We don’t take our recommendation of the iXS Trigger knee pads lightly. Over the course of our mountain bike media careers, there are few things we’ve tested more of than knee pads. We wear knee pads on nearly every single ride, so if you tally up how many rides we’ve been on over the last several years, that’s a lot of time spent wearing knee pads. From heavy duty, downhill specific protectors to glorified knee warmers aimed at the enthusiastic pedaler, we’ve ridden ‘em all. iXS is a brand well known in the protection world and we’ve been huge fans of their Flow pads, which we reviewed last year. When they showed us their heavier duty Trigger pads for the first time many months back, we were excited to put them to the test.
Boasting EN1621 Level 1 certification, the iXS Trigger knee pads are burly to say the least. iXS uses their Xmatter protection foam, which is a open-cell slow rebounding foam to disperse energy and help absorb impacts. The flexible Viscoelastic polymer is asymmetrically designed to offer a more comfortable fit and better coverage.
iXS Trigger pads are designed for heavier hits and aggressive riding yet thanks to the Vortex channeling in the Xmatter, air flows through the pads rather well so long as speeds are up. Also aiding in the ventilation of the Trigger pads is iXS’s AeroMesh material, which is durable yet breathable.
In the hand, our initial impression of the pads was a good one. The finished product is presentable and put together well. They are $139 pads, but they look like it. There is a lot of thought, design and good taste that went into the Triggers. Knee pad aficionados could circle around and discuss the finer features and fit with ease, but we prefer to just put them on and get ‘em dirty. And that’s just what we did.
From our first ride in the iXS Triggers, we were comfortable and confident thanks to the fit and coverage area. The pads cover the knee cap very well and the Xmatter extends down a fair ways to help protect the upper shin area. The skid plate on the outer area of the shin looks cool and is also functional as it extends the life of the pad during contact with the ground. We only took a couple minor crashes while wearing the iXS Trigger knee pads, but were happy each time we stood back up. The pads stayed in place well and absorbed the energy quite well.
On warmer days with long, slow climbs or during longer breaks on the trail, we noticed the pads got a touch steamy around the knee cap, but within a few feet of higher speeds the pads cleared out thanks to the Vortex ventilation design. We’d consider these pads to be enduro, all mountain or light duty DH capable and actually spent the most of our test time pedaling with them on our ebikes. During our many eMTB test rides, we were able to put in big miles and session DH trails that we’d normally only hit with a shuttle rig. We had total confidence in the pads abilities and when we did hit the ground, our confidence only grew.
The Wolf’s Last Word
We tested the pads on both ends of the spectrum, from 25-mile pedal days to bike park laps and epic eMTB rides self-shuttling our favorite DH tracks. There aren’t many pads that we’d feel equally comfortable doing such varied rides in. The iXS Trigger knee pads are very well-rounded and capable.
They are a thicker, heavier duty pad, which you should be able to tell by looking at the pads, so it should be understood they aren’t going to breathe as well as their lighter duty siblings, like the Flow. However, if you’re looking for a bit more protection, want full knee and upper shin coverage and would like one pad to handle DH-duty yet still comfortable enough to pedal on longer days in the saddle, the Triggers are worth a look. We still prefer a lighter duty pad for mellower days in the saddle and super hot summer trail rides, but these have become one of our favorite enduro and DH pads this winter.
Look Good Plastic Cap on Outside of Shin Large Coverage Area Stays in Place Very Comfortable
Wish They Had Black Side Padding Could Be Better
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