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    News — Recon Advance

    661 | COMMENCAL MUC OFF MSA FINALS

    661 | COMMENCAL MUC OFF MSA FINALS

    WIN SOME & LOSE SOMEMONT SAINTE ANNE, CANADA - UCI WORLD CUP #7

    Sometimes it feels like you put everything in and get nothing out, and round seven of the DH World Cup in Mont Sainte Anne certainly had a few of those moments for us. However, although all roads lead to race runs, the journeys are so full of experiences and memories that on reflection you never see a race result as purely a number. 9, 13, 15, 26. There are some big stories behind these big numbers.

    First of all, there are only four numbers. We went a man down on Practice day when Tristan crashed, dislocating his wrist and breaking his scaphoid. Our hearts sank. It was a dream come true for Tristan to be riding a home World Cup, the Quebecois living only four hours away and having visited this famous venue as a young boy. He was absolutely loving the first few runs, and after a fifth place in Vallnord was feeling back towards his best after a tough start to the season. After surgery on Saturday morning, Tristan returned to Mont Sainte Anne to cheer his teammates and soak up the vibe before heading home to heal up. 

    The best number of race day went to Thibaut with ninth place. As he summarised, it was “nothing crazy”. Not crazy bad, not crazy fast, just solid. Sometimes executing a smooth and safe race is enough to be satisfied, and sometimes “solid” is not really enough. Thibaut felt somewhere in the middle. A well-managed week of process and progress on a notoriously tough track, no crashes or mechanical issues, and another top ten for a 21-year-old are all really positive outcomes. However, the podium is where Thibaut wants to be and where his abilities certainly allow him to be, so falling short can sting. Motivation and morale are still high, and we’re sure the final piece of the jigsaw will slot into place soon.

    It was an unlucky thirteen for Myriam in Mont Sainte Anne. After a crash in Quali, Myriam had picked herself up and found her mojo again on race day morning. Her final practice runs were good and she dropped in feeling fast and confident. The skill, the speed, and the mindset were there, but luck was not. A punctured tyre and then a tyre-less rim quickly derailed any chance of a good result, and the opportunity to take the overall lead also slipped away. It was another cruel blow in a season of setbacks, but Pompon proved once again that she is stronger than the misfortune with high-fives for the crowd and a smile at the finish line. “C’est la vie!”, she said. 

    The number fifteen belonged to Hugo. It doesn’t seem anything particularly special at first, but it comes with some real positives. After crashes and mechanicals all year, Hugo was frustrated and disheartened. He is such a talented young rider and he had not been able to show this in his results. For Mont Sainte Anne, he really worked on his approach to Quali and Finals, learning from past mistakes and realigning his mindset. Laying down a clean race run was the big goal, and he achieved it. Mental strength is such a key tool in this game, and we are really proud that Hugo delivered what he set out to do. 

    The final result was the highest number and perhaps the lowest moment of the day. Amaury had the chance to tie up the overall World Cup title with one round to go, such was his phenomenal season so far. He was third in Quali and feeling good on track, he just needed to finish in twenty-fourth place or better and the title was his. A safe ride would secure it. But Amaury is not a “safe rider”. He races to win, with his heart on his sleeve and a fire in his belly. This is why he is so loved. . And then He felt he had a chance to win, and he went for it. And then he went down. A few centimetres offline and suddenly he was on the ground. He bounced up and rode like fury to the finish line, but it was not quite enough to clinch the overall. He ended up twenty-sixth. It would be so easy to be full of regret, anger, and disappointment, but on reflection, he is stoked to have been riding so well and to have been true to his racing spirit. 

    The final round of the World Cup in Val di Sole is set to be a thriller. Amaury leads the overall by 249 points, and Myriam is still in with a chance to take the title as well. 

    Every race, when learned from, is another weapon in the arsenal. We’re full of ammunition and ready to fire for the World Championships and the final World Cup of the season!The final word from this race should go to an incredible day for Canadian DH, with Finn Iles continuing Stevie Smith’s legacy in superb style. What a sport!

    Photos Credits - ©Kéno Derleyn

    661 | COMMENCAL MUC OFF SNOWSHOE FINALS

    661 | COMMENCAL MUC OFF SNOWSHOE FINALS

    THE AMERICAN DREAM! SNOWSHOE, USA - UCI WORLD CUP #6

    Amaury takes his tenth World Cup Win - the fourth this season - with an incredible fight.

