The G-Form Pro-X2 are practical low-profile knee pads with a unique look. The armor uses Reactive Protective Technology (RPT) that hardens upon impact to protect the rider. Our favorite part about these pads is the relatively low weight and easy-to-pack nature paired with respectable protection levels. They stuff easily into a backpack or a large hip pack. However, while these pads deliver substantial protective properties, the fit leaves something to be desired. Testers found the upper elastic cuff to be a little too tight on our size large pair, though riders who have slightly lower profile lower quads may enjoy a better fit. These pads are a decent value and should work well for a large number of riders given the blend of protection, weight, pedal friendliness, and comfort.Editor's Note: This review was updated on December 2, 2021 to note that G-Form has replaced these knee pads with the new Pro-X3 version. We are linking to the latest model.
G-Form Pro-X2 Review
Compare prices at 4 resellers Pros: Nice balance of protection and comfort, price, widely available
Cons: Fit issues, not as pedal-friendly or as robust as other options
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|Pros||Nice balance of protection and comfort, price, widely available||Protective, comfortable, retains nice pedaling abilities||Wisely-placed protection, dialed fit, reasonable price, pedal-friendly for protection level||Exceptionally pedal friendly, comfortable, lightweight||Well-rounded, attractive price, dialed fit|
|Cons||Fit issues, not as pedal-friendly or as robust as other options||Heavy, not the best for long rides||A little clammy, sleeve could be longer at top||Not very protective, soft material may tear easily||Poor ventilation, could be prone to ripping|
|Bottom Line||A well-rounded knee pad that effectively balances light protection and pedal-friendliness||A perfect blend of substantial protection, supreme comfort, and respectable pedaling abilities||A high-quality and versatile knee pad that splendidly blends protection and pedal-friendliness||A lightweight and extremely pedal-friendly knee pad with a minimalist approach||A well-rounded knee pad with a quality fit at an attractive price point|
|Rating Categories||G-Form Pro-X2||Fox Racing Launch D3O||Leatt Airflex Pro||Fox Racing Enduro K...||Dakine Slayer|
|Fit and Comfort (20%)|
|Pedal Friendliness (20%)|
|Ventilation and Breathability (20%)|
|Specs||G-Form Pro-X2||Fox Racing Launch D3O||Leatt Airflex Pro||Fox Racing Enduro K...||Dakine Slayer|
|Weight (per pair, size L)||220 grams||445 grams||256 grams||198 grams||366 grams|
|Padding Material||RPT||D3O polyurethane||AirFlex impact gel||Not specified||DK impact foam|
|Body Material||Moisture wicking UPF 50+ fabric||20% nylon, 40% neoprene, 5% polyester, 5% spandex||Moisture Cool, Airmesh||Perforated neoprene||Aramid fiber|
|Safety Certifications||NOCSAE, CE||CE EN 1621-1 Level 1||CE EN 1621-1||Not specified||EN 1621-1 Level 1|
|Available Sizes||XS - XL||S - L||S - XXL||S - XL||S - XL|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Pro-X2 is a noble performer in our test. They don't go above and beyond in any category, yet they are rock-solid in most. There is a reason these knee pads have been so popular in recent years. While the protection is relatively minimal and the fit leaves something to be desired, they score well in comfort, pedal-friendliness, and ventilation. Also, they are one of the more widely-available options in our review, easily found at many bike shops and online retailers.
The Pro-X2 use G-Form's Reactive Protection Technology (RPT). This means the armor has a soft and flexible feel when you are wearing them or bending the armor in your hand. Someone unfamiliar with these pads might not think they have much in the way of protection at all. This is all by design. In the event of an impact, the material instantly hardens to protect the rider and distribute the force. How does it work? Science. According to G-Form, the molecules in the material consolidate rapidly to form a hard and protective layer to disperse the forces of the impact away from a single point.
The armored section of the knee pad is sizeable without being too large — the zone looks somewhat like a cross. There is a bit of protection above the knee starting a few inches above the cap. On the left and right of the knee cap, there are a few plates of armor that extend to either side of the knee. Below the knee cap, there is a large section of padding that extends down towards the upper shin.
