Troy Lee Designs Raid Knee Guard

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Tested: Troy Lee Designs Raid Knee Guard

Rating: Vital Review
Tested: Troy Lee Designs Raid Knee Guard

Troy Lee Designs really needs no introduction from us. They’re known for making some of the most visible and iconic riding gear in two-wheeled sports, not to mention a reputation for quality. Their Raid Knee Guard, which has been available for the better part of a year, is touted as a lightweight, breathable, and durable pad which looks to target the modern downhill or enduro rider who needs protection but isn’t willing to sacrifice mobility. We’ve been riding in the Raid Knee Guard since the day it was released, and are finally ready to weigh in on our thoughts.

Raid Knee Guard Features

Troy Lee Designs really needs no introduction from us. They’re known for making some of the most visible and iconic riding gear in two-wheeled sports, not to mention a reputation for quality. Their Raid Knee Guard, which has been available for the better part of a year, is touted as a lightweight, breathable, and durable pad which looks to target the modern downhill or enduro rider who needs protection but isn’t willing to sacrifice mobility. We’ve been riding in the Raid Knee Guard since the day it was released, and are finally ready to weigh in on our thoughts.

Raid Knee Guard Features

  • D30 CE certified knee pad
  • PU “Fit-Lock” calf band
  • Neoprene construction
  • Mesh back panel
  • Abrasion-resistant cover
  • Side padding for protection against frame and trail
  • Silicone gripper band
  • Available in XS/SM, MD/LG, XL/2XL
  • MSRP: $115 USD

It’s worth mentioning that we relegate protection reviews to "First Ride" features as opposed to "Tested" features based on the fact that we actually have to crash in a protection product to "test" it and our insurance provider simply won’t let us force our testers to hit the deck, as much as we’d like to make them. But, in the case of the TLD Raid pads, this particular tester has hit the ground not only once, but more like 30-or-so times in these pads (probably more), so a full-on Tested feature was warranted.

Typically, we find that there are two kinds of downhillers when it comes knee pad preference: those who can’t stand hard, plastic-shelled pads, and those who require them. Our specific tester who reviewed these pads is the latter and has always been a firm believer that hard plastic pads work better in almost every aspect…except maybe comfort. Who better to have test a “soft” knee pad?

Initial Impressions

Upon first inspection, the TLD Raid pads feature what you’d expect from the brand: quality-looking construction, a predominant “TLD” logo front and center (we’re not knocking TLD here, few knee pads don’t have this feature), and a well-thought-out design. An improvement over their 5450 / 5400 knee guards, we were happy to see what was some ample padding both above, and on each side of the main knee cup. The side and top padding appears to be sectioned and placed in a way that shouldn’t hinder knee movement drastically.

Another interesting feature we noticed right away was TLD’s “Fit-Lock” calf band. Instead of putting a lower strap on the pads, TLD has printed a silicon-like strip that restricts the mesh and neoprene fabrics (which the Raid knee pad is made of) from stretching a bit. Aside from a fairly standard top strap, the Raid pads also feature a silicon band that runs along the inside-top, which is pretty grippy to the touch. Combined with a thin mesh back panel, overall, the Raid knee pads look to be one nice piece of kit.

Following TLD’s fitting guidelines, we opted for the XL/2XL pads. The sizing seems spot-on with the pads offering a snug, but not strangling, fit.

On The Trail

We’ll jump right into it, we were stoked from day one on the TLD Raid pads. Comfort level is on par with the two other pads we’ve long-time considered the Holy Grail in this department; the 661 Kyle Strait pads and the Scott Grenade II pads. For all-day pedaling pads, there might be even more minimal pads out there that are more suitable, but we’ve never felt any discomfort, pinching, or hot-spots with the Raid knees, and we wore them on a 40+ mile epic in the Alps…the whole damn day. Also, for a “burlier” lightweight pad, we were impressed by how well they breathe.

If you prefer pants while riding, you’ll be particularly stoked on this: the TLD Raid pads stay put. All-day rides, DH laps, shuttles with buds, etc…we’ve spent little time, if any, re-adjusting these pads while riding.

Slide-outs, rock smashes, and full ejects, the Raid knee pads have done an exceptional job at keeping the skin on our knees.

So, how do the Raid pads stack up where it really counts (after all, who cares how comfortable a pad is if it doesn’t work)? We’ve had plenty of crashes in them at this point, and we’re stoked to report our plastic-preferring tester has been won over. Slide-outs, rock smashes, and full ejects, the Raid knee pads have done an exceptional job at keeping the skin on our knees. One of the main quips about fabric-covered protection is the tendency for them to shift out of place after the first impact with the ground, since the fabric doesn’t like to slide over dirt or rocks. But these pads have stayed in place nicely, with every hit. The only scenario where a plastic pad may do a better job is a head-on impact with the square or pointed edge of a rock, where the contact is more piercing than spread out. Thankfully, this may have never happened, or if it did, the D3O material spread the impact out and we didn't notice.

