Every bike brand has a small parts line. It just makes sense for companies to produce in-house handlebars, saddles, and maybe a riding kit with its name on it. But Scott is a little different. We may not see it much here in the states, but Scott is an institution in Europe. So it follows that its accessory lineup is pretty broad and pretty legit.
That's why the Soldier 2 knee pads are more than just a place to put Scott's logo. The D30 pad material is the standard for stiff-when-you-need-it, soft-when-you-don't impact absorption. The pad itself has a deep, 3-D shape, and is much wider than that of the similarly sock-like Specialized Atlas. That's what got me curious about the Soldier 2 pads. Their chassis is very thin, breathable, flexible and strap-free, but aside from being relatively thin, the pad itself is the size an shape of a much more substantial piece of equipment.
The fit itself wasn’t remarkable at first. When at rest, the Soldier 2s feel like a set of knee warmers. The deeply concave pad material doesn't put pressure on the knee cap or around its edges. And it also covers those hard-to-reach side spots that other minimal knee pads cover with small planetary pads.
Pedaling with them was more remarkable. The sensation I'm used to when wearing light-duty pads like these is what the G-sport Pro X or the aforementioned Specialized Atlas pads offer. Every inch of those pads stretches and moves just like your skin does. When that works perfectly, it’s fine. But it rarely does, and only with especially thin and compliant pad material. But if it’s stiffer, larger, and more substantial, it doesn't quite work that way, and neither do the Soldier 2s. But surprisingly, they do work. The top and bottom rings hug my thigh and calf and stay put thanks to the requisite silicone strips, but the material between those rings and the pad itself will go from flat to wrinkled and back again as I pedal instead of hugging my skin.
Normally, that is the sign of a poorly designed pad. That vagueness in the shape of the pad body would normally mean the pad would float independent of the fabric that holds it to your knee. But the pad is perfectly shaped, and there's not enough distance between its edges and the elastic rings for it to move out of place. It feels like it is suspended just over my knee cap. The perforated pad material is also remarkably breathable for how substantial it is. There’s one satellite pad on the inside, just above the knee pad to protect from impacts with the bike, though it sits against firm muscle instead of sensitive bone. It would make more sense if it were below the knee cap, in the direction of the top tube, but that is my only nit-pick about the Soldier 2’s protective measures.
The rest of the material is also plenty breathable, though it’s paper-thin. Anything can happen, and fabric can tear, but Scott at least reinforces the panels most likely to see action. The material around the pad itself is a traditional, abrasion-resistant fabric, but more unique was the reinforcement on the outside lower side panel where some bonus rubberized material adds an extra layer of durability. The Soldier 2 knee guards aren’t too much but they’re not too little. They’re just right, but also left.