We didn't have any significant crashes while testing these pads. That said, we did some primitive impact testing, and we can confirm these pads offer a little more protection than their looks may suggest. These are not the pads for riding bike park laps or serious shuttle laps, but they do offer enough protection for the day-to-day light to mid-duty trail rider. The amount of protection is adequate and impressive for how pedal-friendly they are. It should also be noted that the black fabric on the pads offers UPF-50 sun protection. The material extends fairly far below the bottom of the armor and keeps your legs out of the sun.
Fit and Comfort
The Pro-X2 pads offer an okay fit, though our testers had a bit of trouble getting them to sit in the correct spot on the leg. Despite that, the comfort levels are respectable, and we didn't have any qualms wearing these pads on long rides.
When you slide your leg into the Pro-X2 pads, you are greeted with a properly snug feel on the elastic sleeve. It can be a delicate game for manufacturers to balance snugness with a proper fit. We found the upper leg opening of the pad to be just a bit too narrow. When the pads were pulled up as far as possible, testers had the desire to pull the pads up approximately 2-3 additional inches, but the upper leg opening was maxed out and wouldn't slide up any further. The pads were not in an uncomfortable location, but we felt they should sit a little higher to get the most out of the armor. Riders with narrower upper legs may have an easier time with the fit.
We found these pads to be quite comfortable, with no painful pressure points, skin pinches, or abrasion-prone areas. The benefit of lower-profile knee pads is higher levels of comfort, and the Pro-X2 delivers in this regard. We would have no problem wearing them for hours on end.
The Pro-X2 pads score well in terms of pedal-friendliness. There are more pedal-friendly options in our test, but there are also models that are far less so. We feel the middle-of-the-road pedaling action somewhat coincides with the middle-of-the-road levels of protection. The bulkiest options tend to fare the worse in this category, while the lightest and sleekest tend to fare the best.
The X2 pads stay in place while riding — silicone bands on the inner sections of the leg openings hold them in place effectively. We could spin the cranks easily without any restrictions, there is good range of motion, and we didn't have to reach down to adjust or realign very often at all. You can feel the armor on your knee cap with every pedal stroke, but this isn't irritating or painful. However, you will still be quite aware that you're wearing knee pads.
The Pro-X2 wouldn't be our top choice for rides longer than 2.5-3 hours, but they are above average in terms of pedal friendliness. They are a great middle-of-the-road option — more protective than the super sleek sleeve-style options and much more pedal-friendly than the big bulky pads.
Ventilation and Breathability
The Pro-X2 pads deliver solid ventilation. The reasonable weight and quality fabric will keep you cool. The black, stretchy, UPF-50 fabric also wicks moisture away from the body as you sweat. Even after long rides on warm days, the fabric didn't feel saturated or soaked in sweat.
Obviously, when you choose to wear knee pads, you are giving something up in the way of ventilation. Knee pads will never breathe as well as your bare knee. That said, the X2 pads offer okay airflow. Again, these pads continue their middle-of-the-road theme. They breathe and deliver airflow significantly better than the bigger, more robust pads but can't quite match the slender, minimalist options.
Throughout testing, we observed no signs of these pads falling apart or failing. We didn't take any real crashes, but they appear to be holding up from us putting them on and taking them off frequently.
One area to be wary of is putting these pads on while you are wearing riding shoes. If you simply pull these pads on right before you put your shoes on, no big deal. Some riders like to take their pads on and off during a ride. For example, if your ride starts with a two-hour climb, you may not want to put these pads on until you reach the top of your climb. You can put these on over a pair of all-mountain style bike shoes, but it's rather tight. We worry about busting a seam on the pad if you do this too frequently. When putting your shoe through the leg opening, there is simply a lot of stress on the fabric and seams. We could see this being problematic over the course of an entire season.
The Pro-X2 pads represent a decent value. Aside from some quirks with the fit, they deliver good performance in all areas. They won't blow you away, but they work pretty darn well. They are towards the lower end of the price spectrum among knee pads in our test.
The G-Form Pro-X2 are solid knee pads. The protection is adequate without being overwhelmingly bulky or super light. They are comfortable and work well when you are spinning away in the saddle. Our chief complaint is an issue with the fit as they sit a bit below where we would like. Picky or obsessive riders might be irritated by this fit. All in all, however, the X2 is a well-rounded knee pad for trail riding at a reasonable price.
— Pat Donahue
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