    We arrived in Snowshoe to rain, fog, and some pretty bitter memories of last year’s race. On top of that, Amaury was physically suffering and mentally struggling after his big hit in Vallnord; Myriam was still recovering from her illness and the frustration of dropping points in the overall; Thibaut was searching for that fast feeling once again.

    The comedown, the reset, and the build-up between races can be really tough. But those moments of doubt, the pain, and the stress make the moments of victory all the more euphoric

    From the misty mornings, driving rain, and muddy mayhem on track during the week came to a Finals steeped in sunshine. It didn’t all go our way, but Amaury’s win certainly lifted us all. 

    Amaury’s World Cup week started with an uncertainty he would ride. Once wheels were rolling, it developed into a quest to find confidence where little was presenting itself. Run after run he battled a battered body, crazy conditions, and the frustration of feeling slow. Qualification came and he still didn’t feel fast, but the clock told us otherwise: fastest man down the hill. He looked as confused as he did stoked! 

    Whatever magic Momo had conjured up, Thibaut had cast the same spell - he rode into second place with the blistering pace he knows he has but had struggled to unlock. Myriam also posted the second fastest time despite having a crash. Confidence was on the up and race day was round the corner.

    Saturday started with brighter skies and higher hopes, but those first couples of practice runs were once again a minefield. Tristan came off worst with a big crash that saw him sit out Finals, whilst Amaury was still scratching his head and desperately trying to find his rhythm. With a race run crash for Hugo dropping him out of contention for a solid result, the day needed a strong reset

    This is when some of the most impressive elements of race day happen: the ability the riders have to work themselves into a headspace that allows them to be the best in the World. 

    Analyse, fuel, rest, focus, warm-up, go. The pre-race routine is a well-dialed drill. Everyone’s is slightly different, with quirks and nuances, but the endpoint is the same: the start gate, the beeps, and then the moment of quiet before launching into the run.

    It was clear to see the pace of Myriam and Thibaut on track. They were both penultimate riders to race and were setting splits green. 

    Myriam is a queen of building speed and confidence throughout a race week and it was clear to see that she had done this again in Snowshoe. The speed was there and she looked strong on the bike, but an innocuous-looking section caught her out once again. Amazingly, Pompon still crossed the line to go fastest, but it was not enough to hold off the charge of Camille Balanche. A strong but frustrating second place

    Thibaut’s crash pushed him down to eighteenth, but beyond his initial disappointment came a growing sense of satisfaction and a little relief that he had found his flow again.

    With Thibaut’s run finished, it was all eyes on the big screen as we watched Amaury drop in.

    The sun was strong, the atmosphere was electric and the tension was mounting to that love/hate level that we live for. The first split was good, it was game on. But then came a huge near-crash moment that had our hands on our heads, mouths agape, and heart rates through the roof. How could he pull back over 1.8 seconds? The answer: because he’s Amaury Pierron. Momo was on a mission. With unbelievable talent and a shed-load of determination, he was fastest through split three and came charging towards the finish with the noise following down the hill and then erupting in the finish bowl as he sprinted to the line. 

    World Cup win number four this season, and number ten in his career! One of the most astonishing turn-arounds we have ever witnessed, and we’ve seen a few! 

    It’s hard to give true justice to the incredible spirit of this team; quite how much everyone invests, and thus quite how much it all means when we come out on top. It’s probably safe to say that Champagne mixed with a few tears behind those sunglasses

    We had the journey up from West Virginia to Quebec to try and digest all that round six served up. Now it’s time to wipe the slate and start again for round seven in Mont Sainte Anne. Bring on another wild ride! 

    Photos Credits - ©Sven Martin - ©Kéno Derleyn

    661 | VITAL MTB REVIEW WOMENS PROTECTION

    661 | VITAL MTB REVIEW WOMENS PROTECTION

    REVIEW - 661's Women's Protective MTB line

    All of the MTB protection for all your riding needs. 

