The ridges, shape and hinges of the gear, which look very skeletal, help the padding flex and bend when in use, to prevent any binding and to aid in better conformability, for comfort and proper impact absorption. The entire scheme of things takes on a Spiderman or Super Hero look, albeit in a geeky manner, but I happened to like the way they looked, although it might not be everyone’s cup of tea? Plus, you can try out for a part on the new Tron sequel if the armor doesn’t pan out?
The product is lightweight, very flexible, breathes well, isn’t bulky and can be tossed into the washer when needed. The way the pad is shaped and molded, and that it’s attached to a compressive and stretchy fabric, helps keep the padding close to the body, in a very form fitting matter, so that it won’t move out of place during usage, enhancing its functionality and protection properties. The design does mean you have to take your shoes off to put on the knee and shin guard, but that can be a common issue with many armor systems.
What really sets the armor apart from the rest of the crowd is its incredible comfort. You can put any of the versions on, and ride around for 4-6 hours, and hardly notice you are wearing anything, and it almost feels like your just wearing a set of Lycra warm ups. The elbow and shin guards were especially invisible, while the knee was pretty close, but it would be occasional binding on the back of the knee during long spin sessions, due to the bunching of the material. With all the hinges and cut out design, the pads were highly flexible and offered little resistance, offering a great amount of freedom of movement, so spinning, body contortions and technical maneuvers were never constraining. The slim fit, and lack of bulk meant that they can be worn under clothing, without any bind issues. In warm weather, the armor got slightly warm, but it was never obtrusively hot, and the material wicked and breathed well, keeping the moisture level to a minimum.
I found the knee pads stuck like glue on my legs, and didn’t creep on me, and I greatly appreciated rarely having to yank them back into place. The elbow pads unfortunately liked to creep down, and would require some periodic rearrangement, which was a pain if you were wearing them under a long-sleeved shirt. Getting a smaller size helped somewhat, but it was still a problem. As far as sizing goes, I found that it was best to go up one size on the knees, else they were too constrictive, and stay with their recommended size for the shin and elbows that are listed on their website.
Surprisingly, the armor has been incredibly durable, and no stitching has pulled, and none of the armor plates have been degraded nor abraded, and the only thing that shows wear, was their small decals are peeling off. I am not a nice person to gear, and my substantial abuse, including multiple crashing, trail maintenance work, along with hard usage and multiple washings have done nothing to them, and they have proven to be undeniably rugged. The yellow colored pads showed a few dirt spots, but it was very minimal, and I liked the yellow contrast against the black fabric, and thought it looked cooler than the black padding.
I took some decent crashes in rock gardens, rolls and sliders in the dirt, and impalement into bushes and trees, and the armor did a great job in absorbing the impact and protecting my body, and the only thing I came up with was an underlying scratch or two. Even with some prodigious encounters with terra firma, I was well protected and the armor did not abrade nor did the fabric get torn, again emphasizing the durability of the product. I used the armor in some pretty ferocious All Mountain terrain, and I felt more than comfortable and safe using the product, and consider it well suited to anything outside of full blown downhill adventures. One odd thing, is that in really cold weather, the padding gets stiffer, so it has a bit less flexibility, albeit the impact properties remain the same, offering the normal crash and safety protection. The product isn’t going to offer the prodigious amount of protection that a heavy duty set of armor can provide, but it is obviously not where this set of gear is meant to compete. It offers pretty great protection in the conditions and terrain that most of us will ride in, and I can vouch for the safety and protection it provided me in some fairly heinous that I ventured into, and it adds the benefit of being extremely comfortable and flexible.
I do wish the knee had some additional padding on the sides of the knees, and that the shin had something that wrapped around the ankle, both of which would offer some protection to vulnerable areas.
I am also testing one of their computer G-Form Extreme Sleeve units, but I doubt I will try to purposely drop my laptop to see if it survives? They have a wicked video on their website in which they drop an iPad in one of their sleeves from 60 feet in the air, to show the amount of protections the product provides. I will try and obtain a case to test out my new iPad that I received for the holidays.