Asymmetrical design, cross-strap security, and vented hard shell plates make the Fox Racing Launch Knee/Shin guard a first choice for elite downhill and freeride mountain bikers. Fox Racing's patented X-Up strap system crosses behind the knee to eliminate twisting and slipping when the terrain turns from rough to sadistic.
Strengths: Full front leg protection, comfortable, don't move when riding, not too hot
Weaknesses: None so far
Since purchasing after a big crash a month ago, I am really happy. I bought Fox Launch Knee/Shin guards and elbow pads. I most ride fast cross country single track with lots of climbs and downhills and these are great. Super comfy, they don't shift, easy to get on/off (20 sec for both), and best of all they aren't too hot since the backs are open so I will wear them in the summer for a full ride. I am 6'1" and 195lbs and the XL are right size for me. Thanks FOX!
Strengths: Lasted two full years of heavy AM/DH/XC/DJ riding.
Great front coverage.
Easy and fast removal when it's time to cool down.
Weaknesses: Straps can become uncomfortable and irritate skin (usually in dry, dusty conditions)
Slip down when pedaling (gravity oriented. so, expected).
Can get hot in the Texas sun, but not a deal breaker.
Slightly lacking in padding, though armor is awesome.
Bottom line- I've run these weekly for 2 years. Though I wouldn't pass a good deal on a more comfortable set, I'd recommend them to someone who was like me two years ago- comfortable with mountain biking, but still figuring things out and wanting protection to take it to the next level. They could use the slightest bit more padding, but the armor feels bullet proof and has saved my shins on numerous occasions.
I've probably go with a different Fox style or brand altogether when they wear out, but that could be a while. The straps may have stretched a bit and a few seams have a loose thread here and there, but they're still in very decent shape after 2 years with no off-season.
If you find a good deal, buy them They work and last.
a All Mountain Rider
from LG, CA
Date Reviewed: February 10, 2012
Strengths: Comfortable and durable. Easy on and off. I usually strap these on to my bike or camel back for the ride uphill but have worn them on medium length rides without any problems or discomfort (other than they get hot). Great flexibility.
Weaknesses: Price, I guess. Probably will save that much, at least, in neosporin and gauze.
Great shin/knee pad combo that is flexible, comfortable and durable.
Similar Products Used: 661, protec, tons of skateboard pads
Bike Setup: Coil sprung MK2 Nomad
Date Reviewed: October 2, 2011
Strengths: Low profile, fairly breathable
Weaknesses: clips unlatch often, straps uncomfortable (for me atleast) and they slip down a bit.
Pads are decent. I was not impressed with the fit and the clip would unlatch when i was pedaling often. I like their low profile design and are comfortable when standing, although they do dig down into your ankle a bit if your not super tall (i am 6' with the l/xl). Ditched these for the Alpinestars Moabs which, for me, are alot more comfortable and never slipped down.
Similar Products Used: Alpinestars Moab, Kyle Strait
Bike Setup: Voltage FR
a Weekend Warrior
from The Cruz, CA
Date Reviewed: September 19, 2011
Easy on and off - on and off in 30 seconds or less
Excellent FRONT coverage
Weaknesses: no back coverage
After taking a spill with no protection and having my whole knee scabbed up. I decided to get some coverage. Since then I have taken just as bad of a spill and NO damage to the front of my knee or shin.
When riding at DEMO there is some mellow downhill and some pedaling involved before braille trail starts. During the pedaling im not bothered to much by the pads. No discomfort or chaffing. A tug every now and again keeps them in the sweet spot, how ever its not a safety issue as it is a comfort issue.
For the damage these things have taken in stead of my knees and shins they are great. Actually comffie to fall in, so to speak.
The only drawback to these is there is NO coverage at the back of the leg. So your pedals will gouge the back of your calf. OH and if your not shown how to get these on and off, you may take them off the wrong and they are a tangled nightmare. Once you are shown the easy/proper way it takes less than 30 seconds to get them on or off.
I would recommend these if your only looking for exceptional FRONT knee and shin protection, that is easy to get on and off for those gravity fueled trails.
They are expensive, but they have saved me many a time. They have done their job and i dont regret spending the money on them, and my legs thank me for that.
Bike Setup: diamondback: mission 1 2010, stockish.
from Lakewood, CO, USA
Date Reviewed: January 26, 2011
Strengths: Simplicity, durability, they don't move, hard shell plastic is easy to clean, good coverage, new material is very comfy!!
