Downcountry bikes have changed the way some riders think about knee pads. Progressive geometry has made short-travel mountain bikes a lot more capable and riders are pushing into more technical terrain - or linking berms, at much higher speeds.
Protection for your knees is always a compromise between impact resistance and pedaling freedom. A lot of the best MTB knee pads have excellent protection, but they can be very annoying to clear a long climb in.
Then there is the issue of washability. Hardshell structures and velcro fastening straps aren’t always the kindest machine washable combo.
This is where 661’s new Recon knee and elbow pads promise some protection with better usability.
Designed as lightweight PPE for trail riders, these are slip-on knee and elbow guards with an improved D3O Ghost insert (inserts that are soft yet designed to absorb shock on impact). The result is CE 1621-1 protection, with the least possible constraint, when pedaling.
Slip-on knee and elbow pads can slide out of position when riding, but 661’s fabric designers have sourced quality elastic and silicone top and bottom grippers, which should help keep the Recons in place.
Protection for trail riding
The structure of these new knee and elbow pads use an abundance of mesh fabric to optimize airflow and breathability. That also makes them easy to dry after a wash – and yes, these 661 Recon knee and elbow pads are machine washable.
Ergonomically, the 661 Recon knee pads have been shaped and cut, to sit higher on the thigh than most conventional slip-on knee guards. This should help prevent them from edging down during high-cadence pedaling or on rough descents.
Available in sizes S- to XL, the reference weight for these 661 Recon knee guards is 322g, with the elbow guards coming in at 280g. Those mass ratings for a size large.
Pricing? The 661 Recon knee guards price at $84.99 and elbow protectors, at $74.99.
If you want to push the limit in those berms without having to worry about knee scrub if you overdo it, these 661 Recons are ideal for riders on a 120-130mm progressive geometry trail bike.