Even before you look at youth and color options, IXS has 8 different knee protectors in its range and the new Carve Race combines mouldable impact-absorbing materials with shell protection. Fit and mobility are still good though which only leaves heat and cost as potential issues.
The first layer of protection is a lightweight, flexible and relatively thin shell that covers the kneecap and upper shin. It’s not a full, pointy-object-proof hard shell like the toughest DH/BMX pads but it’s enough to shrug off rocks and sharp edges and add some slide protection.
That sits over a 3D-molded piece of ‘Xmatter’ flexible CE-certified material that wraps around the whole knee and extends further down the shin. This is where the impact spreading, shock-absorbing work gets done in a crash.
The abrasion-resistant sleeve it sits in has extra outer-knee and above-kneecap padding together with silicon grippers and broad upper and lower straps to keep the pad in place. Four different sizes make accurate fitting easy too and bulk is relatively low for shell protection so they work fine under tighter pants.
A strip of Aeromesh fabric up the back of the knee adds some ventilation and the Xmatter slab is perforated too but the majority of the pad is sweat-provoking neoprene so things get damp fast if you’re working hard. That said,we’ve pedaled for full days in them without obvious rub or sore spots as a result and you can also pull the Xmatter block out of the inner sleeve so you can wash the rest of the pad when it starts to stink.
By combining a thin shell with hi-tech shock-absorbing, the Carve Race pads give a lot of protection in a relatively lightweight, low bulk, mobile and all-day-comfortable format. They do get sweaty pretty quick on warmer/harder working days but that’s the case with most pads with similar protective powers. There are cheaper alternatives though.
Tech Specs: IXS Carve Race knee pads
- Weight: 522g (pair, medium)
- Sizes: S, M, L, XL
- Price: €109.99