G-Form Pro-Rugged Knee Pad Review
Words by Nic Hall | Photos by Dusten Ryen
G-Form was one of the first brands to release viscoelastic armor and some could say started the pedalable knee pad revolution. Over the years G-Form has struggled a bit as their image has been, well, dorky. Yes, they’ve had the number one selling knee pad in the market, and yes, they’ve sold pads to people who would have never bought or ridden in knee pads before, but their product offerings and image kept them off most of the “cool guy shredders” out there. Wanting to broaden their line and offer their impressive impact absorbing technology to a larger group of riders, G-Form made some changes that are welcomed in the new Pro-Rugged knee pad.
We attended the launch of the G-Form Pro-Rugged pads here, and you can learn more about the details and tech here.
Viscoelastic materials were originally developed for the mattress and pillow industry as “memory foam”. These materials exhibit both elasticity and viscosity that can change when undergoing deformation and those properties change as the rate of deformation is increased. In layman’s terms, it is a foam that gets harder the faster it is deformed but remains soft and pliable with slow movements.
Almost every brand now has viscoelastic offerings in their lineups but a few changes to the G-Form Pro-Rugged really make it stand out. To get away from their alien-looking pads and increase durability, G-Form went with a bonded outer material called Armor-Tex. It is a tear-resistant fiberglass reinforced material that feels similar to a high denier ballistic nylon or Kevlar.
Next, they added a soft backing that allows the pad to both stay in place and conform to your knee shape. The pads are body mapped to anatomically provide protection while still being pedal friendly. G-Form also added a Velcro strap on the top to increase retention.
Double-knit compression fabric makes up the sleeve and offers good compression around the leg. The rear of the pad features ventilated mesh for increased breathability. G-Form also added silicone gripper material to help keep the pad in place, which is further aided by the Velcro strap around the thigh.
Overall, we’ve been impressed with the pads and have had ten riders putting in tons of miles with the pads. It’s been our largest test group yet since G-Form sponsored our 2020 eMTB Roundup in Palm Springs, California, as the official protection sponsor to show us how confident they were in their new pads. The coverage is solid for most riders looking for a slightly more aggressive pedal-friendly pad. We wouldn’t be putting these in the gear bag for a trip to the bike park, but they’re great for all mountain riding, aggressive trail riders and those looking for a good all-day ebiking knee pad.
The G-Form Pro-Rugged takes a minute to warm up to your knee, but once it does it forms a very nice fit that doesn’t move. We felt the padding behind the kneecap could have been a touch softer or thicker, as long back to back days left some testers with tender kneecaps.
The silicone strips on both the top and bottom do a pretty good job of keeping the pads from moving. Some riders had issues with the calf section not gripping well enough and the pad would slide up, creating bunching behind the knees. The bunching behind the knees was something that didn’t bother us on shorter days and probably wouldn’t be an issue, except after eight days of sun up till sun down riding, the skin was a bit tender. Then again, we’re not sure what pads wouldn’t have that affect. Most riders also wished the protection went a little bit lower down the shin and was a little wider around the outside of the knees.
Impact protection and retention are impressive overall. When descending, the pads rarely moved around and naturally settled into a nice comfortable spot. The new Armor-Tex material stood up to daily abuse of kneeling and working on bikes while shooting for some videos and had no problem with a few scuffs on the desert rocks of Palm Springs.
The Wolf’s Last Word
The Pro-Rugged knee pad is a huge step forward for G-Form. The pad strikes a nice balance of protection and pedal-ability. It is comfortable enough for back to back all day missions while still offering some of the best trail pad protection we have found. This is a really solid option for riders looking for a slim, yet effective all mountain pad. It’s not going to be your big burly enduro pad, but if you’re looking for the enduro rider’s minimalist pad to cover the prime impact zones, the G-Form Pro-Rugged knee pads do the trick.
They Don’t Look Like G-Forms
Minimal Padding Behind Kneecap
Bunching Behind Knee
Could Use Longer Shin Protection
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