ENDURA MT500 D3O GHOST KNEE PAD REVIEW
PEDAL-FRIENDLY PATELLA PROTECTORS
Words by Robert Johnston | Photos by Adam Lievesley
We’re seeing increasing numbers of trail riders opting to run knee pads these days. After all, the ground is just as hard and abrasive regardless of the bike you’re riding. However, with less frequent and lower magnitude impacts comes a reduced need for ultimate protection, and with increased time pedaling comes the desire for improved maneuverability and lighter weight. To cater for this, D3O developed their Ghost insert – a slimmed down offering to cater for the modern trail rider. Endura is one of the companies to produce a knee pad built around this lightweight insert, the MT500 D3O Ghost. We’ve been putting in the miles in the Scottish mountains to find out how they performed, and they’ve quickly become a regular trail riding companion.
The Endura MT500 D3O Ghost knee pads are built to provide an ultra-light and flexible knee pad for all-day pedaling epics. The Endura pads are built around the new D3O Ghost insert, the thinnest and most flexible offering in the D3O range, which exceeds the CE Level 1 protective standards. This insert makes use of a 3D honeycomb style form to give the desired protection while allowing for improved airflow and flexibility. Endura covers this insert with a lightweight stretch Ripstop sleeve in the front, fending off abrasions without restricting movement, with a mesh backing to promote breathability and moisture wicking. Boosting the protection on offer are a series of foam padding blocks along the outside edge of the knee. The cuffs use an elastic jacquard material, with the upper sporting a generous amount of silicone gripper around the whole circumference of the thigh, and the lower with a select patch in the back to offer the increased grip where it’s needed the most. As with all Endura MT500 products, the MT500 D3O Ghost knee pads come with a 90-day satisfaction guarantee, during which you can return the item for a refund if it doesn’t meet your expectations. They come in three sizes and black colorway only, with a retail price of £84.99.
As much as I appreciate the “invincible” feeling of a burly knee pad, there are rides where I loathe the heat and restriction that a knee pad can produce. I’d never ride a mountain bike without something covering my knees though, as much for fashion’s sake as for peace of mind to protect from the inevitable knee-to-stem connection or high-speed slide out. Up until now, I’d accepted the sacrifices of the D3O pads such as the Race Face Indy for lack of more breathable options, which give a notable level of extra heat on the knee on the hotter days. Pulling on Endura’s MT500 D3O Ghost pads proved to be a very welcome breath of fresh air for my knees. Literally.
The perforated D3O insert and light and breathable mesh on the back (and part of the front) of the pads combine to limit the heat well, making them the most breathable knee pads I’ve used. As with any knee sleeve, the lack of additional velcro strapping means the cuffs have to be reasonably tight, but the elastic on the Endura models is stretchy enough and the cuffs deep enough that there’s no hint of digging in, so long as you have the right size. The MT500 D3O Ghost pads proved to be very comfortable from the get-go, with the highly flexible protection and soft and stretchy materials conforming well to my legs and restricting pedaling less than any CE Level 1 rated pads I’ve had the pleasure to use thus far. The sleeves are reasonably long, and the D3O Ghost insert offers a reassuring amount of coverage, with the foam pads on the outer flanks giving some extra peace of mind for when the inevitable spills happen.
The Ghost insert’s minimalism gives the impression of a serious lack of protection when holding the pads in your hand. Thankfully though, there’s more protection on offer than I had expected, keeping my knees safe the two times I put them to the test over the couple of months I’ve been using them. The first was a solid connection between knee and brake lever during an awkward spill, and the second a glancing blow with some shale rock after an overly exuberant turn. In both instances, the Endura pads did their job, cushioning the blow well enough to keep me injury free, whilst also resisting damage themselves. The impacts were certainly felt more than if I’d been wearing a bulky downhill style pad, but that can only be expected. Had I been wearing a lesser foam pad; I think there would have been pain involved in both instances. The only thing I’d like to see is some extra coverage on the inside of the knee – the same foam blocks used on the outer flank would likely be the ticket to cushion any impacts against the top tube when things get a bit loose, with minimal penalty to the performance.
The Endura pads have survived countless days in the saddle over the last couple months, with frequent washing in between, and still look and feel fresh. The silicone continues to offer the grip to keep them firmly in place, and the stitching has taken all the abuse without flinching. They’re by no means a cheap pad, but the apparent durability and impressive protection to comfort ratio makes them rank very highly on my list of pedal-friendly knee protectors.
The Wolf’s Last Word
I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the Endura MT500 D3O Ghost knee pads. They manage to offer impressive protection for their incredibly light, comfortable and breathable performance, and are built for the long haul, making them my new go-to trail knee pads.
Price: $99.99 /£84.99 /€103.49
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