Scott Soldier 2 Knee Guards

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Scott Soldier 2 Knee Guards
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Tested: Scott Soldier 2 Knee Guards - Real Deal, Pedal-Able Protection

Riders searching for legit, comfortable knee protection worthy of long rides will be pleased with these thoughtfully crafted pads.

Rating: Vital Review
Tested: Scott Soldier 2 Knee Guards - Real Deal, Pedal-Able Protection

What does it take to make the perfect knee pad for trail riding? Scott's revision of their Soldier pads aims to achieve just that through the clever combination of a redesigned D3O protector and carefully selected mesh fabrics. These strapless pads are not only extremely comfortable, but also mean business when the unavoidable happens. After over six months of abuse on the legs of two testers, it's time to fill you in on all the little details and how they're holding up.

Soldier 2 Knee Guard Highlights

  • Designed for trail, enduro, and all-mountain use
  • EN 1621:1 Level 1 certified
  • Ergonomic and flexible D3O pad with side extensions
  • Strapless construction with silicone retaining system
  • Stretch aerated 3D mesh sleeve main body with pre-curved chassis
  • Soft-shell construction for flexibility,

What does it take to make the perfect knee pad for trail riding? Scott's revision of their Soldier pads aims to achieve just that through the clever combination of a redesigned D3O protector and carefully selected mesh fabrics. These strapless pads are not only extremely comfortable, but also mean business when the unavoidable happens. After over six months of abuse on the legs of two testers, it's time to fill you in on all the little details and how they're holding up.

Soldier 2 Knee Guard Highlights

  • Designed for trail, enduro, and all-mountain use
  • EN 1621:1 Level 1 certified
  • Ergonomic and flexible D3O pad with side extensions
  • Strapless construction with silicone retaining system
  • Stretch aerated 3D mesh sleeve main body with pre-curved chassis
  • Soft-shell construction for flexibility, breathability and comfort
  • Abrasion resistant front fabric with reinforced printing
  • EVA foam padding side protection
  • S, M, L, and XL sizes
  • MSRP $69.99

Building off the success of the widely-loved Grenade Pro II and Grenade EVO downhill pads, Scott's Soldier 2 pads borrow some of the same ideas but in a lighter weight, more breathable package. Contained within the mesh sleeve is an orange-colored D3O pad. D3O is a viscoelastic material, meaning it's relatively soft and malleable until it is impacted. When you crash or hit your knee, molecules within the material react quickly to form a rigid mass to absorb and dissipate shock.

Scott's uniquely-shaped D3O pads for Soldier 2 elbow and knee guards.

While the use of D3O isn't new, what sets this particular D3O pad apart its unique design. The pad now features dozens of hexagon shapes which serve as a clever way of increasing pad thickness and protection without limiting flexibility. Scott Product Manager, Ben Walker, described the new shape of the D3O pad to us in terms of suspension, saying that the smaller hexagon shapes absorb medium-sized hits better and a solid D3O backing takes care of larger impacts.

Holes in the D3O material provide some added venting in combination with a smooth mesh fabric that lays on the knee and an abrasion-resistant mesh cover. The pad also wraps further around the kneecap than the previous Soldier guards to provide more protection on the sides of your knee.

The knee guards are left/right-specific due to their shape and placement of a small inner EVA foam protector to take the sting off top tube impacts.

Initial Impressions

Pulling these pads out for the first time, you're likely to be most impressed with how little they weigh. You'll also note how smooth the various side and back mesh fabrics feel, the flexible yet thick pre-formed D3O material that tapers off to the sides, the elastic top and bottom, and three silicone strips designed to help keep them in place.

As you look more closely you'll see some understated Scott branding and feel how the pads stretch in every direction. The four-way stretch mesh on the back of the knee is impressively soft and thin, hinting at a lack of bunching or rubbing on the trail.

Details we're particularly fond of include the use of neatly stitched flat seams throughout, as well as the lack of a seam across the back or front of the knee. The D3O pad is oversized in a way that prevents the upper pad seam from rubbing on your knee while also creating a slight air gap between your knee and the pad.

Our two testers measured in at 18.5x14.5 and 17.5x14-inches (top x bottom). Though our larger-legged tester fell between the medium and large sizes, he ultimately settled on the size large pads.

