Whether you are a weekend hobbyist or a daily warrior, one joint that is among the most stressed during a motorcycle ride is the knee joint. Moreover, it’s also the joint that is most prone to injuries from impacts and twists during a low side.
That means motorcycle knee armor is not just for professional racers hitting the track. They are equally important for casual riders as well.
Personally, I prefer riding with knee guards that function as knee braces because of the excellent combination of stability and protection that they offer. But if you prefer something simpler, there are a wide variety of options in the market.
After sifting through a dozen options, we have picked the five best knee guards for motorcycle riders. Take a look!
|Leatt Dual Axis Knee & Shin Guards
|POD K8 V2 Knee Brace
|O’Neal Pump Gun Mx Knee Guard
Best Overall — Leatt Dual Axis Knee & Shin Guards
Leatt Dual Axis Knee & Shin Guards
A comfortable protector that offers excellent protection against nasty slips and outstanding tracking of knee movements.
These are probably among the most popular strap-on knee and shin guards for off-road and street riding. And considering the excellent quality and range of features that Leatt has added, that’s not without reason.
For starters, the product is tested and CE certified to EN 1621-1:2012 for knee and shin impact protection. So, you can rest assured about the level of protection offered. In addition, the Leatt knee guards offer excellent protection against slashing injuries and impalement.
The guards have been anatomically designed and are wide enough to cover the sides of the knees as well. That ensures total lateral protection. Starting from the mid-thigh, these guards extend down to the mid-shin area. When paired with the right riding boots, they ensure full protection for the lower limbs.
Made from Poly Ethylene and HDPE and lined with a ton of soft washable foam in the interiors, these guards are designed to last. A dual hinge system on the sides allows them to match the natural movement of the knees. The overall level of comfort is excellent and there are no restrictions on your range of movement.
Moreover, the well-designed strap system keeps the guards in position during long hours of riding. The vented design ensures airflow to reduce discomfort when the temperatures are high.
With a weight of just 1.9 pounds apiece, they are also lightweight. The low-profile straps and a quick-release system add to the ease of use.
Most riders say that these guards run true to size. While they do not offer protection against torsional knee injuries, they offer excellent bang for your buck. We have no second thoughts about recommending this as our top pick.
Best Premium Pick — POD K8 V2 Knee Brace
POD K8 V2 Knee Brace
A premium-grade protective gear that will add loads of confidence to a serious off-road journey.
Hardcore off-roaders looking for premium protection will find the K8 from Pod a fantastic option. For the uninitiated, these knee braces can look daunting. But they might just be the perfect choice for saving your ACL from tearing during a rough tumble.
Pod has used patented design features to make this knee guard a medically certified device. That makes it ideal for preventing all common knee rotational injuries related to ACL, LCL, MCL, and PCL. Besides, it’s also CE certified against impacts.
But that’s not all…
Pod has used a Hinge Housing system with its patented Human Motion technology. There are special Vectran fibers inside the hinge system that provides multidirectional stability. In fact, you can also remove the central knee pad and use it as a knee brace for other sports.
Note, Pod has used military-grade lightweight carbon fiber sheets for this knee guard. That makes it unbreakable even against the most violent impacts. To sum up, the overall protection levels are the best in class.
Another great feature is the adaptive cuff mechanism. All four cuffs adapt to the muscle structure of your legs to provide total comfort and freedom of motion. A clip-on system also makes them quick to put on and keeps them fixed in place for long hours.
Keep in mind, though, that adjusting the cuffs may take some start. Before you ride, move around a bit in these braces to ensure a comfortable fit.
The truth is, Pod has packed a ton of features into this premium piece of gear that justifies the high price tag. On top of that, an industry-leading 5-year warranty gives you complete peace of mind.
Lastly, the modular design ensures that you can replace the damaged components as needed, without having to buy a new brace.
The only downside I can possibly think of is the price – and what you see is for a single brace! But it’s certainly less than a knee cap surgery.
Best Budget Pick — O’Neal Pump Gun Mx Knee Guard
O’Neal Pump Gun Mx Knee Guard
A super affordable and durable pair of knee guards for casual motorcycle riders that offers the right amount of protection.
Not all cheap motorbike knee guards provide the right level of protection that you need. But the Mx Knee Guard from O’Neal has the right features to keep your knees safe in most conditions.
The material is a mixture of polypropylene, polyamide, and polyethylene. There’s also some metal for additional durability and thermal foam padding for comfort. On the whole, it isn’t the lightest motorcycle knee protector you’ll find, but it’s sufficiently durable. The length is sufficient to provide the right protection for the shin.
As expected, it’s CE certified and tested as per EN 14021 to offer optimum protection. The hinged design allows the knee portion to move freely, so no area remains exposed in any way. Admittedly, the design has no negative impact on your range of motion either.
O’Neal has added a good amount of padding and right out of the package, the knee guards feel comfortable. Obviously, they aren’t the most comfortable options for all-day rides. But considering the price, we aren’t complaining.
One thing is, this knee guard is available in one size only. While the elastic straps with hook and loop closure can be adjusted to provide a snug fit, those with large legs might find them on the tighter side.
When it comes to value, the Pump Gun Mx knee guards hit the sweet spot. If you’re not a crazy off-roader, these are a great choice.
Best for Street Bikes — Alpinestars Men’s SX-1 Knee Guard
Alpinestars Men’s SX-1 Knee Guard
Alpinestars has used a great design to ensure a personalized, comfortable fit and solid protection for the knees.
