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G-Form E-Line Knee Guard

Vital Rating: (Excellent)
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E-Line Knee Guard
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First Ride: G-Form Pro Rugged and E-Line Knee Protection

G-Form takes a more mainstream approach to protection design with two new families of guards.

Rating: Vital Review

Despite presenting a decidedly polarizing look, G-Form’s original, jello-cube covered knee and elbow pads are actually very popular, in particular with less bro-ey types of mountain bike riders. Those original pads did have some inherent limitations to them when things got gnarly, so in an effort to produce something a bit tougher while also easier on the eyes, G-Form has recently launched 2 new families of protection. We’ve had them both out on the trail, read on to find out what we think of them. You can also check them out in action in our Gear Show video below, jump to 10:00 for the goods:

G-Form Pro Rugged Highlights

  • Featuring SmartFlex – “Flexible As You Ride. Hardens on Impact.”
  • Body-mapped impact absorbing SmartFlex pads
  • CE 1621-1 certified
  • Armortex technology adds durability to your pads and resists tearing or catching
  • Adjustable fit-strap for customized comfort and security
  • Ultra-comfortable double-knit compression fabric for extra protection
  • Extra wide top gripper distributes pressure and keeps pads in place
  • Ventilated mesh back keeps you cool and dry
  • Low-profile bottom gripper keeps pads in place
  • Soft inner foam keeps pads secure and comfortable on your knees
  • Machine washable
  • MSRP: $79.99 USD

G-Form E-Line Highlights

  • Featuring SmartFlex – “Flexible As You Ride. Hardens on Impact.”
  • Body-mapped impact absorbing SmartFlex pads
  • CE 1621-1 certified
  • Designed for the e-bike, enduro and downhill riding
  • Top and bottom adjustable hook and loop fit-straps for customized comfort, fit, and security
  • Flatlock stitching to reduce irritation
  • Technical mesh back for breathability
  • Hard shell gives protection and ability to slide on hard surfaces
  • Rugged Armortex (Kevlar blend material) pad covering helps fight abrasion
  • Active airflow 4-layer ventilation system
  • Zipper for easy on and off
  • Machine washable
  • MSRP: $109.99 USD

Initial Impressions

True to their jello-cube heritage, the Pro Rugged knee and elbow guards still use G-Form’s “XRD” pads, but here they have been covered with a fiberglass-reinforced fabric called Armortex. This fabric certainly tones down the wild looks of the protective material, and also increases the ruggedness of the guards. There is a double-knit compression fabric used in the main sleeve of the guard, with ventilated mesh around the back to help with ventilation. In addition to silicone grippers along the hems of the sleeve, the knee guard now also features an adjustable strap at the top to help fine tune the fit. The Pro Rugged guards are machine washable and CE 1621-1 certified to level one. The knee guards retail for $79.99, while the elbow version goes for $69.99.

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For those looking to step up the level of protection even further, G-Form has just launched the E-Line guards. This guard is designed for aggressive riders in technical terrain who spend long days in the saddle. The E-Line uses a “SmartFlex” material for shock absorption, but it is only one part of a completely new, quad-layer protective system. The SmartFlex padding sits atop a soft and ventilated foam layer that was designed for comfort, with further external Armortex reinforcement that resists tearing.

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To finish it all off, a flexible yet firm shell allows the guard to slide over hard surfaces instead of hanging up. An “Active Airflow System” provides ventilation that traverses the four layers. In terms of the overall construction, the E-Line features a zippered design that can be put on and removed without taking off your shoes. Two big Velcro straps secure the guard in place and provide adjustability. Two wide silicone strips along the inside of the top hem help hold the guard in place.

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On The Trail

On the trail, the Pro Rugged guard marks a very positive evolution of the G-Form concept, bringing it more in line with “traditional” guards but retaining most of the flexibility and comfort of the previous generation. We found that these guards run a tiny bit on the small side, so take that into account if you are typically between sizes. In action, the guard is comfortable and secure, with similar protective capabilities compared to most other guards in the lightweight, sleeve-type category. Certainly comfortable enough to be worn all day, while still providing enough protection to deal with relatively serious crashes.

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Like most other guards in this category, there is no extra padding along the sides of the knee, although the main pad does wrap around the joint to a certain extent. The kneepad itself has no ventilation which means that this guard can run a little hot around the front in warmer climates.

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The E-Line provides much more protection than the Pro Rugged guards, with the four layers of material creating a very secure feeling on direct hits. There are also auxiliary pads along the sides for extra lateral protection. We found that these guards would stay in place while riding, without hindering the pedaling motion much if at all. You can certainly wear them for long days out as intended. Being able to take them off and on without removing your shoes is also a bonus for those long climbs and all-day adventures. The ventilation features along with the open back design create a certain amount of airflow, which you will appreciate if you do opt to keep the guards on for climbing.

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The E-Line guards are heavily pre-formed to follow the shape of the knee, which means that they tend to bunch up when the leg is extended, and with no material behind the knee to hold everything down, they feel a little loose in this scenario. Whether or not this might cause the pad to move around in a crash is hard to tell at this point, we’ve thankfully managed to keep the rubber side down so far during testing. Overall, the E Line is well constructed and inspires confidence, and it is very comfortable for such a robust item.

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What’s The Bottom Line?

G-form was never known for their mainstream approach to protection design choices, and whilst that heritage is still obvious, these two new families of protection certainly look and feel less outlandish – which is a good thing, as there is a lot to like about the fit and the features of the Pro Rugged and E-Line guards. Both offer comfort for long days out, while remaining up to the task of protecting you when things take a turn for the worse. Opt for the E-Line if you are after hard-shell protection coupled with zippered entry, or go for the Pro Rugged for something lighter and less imposing.

More information at: www.g-form.com.


About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord - Age: 47 // Years Riding MTB: 15 // Weight: 190-pounds (87-kg) // Height: 6'0" (1.84m)

Johan loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.

Photos by Johan Hjord

Specifications

Product G-Form E-Line Knee Guard
Riding Type Dirt Jump / Slopestyle, Downhill, Enduro / All-Mountain, Freeride / Bike Park, Trail
Pad Type Soft Shell
Material
  • Body-mapped impact-absorbing SmartFlex pads are flexible as you ride and harden on impact
  • Hard shell added protection and ability to slide on hard surfaces
  • Rugged Armortex (Kevlar blend material) pad covering helps fight abrasion
  • Technical mesh back for breathability
  • Top and bottom adjustable hook and loop fit-straps for comfort, fit, and security
  • Flatlock stitching to reduce irritation
  • Zipper for easy on and off
  • Knee/Shin Coverage Knee Only
    Size S - XL
    Color Black
    Miscellaneous
  • CE 1621-1 certified
  • Active airflow 4-layer ventilation system
  • Machine washable
  • 30-day return policy
  • 2020 product year release
  • Price $109.99
    More Info

    Maximum Comfort, Breathability, and Protection - G-Form's All-New E-Line Pads (press release)

    G-Form website

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