American cycling and outdoor gear manufacturer Pearl Izumi has its roots in the road bike sector but also offers a wide MTB-specific product range, including clothing, shoes and protectors. The Elevate V1 knee protector features a thin, stretchy sleeve material with light mesh at the rear. The front is reinforced with a thin plastic skid plate, which is meant to increase durability while at the same time improving the sliding qualities of the pads in the event of a crash.

Click here for an overview: 14 trail knee pads in test

Weight per pad 174 g | Price € 129.95 | Certification Level 1 | Removable Insert Yes
Fastening System Velcro strap below the hollow of the knee | Lab Test Results 21 kN at 2.7 ms
Manufacturer’s website

The Elevate V1 retails at € 129.95 and tips the scales at 174 g, thus ranking in the mid field of the test both in terms of weight and price. The D3O® LP1 insert is CE Level 1 certified and measured a residual force of 21 kN at 2.7 ms in our lab test – which puts it in the middle of the field. The insert is removable and complemented by smaller additional pads on both sides of the knee. However, these are made of thin foam and offer little additional impact protection. Printed silicone strips on the inside of the tension band hold the knee pads in place, both on the thigh and calf, while a Velcro fastener at the back of the leg provides additional stability.

The fit is good even without using the Velcro fastener below the hollow of the knee. However, the latter tends to rub against the inside of the trousers.
The perforations on the sleeve and insert promote ventilation, ensuring a good inner climate.
The upper section of the sleeve extends far up the thigh, which makes it a bit tricky to pull the pad over your thigh. However, once the Elevate V1 sits in place, it’s pretty comfortable to wear.

The Pearl Izumi Elevate V1 on the Trail

Thanks to the thin, lightweight fabric, the Pearl Izumi Elevate V1 is easy to put on and take off. While the top section stretches far over the thigh, the lower part is rather short, only covering a small section of the calf. The long top section makes it hard to put on the pad if you’re already wearing shorts – and that’s quite annoying! However, if you wear liner shorts, the protector is long enough to tuck under the cuff for extra security. The sleeve’s thigh-end is relatively wide, causing the knee pad to slip if you have thin legs, especially when riding actively and on rough descents. That being said, most of our testers got on well with the fit and the knee pad stayed in place at all times. When pedalling, the Pearl Izumi Elevate V1 stays exactly where it should be, so you don’t have to fiddle around with the pads on long climbs. The Elevate V1 is comfortable and light throughout, adapting well to the shape of the knees and offers a far better inner climate than most protectors in this test. However, the Velcro strap at the back of the knee is too long and doesn’t provide any additional stability, even when tightened properly. On top of that, the prickly side of the Velcro strap protrudes a little, rubbing against the trousers and chafing the material.


  • Very comfortable
  • Well ventilated


  • Tricky to put on
  • Velcro closure in the hollow of the knee doesn’t add any stability

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The test field

Click here for an overview: 14 trail knee pads in test

All kneepads in test: 100% Teratec Plus (Click for review) | Alpinestars Paragon Plus (Click for review) | AMPLIFI Havok (Click for review) | Chromag Rift Knee Guard (Click for review) | Fox Launch D3O (Click for review) | Ion K Lite (Click for review) | iXS FLOW EVO+ (Click for review) | Leatt AirFlex Pro (Click for review) | Ortema GP5 Knee Protector (Click for review) | Pearl Izumi Elevate Knee Guard V1 | POC Joint VPD 2.0 Knee (Click for review) | Rapha Trail Knee Pad (Click for review) | Scott Soldier 2 (Click for review) | Troy Lee Designs Stage (Click for review)

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Words: Simon Kohler Photos: Mike Hunger

About the author

Simon Kohler

​​Simon loves speed. He has many years of racing experience as a longboard downhill skater, blasting down alpine passes on his board. In the meantime, he’s swapped four wheels for two, charging down trails and bike park lines aboard his mountain bike instead. He’s savoured some of Europe’s finest trails on various road trips through the Alps. Having lived in Austria for some time, he knows the local Austrian bike parks like the back of his hand. He’s a tech nerd through and through, using the skills and know-how from his engineering degree and his attention to detail to put the latest bikes and components through their paces for our reviews. As an early riser and self-declared muesli connoisseur, he lives his life powered by oats and the strength of his legs.