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Troy Lee Designs Raid Knee Guard Review

Supremely comfortable knee pads that blend high levels of protection with a dialed fit
Troy Lee Designs Raid Knee Guard
Photo: Backcountry
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Price:  $115 List | $115.00 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Great fit, high levels of comfort, excellent protection
Cons:  Warm, somewhat limited range of use
Manufacturer:   Troy Lee Designs
By Pat Donahue ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 16, 2021
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78
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 12
  • Protection - 30% 9
  • Fit and Comfort - 20% 9
  • Pedal Friendliness - 20% 7
  • Ventilation and Breathability - 20% 6
  • Durability - 10% 7

Our Verdict

The Troy Lee Designs Raid Knee Guards are comfortable and aggressive knee pads with quality construction. These pads are aimed at the enduro and gravity crowd, and they offer a generous amount of quality D3O protection. The knee sleeve delivers a consistent and precise fit, and the padding has a nice, plush feeling against the kneecap. Yes, these pads are aimed towards aggressive riding, but they retain a respectable amount of pedal-friendliness despite being one of the heavier pads in our test class. The price tag may be higher than much of the competition, but we feel it is easily justified by the quality of the fit, high comfort levels, and burly protection.

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Pros Great fit, high levels of comfort, excellent protectionProtective, comfortable, retains nice pedaling abilitiesWisely-placed protection, dialed fit, reasonable price, pedal-friendly for protection levelHigh levels of protection, quality constructions and materials, secure fitWell-rounded, attractive price, dialed fit
Cons Warm, somewhat limited range of useHeavy, not the best for long ridesA little clammy, sleeve could be longer at topHeavy, not the best for substantial amounts of pedalingPoor ventilation, could be prone to ripping
Bottom Line Supremely comfortable knee pads that blend high levels of protection with a dialed fitA perfect blend of substantial protection, supreme comfort, and respectable pedaling abilitiesA high-quality and versatile knee pad that splendidly blends protection and pedal-friendlinessAn aggressive, gravity-focused knee pad that delivers exceptional protection and impressive qualityA well-rounded knee pad with a quality fit at an attractive price point
Rating Categories Raid Knee Guard Fox Racing Launch D3O Leatt Airflex Pro 7Protection Project... Dakine Slayer
Protection (30%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
10.0
7.0
Fit And Comfort (20%)
9.0
10.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
Pedal Friendliness (20%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
5.0
7.0
Ventilation And Breathability (20%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
5.0
6.0
Durability (10%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
6.0
Specs Raid Knee Guard Fox Racing Launch D3O Leatt Airflex Pro 7Protection Project... Dakine Slayer
Weight (per pair, size L) 465 grams 445 grams 256 grams 420 grams 366 grams
Padding Material Neoprene D3O polyurethane AirFlex impact gel Sas-Tec kneecap pad with flexible hard cap/polygon foam DK impact foam
Body Material Neoprene, polyurethane 20% nylon, 40% neoprene, 5% polyester, 5% spandex Moisture Cool, Airmesh Pro-knit breathable sock Aramid fiber
Adjustments? No No No Center strap system (top), Velcro from both sides No
Safety Certifications CE EN 1621-1 CE EN 1621-1 Level 1 CE EN 1621-1 CE EN 1621/1 EN 1621-1 Level 1
Available Sizes XS/S - XL/XXL S - L S - XXL S-XL S - XL

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Raid Knee Guards are one of those knee pads that do what they're meant to do very well, performing beautifully within their intended application. Shuttle laps, bike park, and enduro racing are all wonderful options. These pads posted impressive scores in the fit/comfort metric as well as protection. Pedal-friendliness was surprisingly impressive as well, although these are not the best choice for long rides — given the intended aggressive application, ventilation is mediocre. For the right rider, however, these are an excellent choice.

Performance Comparison


These knee pads don't shy away from tough trails and high speeds.
These knee pads don't shy away from tough trails and high speeds.
Photo: Laura Casner

Protection


The Raid delivers excellent levels of protection. They feel burly enough to go fast at the bike park or launch some large gaps. They aren't the beefiest and protective knee pads in our review, but they are not far off.

These pads use D3O padding. This is a soft and pliable material that hardens upon impact. Riders get all of the benefits of flexible and plush padding while enjoying excellent levels of protection. We didn't intentionally wreck while wearing these pads, but we did use some less-than-scientific ways to test the D3O padding. One method involved a hammer. The D3O material is protective, effectively absorbs the impact, and is quite comfortable. It is a win-win-win.

