The Six Six One Recon knee pads strike a nice balance of pedal-friendliness, light protection, and fit. The Recon pads are similar to the G-Form Pro X2 pads with a couple of minor, yet important, differences including a better fit but a slightly smaller protective area. They are a great choice for the trail rider who wants a light and sleek knee pad that aren't too bulky/clumsy and doesn't mind sacrificing some protection to do so. In other words, they are a sensible daily driver for riders who don't feel the need to ride super rough trails. The armor-looking plates are constructed of PORON XRD. Marketing jargon aside, it is a material that is soft and flexible but immediately hardens and firms up upon impact. At $60, these pads represent a solid value as they boast a nice fit, decent protection, and a high comfort level at a reasonable price.
Six Six One Recon Review
Cons: Small armored area, some may find aesthetics to be unattractive
Manufacturer: Six Six One
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Analysis and Test Results
The Recon knee pads score well in most categories. Fit and comfort are some key areas where these pads were impressive while protection isn't necessarily a strong suit. These pads scored very close to the G-Form Pro X2 in many categories and shared some obvious similarities, including aesthetics. If you are okay with sacrificing some protective/armored surface area for a better fit, the Recon is the better choice. Prefer slightly more protective padding? Go with the G-Form. Again, these pads share a boatload of similarities, and the price tag is identical.
The Recon pads use what they call PORON XRD padding. If you are looking at these pads, they have a turtle shell-esque appearance with patches of the padding strategically placed on the knee. When you are examining them with your hands, the pads are definitely a little soft and are quite easy to bend. At first impression, some folks may question whether or not these would protect a rider in the event of a crash. This PORON XRD padding firms up in the event of an impact and dispurses the forces of the crash. In other words, they are soft and flexible until it is time for them to be hard.
The armor is strategically placed on the knee cap. There is a triangular section of padding above the kneecap. The kneecap itself has some robust coverage which tapers down to the upper shin area. Also, there is protection on the inside and outside of the knee cap. The G-Form Pro X2 has a very similar layout of their armor, but the G-Form has a decent amount of additional coverage compared to the Six Six One. If we had to estimate, we would guess the G-Form have around 15% more armor.
We did have a crash while wearing these pads. It wasn't a blockbuster of a crash, but more of a slow speed, awkward, crash. We landed on the outside of the knee cap and enjoyed nice impact protection. This wouldn't have been a crash to shatter a knee, but it would have left some cuts. We were impressed with how the Recon pad felt. We did some other primitive impact testing, and it does seem like the POROD XRD padding works as intended. It appears to firm-up upon impact. This is not to suggest that the impacts are totally pain-free, but the pads are effective in taking the bulk of the edge off.
If you are seeking superior protection, there are some excellent choices in our test class. The Editor's Choice Leatt Airflex Pro is one step up in terms of protection. The Leatt pads have a harder outer shell that is more effective. Also, they have better secondary padding on the outside of, and above, the knee. The 7Protection Project Knee pads have extended coverage to protect more of your leg; these were our Top Pick for aggressive riding. Neither of these options are quite as pedal-friendly as the Six Six One though.
Fit and Comfort
The Six Six One pads are comfortable and feel a lot like the G-Form Pro X2. The fit is consistent through the leg and snug without feeling like it is squeezing or affecting your circulation. There is no reason one can't wear these pads for hours on end. We experienced no choke points, and there was no irritation. We observed no signs of abrasion or cuts on the skin. These pads have a sizeable cutout on the rear of the pad behind the knee. This is a nice touch in an area of the leg that tends to get hot and clammy.
The fit of the Recon pad is superior to the G-Form Pro X2. It is easy to pull the Recon up far enough to orient the armor properly. The Recon pads are a little shorter overall than the Pro X2. Both pads have a set of elastic retention bads at the top and bottom of the sleeve. The Recon has a stronger feeling band that is has a grippy feel to it with some silicone bits that keep the pads from sliding. The Pro X2 have both of these features, but it feels better executed on the Six Six One.
The Recon pads score well in terms of pedal-friendliness compared to the rest of our test class. They stay put, are snug, and are very light and well-ventilated. The most pedal-friendly pads in the test are the Fox Racing Enduro Knee Sleeve and the Troy Lee Designs Speed Knee Sleeve. These are the lightest and most comfortable pads in our test. The flip side of that is that the Fox and the Troy Lee Designs are by far the least protective pads in the test. The Recon pads are the next in line beneath these supremely pedal-friendly options. They breathe well enough, are feathery light, and offer a decent range of motion.
When cycling through your pedal stroke, the pads stay in place. Given their superior fit compared to the G-Form Pro X2, they are a little more pleasant. At the top of the stroke, you get a little bit of inevitable rub against the inner part of the knee pad. This isn't a serious problem, but you can definitely feel it.
The Recon is a great option for short to mid-sized rides. These are great knee pads for spinning laps on tame to moderate terrain. If you are looking to charge down some super-burly trails, we recommend looking towards some of the more substantial options like the Editor's Choice Leatt Airflex Pro. If you are looking to log significant miles, we recommend looking towards some of the lighter, minimalist, options like the Fox Racing Enduro Knee Sleeve.
Ventilation and Breathability
The Recon deliver impressive ventilation and breathability. It is hard for knee pads to truly feel light and airy as you're essentially wearing a sleeve on your knee. That said, the Recon does an admirable job when things are hot and clammy. The low weight and sensible amount of armor contribute to this feeling. The cutout on the rear of the pad behind the knee is a nice touch. The crease between your upper and lower leg is a humid location that tends to get quite sweaty. The cutout gives you a little bit of relief when you are standing up or at the top part of your pedal stroke.
The black, stretch, fabric wicks moisture away from the body. It also dries relatively quickly and even on warmer rides, these don't feel particularly wet or saturated at the end of a ride. Among the pads with a stiffer armor on the front of them, the Six Six One provide the highest level of breathability. They don't feel overly clammy like the RaceFace Indy or 7Protection pads, and they also have an edge on the Editor's Choice Leatt Airflex Pro. One area that tends to get a little sticky is the elastic band at the top and bottom of the pad. This seems unavoidable with silicone pressed up against the skin.
The Six Six One pads offer no serious concerns regarding durability. Even with a small crash directly on the pads, there was no major scuffing on the armor. All of the seams are still flawless, and there are no visible warning signs of any issues that are developing.
Some folks prefer to stow knee pads in their hip pack or backpack while they are climbing. For rides that start with substantial, multi-hour, climbs, some riders don't want to deal with wearing pads the whole time. These people prefer to put the knee pads on before the descent. You can put the Recon pads on while wearing shoes, but we don't recommend it. They do fit over all-mountain style shoes, but it is a little tight. We would hate for you to bust a seam on the pads because you tried to stuff your shoe through them.
The Recon knee pads are a solid choice for the light to mid-duty trail rider who is looking for knee pads daily trail rides absent of any real gnar. They are pedal-friendly, but we wouldn't recommend huge rides with them. They are also best for riders who aren't interested in riding trails with truly gnarly rock gardens or big jumps.
At $60, the Recon pads are a nice value. They deliver an exceptional fit, solid pedal-friendliness, and passable amounts of protection while remaining slender. For the right rider, these pads are a great buy at an attractive price point.
The Six Six One Recon pads are a great choice for the light to mid-duty trail riding. They are a smart choice for a lot of riders in a lot of locations who desire the added security of a knee pad but want something low-profile with a sensible amount of protection. There are lighter and sleeker options available; there are also bulkier more serious options too. That said, the Recon pads occupy that desirable middle ground which makes them a sensible choice for many.
— Pat Donahue