The Airflex Pro is the evolution of Leatt's Airflex lightweight sleeve-type knee guard. It sports additional side and upper knee impact protection, and comes in an understated black.
That's right... it's pro. Gunnar Waldman photo.
I'm a fan of additional side and top padding, as they help blockade annoying little knocks from sticks or my top tube. Though the Airflex Pro seems like a pretty simple lightweight knee guard, Leatt has engineered some pretty cool details into it:
The first is that it's CE EN1621-1 certified as impact knee protection. What does that mean? Good question. According to Leatt's biomechanical engineer, Pieter Keevy, that rating (a 'level 1' according to the certification document) means the Armourgel can withstand an impact from an 11 pound weight dropped from just over 3 feet and allow only 18 kilonewtons of energy through. Which is better than non-Armourgel protection of the same thickness.
I guess it's important enough to print on the side. Gunnar Waldman photo.
It doesn't make falling like floating on a cloud, protection is relative to each specific crash, but the idea is to reduce the amount of energy transferred to your knee to below the level that will seriously injure you. The Airflex Pro will also nicely negate any slide, skid or rock that flies up to whack you.
Second is they do not slip. Ever. They stay put better than any kneewarmer I own and, frankly, I can't see using a kneewarmer again now that I have these.
Tucks nicely under your bike shorts. Gunnar Waldman photo.
They have printed silicone grip around the thigh and also a silicone printed cupped knee grip. Maybe it's the knee grip or the anatomical shape–but I've never had to adjust these on the trail. Halfway through a ride, my buddies wearing other pads look like they're auditioning for flashdance ('80s legwarmer reference, ask your mom). And the best protection is one that is where it's supposed to be at the moment you need it.
The inside of the pad with the printed silicone knee gripper. Gunnar Waldman photo.
Third, at just over half a pound (0.7 pounds for the pair), they really don't feel like you're wearing much of anything. Again, know the limits of the product–if you're shredding at the bike park or racing an enduro, you might want to think of something burlier (Level 2 protection allows only 9 kilo newtons of impact through to your legs after the 1 meter anvil test), even though pros love to wear light stuff like this.
Thankfully, I haven't crashed wearing them yet. I've slid out and flopped over a couple times, and have come away fine. For $79 these make a great gift; they're one size fits all and will surely be worn, rather than sit in the milk crate where less desirable padding goes.