What Could Be Improved?

We wish they were free? We’re having a hard time coming up with improvements TLD could make with the Raid Knee Guard, and we love giving brands and their products a hard time in this section.

Long Term Durability

Typically, we like to spend at least eight weeks, if not longer, testing a product. In the case of the Raid knee pads, we’ve spent 12 months in them and used them as our primary pad the majority of the time. After giving them a thorough once-over while writing this review, there’s not a single gap or hole in any of the panels, only a couple tiny nicks in the fabric material, and all the padding has retained its shape and thickness despite countless rides and trips through the washing machine. We did notice a single, one-centimeter long area where some threading has unraveled a little, but it appears the stitching has multiple passes over this area so no hole has formed. For a solid year in these pads, color us impressed with their durability.

No matter what, hitting the deck sucks…but, it sucks less when you’re wearing the TLD Raid Knee Guards.

What’s The Bottom Line?

No matter what, hitting the deck sucks. But, it sucks less when you’re wearing the TLD Raid Knee Guards. They’ve proven durable, reliable, comfortable, and ready to do their job. Looking back at the emails sent internally while we were organizing this test, I read one of my responses after I had just tried them on, but hadn’t ridden in them, which simply said “Comfy, but not really my cup of tea. I can’t stand fabric on the contact areas of kneepads.” Here's where I tell you how much I like the way crow tastes. Kudos to TLD for winning this plastic-loving curmudgeon over with a pad that performed beyond expectation.

For more information, visit www.troyleedesigns.com


About The Reviewer

Fred Robinson - Age: 32 // Years Riding MTB: 14 // Height: 6'1" (1.85m) // Weight: 247.2-pounds (112.1kg)

"Drop my heels and go." Fred has been on two wheels since he was two-years-old, is deceptively quick for a bigger guy, and likes steep, fast trails where he can hang it off the back of the bike. Several years of shop experience means he's not afraid to tinker. He's very particular when it comes to a bike's suspension performance and stiffness traits.

Rate review: 0 Up Down
Vital MTB member FredLikesTrikes
18548 FredLikesTrikes http://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/18548/avatar/c50_IMG_0045_1428943983.jpg?1428943532 http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/FredLikesTrikes,18548/all 09/14/12 7 786 62 http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/FredLikesTrikes,18548/setup 33 238 71 60 1

As close the the ONLY knee pads you'll need for all types of riding

Rating:
The Good:

Best knee pad I've ever owned and I've been racing DH and riding heavy trail in them for almost a year.

The Bad:

Nothing so far

Overall Review:

I suffer from tremendous knee pain if a pad puts even the slightest pressure on my knee cap. These do not touch them. Other pads made not to touch are too stiff in an odd way and flop/stick out to accomplish this.

The D3O padding is thick enough that I've been racing in them and doing tons of DH laps without issue. I also take them on rowdy trail rides where I know I'm going to get into the big stuff. Not one issue.

The calf support is smart. They breathe in the swampy Southeast well enough to justify. All pads are hot, but these are bearable. It is very hard to say anything negative about them.

Overall Review:

I suffer from tremendous knee pain if a pad puts even the slightest pressure on my knee cap. These do not touch them. Other pads made not to touch are too stiff in an odd way and flop/stick out to accomplish this.

The D3O padding is thick enough that I've been racing in them and doing tons of DH laps without issue. I also take them on rowdy trail rides where I know I'm going to get into the big stuff. Not one issue.

The calf support is smart. They breathe in the swampy Southeast well enough to justify. All pads are hot, but these are bearable. It is very hard to say anything negative about them.

Rate review: +1 Up Down
Vital MTB member bizutch
175 bizutch http://p.vitalmtb.com/photos/users/175/avatar/c50_Bailey_Mountain_Bike_Park_52_1449500778.jpg?1449500216 http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/bizutch,175/all 08/01/09 3 http://www.vitalmtb.com/community/bizutch,175/setup 1 34 465 2

Specifications

Product Troy Lee Designs Raid Knee Guard
Riding Type Dirt Jump / Urban, Downhill, Freeride, Trail
Pad Type Soft Shell
Material D30 knee cup, foam side padding, Neoprene construction w/ mesh back panel
Knee/Shin Coverage Knee Only
Size XS/SM, MD/LG, XL/2XL
Color Black w/ red and gray graphics
Miscellaneous D30 CE certified knee pad
Abrasion-resistant cover
PU "Fit-Lock" calf band
Silicon gripper band
Price $115
More Info

​www.troyleedesignes.com