     

    A long-time contender in the gravity MTB protection game, 661 has a history of making top-notch products to keep mountain bikers safe. We took in a big haul of their women's protective line to see what the brand has to offer riders this summer. From lightweight gloves to full body protection, we sampled it all. Hang tight and let's dig in!

    661 Glove Line

    Comp Glove Highlights

    • Four-way stretch mesh fabric
    • Durable single-layer synthetic leather palm
    • Touchscreen compatible 
    • Slip-on closure less cuff design
    • Silicone braking fingertips
    • Size Range: XS to XXL; Youth Sizing (Y-XS to Y-L)
    • Gender Specifics: Unisex
    • MSRP $21.99 USD

    Raji Glove Highlights

    • Four-way stretch highly breathable fabric
    • Vented single-layer palm
    • Touchscreen-compatible index finger and thumb
    • Secure low profile cuff strap
    • Enhanced grip and control with silicone print fingertips
    • Size Range: XS to XXL
    • Gender Specifics: Unisex
    • MSRP $24.99 USD

    Recon Advance Highlights

    • Abrasion-resistant stretch softshell fabric
    • TPU direct-inject knuckle and side of hand embellishments
    • AX suede palm
    • Micro-fiber thumb sweat wipe
    • Silicone printed fingertips
    • D30 knuckle protection
    • Touchscreen-compatible index finger and thumb
    • Slip-on cuff design
    • Size Range: XS to XXL
    • Gender Specifics: Unisex
    • MSRP $49.99 USD
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    661 Comp Glove

    Ride fast, take chances! This lightweight summer glove had us with its fun look, cheeky design, and comfortable fit. The touchscreen-compatible feature worked, but only when the fingers were snugged all the way to the end. To be fair, humans have a wide range of finger length so if you’re the model hand for these gloves, you won’t have to adjust the glove to use the touchscreen compatibility. After wearing the gloves for only a couple of rides, the synthetic leather palm seemed to be showing signs of wear, but maybe they’ll remain useful for a few months and last through the summer season - glove-encased fingers crossed since we think these gloves are great for looking and feeling cool!

    Initial Impressions

    The Comp Glove uses stretch mesh fabric to keep your hands cool, and lightweight synthetic suede to give you great contact with the bars. The price point makes these gloves affordable, in line with similar gloves from other brands, and the various colorways are fun. 661 also makes these gloves in youth sizes, so those ripping groms can look cool while beating us on every uphill.

    What's The Bottom Line?

    We think these gloves are great, especially for the price point, and will facilitate a lot of summer riding.

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    661 Raji Glove

    These gloves scream summertime riding due to their construction and fun color (purple and neon yellow are a fave combo of ours). Lightweight stretch twill on the back of the hand combined with a ventilated palm and fingers mean you can still have hand protection in the heat. The touchscreen compatibility is a nice feature, but didn’t always work for us; the gloves needed to be adjusted to fit our fingers really snugly. Durability remains to be seen, but since it’s summer, we might just be wearing these gloves on the daily, so they’ll probably get a lot of extra testing. For those who coach mountain biking in any capacity, the bright color of these gloves (we got the ‘classic purple’) provides a great contrast to our basic black grips, which is great for showing people proper hand and finger placement.

    Initial Impressions

    The Raji Glove is priced slightly higher than the Comp Glove, with a key difference being the vented palm in the Raji Glove. This feature makes these gloves comfortable on the hottest summer days, so you don’t have to sacrifice handlebar connection or hand protection to stay cool.

    What's The Bottom Line?

    The 661 Raji Glove is a good summer glove and seems to be priced appropriately to facilitate a lot of fun summer riding and coaching.

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    661 Recon Advance Glove

    The Recon Advance Glove is ready to take care of business. The knuckle impact protection and solid black made us feel like a special agent and gave us peace of mind not having to worry about breaking another pinky on a misjudged tree gap. Although we got the same size in this glove as we did in the Comp and Raji gloves, it felt larger around the wrist and back of hand; maybe a velcro enclosure at the wrist could alleviate this issue? For all the protection these gloves provide, they are surprisingly lightweight and comfortable on warm days. We also loved, and took full advantage of, the micro-fiber sweat wipe! (Why is all of our DH gear dark colors for summer riding?) 

