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Endura MT500 Lite knee pads review

Does the latest low profile soft protection tech from D30 make Endura’s MT500 Lite pads a new benchmark?

Endura MT500 Lite knee pads
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Our Verdict

Excellent impact protection with super flexible and breathable performance and super compact rollable storage for all-day comfort however hard you pedal

For

  • Full Level 1 protection
  • Ultra-flexible mobility
  • Excellent ventilation
  • Lightweight, low bulk
  • Rollable storage
  • Stable, snug sleeve
  • Three sizes

Against

  • No penetration protection

Ghost Impact Print is the latest soft protection from impact-absorption specialists D30 and Endura has added it to a long, high-performance knee sleeve for awesome comfort and protection however hard and far you pedal. Plus if you don't like tackling the climbs with pads on these can be rolled up and easily stored in a backpack for when you need them.

Performance 

According to D30, “Ghost is the thinnest and most flexible limb protection” they do, but it still exceeds EN 1621-1:2012 (Level 1) impact standards for bike and motorbike use and was originally developed for low profile protection in biker jeans. Their Impact Print technology also lets them create an open grid of shapes (mostly triangles in this case) so the armor sheet is almost fluid in how easily it moves. The open grid also means excellent air con throughout so there’s almost zero sweating even if you’re wearing them under riding pants. The minimal depth and bulk of the pads mean pants are less likely to snag and drag over the top as well. 

While we’ve only had them a month or so they’ve been proper breezy undershorts on warmer spring days too so it’s looking promising for summer and if they do get soggy in rain they dry really quickly too. The knee sleeve mixes a lightweight and stretchy but still super-tough fabric over the outer/center sections, with mesh on the front inner and behind the knee joint for maximum ventilation. Three small PU pads sit on the outside of the knee for a bit of side slap protection, but the inside is naked for top tube clearance. 

While the flexibility and hinge indents formed into the pad keep the MT500 Lite’s naturally sat over the knee, security is increased by a fully siliconed gripper backed upper cuff and a longer, more relaxed stretch lower cuff. Three sizes let you get an accurate fit whether you’ve got skinny pins or tree trunk legs. While we were happy keeping them on however hard or far we rode they’re so flexible and light you can even roll them up into a tight sausage for stuffing into a pocket.

Like any other soft pad, there’s no protection from sharp impacts and they don’t slide easily either so for maximum protection you should still use a hard shell pad and just cope with the extra heat and bulk.

Endura MT500 Lite knee pads

The flexible design of the MT500 Lite means it can be tightly rolled up for storage (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Verdict

D30 Ghost is clearly a significant boost in flexibility and breathability performance without compromising impact protection. Endura has done a great job of harnessing its advantages with a tough but airy and comfortably stable knee sleeve. Add in super convenient ‘roll up’ storage and a reasonable price considering their gains and the MT500 Lite pads are our new go-to pads for everything from sketchy gravel to serious gravity fed riding. 

Tech Specs: Endura MT500 Lite knee pads

  • Weight: 284g (pair, medium)
  • Sizes: S, M, L
  • Price: $99.99 /  £69.99
Guy Kesteven
Guy has been riding mountain bikes since before they were mountain bikes and is right handy on an offroad tandem (of course he is).