Leatt 3DF 6.0 Knee Guards
RRP: £80-90 depending on retailer
Medically certified knee braces (like CTi) have their place in your gear bag. Most of the other MX branded knee braces are not certified so are expensive and in my opinion a waste of money. If you’re buying them to stop hyperextension – they don’t work. I’ve injured my knee ligaments wearing a pair of POD K8s and Mobius Knee braces. Two surgeries later and I’m not sold on the marketing hype anymore. I rode for over 25 years from age 9 to 35 with knee pads without incident before damaging a knee while wearing braces. I only ever wear my CTi’s now for short mx motos on hardpack or riding events that are seriously rocky. And even then its more for the structured design for impact protection than thinking they will save my knees from hyperextension.
All of which has prompted the search for a good knee guard (see also:https://rustsports.com/knee-braces-versus-knee-guards-is-ryan-hughes-right/). I‘ve tried in excess of half a dozen pairs and landed up with these, the Leatt 3DF 6.0s as my pair of choice and here’s why.
Comfort & protection
First, I want comfort and protection or at least the best combo of the two I can get and Leatt’s 3DF 6.0s do a pretty good job of both. They have hard plastic shells that protect from mid-shin to the top of the knee, with a split between the shells for better articulation. Look to either side of those plastic shells and there’s an abundance of 3DF soft-impact foam which hardens on impact. Combine the two and all the nooks, crannies and corners of your knee are protected. Psychologically this gives you confidence in them in the event of an off. The extent of coverage on the 6.0’s isn’t extraordinary but the way the coverage is managed is.
The articulation point between the plastic shells and the pre-curved design made it easy to position in the right place. The numerous pads are held together with a perforated neoprene that offers extra protection against trail-rash and breathes well. It doesn’t breathe quite enough that you can feel a breeze, but enough that they don’t trap warmth either. The back is constructed top-to-bottom in lightweight, extremely breathable mesh.
The wide silicone gripper at the top of the guard holds it in place and combined with the Velcro fastener keeps it snug but not too tight. There is a second silicone gripper just below the back of the knee and once properly positioned these babies stay put.
Connection (with the bike)
They are left and right leg specific and labelled well. Sliding your legs into them is easy and the sizing was perfect for me and I found the sizing chart to be accurate. They fit into my boots really well (Sidi SRS3 – which are famously narrower than most boots) without any issues and will go into even the most skin-tight riding pants (aka TLD’s new budgie smuggler kit). I love the connection I have on the bike wearing them.
I like the look of the new petrol colourway but mostly I like the 3DF tech. I’m sure for a lot of us it’s hard to get your head around just what level of protection these will give you, not having a hard shell, but my gloves also have 3DF knuckle protection (which is very similar to D3O) and I’ve come to trust that the tech works.
These knee guards are well priced and well made but don’t break the bank. I’ve taken a few spills in them so far and I’ve walked away with no issues whatsoever.
I also use them for mountain biking or on my downhill bike when wearing shorts in the summer and even when pedalling you forget you have them on.
I like them so much I am going to give the Leatt elbow guards a go too. I typically don’t like riding with elbow protection because I’ve yet to find ones that fit and work (and well) without causing arm-pump, but the matching 3DF 6.0 elbow pads look to be lightweight and well-constructed so I’ll keep you posted on my experiences with them. But for now, suffice to say that after months of riding with these knee guards I am happy to recommend them as a great functional and comfortable pair of knee pads that have found permanent life inside my gear bag.
Leatt 3DF 6.0 Knee Guards
Moulded hard shell sliders
Sides: 3df AirFit ventilated soft impact foam
New anti-odour MoistureCool and AirMesh wicking fabric
Silicone thigh and Calf Band