    Initial Impressions

    The Recon Advance Glove is at the top end of 661’s glove line, and for good reason. These gloves are burly, with D30 knuckle impact protection and additional inserts. The palm also seems more durable in these gloves, which bodes well for getting a lot of use out of these as our new go-to gravity gloves. Had these gloves fit better, we would have rated them higher.

    What's The Bottom Line?

    We look forward to rocking the Recon Advance Glove on gravity laps, knowing that our hands will be well protected.

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    661 Radia Goggle

    We were drawn to the Radia goggle as soon as we took it out of the box. The eye-popping‘ dazzle yellow’ colorway perfectly complemented the Raji Gloves in ‘classic purple’. 661 did a great job of matching form and function with this goggle. The size small was also comfortable on small faces and they fit perfectly with our non-661 helmet (yay!). The lens afforded visibility in lower light (during tree-riding) while providing UV protection in full sun. Given our all-black gravity kit and riding in 85-degree temps, we appreciated the anti-fog treatment! The Radia Goggles are comfortable, functional, and fun!

    Highlights

    • Cylindrically injection-molded polycarbonate lenses that filter out 100% of harmful UVA and UVB rays
    • Perfect fit for 661 helmets
    • Double density foam comfort
    • 40mm strap with silicone grip for added security
    • Coated with Anti-Fog & Anti-Scratch treatments on the smoke mirror lens as standard
    • Tear-off pegs and tear-off system available
    • Spare & option lenses available
    • Size Range: S and L
    • Gender Specifics: Unisex
    • MSRP $49.99 USD

    Safety Features: The silicone grip in the strap meant that this goggle didn’t move, even in the gnarliest rock garden. The wide eye port helped us utilize our peripheral vision as we hammered the turns and berms. 

    Initial Impressions

    The Radia Goggle seems to be priced similarly to other goggles on the market. The Dazzle colorways are at the top end of 661’s goggle line, while their Script goggles are more moderately priced, but we weren’t sure what accounted for this difference.

    What's The Bottom Line?

    We liked the look, feel, and functionality of the Radia Goggle. They stayed on our face and fit well without fogging up. The lens provided visibility in a range of light conditions and we plan to get a lot of use out of them on gravity laps this summer.

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    EVO Base Layer Protection

    EVO Jacket Highlights

    • Removable D30 back, elbow, and shoulder inserts
    • EN1621-1 and EN1621-2 certified
    • Laminated EVA foam for protection in the chest and frontal hip bones while promoting air flow 
    • Hydration bladder compatible
    • Two rear stash pockets for ride essentials
    • Lightweight breathable and wicking compression fabrics
    • PADLOCK connection system, to integrate with 661 protective shorts
    • Women’s specific fit
    • Size Range: XS to XL
    • Gender Specifics: Women’s
    • MSRP $199.99 USD

    EVO Shorts Highlights

    • Removable D30 hip pads, EN 1621:1 rated
    • Lycra construction with laminated EVA foam for thigh and coccyx protection
    • Silicone leg gripper
    • PADLOCK connection system, to integrate with 661 protective jackets and knee pads
    • Women’s specific fit
    • Size Range: XS to XL
    • Gender Specifics: Women’s
    • MSRP $99.99 USD

    EVO Women’s Compression Jacket

    LEAN IN! This is definitely a power jacket and has literally got your back. When you want serious body armor for big gravity days, the EVO Compression Jacket is the right tool for the job. 661 strategically placed padding where it’s most critical, protecting those vertebrae and vital organs, and then went as lightweight as possible in their best effort to keep you comfortable. 

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    The removable D30 inserts make the inevitable washing a little easier - pads can be removed through openings on the inside of the jacket - and must be removed before washing. We liked the front zip of this jacket, which made it easy to put on and take off. The majority of the jacket is mesh (aside from the D30 and EVA parts), and the designers thoughtfully kept an underarm opening for maximum heat release - bravo! Very important, the PADLOCK connection between the EVO Women’s Compression Shorts and the EVO Women’s Compression Jacket is near the frontal hip bones, which means you can drop your pants and bibs without removing your jacket and jersey to use the bathroom - Thank you 661 for this feature!