The pads were easy to slide on and the pre-curved shape helped ensure we quickly found the perfect pad position. Like a gentle knee hug, they provided 360-degree comfort with a snug fit but no overly tight spots.

On The Trail

Thanks to the lack of weight, ultra-stretchy materials, and added flexibility in the D3O pad, the Soldier 2 knee guards all but disappear as you pedal. Until you need them, that is. The hexagon D3O shaping provides freedom of movement far better than most knee pads, and those that do compare often have a much thinner pad material. Thankful that the upper mesh extends far enough to hide the dreaded "gaper gap," we piloted our bikes confidently along hundreds of miles of trails.

Thanks to the lack of weight, ultra-stretchy materials, and added flexibility in the D3O pad, the Soldier 2 knee guards all but disappear as you pedal. Until you need them, that is.

The silicone grippers never pulled a hair, and with the help of the elastic bands and stretchy mesh fabric the pads stay in place very well. Even on 30+ mile rides it was rare that we needed to pull them up.

Because the construction is entirely mesh, elastic, and D3O, the pads don't retain much water and breathe very well. This also makes them dry quickly. Dirty? Just toss them in the wash or rinse with a hose. The stink factor is relatively low with no real padding to absorb sweat.

When we inevitably hit the ground, we never came away injured and the pads did a great job of staying put.

Were there any shortcomings? Luckily only a few. First, the D3O material flexes at depressions along the edge of the material, creating a pad shape that can look bulbous when flexed on narrower knees and legs. Second, D3O is temperature sensitive and can feel quite hard in very cold temps until your body eventually heats them up. Finally – noting that this occurred on a single ride over the course of dozens – the pointed upper edge of the D3O pad rubbed a rug-burn like abrasion into one tester's knee. This may have been due to dirty pads or high heat during the long ride.

Long Term Durability

We've worn these pads exclusively for over six months, including several photo sessions crawling around on rocks and dirt, yet they show almost no signs of premature wear. Even the white Scott logos still look good.

Sure, there are a few small holes in the front fabric and a very small separation in the pad seam on one guard following a high-speed slideout, but those are nothing to write home about. An accidental encounter with a flat pedal at the back of the knee resulted in two small holes in the mesh fabric, though they haven't grown at all since it happened.

The only real downside we've experienced so far is a loss of some elasticity over time.

The pads are still in daily use and holding up well. The only real downside we've experienced so far is a loss of some elasticity over time. They're still stretchy, just a bit looser-fitting than they once were. The lower two silicone bands are also all but gone. They don't slip, however, with the heavily-curved shape of the D3O pad no doubt helping keep them in place.

What's The Bottom Line?

Earlier we asked what it takes to make the perfect pads for trail riding, and after six months of use it's clear Scott is pretty close with the Soldier 2 knee guards. Having reviewed over two dozen sets of pads over the years and trying many more, we can confidently say that these are some of the best available for those looking for pedal-able protection. While not perfect on account of some loosening over time, they're competitive in the price game, offer excellent breathability, great flexibility, and enough protection where it counts.

Visit www.scott-sports.com for more details.


About The Reviewer

Brandon Turman - Age: 31 // Years Riding MTB: 16 // Height: 5'10" (1.78m) // Weight: 175-pounds (79.4kg)

"My current riding joys include pulling up hard and hucking test bikes into poor landings and techy sections with reckless abandon, then seeing how they react upon landing." Formerly a Mechanical Engineer and Pro downhill racer, Brandon brings a unique perspective to the testing game as Vital MTB's resident product guy. He has on-trail familiarity with nearly every new innovation in our sport from the past several years and a really good feel for what’s what.

Specifications

Product Scott Soldier 2 Knee Guards
Riding Type Cross Country, Dirt Jump / Slopestyle, Trail
Pad Type Soft Shell
Material Flexible and Shock-Absorbing D3O Pad with Side Extensions
Strapless Construction with Silicone Printing Retaining System
Stretch Mesh Sleeve Main Body with Pre-Curved Chassis
Abrasion Resistant Front and Side Printing
Internal Side Protective EVA Foam Padding
Knee/Shin Coverage Knee Only
Size S, M, L, XL
Color Black
Miscellaneous Meets Certification EN 1621:1 Level 1
Price $69.99
More Info

Scott Sports Website

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