Friday, January 13, 2023

Killer 187 Fly Knee Pads: First Impressions & Initial Observations

I am revisiting Killer 187 Fly knee pads. These are a “lower end” 187 product. I’ve actually had these before—and I got rid of them for better knee pads (e.g. the Pros). So, why am I revisiting them now? When I previously had them, I was mostly wearing knee pads when skating transition. I upgraded to the Pros, because the Fly version wasn’t padded enough for some of the harder (and higher) falls on mini ramps.

Well, a few things have changed since then. Namely, I often now wear pads even when “street” skating (funny what age and injury do to you). My existing 187 Pro knee pads are great—I love them. But I am curious to see if there is anything a little less bulky for street, and that’s where the 187 Fly knee pads come (back) into the picture. I ordered a set last week, and they arrived yesterday. This post is my initial observations / comments about them (prior to actual use).

First, they are actually longer than 187 Pros (see pics below). This kind surprises me. For some reason I always think the higher-end stuff has more “coverage area” than lower end stuff. Here, it is the opposite.

Second, they are slip-on as opposed to an open/butterfly-backing, like the 187 Pros are (pic below). Some people have very strong feelings about slip-on vs. butterfly. I always wear knee gaskets with pads. Thus, my shoes always have to come off when putting pads on, so having to take shoes off to put pads on is no big deal to me (huge to deal to some). I can absolutely put slip-ons on faster than butterflies, because there are fewer straps to deal with, but that’s not really a big deal. Butterflies, esp. without gaskets, can lead to some pressure points that don’t happen with slip-ons (but again, I always use gaskets, so this is a non-issue for me). Butterflies, however, can get more of an “exact” fit than with slip-ons. So, in that regard, butterflies can be more comfortable. The fabric on backside of the Flys is actually pretty thick. My old Pro-Designed had a really soft/comfy spandex in back. But yet again, I use gaskets, so these matters are of no concern to me.

Third, the lower strap on the Fly pads is a “lace-through,” where on the Pros it’s a “Velcro-in-place. Personally. I like the Velcro better. I may make a DIY modification on the Flys to turn them into Velcro as opposed to “lace through” (pic below).

Fourth, is fit. The Flys run a bit small (Pros are true to size), so I ordered up a size (e.g. I got a size large), which was also to accommodate knee gaskets. Even still, the Flys fit really snug. I know they will break-in/loosen up with usage, but for now, really snug. Not tight, but quite snug.

Fifth, is protection. The Flys are noticeable thinner than the Pros (pic below). I would not want to do a hard drop-to-knee with the Flys, and I will never wear them when skating larger mini ramps (let alone something bigger). But, for more mellow old–guy street skating, they might be enough. More on that after some actual use, as this is just an “out of the box / first impressions” review.

Sixth, 187 does not make recaps for the Fly knee pads. That kind of sucks. Even Burly Recaps does not make recaps for these. So, when the cap is toast, it’s either DIY new caps, or get a new set of Fly Pads. How long the caps last will also be part of a long(er)-term review of these.

Last, is appearance. Obviously this one is subjective. I wish they were shorter (e.g. not as long) like the 187 Pros. Something about the ratio/proportions of a longer/narrower pad looks a little odd to me. I wish someone would make pads akin to the old Rectors. Yeah, those were horrible for transition, but they made for a good, smallish, light-weight street type pad. Additionally, on the Flys I don’t like the black rivets in the cap (pic below). This is weird—-usually I think rivets on knee pad caps looks pretty bad-ass. But some reason, I don’t like them on the Flys. So, I took a white paint-pen and “whited-them-out,” and I like the looks of this better (pic below). Yeah, it's a very minor thing, but I get fussy about my equipment. I may also spray paint one of the caps blue. I always liked the look of mis-matched (re)cap colors that were prevalent in the 1980s—and I actually have my 187 Pros set-up the same way (pic below).

So, that’s about it for “First Impressions.” Next will be actual use, and that’s the real test. That follow-up can be found here.

Oh, I should mention cost differences.
Flys: $46 at SoCal ($50 at 187 web site)
Pros: $100 at SoCal ($110 at 187 web site)

The photos below mostly compare the Pros (on left) and Flys (on right). One photo shows the original and painted rivets on the Flys. The last photo shows my Pros with the mismatched recap colors (mentioned above).


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