Fox Enduro Knee Guard
Words by Drew Rohde
Photos by Dusten Ryen & Robert Johnston
Fox Racing has been making off-road gear for decades, whether it be for dirt bikes or mountain bikes. And over the 20-plus years we’ve been riding, we’ve worn and wrecked in plenty of Fox gear. We were excited to get some of their new Enduro knee pads as it’s been quite a while since we’ve spent time in Fox gear. Their new Enduro Knee Guards are a top-shelf slip-on pad with silicone grippers and great coverage for trail riders pushing the envelope.
Out of the box, Fox’s Enduro knee pads instantly excited us due to their light, breathable construction and blacked outlook. We were a bit skeptical of the Enduro namesake as we consider them to be more of a trail pad due to their thickness and perceived protection, but we’re not experts on lab testing or energy absorption.
Fox uses their proprietary F3 Armor to give these CE-certified pads an EN1621-1 Level 1 knee protection rating for high and low conditions. The foam inserts are removable for washing purposes. The sleeve features moisture-wicking, open stretch mesh down the back of the knee, which is great for airflow and sweat management. Upfront Fox uses Cordura fabric for higher abrasion resistance, and we really like the reinforced skid plate area where you’re most likely to slide on the pad.
I tested a size medium and found the pads to be a touch on the small side when it comes to sizing. I definitely don’t have bulky thighs and find most medium size pads fit me well, however, after the first two rides, the Fox Enduro Knee Guards did stretch a bit. I’m glad they did because my first ride was a bit uncomfortable due to the tightness behind the knee. It seems after a good sweat, or two the pads will loosen up a bit, so you may consider trying these pads on before you make a purchase.
Fox’s Enduro Knee Guards are quite impressive. I’ve worn them almost exclusively for the last couple of months and found them to be the right combination of comfortable and protective for all-around trail riding. Luckily I haven’t had to take any major slams in the pads, but some minor get offs and drops to the knees have reinforced my confidence in them.
The protection of the Enduro Pros exceeds many other slip-on style pads I’ve encountered, with the Leatt AirFlex Pro we reviewed here, coming in close behind. The F3 armor, although very sleek in profile, provides a considerable amount of impact absorption in a crash. There’s only a little padding along the side of the knees offered by the wrap-around portion of the F3 pad, so they don’t provide the full protection that a pad like Foxs’ Launch Pro would offer, but then, they’re not designed for quite the same level of abuse. The extended coverage down a good portion of the shin comes at no price in terms of their comfort, yet can be a savior from a slipped pedal.
That being said, I still don’t know how much I believe the Enduro-nomenclature suits the pads looks or perceived protection. Perhaps that’s dependent on each individual’s definition of enduro. Personally, I would feel comfortable riding these pads on a 120mm trail bike ride up to some high-speed fun on a 160mm bike. If I’m pedaling up fire roads to access some properly rowdy DH-bike level enduro descents, however, I have to admit, my own brain would probably steer me towards a pad that looks and feels just a bit more “DH.”
Over the last eight years as a mountain bike media hack, I’ve tested more knee pads than just about anything else. In my opinion, they’re an essential piece of kit that gets put on before every ride. It used to be a chore, a decision I had to make, but it’s now the same as putting on riding shoes or a helmet. Thankfully technology has improved, so pads are more comfortable, breathable, and protective than ever. Pads like the Fox Enduro Knee Guard are part of the latest generation of protection that has old school guys like myself questioning the limits of “thin” pads and just how much protection they’ll offer when charging rowdy terrain on longer travel bikes. The takeaway here is that unless I’m going out for truly hard-charging days shuttling DH bikes or testing ebikes on my favorite EWS-wannabe test tracks, the Fox Enduro Knee Guards will be my new go-to pads.
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