Seeing as how I've been riding around with nothing but blue jeans on, and my knees are the only un-armored place on me, I decided it was high time to fix this inequity.
After looking around, I settled on the Bionic Knee Guards for the following reasons. They appeared to offer high protection value, and I was hopeful the hinge action would make them more comfortable to wear. I must point out at this time, that I have non previous experience with motorcycle armor, but I have worn kneepads for flooring, and I have had occasion to wear a knee brace. So most of my statements will not be comparative.
Also, I don't currently have a way to get photos online, so I can only offer the website photos for now.http://www.newenough.com/armor/elbow_shoulder_knee_worn_on_the_body/alpinestars/bionic_motorcycle_knee_guards.html
Buying the armor from NewEnough, I liked their shipping in that it automatically gave me tracking of the order status in their warehouse, and through FedEx. I choose standard shipping, and from their Texas Facility, it took about 4 business days to reach me.
The Bionic knee, at first glance, looks like rather brittle plastic, but upon closer inspection, it does seem to be a very thin, but rigid and tough shell. (thermoplastic shell can mean so many things after all) The Aluminum reinforcement they talk about is simply that shiny grille you see in the photos, inlaid on the knee cap. It is not encapsulated in the plastic. They have two Velcro straps for leg attachment. They are also listed as asymmetrical in design, and sure enough are labeled as left and right, but I could not find a difference between the two.
I put them on under pants first. And then went for a ride. You do notice them a bit, mostly while walking, but on the bike, you soon get used to them like any other piece of equipment. I noticed a slight shift in my right piece several times, though this may have been due more to my placement of the armor in putting it on. I also tried riding with them on the outside of my pants.
Due to the hinging action, they seem to bind and chafe much less than other devices I've had on my knees. I have a full wrap knee brace that seems to constantly need adjustment.
I also walked around wearing them on the outside of my knees for about an hour and a half, just to get a feel for them.
For putting them on, under the pants seems like it would offer the most protection, as being above the pants would allow them to shift more under impact, though I did not notice this in regular wear.
Either way you put them on, I would suggest putting them on sitting down with your knees bent. This will further minimize any binding or catching of skin, and if going on outside of pants, it lets a little expansion area of cloth stay between the Velcro tabs, which aids in walking.
As for walking, you will be making clacking noises, (muffled if under the pants) when you straighten your leg, as the hinge bottoms out. For me, my leg just barely comes to full straight while wearing these. Can you get off the bike, go into a store and pick up a drink and some snacks, sit down and enjoy them without taking the knee armor off? Certainly. Would you want to walk 2-3 city blocks in them? Probably not. Comfort is mostly there. After I took them off, I looked for rub spot or red spots on my legs. I only noticed a red circle where the knee cap padding was pressed against, well, my knee cap, and two lines at the back of the leg where the straps passed over. The knee cap pressure was unnoticeable while wearing them, and the straps were not particularly discomfiting.
All in all, they seem to be a good product. I've worn them for about 3-4 hours or so as of today, and I will be wearing them for my daily commute and other riding, so if I get any further impressions, I'll add them here.