In a vast selection of kneepads Sweet Protection’s lightweight Bearsuit knee guards stand out by being completely invisible until you need them.
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The Bearsuit construction is pretty simple and certainly not revolutionary with four stretch perforated neoprene panels and a mesh panel across the back of the knee. A SAS-TEC disco elastic foam protection pad then sits over the front of your knee under a super tough Aramid cover. What Sweet Protection has done though is made sure each panel is perfectly cut so it doesn’t wrinkle or bag at all. Tons of stretch in the neoprene means they pull on really easily and stay in place for hour after hour whether you’re flat out pedalling or carving turns and sending drops. Despite spectacularly awkward knobbly knees (a large screw holding my right knee together doesn’t help) there were no pressure points or rub even on a 9-hour enduro ride on the hottest day of the year so far. They’ve rapidly become the favoured pad of our local riding crew for exactly the same ‘invisibly secure’ fit reasons across a wide range of knee and leg shapes.
Crucially - and quite rarely - they not only stay put when you take a sliding dive but the SAS-TEC insert instantly transforms from totally flexible to bruise and blood dodging saviour at the moment of impact. There are strap secured (£89.99, €99.95, $99.95) and extended knee/shin (£119.99, €129.95, $129.95) versions if you want more protection and there’s a junior version for (£39.99, €49.95, $49.95)
The only downsides with the Bearsuits (and the others) are that there’s no side protection if you bounce your knee off a frame tube or slap down sideways somehow. The neoprene also feels sweaty initially before it starts wicking properly and it does take a while to dry so you need to get them out in a breeze ASAP if you’re planning to ride in them the next day, too.
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We’ve spent years testing and using various lightweight knee pads which all have some kind of compromise in terms of sweatiness, fit, security and protection. Sweet Protection has really hit the sweet spot on every aspect of its Bearsuit pads and they’re now our go-to pad for anything short of a serious rocky DH session where we want some plastic sliders for extra ‘puncture’ protection.
Tech spec: Sweet Protection Bearsuit knee guards
- Weight: 112g (pair medium)
- Price: £59.99 / €99.95 / $69.95