My kneepads are falling apart, so instead of buying new ones, I thought I’d try to find a knee/shin combo. I found one bike shop carrying armor, and they only had 661s. Searching this forum, it sounded like Kris Holm was making armor, and based on his comments (a post he made in summer of 03) his would be superior to anything else available. But when I went to his website, there’s none listed.
Kris, or anyone who might know, is Kris Holm armor still available?
I really don’t know, but as far as I can tell sixsixone armor is quite sufficient for anything you would want. I really don’t know if KH armor is still available, but I don’t think that it is. I’ve never seen it be in stock on unicyclist.com, and if it’s not on his website I doubt he’s still making it.
Kris only had a small batch of armour made and they’ve all sold out. I don’t know if he’ll be doing another batch of armour again or not.
The 661 4x4 armour works plenty well enough as long as it fits your leg proportions. The 661 stuff is also less expensive.
Roach also makes a similar armour. Roach is now owned by Race Face. Roach used to be the good stuff but their redesign of the armour introduced some problems. The padding inside now is formed and has air channels which seems like a good idea, but it causes chafing for some people. The new foam padding is also a lot more firm than the old stuff so is less soft and comfy. Roach Indy Armour Race Face Indy Armour
Other companies are now making similar fabric style armour. I just saw some by Fox Racing that is similar to the 661 and Roach style armour. It’s the Fox North Shore line. I don’t know how comfy it is. I just saw it in a local store. Fox North Shore Armour
I’ve been sporting the North Shore leg armor for 'bout a year now and I am very happy with it. It offers full coverage for the front and back of the leg, and I’ve impact-tested nearly every square inch of it The knee cap protection is outstanding, and the coverage around the calf has saved me from many pedal bites. The shin protection has proven adequate (i.e. no broken skin or bones) through many shin-meets-rock-at-high-speed incidents, although it still transmits quite a bit of the shock. The durability of the armor is great: after many accidents and several washings, it’s still like new.
There are air channels in the armor but I’ve never experienced chafing from them… I’ve learned to stop and adjust the armor every now and then, since the outside seam can cause a little chafing around the side of the knee if it gets all bunched up. Despite the channels and the behind-the-knee vent, the armor isn’t the coolest thing you’ll wear. I definitely sweat in them on every ride. But the protection is worth it!
I am finally trashing my Roach pads after this past weekend. I had three falls involving my knees, and in two of them the Roach pads came down and I took the fall on the kneecap. A lot of people have problems with the Roach pads not staying up when you need them to.
I liked the design of the KH armor, but if it’s not available I’ll go with the 661, which seems to stay further up the leg than the Roach armor.
I’ve been using 661’s for almost a year, and once you get used to them they work pretty well. Only prob I’ve had is the one time I wore them the “right” way, with tyhe “661” logo facing out, they took off several layers of skin, and left scars for several months. Wearing them with the logos facing in solved it.
I managed to get a pair of Fox brand Knee/Shin pads that are very light weight and stay up very well for super cheap. This was when my LBS was closing down, so it was mostly luck. They are awesome for everything beside back of the leg shots. If you tend to do that a lot, its best to get something like the 661s, even if they are a lot hotter.
I’m on to my second pair of 661s after 3 years riding, they do the job well and they’re cheap, i also have the 2x2 arm gaurds, don’t use them much but they’re good too, just don’t buy their wristguards, they suck.
I’m still on my first pair of 661s, 3 years into them. I’ve done a lot of bad falls and they’ve saved me on many occasions. I don’t notice the extra heat either, but maybe thats cos I’ve only ever used 661s.
I concur with the wrist guard comment, The 661 ‘wristwraps’ are rubbish.
The trick with the leg armour is to get it long enough so it can’t slide down the leg. Ideally it should be long enough so that when it slides down to the top of your shoe your knee is still covered. People with long legs will have problems with that. Back when Roach was making custom armour you could get them to make an extra long set of leg armour. That was nice.
The large 661 has been long enough for me. A little longer would be better, but it works as is.
The problem with fabric style armour is that fabric grips the ground when you crash. It wants to pull the armour down your leg during a crash instead of sliding on the ground. Armour with a hard plastic outer cap on the knee will tend to slide on the ground instead of gripping the ground. In that way the armour styles with the outer plastic caps are better.
For the 661/Roach/etc. style armour you may need to tighten it rather tightly around your calf to keep it from sliding down.
One other thing you can try is cutting the toe end from a sock, rolling up the sock and wear it like an ankle bracelet. That will create a sort of stop above your shoe to help keep the armour from sliding down so far.
I found a website with product reviews. Fox sounds good. Except I think I’d go with the kind that have hard shell on the knees. I don’t think the 911s have calf protection but I could always rig something up back there.
The fabric armour like the 661 protects the side of the knees better than the armour that has a hard cap on the outside. When you unicycle the inside of your knee will often rub on the frame or the tyre. Sometimes when landing a drop or a bump the side of your knee will hit the frame as you land. The 661 style armour gives you some protection there while most of the hard outer shell armour does not. That’s one reason why the fabric armour like the 661/Roach/KH is so popular with unicyclists. That and the way the cover the back of the calf.
Core Rat makes a hard outer shell armour with optional calf protection. I’ve never tried it. Look like it would leave the inside part of the knee vulnerable to getting banged up by the frame and tyre. You might be able to add the Core Rat calf protection to other brands of armour? Don’t know about that. Just a thought.