Review: Demon Knee and Elbow Soft Cap Pro X D3O soft armor


Demon has been creating extreme sports protection gear since 1999, and they cover the gamut of activities, including biking, snow sports, skateboarding, roller derby and snowmobiling. Having their headquarters in Salt Lake City keeps them close to a motherload of locations for the testing and designing of gravity gear.

The Demon Knee and Elbow Soft Cap Pro X D3O has an ultra-lightweight and low profile design. They utilize stretchy Lycra along the front and neoprene along the back, and the materials are breathable and wick moisture for comfort in any weather. The pads incorporate the impact technology of D3O, which uses the benefits of non-Newtonian shear thickening material in polymers. The D3O padding provides great impact absorption, and it’s soft and flexible until it receives a shock, and then it stiffens up to absorb and disperse the energy, helping to protect your limbs. They come in four sizes (S,M,L & XL), and the knee retail for $64.99 and the elbow for $59.99.


The knee pads are soft and comfortable, and stay in place during any sort of riding, whether that’s long pedaling sessions or riding technical terrain. The stretchy elastic back means they fit well, and conform to the nooks and crannies of the back and sides of your knee, making for a secure and supportive set of armor. The stretchiness and give provides exceptional maneuverability while pedaling, and I never felt any inordinate amount of discomfort, pinch spots or binding. These might be one of the most comfortable sets of knee pads I have worn, and I have tested a fair share of the soft armor on the market. Like any set of soft armor, make sure to get the proper size, since they’ll stretch a bit with usage. The great support and security mean they wrap around the front portion of the knee and stay put, so they provide ample protection during crashes, fall overs and general banging into things. They have good side coverage and padding, and it wraps around just enough to protect the tender joint locations. It was only on rare occasions that they drooped subtlely and I had to give them a slight tug for repositioning. Unless I am going to spend the day at a bike park, this set of soft armor is always the pair I reach for and wear. They are compact and easy to take on and off, making them simple to stow in your pack when they aren’t needed. I wore them on a couple of extremely hot rides, and although I sweated like crazy, they seem to wick the moisture away and weren’t overtly uncomfortable.

Although I found the elbow pads just as comfortable, they had the same sort of issues that many soft elbow armor; they droop. And unfortunately, this model from Demon was worse than most others I have tried. They tended to do it when you would need the protection the most, when you were hammering down a rough and rugged trail, and the repetitive motion exacerbated the issue until they almost slid down past your elbows. Getting the next size down might help the issue, but I would think it would cause some discomfort and binding issues.

Bottom Line

The Demon Knee Soft Cap Pro X D3O is an exceptional piece of soft armor, that is comfortable, and allows long pedaling sessions without binding and irritation issues. The knee pads stay in place no matter what’s going on, and that security and support works in synergy with the D3O impact absorption system for great protection. The well-made armor has great durability, and during the abusive 1.5 years of use, they haven’t shown any excessive signs of wear. They aren’t the most bombproof armor protection for full-on bike park use, though they provided more than adequate protection during my frequent forays onto the ground when riding more normal gnarly terrain. The knee pads are so comfortable that I almost always wore them, so I protected my precious limbs from minor scratches and abrasions and more major crash impacts.

Unfortunately, as much as I liked the Demon Elbow Soft Cap Pro X D3O, which was comfortable and supportive, they drooped out of position far too easily to be useful for protection while riding in rugged terrain. It might be my arms or the fit, but they didn’t work for me.

  • Comfortable
  • Light
  • Breathable
  • Easy slip on design
  • Knees – stays in place, secure and stable
  • Knees – great for pedaling
  • Durable
  • Elbow – Drooped too easily, making their protection advantage not very useful
  • Knee $64.99
  • Elbow $59.99

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About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on the trail.

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  • Jared says:

    Did you test them out in the cold? I have the POC version of this pad with the reactive padding and they get super stiff in the cold.

  • bryan says:

    That was my issue with the POC’s and these sound like they have the same problem, they just wouldn’t stay put. In theory they should have been awesome for AM/enduro riding, but I wound up ditching them and going back to hard shell knee pads. Maybe adding some straps top and bottom like conventional pads?

  • William Brewer says:

    I had the same problem with the elbow pads,sent them back.The knee pads are awesome. Exchanged elbow pads for the chest protector. Otherwise great stuff from Demon

  • LiquidSpin says:

    I love their logo, look, fit and at times their cheap price. I also like how they use D30 padding however they use a thin amount compared to some of the competition paddings out there.

    However, I don’t think I’ll invest in them again. After one small crash the elbow guard ripped and was useless. Better stitching is required. Before the crash I noticed the seams were a bit loose and it’s simply my fault for not returning them but you live and you learn.

    • Brian Mullin says:

      Sorry to hear that. My knee pads have been through a lot of bashes and crashes in almost 2 years of use (3 days a week), and the only real wear would be that the Lycra on the back is getting a bit old. Stitching is still going strong, and no tears or holes.

  • BigFatFuss says:

    I wear long sleeve shirts (and often tights) under my pads… they help the pads stay in place much better than they help wick away sweat (which is another benefit)… ARMS (and Knees) were not designed to have pads clinging to them, there are work – arounds… We can make good stuff – Better!!! Just sayin’…

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