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Quick Review: Alpinestars Morzine Knee/Elbow Guards
Quick Review: Alpinestars Morzine Knee/Elbow Guards- by Grannygear
If there is anyone in the MTB world that has little experience with wearing pads it is me. **Joe XC. **Joe endurance. **Or just Joe to my friends, but in any case, I never saw a need for them. **I don’t crash a lot (but when I do, I tend to really yard sale) so I don’t feel a real need to cover up. **And I have to admit chuckling a bit at the armored trail warriors I see with pads wrapped around them, usually on a pretty big travel bike, riding the same trails I do with lycra and a singlespeed.
When I went to a semi-local bike park a year or so ago I felt naked. **The level of trail difficulty, mostly from man made stunts, but some just from the terrain, and the ease with which you could go really fast over and over again (ski lifts) all day if you were fit enough…well, that was a paradigm shift for me. **I really was thinking hard about buying some pads and would have whipped out the Visa if I had seen a trailside cart selling such body armor. **But back at home the feeling passed.
Then people began to crash. **It seemed like many buddies of mine were soil sampling at an alarming rate… elbows, knees, collar bones. **It got me to thinking how exposed we really are to even a casual crash. **One sharp rock+one soft tissue area = owies and time off the bike. **So I looked at some options for padding that was not full on DH but would get me in a better place for technical days and maybe even for all around riding.
To begin the journey, I sampled a set of Morzine knee and elbow guards from Alpinestars. **They are certainly not a newbie to the protection game for motorsports athletes and offer various levels of protection for cyclists too. **The Morzine is a bit lighter weight with no hard cap layer like the Moab pads they offer. **I was looking for a pad that walked the line a bit between an XC and AM level of coverage and was easy to transport, possibly even fitting into a moderate size hydration pack. **Would the Morzines hit that target? **Yes and no.
The Morzine pads come in a mesh sack to keep them together in your gear bag and at first inspection look like they are well padded and shaped well. **The padding is quite thick and the pad itself is not as light or stuff-able as I thought it would be. **Since I had both the elbow and knee guards, it was apparent that it would fit into something like a Camelbak MULE, but it would take up most of the pack’s capacity. **Of course, you can strap them on the outside of the pack, if it is designed for that, but the pads are rather short and may not span the typical attachment points of a pack like that.
The pads combine a stretchy mesh section with Velcro closures to keep the pads snug and in place. **As well, there are rubbery/grippy areas in the fabric where it rests against your skin/clothing that intend to keep the pad where you want it to be. **They are articulated and conform well to the body. **How did they work for me, a newbie to pads like this?
So I find them flawed in some ways but overall comfy. **I never crashed in them so I cannot say if they would stay in place well in a bad moment(s) but the padding sure looks to be adequate enough to give me at least one good smack before I had to worry about that and for my level of riding, that is very likely enough. **If you are really hanging it out there, you are going to be wearing a more serious set of armored pads.
They are not quite what I was looking for, but I realize that what I want may not exist. **Where is that fine line of ‘enough’ protection, light weight, pack-ability, comfort, etc? **I will use the Morzines when things will get steeper and deeper, but the search goes on for something that is more in line with my needs. **The Morzines sell for an MSRP of $54.95 and $44.95 for the knee and elbow guards respectively.
Note: Alpinestars sent the Morzine pad set to Twenty Nine Inches at no charge. We are not being paid, nor bribed for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.
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