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    It did seem like the PADLOCK connection system between the jacket and shorts had some slack in it, but we didn’t notice it during riding. Another nice feature for ensuring a good fit is the velcro enclosure around the forearm, so you can get the fit you need. Although this jacket comes with rear stash pockets, they aren’t zippered, so they’d be great for a gel or snack (pocket bacon would fit perfectly, just sayin’). This jacket is also hydration bladder compatible, by putting your hydration bladder in the back D30 pocket and utilizing the pre-existing hole above the left shoulder blade. We are looking forward to gearing up in the EVO Women’s Compression Jacket for lots of gravity days this season!

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    661 EVO Women’s Compression Shorts with Chamois

    SENDING! These shorts are what you want for DH laps on the mountain. For body armor, they are surprisingly comfortable, and we really liked the chamois. There is a unisex version that comes without a chamois, if that’s your preference. The removable D30 hip pads make the inevitable washing a little easier - pads can be removed through an opening on the inside of the shorts and must be removed before washing.

    We also really liked the silicon printing on the inside of the leg openings with the PADLOCK connection system. Once we had our gear on, nothing moved. We did notice a little gap between the jacket and jersey, but the shorts didn’t move around (good for warm-up air squats) and the higher waistband was comfortable while providing more protection. We are looking forward to gearing up in the EVO Women’s Compression Shorts for lots of gravity days this season; these shorts really made us feel secure and protected (and made our butt look strong!).

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    Safety Features Jacket: D30 back, elbow, and shoulder inserts; laminated EVA foam for chest and hip protection, and the PADLOCK connection system gave us plenty of padding without being too hot and heavy, and keeping all our gear inter-connected.

    Safety Features Shorts: D30 hip pads, laminated EVA foam for thigh and coccyx protection, and the PADLOCK connection system gave us plenty of padding (not too much!) while allowing for articulation to pedal, and keeping all our gear inter-connected. 

    Use Application: The compression shorts and jacket are made for gravity days, whether that’s at your local bike park or taking lift-assisted laps.The Padlock Connection System is unique to 661; it allows EVO Shorts and Jackets to snap into a variety of elbow and knee pads, creating a locked chassis so pads won’t migrate in a crash.

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    Initial Impressions

    Both the EVO Women’s jacket and shorts seemed to be designed really well, with a great balance of breathability and protection. The combination of D30 pads and EVA foam is thoughtfully laid out. For female bodies, we appreciated that 661 made a high-functioning piece of gear, specifically fit to accommodate curves and muscles in different locations. It would be nice if 661 also offered a Women’s Compression Short without a chamois for female riders (they do offer a chamois-less short for male/unisex bodies). For such a key piece of gear, the price point is fair and similar to other brands. The EVO product line is at the top of 661’s protection product line, gearing towards the DH rider who likes to get extreme. This line also includes D30 protection, which is flexible and lightweight but hardens on impact.

    On The Trail

    We wore these on a couple of DH tracks at Mammoth mountain that got our adrenaline flowing, which seemed to suit the EVO Women’s Compression Jacket well. We noticed that the jacket didn’t seem to move once it was on, and it definitely gave us a boost of confidence and protection through a couple of toothy rock gardens. We felt like a badass secret agent wearing this jacket, which translated to riding more assertively and having a great day on the mountain.

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    Things That Could Be Improved

    We thought that 661 could consider making a short-sleeved version of the Women’s jacket since they already had a unisex/male version.

    Long Term Durability

    The EVO Women’s Compression Jacket seemed well made with a heavy-duty zipper. The mesh pieces of this jacket are its most vulnerable, particularly on the arms when you’re trying to get everything snugged just right. However, 661 has a two-year warranty, should you need it.

    What's The Bottom Line?

    The EVO Women’s Compression Jacket and Shorts are key additions to our body armor kit. We felt safer ripping gravity trails with this muscle shirt on, and appreciated that it didn't move once it was on. The shorts are comfortable and performed in concert with the jacket. We’d definitely buy the jacket and shorts combo as well as recommend that our DH squad check them out.

