There’s something comforting about knowing that your protectives were designed in Whistler. Chromag is the kind of brand that knows its audience because they are their audience. And that informed the design of the new Rift knee pad from top to bottom. It’s meant to be worn from top to bottom, as well as bottom to top. It’s a pedal-able pad that ought to be flexible and light enough to move with you comfortably, but burly enough to take the kinds of lumps Whistler’s trails can dish out, ideally without leaving any lumps on you in the process.
At the heart of the Rift is the RHEON pad material. The claims are fundamentally similar to those of D30, in that the pad is soft when at rest but will stiffen up during impact. What sets it apart, Chromag claims, is how much better it is at it. In a stack of videos released today, RHEON material is seen harmlessly decelerating some pretty harmful objects, protecting some pretty fragile ones.
And it’s not just the composition of the material, it’s the shape. On top of its 3D profile, the pads are perforated not just for a little help in ventilation, but to allow them to deflect more quickly and easily in impact. There’s the main center pad, two individual side pads, and a generous lower pad wrapping around to cover the top of the tibia and lower sides of the knee.
But of course, all that has to be wrapped up in something. Though they’re not quite as long as some of the thigh-high pads we’ve seen, the Rift pads have enough coverage and enough flex that Chromag opted not to build them with any straps or Velcro. Outside of the main RHEON pad are two smaller foam pads to cover the sides of the knee, and outside of those is a large patch of perforated Airprene material. It provides some structure to bridge the gap between the firm pad material and the soft chassis of the rest of the knee pad.
That “rest of the knee pad” is made primarily of a sparse stretch mesh, reinforced in strategic areas with higher-durability material, including, of course, the pad itself, which is covered with an Aramid fabric. Across the back of the pads are what Chromag calls “calf gussets,” that are meant to help keep the pad in place.
We’ll have to see for ourselves when we get our Rift pads for test. These are new enough that there still aren’t U.S. prices yet, but they will be going for $134 Canadian.
You can find the rest of the details at chromag.com