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Are MTB Knee Pads Worth It and Do They Actually Work?

knee pads

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Mountain biking is a great way to exercise and enjoy nature; however, it can be dangerous if not done with proper safety equipment. One piece of safety equipment that mountain bikers should invest in is knee pads. Knee pads protect bikers from injuries caused by falls or crashes as well as debris that they might encounter on their path.

MTB knee pads are absolutely worth it. They save your knees from getting damaged in accidents and also give your knees support. Keeping yourself safe and able to keep biking is the priority.

The most important thing to remember is that knee pads are safety gear, not fashion. You should wear them every time you ride your bike, even if you don’t think you’ll fall. A fall can happen in seconds and when it does, your knee pad will either prevent the worst impact or they will lessen the impact greatly. Wearing a good set is smart, and to help I put together a list of knee pads for mtb riding to help you find the right ones for you.

Who Should Wear MTB Knee Pads and When?

There’s no simple answer to this one.

While it is true that wearing knee pads on a mountain bike is not mandatory, there are many benefits to doing so.

First of all, they can make the ride more comfortable and let you go for longer. A good pair of knee pads will stay in place and help reduce different types of friction and resistance. They will also make your ride more comfortable by absorbing some of the shock from bumps in the trail. Finally, they can protect your knees from serious injury or even give you enough time to get off the bike before you get too hurt. This way knee pads are an excellent investment for any rider who rides off-road trails on a mountain bike – whether beginner or advanced level rider!  I put these just behind wearing a helmet.

At the same time, if you are doing very light riding and not doing any tricks, the likelihood of a bad fall is less likely and you may opt for lighter knee pads or even none at all.

Why Do Some Riders Not Wear Knee Pads?

We all know how hard it is to push down on the pedals when we’re on a mountain bike. A lot of people don’t wear them because they think they’re bulky, uncomfortable, or just not worth it.

However, that’s really the wrong way to look at it. Not wearing something that’s made to protect you can lead to some really bad injuries when you’re out riding. And if a rider doesn’t like wearing bulky knee pads, many knee pads designed for XC are more like a sleeve or knee brace but provide pretty decent protection while maintaining fully flexibility.

Knee pads are designed for just this reason – they provide padding and protection when you’re out riding so you don’t suffer any injuries. Many times riders don’t want to wear pads as they don’t fit properly.  MTB knee pads that fit properly will be light to wear and you shouldn’t overly notice you are wearing them in fact.

The fact is that mtb knee pads protect your knees so that after you crash, you can get up and walk around normally again (or after a few minutes). It’s far better to wear knee pads and be a little less comfortable than smash your knee into a rock and limp around for weeks.

How to Choose the Best MTB Knee Pads for Your Needs

There are a couple of things you need to consider when shopping for knee pads:

1. Purpose: The first thing to ask yourself is what do you want the purpose of your ideal mtb knee pads to be? Do you need them for mountain biking or do you need them just for protection when riding on road or in town? Are lightweight good enough or do you need something able to take bigger hits?

2. Protection: If protection is your main concern then we recommend high-density foam kneepads with hard shell covers and a durable strap system. These are often used by people doing extreme sports such as downhill biking, BMX, or skateboarding.

If you are in the market for the best mountain bike knee pad, it is important that you buy something that is durable and comfortable. You want to make sure that your knee pads will protect your knees when you are riding down a path or trail. When buying mtb knee pads, it is also important to find something that can fit your bike.

It is important to consider what type of riding you will be doing when looking for the right mtb motorcycle knee pad. If you are an aggressive rider, you may want to buy a bulkier mtb motorcycle knee pad while if you are just starting out with mountain biking, a lighter weight one may be better suited for your needs.

I tend to err on the side of caution and get thicker knee pads. It’s far better to have the pads be a little too bulky than have them too thin and hurt your knees.

Just remember once you have a pair of mtb knee pads that fit, take care of them. It’s very easy to periodically wash mtb knee pads which is also a great time to inspect them for damage that could compromise their safety ability.  Take care of them so they’ll take care of you.

Finally, when you get it down to a smaller list of potential knee guards, check the mountain bike reviews on them and see if there’s anything you are unaware of. The right knee guard may not be obvious at first, but the community can usually give good feedback on items to help you find the ideal one.

Budget comes into play quite often as well. There are some good knee elbow sets that you can get a pack of budget pads for cheap to get you going if you need it.

MTB Knee Pads are Definitely Worth It and Are Highly Recommended

MTB knee pads are a definite must-have for cyclists. Knee pads ensure that you are safe and free from injuries, and that you’ll be well enough to ride another day.  And afterall, isn’t that the goal of riding?

There are many top brands out there. Fox Racing enduro knee pads are great. TLD speed sleeves have a great rep and are top rated and are well tested in the real world by real riders.

I hope this article has given you a clear idea of why MTB knee pads are worth it and why they’re highly recommended.

About the Author

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Tony K

Senior Technical Writer,

Tony K is a technical editor at He has a focus on downhill bike riding but still loves xc bikes too.

With more than ten years of mountain biking experience and more than 5 years testing mountain bikes, Tony has ridden and tested hundreds of different bikes and products, everything from XC to enduro bikes. Tony regularly competes in mountain bike races while seeing how long those compontents can hold up which gives me a lot of insight.

When he isn't shredding down a mountain or camping out, he is writing reviews for Mountain Bike Experience.

Rides: Surly Lowside, Canyon Exceed