Examining these pads further, there is a patch of foam above the protective patch. This protects the area above the knee cap from the dreaded handlebar impact. Moving down there is the main D3O patch that starts wide at the knee cap before tapering into a narrower patch as it moves down the shin. The main D3O patch is a bit thicker than many of the other knee pads in our review. This is confidence-inducing and reassuring. The main padding ends at the mid-shin area. There is also foam padding that runs along the inside and outside of the main armor to protect the inner and outer knee in the event an impact misses the main padded area.

The Raid Knee Guards are built for maximum protection on shuttle...
The Raid Knee Guards are built for maximum protection on shuttle laps, enduro race days, and bike park laps.
Photo: Laura Casner

Fit and Comfort


If there is one area where the Raid Knee Guards really stand out, it is in the quality fit and high levels of comfort. They are extremely pleasant on the leg, and we would have no problem wearing them all day.

Our size large pads fit true to size. The fit is consistent throughout the knee sleeve, hugging the leg and staying in place. A strap at the top of the sleeve helps fine-tune the fit. There are no pressure points or hot spots on the inside, and the underside of the padding is extremely pleasant and flexes easily to conform to your leg. Throughout the pedal stroke, the padding remains comfortable and does not cause any irritation.

It should be noted that given the thickness of the padding and the length of the sleeve, the Raid can get a little toasty. A hot and sweaty leg can detract from comfort for sure. We will discuss this matter in further detail below in the ventilation metric, but it certainly detracts a bit from overall comfort.

The sleeve fit is dialed and the D3O armor patch is extremely...
The sleeve fit is dialed and the D3O armor patch is extremely pleasant against the knee. The armor does feel a touch bulky though.
Photo: Laura Casner

Pedal Friendliness


These knee pads are designed to shred hard. Protection was clearly the priority when designing the Raid Knee Guards. Additionally, we found the pedal-friendliness to be impressive, especially given the intended use of these pads.

The sleeve and armor have an ergonomic design with a slight bend between the upper and lower portion of the knee guards. This allows for a nice pedal motion as you aren't fighting against the sleeve shape. Throughout the pedal stroke, these pads allow for a solid range of motion. The bulk of padding around the kneecap is certainly noticeable, however. Throughout the pedal stroke, the mass of the material at the knee is evident. It is not a hindrance or uncomfortable, but you are quite aware that you are pedaling with a burly and aggressive pair of knee pads.

Pedaling abilities are not a priority. That said, the Raid Knee...
Pedaling abilities are not a priority. That said, the Raid Knee Guards pedal well-enough given their gravity-focused design.
Photo: Laura Casner

Ventilation and Breathability


These are thick and burly pads. It's no surprise that they are not the most well-ventilated set of pads in this review.

The neoprene material is quite thick on the front and sides of the sleeve. On the rear, the material is significantly thinner and is semi-translucent when stretched. This is designed to allow heat to escape from the back of the leg. The armor patch is so thick that air doesn't really pass through from the front. Again, let's remember that these pads were designed with gravity-fed endeavors in mind. This riding style doesn't rely heavily on serious amounts of pedaling or sustained climbs. Yes, these pads are warm and toasty, but we don't think that's a huge deal.

Given the aggressive and well-padded design, these pads breathe okay.
Given the aggressive and well-padded design, these pads breathe okay.
Photo: Laura Casner

Durability


Throughout rigorous testing, we observed no signs of premature wear or breakdown. The stitching remained intact, and there were no areas that appear to be destined for failure. However, based on years of testing knee pads, we can express a little bit of concern over the fabric finish on the front of the Raid. This soft fabric can be problematic when dragged across rocky or gravelly trails at high speed. Harder materials such as plastic can more easily withstand high-speed crashes without ripping/tearing. This is the tradeoff with D3O or soft-armored pads. At the end of the day, we feel that soft and plush, yet protective, padding is the bee's knees, even if it is a little more prone to ripping or tearing.

These pads are burly and designed for serious action. We have little...
These pads are burly and designed for serious action. We have little concern about durability unless you drag the exterior fabric across a bunch of rock.
Photo: Laura Casner

Value


The Raid Knee Guards are among the more expensive knee pads in our review. Still, we feel the quality and execution of the design can justify the price tag. The on-trail performance is impressive, and the fit/comfort levels are tremendous. As a result, it is easy to call the these a strong value despite the lofty price tag.

Conclusion


The Troy Lee Designs Raid Knee Guards are a high-quality and protective set of knee pads. High levels of protection are paired with an impressive level of fit and comfort. And, for such a burly set of knee pads, they still offer respectable levels of pedal-friendliness. Make no mistake, these are not the best knee pads for multi-hour rides with thousands of feet of climbing. That said, gravity fiends and enduro riders who aren't afraid of a little extra bulk will dig these pads.

Pat Donahue