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    Knee and Elbow Protection

    Recon Advanced Knee

    • D30 inserts, EN1621-1 certified.
    • Thermo-formed EVA inserts above and to the sides of the knee, along with the upper shin.
    • One-piece slip-on design with high-thigh fit and silicone grippers.
    • Lightweight, but incredibly durable and breathable fabrics.
    • PADLOCK connection system, to integrate with 661 protective shorts.
    • Optional add-on hard cap kits are available.
    • Size Range: S to XL
    • Gender Specifics: Unisex
    • MSRP $109.99 USD

    Recon Knee Highlights

    • D30 ‘Ghost’ protective inserts, EN1621-1 certified.
    • Highly flexible and breathable, super lightweight pads.
    • Stretch construction with abrasion-resistant fabrics.
    • Strategically placed stretch mesh fabrics improve airflow and breathability.
    • Elastic and silicone upper and lower grippers. 
    • Extended coverage for upper shin protection.
    • Knee pads fit higher on the thigh than many other pads. 
    • PADLOCK connection system, to integrate with 661 protective shorts.
    • Size Range: S to XL
    • Gender Specifics: Unisex
    • MSRP $84.99 USD

    Recon Elbow Highlights

    • D30 ‘Ghost’ protective inserts, EN1621-1 certified.
    • Highly flexible and breathable, super lightweight pads.
    • Stretch construction with abrasion-resistant fabrics.
    • Strategically placed stretch mesh fabrics improve airflow and breathability.
    • Elastic and silicone upper and lower grippers. 
    • Extended coverage for upper forearm protection.
    • Elbow pads fit higher on the arm. 
    • PADLOCK connection system, to integrate with 661 protective upper body armor.
    • Size Range: S to XL
    • Gender Specifics: Unisex
    • MSRP $74.99 USD

    661 Recon Advance Knee

    Get ready to rumble! The Recon Advance Knee is ready for action. We like their extended coverage on the upper thighs and lower legs, especially the upper shin. There is also a clever opening behind the knee to allow some heat to escape from the legs and make pedaling that much more comfortable. When we’re ready to get gnar on those DH laps, the Recon Advance Knee is what we’ll grab to pair with our upper and lower body armor.

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    Safety Features: D30 and EVA inserts combined with the PADLOCK connection system gave us plenty of padding without being too hot and heavy, while allowing for articulation necessary for pedaling, and keeping all our gear inter-connected. 

    Use Application: These knee pads are made for heavy-duty gravity days. The Padlock Connection System is unique to 661; it allows EVO Shorts and Jackets to snap into a variety of elbow and knee pads, creating a locked chassis so pads won’t migrate in a crash.

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    Initial Impressions

    The Recon Advance product line is the top of 661’s knee pad product line, gearing towards the DH rider who likes to get extreme. If you need additional protection, optional add-on hard cap kits are also available. This line also includes D30 protection, which is flexible and lightweight but hardens on impact.

    On The Trail

    We wore these on a couple of DH tracks at Mammoth mountain that got our adrenaline flowing, which seemed to suit the Recon Advance Knee well. We didn’t get a chance to test these in a cage fight, but we bet they’d hold up just fine. We noticed that these pads didn’t migrate at all and felt well protected through a couple of toothy rock gardens, which led to a few hoots and hollers. For all the protection these Recon Advance Knee pads offer, they felt lightweight and were much cooler (temperature-wise) than anticipated.

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    Things That Could Be Improved

    We noticed that pulling on the Recon Advance Knee pads needed to be done delicately, so as not to tear the mesh in the back of the pad. This is part of the sacrifice of having lighter-weight pads, but it’s still something that could be improved.

    Long Term Durability

    The front of the Recon Advance Knee pads felt strong and durable, but the mesh in the back seems like it might tear sooner rather than later. However, 661 has a two-year warranty, should you need it.

    What's The Bottom Line?

    We like the Recon Advance Knee for those big DH days when we’re pulling out the heavy-duty body armor. These are for strong riders who like those spicy lines - rock gardens, loose berms, and big jumps! We’d absolutely get a pair for the sendy days.

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    661 Recon Knee and Recon Elbow

    Both the Recon knee and elbow pads offer that sweet spot of flexibility and protection. The mesh back and opening behind the knees shaves weight and makes these more breathable in the summer heat. We liked the extended sleeve that went higher up the thigh and lower down the calves than many other knee pads. The same rang true for the elbow pads extending up the bicep. Coupled with upper and lower grippers and the Padlock Connection system for more coverage and less pad migration. If you choose not to utilize the Padlock Connection system, it cleverly snaps to itself so you don’t have random pieces flapping off of your gear. We also appreciated that 661 made these pads machine washable, including the D30 Ghost insert, to get rid of the inevitable sweat, dirt, and grime that our pads always accumulate.

