Rapha pads up! These new Rapha Trail Kneepads mark the company's debut in impact protection

Rapha's lightweight Trail kneepad
These flexible pads stiffen under impact and, says Rapha, outperform their lightweight rivals (Image credit: Rapha)

Rapha's inevitably stylish (if not excitingly-named) Trail Knee Pads are aimed firmly at trail riders – they're slim and designed for comfortable pedaling, but aim to give genuine protection in a tough-track crash. 

The company says these give a 'Level 2, Type B' standard of protection that puts them at the top of the tree in comparison to all other lightweight knee pads. They use an 'active polymer' from Rheon Labs which, like D30 and other non-Newtonian or 'shear-thickening' substances, becomes rigid under sudden impacts.

Under the slow forces of your knees under regular pedaling, though, it remains flexible and unintrusive. 

Rapha's lightweight Trail kneepad

The Trail knee-pads are designed for good ventilation and easy pedaling (Image credit: Rapha)

This armor is hidden beneath a layer of what Rapha calls SuperFabric, a ceramic polymer that's both low friction (so you slide instead of dig in) and tear-resistant. The main fabric tube, meanwhile, is high-stretch for easy movement and, we assume, good breathability.

Rapha's lightweight Trail kneepad

(Image credit: Rapha)

Indeed, Rapha says air can flow freely through the pad itself as it's not a single, solid lump but 'geometrically patterned,' while the whole thing is held secure by grippers top and bottom.

The Trail Knee Pads are priced at $110 / £80 and join Rapha's ever expanding lineup of offroad gear for trails, such as the Women's Trail 3/4 Jersey we reviewed in the summer.

And if you want to see which are the best mountain biking knee pads currently available, check out our guide.

Steve Williams
Freelance writer

Steve is a highly experienced journalist and rider who's been involved with bikes of all kinds for more years than he would care to remember. Based in South Wales, he has mile upon mile of swooping singletrack, an array of plummet and winch descents and everything in between right on his doorstep.