I’ve used all kinds of knee pucks for many years varying from plastic to leather and back to plastic. Riding small bikes and using my knee a lot, the leather knee pucks generated too much sustained heat. That lead to pain and some blisters.
Paolo of For The Track suggested I try the Bickle pucks. I normally use up a set of plastic pucks in a couple of months given my riding style, and he assured me they would last longer than that. I am also looking for variable grip levels to skim the ground as an angle finder and to dig in if I lose the front. Plastic is not an ideal compound for grip as it heats up quickly giving variance in grip or the compound is too hard and the puck skates over the tarmac.
Best to go out and see how the pucks fit and feel first based on shape and depth of material, so a couple of test runs and placement changes and I had the pucks on the velcro where I needed them. Yes, I do that with every puck I use. Thunderhill in Willows CA has a very long fast Turn 2 where you can leave your knee down for an age or elbow if there’s a photographer present (in this case Dito Milian of Gotbluemilk.com). I use the turn to see how the puck heats up and how the grip level changes from early in the corner to exit. That requires constant speed and lean angle to allow consistent pressure on the puck.
- skim the puck and it will skate along the surface offering little resistance
- put a little more pressure on the puck and you can feel it drag AND given you information on surface changes
- dig the puck in hard and the grip level doubles and pulls tour knee back from where you want it
- in terms of heat transfer even with all my weight on the puck, there was no pain from heat to the skin over my knee
You would think that burying a knee puck into the ground at high speed with all your body weight would make a grippy plastic puck last a day. Most of you know how many track days I do a year and ride as a coach and race. I’m over 50 track days and the pucks are worn 50%. There’s no change in grip levels and no increased heat transfer with the loss of material. I’m impressed and won’t race without them. I’ll need 2 sets this year and that will be somewhere in the region of 100 track and race days.
The bonus? I get to smoke these pucks and fool people into thinking I’m running leather pucks. Ha!