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    Safety Features

    Both the knee and elbow pads feature D30 and EVA inserts combined with the PADLOCK connection system. They gave us plenty of padding without being too hot and heavy, while allowing for articulation necessary for pedaling, and keeping all our gear inter-connected. The Padlock Connection System is unique to 661; it allows EVO Shorts and Jackets to snap into a variety of elbow and knee pads, creating a locked chassis so pads won’t migrate in a crash.

    Use Application: These pads are made for all-day riding when you want to get medium rad, but still need to pedal.

    Initial Impressions

    The Recon product line is right in the middle of 661’s product line, balancing value with protection for the cross-country rider that likes to ride some downhill trails. The Recon line has been redesigned and now includes machine-washable D30 protection, which is flexible and lightweight, but hardens on impact.

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    On The Trail

    We wore these on some cross-country trails with moderate climbing and descending, which seemed to suit the Recon line well. When descending, having our sensitive bony knees protected with the Recon Knee’s D30 inserts was confidence-inspiring and comfortable. Given all the protection the Recon Knee provides, they were surprisingly light and comfortable and were easy to pedal while climbing. When cornering and riding through tight trees, we appreciated having our elbows well protected. Given all the protection the Recon Knee provides, they were surprisingly light and comfortable while climbing.

    Things That Could Be Improved

    As with anything involving mesh, putting the Recon pads on needs to be done with some delicacy, so as not to tear these. Although this comes with the territory of having lighter-weight pads, it’s still something that could be improved. We also felt like the upper gripper around our not-that-large biceps was a little too tight - maybe some more fit testing could be done to better size these.

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    Long Term Durability

    The front of the Recon Knee pads felt strong and durable, but the mesh in the back seems like it might tear sooner rather than later. Generally, the Recon Elbow pads felt strong and durable although we had the same concerns with the mesh portions as we did with the knee pads. However, 661 has a two-year warranty, should you need it.

    What's The Bottom Line?

    We like the Recon knee and elbow pads for moderate trails, getting medium rad, and riding trails that require some pedaling. The lighter weight is friendly for summer riding and we would definitely add the Recon pads to our quiver for XC riding with moderate downhill.

    Head to sixsixone.com to learn more and see the entire line.

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    Reviewed by Coral Taylor // Photos by Brendan Mooney

    About The Reviewer

    Coral Taylor - Age: 43 // Years Riding MTB: 15 // Height: 5’3" (1.65 m) // Weight: 125-pounds (56.7 kg)

    I love all types of bikes, but I’d have to say that mountain bikes are my favorite. Biking through the forest, ripping sweet berms, and rolling over rocks always elicits hoots and hollers from me! I consider myself a ‘medium-rad’ rider and I love riding both cross-country trails and ‘navy blue’ DH trails, although my goal for this summer is to clear more of the black and double-black lines at Mammoth Mountain. Mountain biking offers me the opportunity to both down-regulate and up-regulate my nervous system, and I always feel physically and mentally better after time on the bike. Through mountain biking, I have also connected with so many amazing humans and have been motivated to visit some beautiful places under the guise of mountain biking.

    I volunteer as a ride leader for the Tahoe Mountain Bike Girls, which offers group rides ~every 2 weeks in the summer to the FTW community. Our rides are aimed at all levels, with no one left behind and the intent to build the mountain bike community in the Truckee/North Lake Tahoe area of northern California. I am also a BICP Level 2 Intermediate Skills Instructor and work as a part-time bike guide in the Truckee area. New to me this year, I’ve also started volunteering as a NICA coach for the Mammoth Mountain Bike Team and have enjoyed coaching in this role and learning about NICA. Sharing the sport of mountain biking with other humans is really important to me; besides the physical benefits of biking and the mental health benefits of being outside, I believe that the benefit of having FUN is the most important! The more FUN we have, the less existential dread we have and the nicer we are, which means we can have more bandwidth to create positive change in the world. 

