POC – Joint VPD 2.0 Knee Pads
During this time POC has won numerous design awards, including this years IPSO (sports industry innovation and excellence) Award for the Skull Orbic Comp skiing helmet, which incorporates a sensor to monitor impact and indicate to the user structural integrity at the touch of a button.
A recent partnership with Volvo cars, which sees the two companies share knowledge and research into safety technology, is further evidence that POC are continually looking to lead the field in this area.
One outcome of this collaboration is the AVIP (Attention, Visibility, Interaction and Protection) road bike specific range of helmets, apparel, eyewear and accessories.
The VPD 2.0 knee protector incorporates POC’s trademark VPD (Visco-Elastic Polymer Dough) which is designed to offer extreme impact absorption, whilst also providing an ergonomic fit for the user.
As touched upon in the preview of this product, what is interesting about VPD as a material is that POC state that in the event of a single accident users are often subjected to a series of impacts, with each one generating more energy and therefore damage through to the body. So in layman’s terms the first hit hurts, the next hurts more and so on. VDP is designed to absorb each impact effectively so that in the event of a big fall it protects as well on the first impact as on any subsequent hits.
Build quality and materials
My experience of POC’s products to date are that build quality and materials are always impressive; the VPD Knee protectors are no exception.
Made from a Kevlar reinforced stretch fabric at the back of the pad, with a heavier duty fabric covering the front and two velcro fasten straps located at the top and bottom of the pad, they are relatively stripped back and understated. Incorporated into the front of the pad (sewn between the fabric and non-removable) is a 3D moulded VPD hard pad. This has been moulded into an ergonomic fit, with specifically placed cut outs on the edges and face to allow the pad to bend with the knee joint when being worn.
I weighed them at just a fraction over 1 kg for the pair, so the pads are very light given the fact that they are designed to be the only thing between your precious knee and whatever abrasive surface you might be about to crash into. That’s not to say that they feel insubstantial, only that they have been reduced to just what is needed to offer protection, but without making a statement in the way that some other body armour tends to.
Aesthetically they fit neatly into the POC range. Available in Black only, with trademark green embroidered VPD logo and rubber grip, with POC embroidered in bold white on the front.
Build quality is also excellent, with heavy duty stitching in key areas and the bottom strap held in position by two solid nylon loops.
I used the pads in some fairly hard environments and, though not specifically aimed at the extreme end of the body armour market, I lent them to a mate to do some pure downhilling in Antur Stiniog in driving rain. Each time they got battered and caked in mud. After a scrub and in one case a machine wash they came up looking pretty and new. I’m therefore confident that the build quality and materials are rock solid and designed to function in a diverse range of environments.
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