Leatt 3DF 6.0 Knee Guards Reviewed
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.
- 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
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
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.
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.