The SX-1 from Alpinestars is another super comfortable knee guard that combines top-notch protection with great mobility. In fact, Alpinesters have incorporated some features from their more advanced motorcycle knee braces into the SX-1.
This knee guard features the Alpinestars Dual Gear System (DGS) that has a dual pivot mechanism. That keeps the center piece covering the knee cap fixed in place even when you bend the knee. The overall lateral protection is good and there is no pressure on the knee while moving. Quite an important concern in long rides!
Alpinestars has used a polymeric material for the protective plates and the product is CE certified to Type A level. The special fabric used around the knee area is resistant to abrasions. So, you can expect them to last for years without wearing.
Comfort levels are great with the SX1. The inner foam lining feels comfortable against the skin. There are vents to ensure airflow – something that enduro sports lovers will appreciate. Not to forget, these are super lightweight too.
Another plus is the quick-release mechanism in the straps that is easy to use. Since the straps come with large bands, they don’t cause discomfort even when placed directly against the skin.
Now, for some riders, especially for those with skinny legs, two straps may not feel adequate. In that case, you can use a knee brace sleeve or a knee sock as a base layer to keep this in place.
All in all, these are a pair of well-designed motorcycle knee guards that offer the right amount of protection that you may need.
Most Versatile — EVS Sports TP199 Knee Pad / Shin Guard
EVS Sports TP199
A top-grade knee pad that combines versatility with good protection and excellent comfort.
EVS designed this piece of gear for Travis Pastrana and has made it versatile enough for use in a wide range of action sports. It cuts out the bulky elements of a knee brace but still offers a good level of protection.
EVS has multiple top-grade materials to ensure top-grade performance. It uses an abrasion-resistant Rhynoskin fabric that can withstand impact. Reactive memory foam has been used as a protective barrier that can flex under low pressure but hardens with strong impact.
Additionally, a layer of molded bio-foam and inner sleeves provinces protection to the side knee. They also add stability to the knee and reduce the chances of impact injuries.
The first thing you notice about this knee pad is how comfy it feels. The lightweight design and ample cushioning provide all-day comfort. Actually, there are medial and lateral gel pads on the side area that allow you to control the bike without discomfort. The fabric also has perforations to improve airflow.
The shin guards are a bit low profile and can fit into your boots with ease. Besides, the design also ensures that the pads stay in place without migrating.
Now, EVS follows a unique sizing guide that uses your height and weight. However, most users reported that it works well.
All in all, the TP199 offers a solid balance of safety and mobility that makes them a perfect knee-shin combo for street or trail riding. If you find knee braces too bulky, these knee pads are worth a closer look.
How to Choose the Best Motorcycle Knee Guards
Let’s not forget that the knees are the first part of the body that comes in contact with the ground in case of a crash. And the result is – a manifold increase in the chance of severe knee injuries.
So, there should not be any compromise on the quality of knee protection for motorbike riders.
Before you buy motorbike knee guards, here are a few points to keep in mind.
The Level of Protection
The choice of motorcycle knee armor will depend on the level of protection you need. While a lightweight knee pad designed for motorcycle riders can protect from scrapes, they aren’t the best choice for knee safety.
Next, there are knee guards designed for the trail that offer a better balance between a lightweight design and protection. But remember, the term “trail” has a wide range and you need to decide where you sit in that broad spectrum.
For the best level of motorcycle knee protection, there are heavy-duty knee guards and knee braces. While these are more expensive, they are a good investment when you want maximum protection for your knees, especially for off-road motorcycling.
High-end knee guards also act as knee braces that are scientifically designed to provide extra support. These guards are designed to follow the natural contour of the knee and provide a full range of movement. Additionally, they prevent the knee from moving sideways or rotating in an accident.
Choosing the right size is important to ensure the best fit and full protection for your knees and the shin area. Motorcycle knee guards come in various sizes and the measurement parameters can vary depending on the manufacturer.
Keep in mind that a wrong fit can rub the skin raw or make the guard slide around during a ride. A snug fit that provides the right level of comfort is the best choice.
To keep a long day on the saddle comfortable, you need to pick a knee guard that has adjustable straps. Flexible knee guards and braces will allow free movement of the knee joint without compromising the protection.
It’s also important that you choose a knee guard that comes with the right amount of padding. While minimal-style pads are lighter, beefier designs with some extra padding will improve the overall comfort factor.
In general, knee guards are designed with vents to provide airflow. Make sure that they have easy-to-use clips that make fixing simple.
Most motorcycle knee guards have a hard outer layer and a soft inner lining of foam. The outer layer can be polypropylene or carbon fiber which provides high impact resistance. The fabric used should resist abrasion and tearing that can happen during sliding.
A CE-certified product based on the European EN1621-2:2014 standards is the best choice. Generally, most motorcycle knee protectors come with a Level 1 certification.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is the best motorcycle knee guard?
The best motorcycle knee guard is the one that offers the best protection as per your riding style. For daily riders, we have picked the Leatt Dual Axis knee/shin guard as the top choice.
What is the best dirt bike knee guard?
Since dirt bikes are more prone to crashes, it’s best to use a top-grade knee guard. Since ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) tear is a common injury in off-road rides, using a top-grade knee guard like the POD K8 V2 knee brace is the best option.
Can riding knee guards be used under riding pants?
It’s best to wear knee guards above riding pants to ensure freedom of movement. A combined knee and shin guard might be too big to fit inside riding pants. Besides, the knee guard material may not feel comfortable against your skin.
Last update on 2022-11-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API