Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Kyle Strait 661 knee pads review

Posted by Matt | June 30, 2008 | 9 comments so far

Kyle Strait 661 knee pads
Just before our trip to Afan I started thinking that perhaps the time had come to consider some protective clothing. Picking up the odd scrape here and there made me realise how glad I had been at not injuring myself more painfully and the thought of spending any extended time off the bike spurred me to action.

It’s not easy trying to find something that fits the bill. Knees were a good starting point but the range of options available to someone who knows nothing about this kind of thing is quite daunting.

My main criteria was not too bulky, should be wearable all day but with plenty of protection particularly round the sides as I have an old injury to my IT band on the outside of my left knee that I’m anxious not to exacerbate.

661 is a company I’ve heard good things about (love the idea of their top of the range padding that is flexible but hardens on impact), I even have a pair of their winter gloves which are pretty good. Plus, Colin has been running a pair of 661 Kyle Strait knee pads for a while now (errm, ever since his off last year in fact!) so he was a good source to ask for feedback.

Overall, I’ve been pretty impressed. The Kyle Straits come with substantial padding over the knee cap as you’d expect, but also have several smaller pads either side of the knee. They’re a reasonably flexible material which probably don’t offer quite as much protection as a hard shell but seem plenty good enough, plus you can add shin protectors too as Jem has done. All in all, a pretty good compromise of protection versus ease of use.

The pads are put on over the foot and slide up the leg into place, so probably not a good option if you plan to ‘pad up’ when you get to the top of the mountain or if, in my case, you’re incapable of organising yourself so you put your pads on before your shoes. They’re secured by 30mm wide velcro straps top and bottom which do a good job keeping everything tight and in place even if like me you have legs like pipe cleaners. I’ve got the medium size by the way and they’re just right.

Modelling Kyle Strait 661 knee pads

In use, it’s an odd feeling at first. You feel even more gladiatorial than usual as you dress for the trail but once on the bike the pads are pretty unobtrusive under baggy shorts, making them look from a distance like 3/4 trousers. At first your knees seem improbably hot (but winter rides as a result are likely to be much more comfortable). After a while though you get used to them and effectively forget they’re there, in fact I rode with them all day in Afan without really thinking of them.

Since then, I’ve tried to ride with them on our local rides, for two reasons. I’m undecided if they really are comfortable in the hot weather we’ve had (on balance I think they are) and secondly am worried about the Law of Sod whose almost inevitably is going to strike just as I decide ‘Oh, it’s OK I’ll just chance it…’.

But a big thumbs up from me for these knee pads, at the end of the day under £40 for serious knee protection is well worth it I reckon.

Filed under Clothing, Reviews in June 2008


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 9 comments on ‘Kyle Strait 661 knee pads review’

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  1. Muddymoles says:


    Christmas looms, so wish lists form. But first, Happy Birthday Dave!!

  2. StevenD says:

    Raising another excellent review. No accidents last year but I have landed on the same spot on the same knee twice in 3 days. On Weds it was a bang and graze coming home from a 12 mile XC pub run, but on Saturday I lost the front end on a DH section in the Chilterns and landed on a large rock in the exact same place – I nearly cried, so painful. Fought back the tears, got out the first aid and continued. I could hardly walk yesterday, but a definite improvement today.

    My birthday is coming up so knee pads go on the list. I have heard good things about the 661KS, do you still concur (as this review is 2 years old). I have very rarely hurt my knees but in the bone-dry the flint and rocks over here are a bit dodgy. I am not looking for armour but comfortable padding and first level protection, wearing light weight clothing is important to my enjoyment of the ride.



  3. D'AndyC says:

    They are still a cracking product, Steven. Mine are well over a year old now, but for this last and very warm w/e they have proved perfectly comfortable as I completed 80km and 2000+m of climbing in the Welsh trail centres.

    By the somewhat ‘ripe’ odour when I took them out of the bag at the end of the w/e, it’s evident that you do sweat a bit underneath them, but during the rides in temperatures hitting 32C I never consciously noticed I was wearing them. I guess no more than you might notice you were wearing gloves.

    They wash reasonably well, though mine are starting to look a bit tatty, so I’ve started to wash them less frequently (as downwind Moles will testify!).

    I think you can buy a size smaller than you think you’ll need. I have relatively skinny legs (no bulging quads despite a w/e in Wales), so an adult small fits me. Quite a few Moles wear them, so maybe they will also comment on the sizing.

  4. StevenD says:

    I forgot to ask about the sizing. Above the knee I am size M, below the knee L (using 661s chart), so I was thinking about getting an M on the basis that they will be unlikely to slip down. Any further comments on sizing appreciated.


    @D’AndyC, Thanks for comments, it seems these will be a good purchase. I only managed 25 miles on Saturday, but 70 in total this week thanks to the longer evenings. I am impressed with your fitness.

  5. D'AndyC says:

    Mediums will be fine, I reckon.

    Moles please note – at least someone is impressed by my fitness (even if he hasn’t actually met me).

  6. paul901 says:

    I was blissfully unaware of this review when taking a chance on a pair of these for no better reason than one mole has 661 in their username. I did so after banging my right knee last week, something I constantly look out for after the cartilige op last year.

    I can only echo what others have said. I did not really notice them over the 3 1/2 hour Sunday ride except when I was supposed to. Like pushing the bike up the steep bits and the pedals hitting the pad, lol!

    Good protection, movement is not restricted that I noticed and they fitted on and off easily, the velcro straps working well to keep them in place.

    Post-ride in the clammy June weather the pads were heavy with sweat but the instructions say that the covers come off for easy washing.

    In the store I tried the Cinderella moment with M size but they were having none of it, L it was for me then.

  7. DaveW says:

    I’m not sure if we’ve met Paul, but I’ll keep a look out for a bloke with fat knees ;o)

    I bought some of these after having a string of tumbles after converting to SPDs and then seeing my scar tissue covered knees in a family photo!

    I wore them all the time to start with, but now usually reserve them for gnarlier terrain locally, trail centres and downhill / freeride park sillyness.

    Negatives first – I’ve found them to get a bit raggedy over time, which I think is largely due to them rubbing against the cable guide for my gravity dropper.

    Coverage and protection is good, but if you ride flats, consider either some 661 Veggie shin pads or an alternative knee and shin pad, to avoid pedal injuries.

    I concur with the above positive comments

    – they are comfortable and I don’t really notice them – I did get a very little bit of soreness after 6 consecutive days of riding the Seven Stanes centres, but I’d say that is totally acceptable.

    – They are particularly good in cold weather as they keep your knees nice and warm.

    – I like the padding on the sides, as this is often where you bash your knees against the frame or on the ground and where you can do a lot of damage, with knees not really being very good at taking sideways impacts. Lots of pads don’t cover these areas.

    – the design largely prevents the had armour plates being pushed into your knee on impact from odd angles, which other pads with surface mounted armour plates can be prone to. I have seen pretty bad injuries caused by this – although certainly not as bad as when not wearing pads at all.

    In short:

    Highly recommended.

  8. StevenD says:

    My KS Pads arrived today. As mentioned they look and feel fantastic. I wear 3/4 length shorts and these pads are almost unnoticeable. I also like the string bag they come in, handy for storage.

    I now lose them until my birthday early next month, and I cannot wait to start using them, my knees will feel a lot safer under them !


  9. Related: Ride report: Sunday 22 January – Newlands Corner classic | Muddymoles

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