has been developing innovative technologies along the way.

Leatt's first kneepads were the 3DF and Dual Axis in 2013 and the range has since grown to include 10 options. Leatt considers the 3DF 6.0 to be their soft pad, despite obvious hard shell sections present on the knee and upper shin.

Features:

  • Co-molded hard shell knee and upper shin
  • 3DF impact foam at sides
  • Silicone strips around upper and lower openings
  • Calf band with a silicone grip lining
  • Ergonomic pre-curved design
  • CE tested and certified
  • MSRP: 89.99 USD

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Less coverage than others in the Leatt range, and more than some of the competition.


The 3DF 6.0 knee is minimalist compared to other Leatt pads, with a number of options providing coverage down to the lower shin. It features a pre-curved shape, closed mesh back, impact foam on the sides of the knee, and is largely constructed of perforated neoprene. Velcro elastic tabs adjust the fit and the ergonomic shape helps keep the pad in place.

Construction of the pads differs from what a number of others are doing currently. Rather than the abrasion resistant covers mated with knit socks, mesh or lycra, the bulk of the 3DF 6.0 consists of neoprene, while hard shells protect the knee and shin. The back of the knee is enclosed in breathable mesh. Neoprene makes up the rest of the pad, aside from the hard shell portion on the front. There's also 3DF foam for impacts on the sides.

Initial comfort is great provided you don’t have any issues with neoprene*, and the pre-curved design fits very well. Unlike some, walking and the odd hike-a-bike is comfortable in the pads, with enough give in the design to allow the leg to straighten without forming any pressure points. True also when on the bike.

*Some people have allergies to neoprene

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Mesh behind the knee provides some breathability. Also visible is the elastic above the calf, which helps keep the pads securely in place. 

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The pre-curved design means that when the knee is fully bent the pads remain comfortable, even with all of the extra side padding.

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They don't go as high up the thigh as some, but there is plenty of coverage when riding. Punters gap shouldn't be an issue. 


Protection is high, so much so that these feel more suited to downhill than trail use. As a result, I spent much more time riding bike park and DH in these than I did pedal them around the trails. They’re on the bulky side for current knee pads. Partially thanks to the amount of neoprene they’re constructed from but also thanks to the cut and protection offered. One can’t have the cake and eat it too…

Pedalling in neoprene isn’t ideal. The material makes for a hot sweaty knee and despite Leatt's efforts, the 3DF 6.0 is no different. Leatt lists the neoprene as being “super perforated and vented to keep you cool” but at the end of the day, it still doesn’t breath like many other available materials.

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Straightening the leg doesn't cause any discomfort, despite the pre-curved design. This is thanks to the materials used and where they are placed. 


I didn’t fit the recommended L/XL size but the size S/M pad fit perfectly, which is my size in a number of other brands. If there’s the opportunity to try before you buy, do it. With the correct fit, the pads remained in place for entire days in the bike park. Elastic velcro adjusters help fine tune the fit around the thigh but after a couple of rides, I discovered the sweet spot for perfect tension. It is possible to slide the 3DF 6.0 on and off without any adjustment, and have them remain secure while riding (also when crashing, in my experience). This appears to be largely thanks to their ergonomic shape and the elastic that runs above the calf.  

Leatt’s 3DF 6.0 offer an excellent amount of protection in a comfortable fitting package. Their neoprene construction puts them on the warmer side but it’s not something I see as problematic when riding downhill. Size and protection offered make them a great pad for downhill riders. They’ve also been durable and after months of use, there are no loose threads or holes. At 89.99 USD they offer value for the protection conscious rider.

Head to Leatt’s website for more on the 3DF 6.0 knee guard.




Comments

IslandLife
0
IslandLife  - Oct. 4, 2018, 1:23 p.m.

Nice pads... what shoes are you riding in these photos?

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+1 IslandLife
AJ Barlas  - Oct. 4, 2018, 5:48 p.m.

