Every rider is different. Some mountain bikers take to the trails without any protection, while others look like they are ready to go into battle. One company that is trying to meet the demands of all their mountain bikers is 7iDP.
7iDP has made a name for itself with some innovative helmets, body armor and most notably, their limb pads. The “iDP” stands for Intelligent Design Protection, and since coming out with their first batch of gear years ago, riders have taken notice of the smart and stylish designs and a line of products that can meet any mountain biker’s needs.
When it comes to their limb pads, 7iDP has taken a simple and smart approach to design. They have segmented their pads into three separate categories, and it is well suited to fit the needs of most mountain bike riders.
The first kind of pad offered by 7iDP is what they call their Transition pads. The Transition design comes in both a Knee and Elbow/Forearms pads and is the most durable and lightweight of 7iDP’s padding options.
Featuring a soft shell material known as Sastech, the Transition limb pads only offer soft padding. The Sastech material, however, is sensitive to sharp or hard impacts. So, in the event of an incoming branch or the impact of a fall, the padding will harden on impact before returning to its regular, soft and cushier material.
The attractive thing about the Transition line of pads is their lightweight feel. If you are the type of mountain biker who wants minimal protection without the cumbersome feel of heavily armored pads, consider the Transition pads for your protection needs.
Another benefit of 7iDP's Transition pad line is their ventilation. When on, the Transition Knee or Elbow Pads are very breathable. A stretch mesh material makes up much of 7iDP’s limb pads, but with the minuscule design, ventilation is at a premium, and the pads can easily fit underneath riding attire.
One drawback of the Transition, however, is that like most soft shell pads, it tends to offer minimal protection. While Transition pads are better than wearing no pads at all, if you are looking for a maximum level of protection, the Transition pads probably aren’t your best option.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from the soft shell Transition pads is 7idp’s Control pads. If you read about the Transition pads above and thought, “soft shell pads? No way!” the Control pads are probably going to be for you.
Control pads also come in Knee and Elbow pads and feature a hard shell exterior. The hard shell is coupled with soft foam as well, but not the Sastech foam that hardens on impact. One thing that is interesting about the Control padding, is that despite the hard shell, it isn’t overly heavy. You can feel the higher level of protection while wearing the Control pads, but it doesn’t leave you feeling weighed down. The Control line also feature solid ventilation so you won’t get too hot while wearing them like some other hard shell pads.
The Control pads are about protection. It is widely known that hard shell pads offer the best level of protection and the Control pads give mountain bikers who like that extra feeling of security, peace of mind. The Control line is great for high-level mountain bikers who are doing aggressive riding.
The Control pads can also have disadvantages to some buyers. They are the highest priced pads made by 7IDP and some riders might not see the need to spend this much on padding, depending on how much they ride.
Another concern for some riders might be the exterior of the hard shell. It is extremely smooth and is designed to slide off impacts, but depending on the level of force, the shell could be scratched or deformed.
All in all, the Control pads are excellent for any rider who is looking for a more lightweight design but a hard shell pad.
The last limb pad option by 7iDP are their Flex pads. Flex pads combine both hard shell and soft shell protection and give the rider a combination of impact material in one nice package.
Flex pads are tough, and the hybrid soft and hard shell pads are enclosed in an anti-abrasion material so they can take a lot of abuse. This material will deter scratches, tears or punctures and can ensure a solid level of safety.
Flex pads might not look as stylish as the Transition or Control pad lines, but they do their job, and they do it well. They also offer the best of both worlds, combining both hard shell and soft shell impact materials which is attractive to some riders.
When it comes to pros and cons, one thing that will stand out about Flex pads are their price. They are a great value especially because they have hard shell protection which can tend to be a higher price point.
Another benefit of going with Flex pads, is they are the only line of 7iDP’s limb pads to offer an additional knee pad with shin protection. Some riders prefer their knee and shin to both be protected while riding and the Flex Knee/Shin Combo pads can accomplish this. The shin protector is also removable, so those who buy have some protection flexibility.
Although the protection and price might be right for some buyers, the Flex pads do have their disadvantages. With both hard and soft shell padding, Flex pads are the heaviest of 7iDP’s limb pads, and they do offer the least amount of ventilation. While they provide a high-level protection, they may get a tad warm for some riders.
Which Should You Choose?
No rider is the same, but when picking limb pads from 7iDP, remember some of the things we talked about here. If you like lightweight, maybe the Transition pads are going to suit you. If you are about maximum protection, buy the Control pads, and you can’t go wrong. If you are the buyer who is about value and bang for your buck, look at the Flex pads.
Whichever way you go, you can’t go wrong with 7iDP, and they have great body armor and helmets to complete your riding attire so check out our collection of 7iDP gear and buy now!