Weaknesses: Hot (but what full leg pads aren't hot in the summer?), expensive
These are the second set of Fox Launch pads that I have owned. The first set I owned was an early production model and was itchy and the top part of the knee guard popped up and got caught on my shorts. I am very happy to say that these new pads are DOPE!!! they have fixed all the old little problems and continue to make the best knee/shin pad on the market. They may be a little expensive but the old saying goes "you get what you pay for"
Bike Setup: 2010 Demo 8 frame, Fox 40, Fox RC4, Custom wheelset with I-9 Hubs, Specialized butcher tires, Avid Code brakes, etc.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: January 16, 2011
Strengths: Protects well
Easy to put on
Dont move around while riding
Works semi well as insulation on cold days
Doesn't interfere with pedaling
Weaknesses: Can get hot in the summer
They work well. They don't move at all while riding or when crashing. Once your clipped in they will not come off until you want to them. My legs are kinda thin so I didn't expect them to really stay in place as well as they do. They can get hot in the summer since they don't breath very well but it is never too much when I need to stop and take them off. I am very happy with these and would definitely get them again.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: July 1, 2010
Strengths: Lightweight, Easy on/off
Weaknesses: Knee guard held to shin guard by small strip of material. Doesn't look like it will hold up, although is fine after 25+ rides
These pads are very good. Despite the other reviewers opinions, they fit my legs great. I have pretty thin shins and calves. This description of body type is something that is overlooked in many reviews. Maybe if I had huge calves these would suck. Who knows? If you have the cash, go for these. Once you set them up, it takes like 3 seconds to put on your leg. Feel no pain when you fall and ride with confidence. Can't really tell they are there most of the time. Feel cool so far, even with high heat riding. They strapped to my Dakine pack no problem the one time I tried. They are labeled left and right, I think, for better break in, as they look identical.
Bike Setup: Pretty much a stock Specialized Enduro SL
from NSW Australia
Date Reviewed: June 24, 2010
Strengths: good ventilation, stays on the leg for the whole time your riding, easy to clean, straps havent stretched at all after a year of using them, worth the money
Weaknesses: irritates the back of your knee a bit but you forget about it after a few minutes of riding, bit pricey but worth the money
these pads are worth the money and ive had them for over a year now and theyve taken some hits and still perform as they did when i first got them. i recommend these pads to anyone who0 rides freeride, downhill or serious dirt jumping.
Bike Setup: 2006 mongoose thunderball, mazocchi dirtjam pro forks, sun ringle single track rims, maxxis tires, atomlab bars and stem
a Weekend Warrior
from Boynton Beach, FL
Date Reviewed: May 10, 2010
Strengths: Snug fit, good basic protection, open back keeps you cool.
Weaknesses: They're a little pricey considering they're not the Rolls Royce of leg armor.
I bought these to protect me from pedal bite and banging my knees on the handlebars. They work great for that, although I haven't tested them on any real accidents. They are very comfortable and flexible enough. They do not dig into the back of my legs as I've read in other reviews. I gave them 3 flaming chilis as I like them, but I'm not blown away by their quality.
Strengths: Cool, comfortable, strong, easy to put on,
Weaknesses: wish they could tighten more, (no real problems)
These are the greatest pads Ive put onm love them. Fit great b.c of the clips they are always the right fit. I have NO idea what people are talking about that these pads are not good for pedaling, I always wear them and hardly notice them.
from Los Angeles, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: December 12, 2009
Strengths: Looks nice in ads
Weaknesses: Product is unwearable. One cannot wear these pads and pedal a bicycle at the same time without enduring excruciating pain. The multiple straps compress across the bend in the back of the knee rendering pedaling impossible. Furthermore the entire contraption causes sweating just trying them on. To wear them would be to be forced to remove them within minutes and somehow carry them for the rest of the day and I can't imagine doing so.
With Cambria's 15% restocking fee and Fox's childish response to my questions and complaints I am out $65 for a pile of plastic junk.
a Cross Country Rider
from Chicago, IL
Date Reviewed: June 8, 2009
Strengths: Protects your knee and shin, flexible, x straps make it easy to put on and off with out tangling, adjust the fit once and your good, fairly light weight for full leg armor, durable so far and does not hinder pedaling performance or irritate the leg. They look great and you can easily forget they are on.
Weaknesses: On the expensive side. Ankle could be a little more comfortable or have a shoe cover. No padding options, washable liners or ventilation options.
Worth the price, saved my shins and knees from lots of damage. I thought I would only wear them when I knew I was gonna session, but I ride with them all the time now. Easy to use, no pedaling interference, no maintenance required, no problems so far. Haven't tested a lot of others though.
I am 6 foot 240lbs - they fit fine, my riding buddy is 6' 4" and 260lbs with giant legs and he can't use them. If you are taller, they might not cover everything down to the ankle, if you have really thick legs they might be too tight as well.
They definitely help you build confidence. Not sure how hot they will get in mid-late summer, but in 80 degree weather they were OK. 3 chilis on value because for Fox Racing's best and most expensive mtb line, they do leave a little to be desired and I don't think they will last forever. 4 chilis overall because they do their job well.