Hey IslandLife. Those are the updated Specialized 2FO. Great, comfortable sole that is nice and compliant, though still provide support for long days. Definitely not as stiff as some like it, but the trade-off is excellent pedal feel. They unfortunately don’t offer the same traction as a 510 though, if that’s something you look for in a flat pedal shoe.

Reply

IslandLife
0
IslandLife  - Oct. 5, 2018, 9:28 a.m.

Thanks for the info... shopping for my next shoe and those look pretty good. Not a fan of overly stiff soles and find 5.10’s grippiest soles too grippy. I like proper pedal feel and the ability to shift my foot position depending on the terrain (part of why I came back to flats). Anyway, what’s the wet-coast performance like?  I don’t need them to be waterproof, don’t mind damp feet, just need them to be fairly water resistant... for instance, when you dunk through a puddle, does the shoe try and soak up the entire puddle (current shoes) or does it shed most of it?  Fairly quick drying?

Reply

kiwizak
+1 IslandLife
kiwizak  - Oct. 6, 2018, 4:26 p.m.

I have ridden mine through a wet winter here in New Zealand I can say I have never had wet feet at the end of a ride. They don't look it, the toe box is a appears to be plastic/rubber mesh, but they shed water VERY well. 

When they get muddy I hose them down and they will be dry the next morning. My old 5.10's would take days to dry, so this is a revelation for me.

Reply

IslandLife
0
IslandLife  - Oct. 9, 2018, 8:38 a.m.

Sounds good, thanks for the info!

Reply

Thunderbear
0
Thunderbear  - Oct. 4, 2018, 1:34 p.m.

I've ridden these pads all season and love them! I mostly pedal up and they don't bother me, even on hot days. They also stay put on the way down. I have the same experience with sizing, I'm in the lower range of L/XL in their size chart, but S/M is a perfect fit.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Oct. 4, 2018, 5:49 p.m.

You animal ThunderBear. After spending lots of time in lightweight pads, I couldn’t handle pedal days in these. They certainly stay in place though and are super comfortable too!

Reply

Thunderbear
0
Thunderbear  - Oct. 4, 2018, 7:04 p.m.

Most of my rides are short and burly, so I've always gravitated toward heavier pads... these are the most comfortable pads I've ridden, but I've never tried lightweight options.

Any suggestions for lightweight pads to complement these?

Reply

grimwood
0
grimwood  - Oct. 5, 2018, 7 a.m.

I run the POC system knew pads for my light weight pedally pad. I’ve tried a bunch of them, but this one is easily the most comfortable pad I’ve ever pedalled in. If you can get over the cost, you should be very happy with the system.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Oct. 5, 2018, 7:34 a.m.

I’ve been really impressed with the Seven Sam Hill pads and pedal almost exclusively in them. My review: https://nsmb.com/articles/7idp-sam-hill-knee-pad/

Others have been equally impressed, Johan over at Vital had nice things to say in his roundup and I believe gave them top honours.

Reply

andy-eunson
0
Andy Eunson  - Oct. 4, 2018, 6:51 p.m.

I found that sweat helps the pads stay put. Now that it’s colder out I have to ride 10 to 15 minutes with loose pads sliding around until my sweat makes it stick.

Reply

LoamtoHome
0
Jerry Willows  - Oct. 5, 2018, 8:09 a.m.

Easier to throw some water between the pads and knee.

Reply

IslandLife
0
IslandLife  - Oct. 5, 2018, 9:34 a.m.

Yep, totally... Also has to do with how much your body actually expands and contracts with heat... it’s quite surprising. Had a similar experience with my elbows a couple weeks ago. Was racing an Enduro and after the 45 min wait at the top of the first stage I was cold as fuck!!  The first stage was also particularly rough with lots of holes.  Elbow pads that never moved an inch all summer were around my wrists at the end of the stage.  Next stage was a 3 min wait, was nice and warm and they didn’t move.

Reply

luisgutierod
0
luisgutierod  - Oct. 6, 2018, 3:54 a.m.

cool pads... what about your zip tied bottle cage man ?

Reply

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