Product Review: Leg Shield

A couple months back, the brains behind the Leg Shield contacted us to see if we’d do a review. Never one to say no to anything, RL promptly agreed and a few days later, the Leg Shield arrived at my door.

SO… what is this thing FOR? I’m so glad you asked! The design intention is to keep grit, grime, bugs, small children, and anything else that may come in contact with your lower leg (most often by way of your chain or chainring) from getting your snazzy work clothes all dirty. With the exception of the small children (they can get anything dirty no matter what you do), it works exactly as intended – over several commutes and rides around town, my pants didn’t get a single smudge on them. So far so good!

Unfortunately, however, the Leg Shield doesn’t do so well in other categories, like comfort and (personal opinion here) not looking like you’ve been recently injured and are riding a bike against doctor’s orders. The photos will make my case (or not) on the style, so I’ll talk about comfort.

The Inner View

First thing you need to know: this is made of neoprene – the same stuff used for wetsuits, laptop sleeves, and those fancy bags to carry wine around in. One of the properties of neoprene is that it is insulating: it keeps hot things hot and cold things cold. In the case of someone riding a bike, this means that on cold days the lower half of your right leg will LOVE the Leg Shield – it’s nice and toasty (your left leg may be jealous, but that’s not the right leg’s problem!). On warm days (which I’ve through trial and error determined to mean “over 60 degrees”) it will cause your leg to sweat, which in turn means your pants leg will get damp, which will make it wrinkled… which kinda defeats the purpose of protecting your pants, since instead of looking grimy they now look like you forgot to wash them. Depending on your pants material, this could happen even without sweating, since of necessity you have to bundle the pants leg under the Leg Shield.

So… in the end, I can’t really recommend the Leg Shield for everyday use – particularly in warmer climates. Does it keep grease off? Absolutely. However, I kept finding myself thinking wistfully of either a simple velcro strap (like this) or a chaincase. Failing that, I’d at least like a material option of something vaguely breathable.


12 Comments

  1. Jim Tolar May 17, 2012 7:12 am 

    Nice, straightforward, review. I agree with your conclusion, I’m sure it keeps dirt etc. off the leg, but at what price? A chainguard would do the same without encasing your lower leg in a body cast.

    jt

  2. harry krishna May 17, 2012 7:13 am 

    i see that i’m not the only one who bought the tubes with extra long stems (good price).

  3. BluesCat May 17, 2012 7:18 am 

    Hey! This may be just what the Bike Doc ordered for me! During the winter in Phoenix, I wear blue jeans or chinos when I ride.

    On a regular bike, an ankle strap works just fine to keep my right pants leg clean. But riding my long wheelbase recumbent, with the double-length chain and laid-back position, where my flopping pants leg can brush up against the greasy chain almost up to my knee, the Leg Shield might keep me from having to roll my pants leg all the way to my thigh!

  4. Matt May 17, 2012 8:15 am 

    @ harry krishna – Ha, caught me! Also got ’em because my previous tubes had stems that were just BARELY long enough and I was sick of that!

    BluesCat – Yeah, it would probably work pretty well for that – everyone already thinks ‘bent riders are strange anyway, so no harm done there! 😉

  5. Mike Myers May 17, 2012 8:35 am 

    The maker of this product was spamming the Commuting forum on BikeForums.com. I said the same thing about this product then–it seems like a solution looking for a problem.

    An ankle strap should work just fine–and I think the majority of bike commuters probably ride in bike clothes then change at work—shorts in the summer and tights in the winter.

    But I could be wrong.

  6. Matt May 17, 2012 8:51 am 

    Mike – A lot of short-distance commuters (especially in cities) will ride in work clothes. Many of those will be riding upright-style bikes with chain guards though.

  7. SaddleAmericana May 17, 2012 12:56 pm 

    Good review. I like the idea/intention of the leg shield, but I think the best thing pointed out in this review is the problem with neoprene. Riding a bike, even if it’s pretty cold out, will definitely lead to an overly hot and sweaty leg, and in the end, messed up pants! Great reveiw — thanks!

  8. RANTWICK May 17, 2012 10:43 pm 

    I know short distance commuters often ride in their work clothes, but as others have said, cooler options other than a neoprene cast have been available for a long time. +1 on the review, straight to the point.

  9. Raiyn May 18, 2012 9:32 pm 

    @ Mike That would be one of the main reasons I haven’t been back to BF for a while now.

  10. Mark Lazaro May 22, 2012 10:28 am 

    I’m the co-founder of the Leg Shield. Matt, thanks for reviewing our product, we appreciate it and thought it was well written.

    We just wanted to explain why we chose the neoprene versus a variety of other materials we tested. Neoprene is flexible, tough and durable. It allows for a snug fit around your leg and will not fall down. Because its not as flimsy as other materials, it is easy to put on and take off.

    That being said, your right, it can get warm but ultimately we felt the benefits outweighed it being warm, which is a good thing in the winter. We also felt that a lot of people would be wearing shorts in warmer temperatures.

    Ultimately, we could be wrong, we aren’t perfect. If that’s the case we will offer another material. If anyone has any ideas, please contact us. Thanks,

    Mark

  11. Matt May 22, 2012 10:56 am 

    Tom – Thanks! I still think I’ll stick with a simple velcro strap though :)

    Mark – Thanks for the comment on your rationale for materials.

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