I wasn't even going to do review on this product, but I kept seeing my then 12 year old son going back for these particular set of knee guards (over his knee braces) when getting his gear bag ready for a day of riding. Now I will tell you that I have been on knee braces since I was 16 years old and I prefer the feeling of a knee brace over knee guards, but I understand that some may not feel the same way.
For those that prefer knee guards or may be interested in some protection for their kid, enter the Alpinestars SX-1 Youth Knee Protectors… The SX-1 Youth Knee Protectors are developed specifically for younger or smaller framed riders. The lightweight SX-1 Youth Knee Protector incorporates CE certified Level 1 protection with advanced polymer hard shells backed with thermoformed foam and a dual pivot system. What exactly is that? Basically it allows the natural movement of your child’s knee. The SX-1 Youth Knee Protectors are perforated for optimized levels of breathability and airflow so he or she will not be sweating up a storm.
The upper and lower frames are constructed from a high performance polymeric material blend for flexibility and strength as well as trying to keep the weight down. Polymer protector plates are perforated to try and allow more ventilation. The shell integrated dual pivot hinge gear system follows the natural movement of the knee and keeps the protector well positioned in all riding positions.
The patella cup is constructed from energy absorbing viscoelastic PU foam that is CE certified to Type A. The patella cup is also backed by soft padding for adaptive fit and breathable air mesh for ventilation and comfort. There is also a high abrasion resistant fabric on the outer central knee-cup area that can reduce the possibility of scratching.
Now my son is not quite the test rider yet, but I did ask him why he liked these Alpinestars knee guards so much and he gave me four simple answers like only a 12 year old could. His four reasons were:
I can squeeze my bike better with my legs because these guars feel narrower than my braces. (Dad: “Ok, I can understand that”)
My legs don’t feel so heavy when I lift them up through corners. (Dad: “Ok, I can grasp that opinion”)
I can wear these when I go to the skate park with my scooter. (Dad: “Ok, I like that you’re thinking on your own”)
They are simple to put on and take off. (Dad: Insert face palm emoji here….”Ummmmm… Aden? That is what you call being lazy. It literally may take you 60-90 more seconds to put on your knee brace. COME ON BRO!”)
Ok, so three out of four reason are legit… Now as a parent I will have to admit that I prefer him wearing knee braces (which he is now currently in since he outgrew these SX-1 guards), but for protection at the time he was using the guards, I wasn't worried about his knees getting injured. Knee braces ARE NOT going to completely prevent a knee injury and I think that is a big misconception with a lot of consumers these days. I know a lot of top professional riders that prefer knee guards and have zero knee injuries so to say that knee braces are the end all be all of knee protection is ridiculous.
These Alpinestars SX-1 guards have seen many hours of riding and plenty of crashes over the course of almost a year. Basically almost a year of nervous novice 85cc riding time is the equivalent of like adding five years of total crashes for me. The SX-1 Youth Guards have held up great and all of the parts on these guards remained intact today. Aden wore the Small/Medium size as he has dad’s chicken legs, but Alpinestars also offer a L/XL to fit youth riders that have more size to them. My son said that they were comfortable and he only had one complaint. His complaint was that the velcro straps would sometimes get hung up on his pant liner (while putting his pants on) so he would have to re-adjust the guards to get them back into place. Once his pants and boots were on, he had no problems with the guards slipping down. I also like that these guards fit into youth sized boots well and aren't too bulky. Another aspect I thought that was interesting is that my son could wear these Alpinestars guards directly on his skin, without anything underneath them, with zero irritation to his skin. That is something I couldn’t do, but he said that the material was soft and that it didn't bother him to do this. With his knee braces he has to wear long socks underneath and that gets him hot.
The downside to these SX-1 knee guards is that they are pricey at $89.95. However, if your child is riding a dirt bike please put some kind of knee protection on them. I can’t explain how many kids I see wearing nothing under their riding pants (to protect their knees) while they are learning how to ride. This is the most important time for them to dress for the crash not the ride. The Alpinestars SX-1 Youth Knee Protectors are a great piece of protection for your child and it’s Aden endorsed. Plus they can wear them while they scooter! This particular set of guards will be handed down to my friends eight year old boy as he is just now starting to get bit by the love of two wheels. #KeepKidsOnDirtBikes