Meet Specialized’s entry in the lightweight knee pad arena, a segment of protection that’s exploded as bikes have gotten more capable and typical riding style more rowdy. Indeed, we’ve all come to realize we’re still soft-tissue organisms. But we want to climb without being weighed down by cumbersome pads. The Specialized Atlas pads are light and articulate well during pedaling.
We’ve spent a limited amount of time in them and the No. 1 takeaway was it felt like we were wearing knee warmers. But they’re not as warm as knee warmers, as the rear of these pads are well-ventilated. Pedaling performance was excellent as there was very little resistance or binding. And the pads are on the long side, with the upper sleeve extending all the way up the leg so it can be tucked under your chamois liner shorts. There is a main protective pad and there are several smaller pads on each side that protect against side impacts.
|Weight: 78g (156g/pair) size medium||Fitting: Slip-on w/wide elastic & silicone|
|Padding: Formed, anti-shock foam||MSRP: $65|
The 156-gram weight is noteable, as most light knee pads weigh about 300 grams. The lightest ones are the G-Forms at 145 grams and Leatt Airflex at 220 grams. Our Round-Up is available here: Lightweight Knee Pads
The Atlas Knee Pad is not a downhill pad but rather a pad to protect against abrasions and minor impacts. The formed padding is flexible and it’s designed to harden upon impact. Luckily, we didn’t crash on our test loops in the very rocky terrain of Santa Teresa Park. But that also means we don’t know how the Atlas pads perform during a crash. But they did stay in place all day without discomfort or chafe.
The slip-on design with no straps makes them easy to get on and off. Wide silicon bands are integrated at the top and bottom of the pad to keep them in place. Side pads are included for added protection. These are ideal for XC or trail rides where the rider would not wear pads otherwise.
For more information visit www.specialized.com.