Better living through riding!

2012-12-15

POC Joint VPD 2.0 Long Knee Pads

Early this year, we started to look for new knee pads for all-mountain, trail and gravity enduro riding by studying loads of reviews and rider comments. A commonly documented problem with many, if not most, knee pads is the slipping in any extended pedalling. After some research we came across Joint VPD 2.0 Long Knee Pads from POC. While not the only pad receiving favourable reviews, we became quite impressed by POC's apparent dedication to their vision of taking the protective gear the the next level.

Say hello to VPD
POC is a Swedish company, still small but growing, with a very bold and ambitious mission: “To do everything we can to possibly save lives and to reduce consequences of accidents, for gravity sports athletes... [by setting] a new standard when it comes to technical solutions, construction, material combinations and engineering.”

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Indeed, POC’s line of protective biking gear differs quite drastically from usual knee pads and body armour found on the market. Instead of common hard plastic or thick padding, protection of POC’s armour is provided by a special material called Visco-Elastic Polymer Dough (VPD). VPD is relatively soft and flexible material, providing comfortable fit that ergonomically follows the body shape. What is special with the VPD is its ability to stiffen from soft to hard on a sudden impact and its extremely effective shock absorption properties. According to POC, VPD can absorb repeated shocks without loosing its dampening effect. VPD is also said to a have long life span with the material promised to retain its properties for years.

Sizing is everything for POC pads to remain in place
Joint VPD 2.0 Knee Pads come in two different versions, a normal and long. We went to the long version that provides much better protection for lower legs, for example against slipped pedals. The pad is held in place by two straps, one above and another below the knee. In practice, however, most of the slipping resistance is provided by the snug fit of the pad itself with straps just adding a degree of additional hold. For the POC pads to stay securely in place, it is of utmost importance to choose the correct size that sits tight enough. The pads are available in three different sizes.

Out of harm's way
We have been using Joint VPD 2.0 Long Knee Pads together with POC Spine VPD 2.0 Jacket for the whole season 2012 and have been very impressed by the performance of this great combo (a review on the body armour will come soon). We have been using the pads mostly in gravity enduro but also in some trail and DH riding. Having had our fair share of usual crashes, we have been 100% protected by out POC combo. While no protector can keep you out of harm's way in all possible crashes, we certainly feel very confident with the degree of protection provided by POC.

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How have Joint VPD 2.0 Long Knee Pads resisted slipping? Very well. We have had no issues at all either in gravity enduro racing or during several of 3-4 hour trail riding sessions. Again, for these pads to remain in place, the fit needs to be snug. Fortunately, even so we find POCs extremely comfortable to wear. They are also efficiently ventilated due to extensive perforation of the VPD elements and also come with an anti-odor treatment to help to keep them fresh. The outer fabric of the pads has turned out to be very durable and crash-resistant. After a full season, our pads still look like new.

Highly recommended
For us, POC pads are perfect not least for gravity enduro and aggressive trail riding.
We appreciate quality gear, where a lot of thinking has been put into designing and manufacturing a product with exceptional qualities. Given POC’s mindset and vision, and the resulting end-product, we don’t feel bad for paying the premium price asked by POC. For a very cost-conscious rider there may be more cost-effective alternatives. Also, while VPD 2.0 Joint Knee Pads are light, slim and pedalling friendly, especially compared to many competing products with same degree of protection, for pure trail riding we would probably consider something that is slightly less heavy-duty.

For us, VPD 2.0 Joint Knee Pads are perfect pads especially for gravity enduro and aggressive trail riding. In season 2013, we plan to wear them a lot also in DH riding.