This article was originally featured in the August 2017 print edition of Dirt Rider
Now that I think about it, I guess I’m in an eternal search for the perfect knee protection. I’ve worn braces, pads, guards of all different sizes, shapes, and price ranges and none have been perfect. I’ve gone away from braces as of late and have been trying the hinged-guard category, of which the EVS Epic pads fit into.
They look almost like braces, yet they are not, nor are they designed to be. These are strictly knee guards that wrap around the knee for added protection, not support. And this is a reason that I wanted to check them out. What I like about the Epics is that they protect your thigh quite a bit, like knee braces do, without being so rigid that they are uncomfortable or motion limiting.
I like that the three straps only need adjusting once; then you just use the peg-in-hole buckle system to pop them on or off. I don’t like that the faux-leather-like material of the straps isn’t stretchy, therefore doesn’t keep constant tension as you move, and thus sometimes come undone.
What would make the strap system perfect is if EVS left the middle strap (the one right above your calf muscle) the non-stretchy material, because that strap never came undone and really held the guards in place, and then made the top and bottom straps stretchy so they can expand and contract as you ride. With that middle strap tight, these pads didn’t slide down on me once, which is awesome because migrating knee guards is huge pet peeve of mine.
As far as burliness, these are the middle of the road. They aren’t super hard, and there is quite a bit of flex in the hinge, but, again, these aren’t braces so that isn’t a problem. Plus that flex gives a lot of comfort and mobility. All in all, these aren’t for riders who really want knee braces but are on that Top Ramen budget; they are for riders who don’t want knee braces but want the large coverage area they provide.