Our friend Victor from the Gravity Cartel was at the SF Bike Expo last weekend repping the latest from Spank Industries. Recently he also became the US distributor for IXS, a Swiss manufacturer of sporting goods and apparel that has a big presence in Europe and looking to expand to the US. One of the highlights of the IXS line is the Flow Series Knee Pads, and he set us up with some samples to try out.
Designed for aggressive trail riding and dare I say it, Enduro, at first glance the pads are similar to our favorite knee armor for riding DH. However, they’re much lighter, and much more streamlined with a moisture wicking, anti bacterial mesh backing.
The Flow Pads use an open cell foam material IXS refers to as X-Matter. Designed to absorb energy on impact, it’s wrapped with a kevlar cover for durability. What makes this pad stand out though, is the shape of the pad. It has the best shape of any molded knee pad I’ve worn to date. IXS clearly thought this through, and actually have a term for it— KneeGussetTM. The main take away here though is how well it wraps around the knee. My sample is a size medium and the fit is dialed. Inga is running a small, and her take was the same.
For a first ride test we decided a day in Santa Cruz riding Demo to log some high speed runs was in order. Our first impression of the pads was highly favorable. Although there is only a single strap, they stayed in place and didn’t move at all. We did two loops of Saw Pit which features a 3 mile climb back up a fire road where we left the pads on. The only concession was to loosen the strap during the long ascents back up. The silicone grippers worked well, and I didn’t experience any pad creep of any kind, and I didn’t experience any hot spots with the pads that could have led to chaffing. Until now I’ve been relying on G-form knee pads for this type of riding; the IXS Flow Pad feels like it offers more protection, with no penalty in regards to weight or comfort, and while time will tell how they hold up in regards to durability and chaffing, they’ve become my favorite after only five hours of use.
Check ’em out: IXS Flow Knee Pads