Review: Troy Lee Designs KG 5450 Knee/ Shin Guards
November 30th, 2011
By Andrew Dodd
A good pair of knee pads can make or break a day’s riding and can certainly ruin more than just the day if they don’t do their job properly. In this day in age we’ve become pretty complacent with brands offering great kit across the board, which inevitably makes shopping for new kit that little bit more challenging with so much to choose from. While some brands follow existing designs and ideas, some hit the drawing board and create new ones…
Some brands really brake the mould and some brands actually make the mould in the first place. TLD do the latter and the new KG 5450 Knee/Shin Pads certainly follow on from where they started, six years ago with their now benchmark, T-Bone pads.
The knee cup is made from a hard, but flexible plastic surrounded by foam to add extra protection around the knee cap. On the inside, TLD have used a gripper style print, similar to what you have on the braking fingers of your gloves, to help keep the pads where they need to be. Construction seems to be of the usual high standard, so no worries there and these are still looking shop fresh after a few trips through the machine on the cold cycle.
Shock Doctor Technology inside! The shin area only goes about half way down the actual shin, but it’s addition to the pads from the knee down offers more than just added protection – it also offers increased stability and keeps the pads where they are meant to be and without the need for messy velcro straps. It is in my opinion, that the addition of the shin area is what makes these pads stay put so well and undoubtedly what gives them the fit and forget feel.
>Shock Doctor Technology
>X-FIT integrates a wraparound supporter on an elastic mesh sleeve for unparalleled comfort and fit with out bulky straps
>Strata foam articulates with complex body zones while providing impact protection
>Vent-trak moves air through flexible channels over skin surface to cool the rider
>Mesh construction provides airflow and lightweight design
>Internal knee cap provides high-impact protection with a close, comfortable fit
>Shin Guard extends protection from the internal high-impact knee cap for enhanced low profile protection
As we’ve clearly displayed here, it sometimes helps to remind you which is right, and which is left, especially if your easily confused (like me) or if you just want to get these leg specific pads on the right legs for optimum performance.
What I found most impressive about these pads, was the lack of straps and the fact that they don’t move around when riding; at all! When you first put them on, you realise that the knee area isn’t as attached to the knee, as say a strapped pad, but because of the ingenious method of keeping the entire pads on the leg, the pad neither falls down, nor does it slip side to side. Oh, and these are comfortable. Very comfortable – after six hours in the saddle on one ride, I only had a little mark on one of my knees from rubbing which I didn’t notice until packing my gear away – compared to some pads which rub, rub and rub some more, these are a different level and a real plesure to use.
Profile wise, these are pretty minimal and are going to be a great pad to wear under your race pants. The mesh construction will also help keep the heat down on a long days riding and racing.
I was pretty excited to finally get my hands on these, but I was also concerned that my hopes of an awesome product would be dashed upon finally taking these out into the field. Troy Lee’s T-Bones and Fox’s Launch pads are pretty much where I am with knee protection; comfortable, tough and easy on the eye, but to be honest, the 5450’s have really blown me away.
The strapless design was my first quickly dashed concern, but after a long day of hiking and biking and doing pretty much doing anything and everything to make these slip, slide and cause irritation; I came away utterly impressed. These are also fly weight, I mean so light it’s stupid. They also look pretty good too, well I think they look pretty amazing as far as pads go, but then were talking TLD here, the off-road worlds Gucci and anything less would be a downright surprise.
Sizing – Right this is something you need to pay attention to. I’ve mentioned my affection for the Fox Launch and TLD T-Bones, well I’m a size large in both of those and a medium in these. Why? Well, due to the lack of straps the pads fit more like a sock, that’s not to say they’re tight and uncomfortable to remain in place, far from it, it’s just that they need to grip your leg in order to do their job. I’d definitely recommend going a size down if your mail ordering these, or alternatively find a retailer who stocks them where you can get hands on.
Price wise your looking around £50GBP and $60USD respectively, which is pretty much standard across the board and in all honesty, pretty good value when you consider the quality and features. All in all these are great pads and perhaps even better than the benchmark T-Bones. They might not offer the same levels of protection that you would perhaps find in other pads, but their ability to stay put and sit there with no rubbing or moving is enough for me. The protection is there and there in the places it is needed most and certainly of a high standard too.
They’re comfy, light, well priced, look awesome and will certainly help protect your important knees if you fall off your bike – so what are you waiting for? Troy Lee Designs products are exclusively distributed in the UK by Fisher Outdoor Leisure and CI Sport. Big thanks to the team at Race Spec for supplying the pads in this review.
For more information on the 5450’s and everything ‘TLD’, tap the logo below!