    Originally posted by BHowell VitalMTB.com 

    661 | COMMENCAL MUC OFF VALLNORD FINALS

    661 | COMMENCAL MUC OFF VALLNORD FINALS

    BITING THE DUSTVALLNORD, ANDORRA - UCI WORLD CUP #5

    COMMENCAL’s home World Cup would have been the perfect stage on which to perform something special. We had the bike, we had the riders and we had the momentum. Unfortunately, we didn’t have good fortune this time around, and we left Andorra feeling a little dejected.

    However, there were, as always, plenty of positives to take, including the brand new World Cup track. At over 2300m altitude, looking out over bluebird skies across the high Pyrenees, the start was something special. High altitude, high speed, and bone-dry conditions gave us thin air thick with dust. Big berms brought big grins; loose dirt delivered wild style. Practice day was sick! 

    So too was Myriam, although in altogether less positive terms. After being horribly ill through Tuesday night, she missed Track Walk on Wednesday and instead visited the hospital. By Thursday she was well enough to do some runs, but energy levels were very low. It was to be a huge challenge to face race day with the strength to perform

    As the track got blown out in some sections and established ruts in others, it was time to face the clock. Myriam did remarkably to post the third best time; Amaury gave a taste of his speed with second place despite a couple of big moments and subsequent slowdowns; Thibaut punctured and Tristan and Hugo were solid but not spectacular. We had some work to do…

    Race day dawned with splendid sunshine and high hopes of success. Those hopes took a hit when Hugo drifted too far left off the finish line jump and crashed onto the landing. It was one of those crashes that makes you feel lucky it wasn’t worse, rather than unlucky that it happened. We took a deep breath and waited for Tristan’s run. After struggling to find the right mindset for Quali, Tristan dialed in the focus and put together a great run to take fifth place, a time that would have put him an impressive 18th in the Elite ranks. 

    Back at the top, Myriam was trying to muster all the energy she could find. The fatigue was weighing heavy but Pompon was displaying two of the major reasons why she wears those rainbow bands: supreme skill and incredible determination. She was green through splits two and three, but then she could hold on no more. Exhaustion, mistake, crash. Seventh place at the end of the day was a bitter pill to swallow with overall World Cup points slipping by, but what a courageous effort all week long.

    With the sun blazing down and the tension going up, Thibaut was motivated to set aside his frustrating Quali run and crank up the heat on a track that he’d been loving all week. As he explained afterward, the conditions and the support were great, the bike was perfect but he couldn’t bring it all together for a fast race run. Sometimes things just don’t quite click. Fifteenth place is a lot less than he hoped for, but we all know days like this are part of the game. 

    Amaury was the penultimate man to start, and he had some serious speed on track in Vallnord. The problem with speed is when it is abruptly stopped by a tree… Amaury took a huge slam in his first practice run of race day and we were once again thanking Lady Luck for sparing us broken bones. It was an amazing team effort to get man and machine up and riding again in time for a second practice run and then the all-important race run. Bike parts were shuttled back and forth, settings were recalibrated, physio was administered, space and time were given where needed, pep talks were given when required. It was a huge ask for Amaury to perform, but he stepped up like a champion. Physically and emotionally, that race hurt, but thirteenth on the day was enough to keep him in the overall leader’s jersey. We made the best of a bad situation.

    Indeed, that’s perhaps what we can take away from Vallnord. We had sickness, crashes, and missing parts of the puzzle, but in the end, we held onto the yellow plates as team leaders, Amaury retained his overall lead, and no-one walked away seriously wounded. They say championships are won on your worst days. Let’s hope that the misfortunate has passed and more celebrations are ahead

    Now that the dust has settled, we are really proud of our efforts in Andorra. And we still love this game! Bring on North America!

    Photos Credits - ©Sven Martin & ©Kéno Derleyn

    661 | AMAURY'S WINNING RUN LENZERHEIDE

    661 | AMAURY'S WINNING RUN LENZERHEIDE

    "Amaury Pierron could not have asked for more from during the weekend’s racing in Lenzerheide. The Frenchman was the fastest qualifier for the men’s race and found even more speed in his finals run to take the win. That’s now three victories out of the four downhill World Cup rounds (Lourdes, Fort William and Lenzerheide) that have taken place this season.Red Bull Bike"