Thursday, October 18, 2012

661 Evo Knee VS Fox Launch Pad Pro

You will have a hard time finding an All Mountain biker without a helmet and some sort of knee protection to go along with it. And who can blame the him/her? This segment is generally speaking, more aggressive and high-risk than the XC and trail segment. Luckily for us, companies are standing on top of each other to offer us the best and most advanced knee protection money can buy.

I have been using the 661 Evo Knee for more than 7 months now, and feel that its time to pass the verdict. The Evo knee is actually the second version of 661 d30 knee pad, that 611 introduced some years ago. The mission was to improve everything, while staying in the same price range.

The Fox Launch Pad Pro has been out for a few years now. Fox is a well established brand, and they have a tendency to do things right, but getting into the knee protection segment, where the 611 Kyle Strait knee pad was dominating, is definitely not an easy task. I have an impression that Fox took a really long, and hard look at the Kyle Strait pad, and began improving upon it.

Let me say this right away; Both pads are very good. There is a difference however, that I with showcase in this comparison-review.
(click to enlarge)

Comfort:
661: 6/6
Fox: 5/6
The 661 Evo Knee is a game changer; its the most comfortable knee protection I have used. The bed-in time is at just a few hours (!). Ill forgive its bulkyness, because these really are pads you forget that you wear after 30 minutes of riding. You see, The Evo knee needs to get warm, to be comfortable, but when it does, it really outperforms the Fox. Cloth chafting? NONE with the 661 Evo. Whereas the 661 is a bit more prone to cloth chafting, the Fox sits a bit better on the leg. The Fox pad is also very resistant to unwanted movement because of a silicone strap. The Fox Pad is also some 25% lighter, this adds to comfort. Note that the Fox Launch Pad Pro takes considerable more time to "bed in" - expect 5-8 rides.

Long term testing notes regarding comfort:
661: 7 months into the testing, the elastic back sleeve is getting a bit loose, making the pads more prone to sliding down the knee.
Fox: After a year of use, the pad began to irritate my upper knee. That was after a year of intense use. In addition to that, I will add that the silicon strap doesn't do well after washing, it disintegrates.

Protection:
661: 3/6
Fox: 6/6
Fox has a superior protection in the upper and lower front, the padding on the sides is a bit more thick as well. The 661 Evo knee has its D3o material, and while it does cover a alot of the knee, even down the shin a bit, its just scary thin, and I don't see it absorbing impact from sharper objects like rocks and so on. Blunt force is where this pad is doing its job best. If you ride in very rocky conditions, then stay away from the 661 Evo Knee.

Ventilation:
661: 4/6
Fox: 4/6
I don't feel any difference between the two. I do however think that there is room for improvement, for both brands. They do get hot in the summer.

Durability:
661: 6/6
Fox: 5/6
Both are pretty tough, I do however see that the 661 holds up a bit better. Its completely unscratched even after months of hard use, 661 really stepped up their game compared to their old Kyle Strait knee pads. The Evo pads are tough and durable, partly due to the kevlar used up front on the knee pad. 

Value for money:
661: 4/6
Fox: 6/6
The fox is half price, and wins big time in this department. The 661 Evo knee is one of the most expensive knee pads on the market, only beaten by POC to my knowledge. On the other hand; The Evo Knee is really tough and durable, these pads wont die on you.

I had an entire year with the Fox Launch Pad Pro. Solid stuff.
(click to enlarge)

The 661 Evo Knee has been an interesting experience. Both regarding the good stuff, and the bad stuff.
(click to enlarge)

387g.  Less weight, more protection, a win-win situation?
(Click to enlarge)

526g. More weight, less protection, but more comfortable.
(click to enlarge)

The additional protection the Fox Launch pad offers is mostly in the upper and lower section of the pad. Pads in the sides are a bit more fat as well.
(Click to enlarge)

Final conclusion:
The 661 Evo Knee is very comfortable to wear, cloth chafting is non existent, and you are most likely to forget that you are even wearing them, well unless its very hot outside. The blunt-force protections is there, albeit inferior to the FOX. The lover strap is loosing up a bit too much now after 7 months of testing, so keep that in mind. Also, be aware that this is not a knee pad for sharp object like rocks.

The Fox Launch Pad Pro is more prone to cloth chafting, particular the first few months. But after that, they fit like a glove, and stay where you put them, partly because of the silicon strap. Protection is far superior, and its more lightweight.

Should I choose between the Fox Launch Pad Pro and the 661 Evo Knee, then I would have gone with the FOX offering. Its half the price, has more protection, more lightweight, all this makes it a better choice, even tho its more prone to clotch chafting. Fox has really made a good product.

Next up in testing is either POC VPD2 Knee, or Scott Grenade Pro 2. Or should it be something completely different? Well don't be shy, write in the comments section, it doesn't require a sign in.

16 comments:

  1. I'd be interested to see how you like the PC VPD2's. I have the originals and didn't like them but everyone I know loves the 2's...except for the price.

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  2. I thought D30 was better than Kevlar? I wonder if D30 would perform just as well, if not better, than Kevlar when it comes to impacts from sharp objects. I've been using the Fox pads in this review for months already. In one ride, I crashed and the left pad slid up. Instead of the main Kevlar protection protecting the knee, the softer padding was there. Unfortunately, the impact was such that my knee hurt like hell. I think I got a small cut. But then, it might be because I didn't wear the pad properly, so.... Other than that, despite several crashes, no broken bones, just painful bruises. I'm also using the elbow pad equivalent. Excellent review, thanks for doing it. BTW, I know this is silly but, when it comes to styling, how would you rate either? hehehe

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  3. @Matt
    Thanks for the input, they are definitely high on my short list right now. The price tag hurts tho'.

    @atctt
    The 661 Evo Knee has a Kevlar front panel, and just below that the D30 begins. The Kevlar is there to add abrasion resistance, something the old Kyle Strait pad had problems with.
    The review took some time to do, so im glad you like it : ) As for styling, well, I would say that the Fox looks way cooler : )

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  4. have you look to the new dainese pads?

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  5. @Luis

    Do you have a link so that i can check them out? I didn't find anything on the Dainese homepage.

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  6. here is a link to pinkbike.

    http://www.pinkbike.com/news/Dainese-Oak-Pro-Aluminum-Knee-Pads-Eurobike-2011.html

    http://www.dainese.com/us_en/multisport-summer?destinazione_uso=37

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  7. Thanks for the links, ill take a look!

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  10. @Niels

    Well it actually began after a year of use. You can see a picture of it here:

    http://all-mountain-next.blogspot.dk/2012/05/gear-updates.html

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  11. Hi V.P.

    so what knee pads have you bought?

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  12. Hi there Luis, I still haven't pulled the trigger, haven't made up my mind just yet.

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  13. Hi V.P.

    when you do let us readers of your blog know what have you choose and why.

    Cheers

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  14. Hi Luis, I decided to go for the Scott grenade 2, its the most interesting pad of the bunch. So stick around, for a quick preview in a few weeks.

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  15. I have the 661 very nice lokking for me and my gf have the fox.
    i like the fox better on protection and feeling.

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  16. I will have to agree with you.

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