Test Ride: Specialized Atlas Knee Pad July 28 2015
I have to say this up-front - I've never worn knee-pads in my life as I've never seen the need due to my style of riding. I'm firmly on the XC side of the XC/Trail riding (as evidenced by my latest steed, a Specialized Camber Expert EVO 29). I don't go massive or take big risks, in fact, if riding styles were careers then I'm an accountant. More vanilla than chocolate as it were.
So why now? After learning about these pads through one of our SBC contacts & doing my due diligence (surfing online opinions & reviews) I thought I'd give them a blast. Like a lot of riders, I've had the odd fall or two and the usual result for my low-speed crashing is garked-up knees & a bruised ego. Trying the pads on & comparing them to similar products in the store, these were more akin to a leg-warmer, being super lightweight and providing more coverage than most of it's competitors. This time of the year in Wellington I wear knee warmers regularly, and these seemed to be as close to these as possible, with the bonus of some padding chucked in for good measure.
As I was heading to the 'rapa to ride ToraTora, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for their virgin outing. I normally wear a chamois short under my baggies & the Atlas pad slipped under them seamlessly. The first couple of pedal strokes alerted me to their presence as they felt rather odd, but a quick adjustment to the calf-gripper position (while still riding) fixed this. In fact, after 15 minutes or so I didn't notice them again for the entire ride! Even after my ride turned more bike-a hike involving scrambling up & down river banks, through blackberry & over fallen trees, they remained in the same position & I was blissfully unaware of their presence. In fact, I had become so inured to them I even drove back to Martinborough in them without realising it!
Whilst I didn't get the chance to check out how well the pads protect as I didn't manage to eat dirt (though I know I will again, one day soon), I can certainly attest to the comfort of these pads. If you like to pedal lots of k's and you want a pad that won't rub you raw or move around excessively then these are for you. If you're into a bit more of the big stuff then look for something that is designed for that instead.