iXS Flow Knee Pad Review
The Best Trail Pads Out There?
Words & Photos by Drew Rohde
There are more knee pads on the market than we can shake a stick at. While I won’t claim to have tried them all, I’ve certainly put in a valiant effort and have been busy testing new pairs every few weeks. Some don’t make it very far down the trail and others find themselves at the edge of the garage, ready for the next ride. At the top of that stinky pile of trail riding pads sit the iXS Flows.
What makes the Flows so great? Comfort. Coverage. Size. The backbone of the Flow pad is the sizeable center cap made of X-Matter. The flexible yet protective knee cap covering help make this one of my all time favorite trail pads. X-Matter is an open cell compound made of malleable viscoelastic polymer. The beauty of this type of material is that it can be comfortable and form around the body while still offering multi-impact protection.
iXS also uses antimicrobial Aeromesh material throughout the pad to aid in comfort and heat regulation. A silicone strip lines the inside top portion of the pad to prevent slippage while Velcro closures ensure a snug fit around the calf just below the knee. To be honest there isn’t a ton of smoke and mirrors when it comes to these pads, and there shouldn’t be.
At this point in my riding career, knee protection has become as routine as wearing a helmet. Pads have gotten so comfortable and slim that it doesn’t make sense not to slip on a pair. When I’m going on super mellow rides or want the absolute minimum on a hot day, pads like Leatt’s Airflex or G-Form’s Pro-X are barely noticeable and offer that little something to take the edge off. On days when anything bigger than a 130mm bike is coming out I’ll grab my Flows, without hesitation. I’m confident riding them on most terrain I’d take a 160-170mm bike on. Unless I’m shuttling super burly trails on my all mountain bike and pedaling isn’t a concern, the iXS Flow pads are my first choice. These pads breathe fairly well and are extremely comfortable, even on long days. The knee cup is large and offers a nice wrap, engulfing all the vulnerable parts of the knee that seem to aim for the ground first. Some pads compromise size and comfort for protection, these pads feel safe and are still very slim and packable, which is a great trait for pads that I take everywhere.
The Wolf’s Last Word
If you’re looking for a pad that feels like a minimalist’s dream while still offering all mountain protection, the iXS Flow pads are impressive to say the least. I’ve spent the last few years trying just about every pad I could get my hands on and these are definitely one of the best I’ve slipped a leg through. Comfort and protection go hand in hand with the Flows and I’ve been riding them for a year without any issues beyond some minor stretch. These pads are built for us – the delicate beasts.
Website: bike.ixs.com, thegravitycartel.com
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