Testing the lightweight Dakine Slayer kneepad
Words: Mike Blewitt Photos: Tim Bardsley-Smith
A well-fitting set of kneepads are becoming a regular piece of riding kit, and I know a number of riders who won't go out for a ride without them. I also know a number of riders with knees covered with purple scar tissue, so there is no denying that a good set of kneepads should be high up on your list of must-haves. But what makes a good set anyway?
Unless you are doing chainless shuttle runs, you need to make sure your kneepads are comfortable when pedalling, and they stay in place. This will likely mean the closure is either adjustable, or the protection is attached to a stretchy sleeve of material – which is how the Dakine Slayer Kneepads are made. The back is open though so it's not like wearing winter gear on the hot days. There's a silicone gripper that helps it stay in place.
Flexible protection also helps make a good set of kneepads, as you don't tend to have movement impeded. Dakine achieve this with the Slayer Kneepad by using a CE certified foam section, and the whole thing is pre-curved for added comfort. The padding is not removable but the whole thing goes through the washing machine after hot and sweaty rides without a problem.
On the trail
The length of the kneepad is pretty good, as it comes up high enough to grip around your thight, and avoid a gap between kneepad and shorts. And the protection covers below your kneecap, adding that crucial extra coverage at the very top of your shin. You could get some kneepads with extra coverage, and I think you would want to for enduro racing or gravity riding on the limit.
As a general trail kneepad I was stoked with these, as they fit really well and weren't too warm either. Having used kneepads that were so uncomfortable that I was reluctant to wear them, and other pairs that were great when they stayed in place, the Dakine Slayer is a really sweet set.
These are the perfect set of kneepads for an all-day ride, especially if you're out exploring new terrain and you're not really sure what's coming up. If you do opt to stow them in a pack of some kind, they pack really flat and don't weigh a whole lot either. But given the comfort you're likely going to keep them on, and that's always a winning move as they won't do much to keep your knees in one piece when they're packed away.
While I did find I still needed to cinch them up now and again over a number of hours on the bike, it was usually just at the top of an extended descent, to make sure they were exactly where I would want them to be if things went a little pear-shaped. If you're looking for a new set of kneepads, I'd highly recommend the Dakine Slayer. There are also matching elbow guards for those looking for a little more protection for the pointy bits.
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Flexible all-day protection
- Best suited to trail riding, as opposed to gravity racing