661 Knee Pads

(Veggie and Tomcat)

Duration of test: 2006 - present (Tomcat) 2010 - present (Veggie)

Cost: £35 (Veggie), £45 (Rage - similar to the Tomcat which has been discontinued)



Overview


Pro

- Protection

  1. -Fit

  2. -Price


Fail

- Not very breathable



Overall

661 has been making body armour at sensible prices for a number of years now. Tested here are the Veggie (soft shell) and Tomcat (hard shell) knee pads.


Tomcat

While this model is no longer in production its 2012 predecessor, the Rage, shares the Tomcat’s simple design of a hard cap protector clothed in a neoprene cover with two straps, albeit with some developments. I have used these pads over a number of years for all kinds of riding, from park to Alpine DH, during which I haven’t had any knee injuries. In the five plus years of owning these pads, the only wear has been on the graphics and a hole on the side, which doesn’t affect performance. No matter how protective a pad is, it won’t be any use if by the time you bail its half way down your calf. No worries here. As long as you have the right size (if unsure go for the smaller option) you won’t have to worry about these slipping. Mine have stayed put even after bouncing over large braking bumps on long DH runs. They do get hot and sweaty, but they still feel relatively comfortable after a long day riding in summer. The cup is removable so that they are easy to wash. I’m sure 661’s newer designs have improved comfort and breathability. Overall, these are excellent pads for DH or dirt jumping, but I wouldn’t suggest these if you wear skinny jeans (they are too bulky) or pedal over great distances.


Veggie

Baggy wasn’t cool anymore, so I needed a minimalist pad to fit under skinny jeans. These fitted the bill perfectly. The pads fitted so well that I cut the straps off to reduce their size further. Tight jeans keep them secure and they have only slipped a little while wearing shorts (of-course if you keep the straps on they won’t move at all). With a soft shell they are flexible and more comfortable than pads with a hard shell however, as with the Tomcats, i have not had any knee injuries while wearing them despite some big falls. While like any pad under jeans they get hot, it is bearable and they remain comfortable after a number of hours. If in addition you require shin protection, the Veggie shin fastens to the knee pads with velcro ensuring a secure fit. I have heard someone say that they found these pads uncomfortable on the back of the knee, but this can be taken care of by removing the straps. Just ensure that you get the sizing right so that they are a snug fit. The pads are machine washable. If you don’t require the ultimate protection of a hard shell, I recommend these pads for all kinds of use, especially park and trails.

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Review date: January 2012