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It's getting chilly out there and my knees are starting to hurt from my short commute. I tried layered trousers (thick jeans + windstopper on top), but to no avail - my knees still get cold, while my whole legs sweat.

I am thinking of some kind of kneepads. If a product could provide (listed in decreasing order of priority): (1)warmth
(2)comfortable to wear all day, under baggy trousers
(3)knee joint support, as this is the joint I (ab)use the most
(4)knee protection during falls

it would be perfect!

I tried two types: volleyball sports soft pads, and medical support pads (from the pharmacy, very cheep). The volleyball are wonderfully warm; however both begin to come loose after maybe half an hour of riding.

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I'm told that recumbent bikes are a lot easier on the knees than traditional bikes, though they're not really suited to hilly regions. –  GordonM Nov 12 '12 at 7:19
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Many clothing companies do knee warmers designed specifically for cycling. Have you considered any of these? If so, was there a particular reason you rejected them? It just seems a bit weird that you're riding a bike, you're knees are cold, and the first thing you consider is something designed for volleyball! –  PeteH Nov 12 '12 at 10:26
    
The knee support thing is out of paranoia (like the protection of the knees from falls ... on a commute :D). I need goody-warmy knee-pads, that are comfortable and don't slide off :) –  Vorac Nov 12 '12 at 10:26
    
I just searched a uk online bike shop for "knee warmers" and get 15 different products, at a wide range of prices. So you're spoilt for choice - one of them even calls its product a "knee protector" so you may get some support in there too. –  PeteH Nov 12 '12 at 10:38
    
I'd suggest that you just wear cycling tights. You'll sweat less and stay warmer. –  Daniel R Hicks Nov 12 '12 at 12:58

4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

You can get explicit cycling knee warmers - I have a pair of these which see a lot of use (and sometimes go under jeans, very comfortably, if I'm out of an evening too). They are great for the morning commutes where it is cold but likely to be warmer by the time of the return journey, but also for the longer rides where you start colder than you'll finish and you need the flexibility to remove bits of kit. You can get fleece lined versions which are even warmer.

They're not cheap - but there are other cheaper alternatives designed to a similar style.

They don't offer explicit knee support, but if you need support for your knees when going about your day, then I doubt a cycling Q-and-A site is the best place for your question.

Similarly, if you think your cycling is causing your knee pain, I'd recommend a visit to your local bike shop and ask them about whether your bike is fit and adjusted properly.

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I'm a big knee warmer fan as well. Amazon has the cannondale ones for pretty cheap right now. amazon.com/gp/product/B003ES5DMK/ref=oh_details_o04_s01_i00 –  Ken Hiatt Nov 12 '12 at 16:05
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I've tried knee warmers, but on my knees they won't stay up. YMMV. –  Daniel R Hicks Nov 12 '12 at 16:46
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@DanielRHicks certainly some knee warmers are designed to go under cycle shorts so that the tight shorts will help keep them up. Some warmers (like the Rapha ones I have) have a rubberised border inside the top seam to assist with gripping. –  Unsliced Nov 13 '12 at 9:47

I use knee support bandages (tubes) from the pharmacy, to wear under trousers.

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My girlfriend uses those, and they are pretty damn cheep! I am still hesitant to try the expensive items the other answers recommend. Maybe a trip to second hand sports store could get me started... –  Vorac Dec 4 '12 at 6:49

I wear MEC Roubaix Tights down to about -10c and haven't had any problems with my legs or knees getting cold. The front and backs are made of different materials so the front of your legs stay warm because they stop the wind, and you legs stay cool (not sweating hot) because the backs are breathable and let the heat generated by your muscles out. I'm on my third season with them and they are still holding up quite well. Defintely worth the money.

They might be a little warm to wear under trousers but they are close fitting enough that they would fit under baggy trousers. Although I just change at work when I get there. If you don't have actual change rooms and showers, the handicapped stall in the bathroom usually provides plenty of room for changing.

As far as knee joint support goes, you should probably just get a proper knee support from the pharmacy, and wear it under (or over, depending on fit) the bike tights.

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You could modify a pair of thermal socks. Snip off the toe region and slide the thermal tubes over your knees with the heel pit over your knee cap, should be a good fit. You might also want to try a wind resistant material as it is likely to be the cold air rushing past that is causing the symptoms.

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