“I’m really not sure if you could make a knee pad comfier than these. I actually forgot I had them on while writing this review…”

G-Form has built a solid reputation for comfortable protection over the years. I’ve owned previous versions of their elbow and knee pads, and I’ve used them for enduro racing when I’ve specifically been looking for something that is minimal enough to pedal in it all day, but enough to take the worst out of any impact. The last set of G-Form pads worked just perfectly at this, but they were on the minimal side of protection, so I was interested to see their latest ‘Pro Rugged’ series release as it seems to take things up just a notch. All of the new Pro Rugged range use their Smart Flex product on the impact zones; a soft, slightly putty-ish-feeling pad that gets significantly harder on impact. The technical term is ‘viscoelastic’; it’s a cool bit of tech that means when you are just pedalling along, the padding has a more natural ability to flex and move with your body’s natural movement, but still offers the impact protection that you bought the things for. It’s also designed to actually absorb impact and transfer less of this onto the rider.

On both the knee and elbow pads, the SmartFlex zones are covered in Armor-Tex, a tear-resistant fibreglass reinforced material. It’s got a rugged feel to it, and importantly, makes the pads look a little more matte, a little more subtle and, to be honest, a little less alien-like than previous versions which had a bit more sheen to them.

The G-Form Pro Rugged knee pad is similar to what I owned earlier, it’s a Lycra-style sleeve with SmartFlex around the knee. On this version, it is all a little thicker than previous G-Form pads I’ve owned but the idea is the same. The Lycra sleeve material is also different to my previous pair, this feels like it’s both thicker and softer too. They have also added a compression quality to the sleeve material which helps with the goal of keeping them in place. Putting them on, I was once again impressed with how comfortable these pads are to wear. They really do fit like a glove (their gloves fit great too, as you’ll read later) and they don’t have any noticeable itchy spots from Velcro or material bunching. I’m really not sure if you could make a knee pad comfier than these. I actually forgot I had them on while I was wearing them, writing the review! There is an upper Velcro thigh strap to tighten if you need it, but the silicone strip around the top and the bottom, combined with the natural stretch and compression of the sleeve, mean that they stayed in place perfectly, so I never really needed any tension on the Velcro.

The pads are left and right specific, with the SmartFlex zone angling outwards as it moves down your shin, which puts it in a better position to protect against scrapes that would probably come from the outside of your leg. In terms of protection, they really are all about the knee; they don’t offer anything in terms of impact protection outside this zone. These are going to really appeal to enduro riders and those looking for something they can ride all day in, comfortably.

The elbow pads are, well, like the knee pads but smaller! The Pro Rugged elbow pads pack all the same ideas into a slimmer, elbow-friendly package. Same SmartFlex padding covering your elbow but extending a little further down to cover your forearm as well.

We also had the Sorata gloves on review at the same time. These apply the same SmartFlex material found in the knee and elbow pads, but minimally, to the outer edge – just that spot where you are most likely to smash into a tree on that corner you misjudged. We had the Tie-dye colour way, but they are also available in black, blue and green/ grey. Apart from where the obvious armouring is, they are a lightweight, slim fitting glove that feels great. Though you can definitely feel the armouring on the outside of your hand when you are wearing them, they strike a nice balance between offering just a bit of protection in the most likely impact zone, without going so far as to feel like you are wearing a cricket glove. There is no Velcro closure which is a personal preference thing, but I found they had plenty of stretch around the cuff, they went on and off easily, and the cuff band felt great – a little wider than other gloves I’ve had in the past.

Out on the trail with the whole kit on I was really impressed with how comfortable everything felt. Other knee pads I’ve owned either seem to slip down or need to be tightened up so much it feels like I’m losing blood supply. These felt great. What is more, even after longer rides I didn’t feel like I had discovered the chafe and rub that some pads give. A big part of this, I think, is down to whatever they have done to improve the sleeve material and make it feel less Lycra-y, and a bit more like a nice pair of my wife’s yoga pants. Trust me, it’s comfy stuff, and it stops the areas underneath the armour zones rubbing against your skin. I’d happily wear these for an all-day enduro where I knew I would have to be putting in some serious pedalling throughout the day. The same went for the elbow pads and the gloves – no news is good news! When you don’t have much to complain about, there is sometimes not too much else to say. It does what it says on the tin! They weren’t too hot, the fit was spot on, and they stayed nice and comfortable all day long. Is there much more we’re looking for in our gear? Highly recommended.