Dakine Slayer knee pad review

Split difference between burly armor and glorified knee warmers

Armor
These pads strike a solid balance between protection and comfort when grinding uphill.

These pads strike a solid balance between protection and comfort when grinding uphill (click to enlarge).

Lowdown: Dakine Slayer Knee Pads

Heretofore best known for its apparel, Dakine has entered the bike protection game. The Hood River, Oregon-based company’s new line-up includes the heavier weight, gravity focused Hellion knee pads, Seeker 15L protective backpack, and the lightweight Slayer elbow and knee pads, which we’ve been testing. These low profile knee protectors are aimed at the trail riding crowd who want something they can pedal in, but not forgo legitimate protection. Read our full review to see if Dakine hit its mark.

Stat Box
Protection: Dye-cut DK impact CE certified foam Weight: 350 grams (pair, size medium)
Material: 4-way stretch perforated with odor control Sizes: Small, medium, large
Security: Silicone gripper elastic cuff, no straps Colors: Black, black/yellow
Construction: Bonded hem seam, open back Price: $65
Fit: Pre-curved ergonomic pattern Rating: 4 Flamin' Chili Peppers 4 out of 5

Pluses
Minuses
  • Lightweight
  • Strapless
  • Breathable
  • Minor bunching on back of knee
  • Pedaling friendly
  • Shoe removal required
  • Odor resistant
  • Non-removable padding for washing
  • Good articulation
  • Left/right specific
  • Slip-on design
  • Secure fit
  • Washable


Review: Dakine Slayer Knee Pads

You can break mountain bike knee pads into two categories: those with straps and those without. Both have their merits. Straps add a measure of security, and this style of pad usually offers more protection and can be taken on and off without removing your shoes. But those straps also have a tendency to stretch over time, and the pads are usually more bulky. Conversely strapless pads require shoe removal, typically offer less protection, and can also stretch out over time. But they’re usually lighter and more pedaling friendly.

Weight is a reasonable 350 grams size medium. Price is $65.

Weight is a reasonable 350 grams size medium. Price is $65 (click to enlarge).

Me being the reformed XC racing dork that I am, the lighter variety have more appeal. I still like to climb, but would rather not stop to monkey around every time the trail tilts upwards. That’s why the Dakine Slayer knee pads get such high marks here. Their CE-certified DK Impact foam is soft and pliable when you’re spinning along, but hardens on impact. That’s meant I could claw up most climbs without feeling like there was a pair of wool sweaters wrapped around my knees. But remained unscathed after a few minor get offs and rock strikes.

I've yet to have a major get-off while wearing these pads, but they've easily stood up to a handful of slide-outs and rock strikes.

I’ve yet to have a major get-off while wearing these pads, but they’ve easily stood up to a handful of small wipe-outs and rock strikes (click to enlarge).

Indeed, these pads breath exceptionally well, especially at the back of the knee, which has an open design to increased airflow. Sure, on longer climbs on warm days, I still slipped them down to my ankles and rotated them 90 degrees away from the bike. This kept them out of the cranks’ way, and made it easy to pull them back up when descending resumed. The length of the padded section is about 10 inches, meaning your upper shins also get a measure of protection against rock and pedal strikes.

The tight fit and silicone gripper elastic cuff has meant no slippage during two months of testing.

The tight fit and silicone gripper elastic cuff has meant no slippage during two months of testing (click to enlarge).

Weight is a reasonable 350 grams (size medium), and the silicone gripper elastic cuff combined with a snug fit has meant exactly zero slippage during two months of consistent use. There’s also been no hot spotting or chafe. Whether they’d stretch over time is a question I cant answer just yet. But so far the fit has been tailor perfect.

Bottom line, if you’re looking for a set of pads that bridge the gap between World Cup downhill body armor and glorified knee warmers, put the Dakine Slayer on your short list.


For more info visit www.dakine.com.


About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Olympics, Tour de France, MTB world champs, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying life with his wife Lisa and kids Cora and Tommy in and around their home in the MTB Mecca of Crested Butte.


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