Fasthouse called upon freerider Tyler Mccaul's knees and experience when designing and testing their Hooper knee pads. These are Fasthouse’s first set of kneepads and are aimed to offer protection and comfort whether you’re out for a trail ride or dropping in at Red Bull Rampage. Like many of the best mountain bike knee pads, Fasthouse has used a sleeve design on which they have mounted a knee cup plus there is an extended shin section to offer a bit more protection. I have been putting them to the test to see how they perform on the trail.
Design and specification
I'm a big fan of the sleeve design and generally find they not only fit more securely but also offer a far better range of movement and fewer points of potential irritation when pedaling. The Hoopers are made from an abrasion-resistant fabric with a silicone-lined elastic cuff at each end to hold them in place.
Fasthouse hasn’t chosen a third-party supplied material, instead, they have used a knee pad cup made from no-brand injected foam that firms on impact. The padding is shaped to help it sit closer to the knee and is removable so you can pop the sleeve into the washing machine. Below the knee cup, there is a foam section to protect the top of the shin as well. The combo of foam kneepad and lower section means the Hooper’s meet the latest EN1621-1:2021 Level 2 CE certification.
Fasthouse offers the Hooper in small to XL sizes, I'm usually a medium in other brands and I found the medium Hoopers to fit as expected.
The Hoopers are more than comfortable enough to wear all day on big enduro missions. The rear mesh vents further help comfort and although there is no venting in the padding itself I didn't find I was getting sweaty kneecaps. Although I had to perform the occasional readjustment, the wavey silicone grippers do a good job of keeping everything in place too.
My one criticism is the knee cup isn't as flexible as the rollable D3O used on the Endura MT500 Lite or my current favorite Rapha Trail pads which have a Rheon Labs knee pad. That means the cup doesn't move with the knee as well when pedaling which I think was the cause for the odd time I needed to readjust them. That said, the stiffer knee pad should protect against impacts better and while I haven't thrown myself to my knees in the name of science, giving them a bash by hand certainly backs this up. They have good coverage too although they offer only marginally more than the Rapha Trail pads. The knee cup is also marginally thicker than my go-to Rapha pads. So while the Hoopers are still pretty slimline, especially compared to any traditional hardshell pad, I did notice some of my closer-fitting MTB pants were just a touch tighter.
Good levels of protection should you hit the ground for gravity riding that doesn’t come at the cost of comfort. Initially, I was concerned that the knee cup wouldn't be flexible enough when pedaling, however, it has little effect on the overall comfort and potentially boosts protection a little too. They are reasonably priced compared to a lot of the top contenders as well.
Tech specs: Fasthouse Hooper knee pad
- Price: $100.00 / £99.99
- Sizes: S, M, L, XL
- Options: Black only
- Weight: 275g (pair medium tested)