The eagerly awaited SIXSIXONE Recon pads have made their way to our dirty paws.
    Generally, one shouldn’t get too excited about testing a product that’s sole function is based on limiting injuries during a crash. It’s tricky to motivate yourself to see just how well the tested product actually works. So, we decided to forego deliberately smashing the ground with our delicate temples and look at the knee pads as a whole in it’s general application.
    If we ate dirt during a test ride, then we comment on the protection.

    Fortunately/unfortunately no serious crashes took place. A small collision with a stubborn tree did occur, and even though there was definite hard impact between top tube and knee pad, there was no bruising to document. The pads did their job, unlike the rider.

    So SIXSIXONE go on about XRD Technology. We didn’t have a sausage what this is so we used the Google machine box.
    Basically, its a revolutionary impact foam that provides repeated impact protection while remaining, thin, flexible and most importantly, comfortable. It’s got some reactive molecules that are soft but instantly firm up upon impact to form a protective shell, space age stuff.

    There was more info about Enduro riders or something but a video clip about bubbles freezing solid appeared on our Facebook feed and we got distracted.

    So let’s focus on what this all means to you as a rider and your delicate bendables.

    In our hands, these pads look like something from the cubby hole of Michael J Fox or the set of Tron. You could just about hear Jeff Bridges voice swirling inside your head, “these are like next level man”. Not all testers heard Jeff’s voice but the sentiment was all the same.

    They were super light and the patterned XRD foam was quite mesmerizing to stare at. The construction looked tops and there was some very clever attention to detail. The pads were flexible and could be folded to fit into a pocket. Since your knees are not actually located in your back pocket, we opted to try them on our legs. We were proud of this decision.

    FIT & FEEL
    The fit was true to size for all our testers, which, given the challenging shape of knees in general, is quite rare and on overall bonus. They wrapped around our bendy bits snuggly, without feeling like they were prohibiting or squeezing any important arteries.
    The rubberized silicone bits around the top and bottom kept them in place with a broad elastic around the calf to secure it even further. We quite liked this feature.
    The back of the knee is open and the mesh kept everything feeling very ventilated. This was very welcomed in the African summer at the top of the trails. As with previous ventilated knee pads, the mesh seemed quite thin/fragile and the longevity of the fabric would only be realised in time.
    Ultimately we all agreed that the ventilation was a bit more important than the possibility of a few little holes, maybe because this particular day was hotter than trying a wetsuit on inside a change room, under lights.
    What also stood out was the obvious attention to where protection is needed most, on the knee cap (of course) as well as the boney bits on either side. The longer foam extending down to around halfway to the shin area also made perfect sense.

    All in all a great fit and very comfortable. You could cut the grass of an entire rugby field with nail clippers on your hands and knees, and your knees would be fine, that comfortable.

    The biggest problem we had with the SIXSIXONE Recon Knee pads is that we forgot we were wearing them. Although this may seem like a very good thing, if you are writing a review on them per say, it’s a bit of a nightmare. The pads stayed in place the entire ride and there was no discomfort, even in the blazing 33 deg heat.

    From the offset you kinda know that these pads are intended to prevent injuries such as abrasions, bruises and cuts under the protected areas. If you were intending on hitting the monster mega loop or gigantic jumps at the top you are probably better off with a frontal lobotomy than knee pads.

    In terms for the trails at The Trail Park, these are ideal and will definitely prevent a host of injuries from majority trail side crashes. For the bigger stuff a burlier pad like the SIXSIXONE Rage Knee Pad would prob work better, but for the everyday hero, these are more than adequate and provide protection that you barely realise is there, until it matters.

    An all round great piece of protection in a vital area. Due to the lightness, flexibility and excellent ventilation, these wouldn’t seem out of place on any of the trails or even longer distances where you may encounter a technical descent or 5.

    Two thumbs up for the Garden Route Trail Park Team.

    To find your nearest retailer of SIXSIXONE

    Conditions over the testing period ranged from hot to nuclear hot. The well ventilated protection was appreciated.

    For those who don’t fancy wearing knee pads on the climbs, the slim, flexible design meant you could neatly fold them up and store in your pockets. Nifty.

    No serious crashes on the test rides. @Bernike refused to hit the dirt even after several Peanut Butter bribe attempts.

    GRTP VERDICT : 4.5/5
    Impressive lightweight, slim, comfortable and well ventilated piece of protection that you hardly realise is there. Very much the go to pad of our test riders since for their everyday trail rides.