Race Face Indy Knee Pad REVIEW
By Drew Rohde | Photos by Dusten Ryen
When it comes to mountain bike knee pads, we’ve ridden more than we can recall. Every year we test countless pads, and sometimes they stay in our regular rotation while others get passed on to friends while we keep riding our old favorites. The Race Face Indy Knee protectors have definitely made their way to the front of the gear shelf and have been getting lots of use, and will continue to even after this review gets published. Featuring D3O impact protection, a tall thigh sleeve and effective calf-strap, the pads do a really nice job of blending protection with comfort.
Race Face took their popular Indy knee pad and set out to make some improvements for riders looking for a great pedaling yet safe knee pad. The Indy pads are contsructed with lycra and butterfly mesh and sport an abrasion resistant knee cover to increase durability in the impact areas. A hook and loop calf strap is easy to use with gloves and allows riders to cinch up the pads to keep them in place.
Further aiding in the pad’s retention are silicone grippers at the thigh as well as a silicone patch on the shin. The sleeve length on the Race Face Indy pad is long and we appreciate it. Race Face goes “High thigh” and the tall length over the knee helps keep the pads in place on long pedals.
Complimenting Race Face’s well-thought-out fit, material selection and design is the trademarked orange D3O pad. D3O is a formulated material made of several ingredients and yields a soft, pliable and even “squishy” layer of protection that reacts instantly to high-speed hits. We created a video with D3O where their representatives better explain the construction, development and history of the brand here.
Over the course of the last couple of months we’ve been putting in quite a lot of miles. We’ve mixed in some of our old favorites during our testing just to ensure we’re still as impressed with the Indy knee pads we’d been telling ourselves. They pass the test. Even after riding in some of our other go-to pads, the Indy’s held their own. The pads go on easily and fit snugly. Race Face’s addition of the hook and loop calf strap is a good one and we definitely felt the pad hug our legs even better after cinching it down.
Another highlight of the Race Face Indy knee pads is the sock length. The pads go down the calf and shin to a nice point and we really liked how tall they are above the knee. On long rides, hot and sweaty days or cold and wet mornings, the pads stayed in place without any squirm, slip, or movement. Our only complaint is that on longer days, the grippers were almost too grippy and caused some light irritation to the thigh. We found ourselves folding the top of the sleeve over to offer some relief and let the leg breathe without the silicone gripper strip constricting it. This was only an issue on long back to back days of riding.
Honestly we weren’t sure what to expect from knee pads from what many now consider to be a component manufacturer. The truth is Race Face has a long history of making soft goods and they have usually been pretty good. After months of testing, the Race Face Indy knee pads have thoroughly impressed. They will continue to protect my knees on rides short and long. I found them to be a touch warm and thick for more XC, trail ride days when I’d be on a 110mm-130mm bike or riding mellower terrain where a thinner pad offers enough peace of mind. If I’m going to be riding more aggressively on 140-170mm mountain or ebikes then these are certainly going to be near the top of my list.
When the Indy knee pads are on, I feel protected and like the pads will stay where I need them in the event of a crash. I did have a couple of crashes in these pads resulting from pedal strikes or pushing corners a bit too hard. Each time I was happy to bounce back up without any major damage to myself or the pads. If you’re in the market for a solid mid-to-aggressive trail and enduro knee pad that could probably handle some light duty DH laps or bike park shredding, the Race Face Indy Knees are worth checking out, as long as the $111.99 price tag doesn’t scare you off.