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IXS Trail Evo helmet review – decent lid if you find a deal

Many vents, sizes and MIPS protection make the IXS Trail Evo a lid worth looking at

IXS Trail Evo helmet
(Image: © GuyKesTV)

Our Verdict

MIPS protection with plenty of low speed venting, low weight and a practical peak makes the IXS Trail Evo a decent all-rounder but definitely check around for deals.

For

  • MIPS protection and extended rear
  • Cool at low speeds
  • Lots of sizes
  • Relatively light
  • Peak actually does something

Against

  • High speed airflow is adequate not amazing
  • Limited visor adjustment
  • Ugly seam between hard-shells
  • No glasses/goggle management

Relatively low weight and lots of size options with MIPS safety boost and multi-vent cooling make the IXS Trail Evo helmet a potential contender for best trail mountain bike helmet honors. There as some finishing niggles though and it’s available much cheaper than the quoted price if you look around.

IXS Trail Evo helmet

The peak doesn't adjust much but it still provides some sun and rain protection  (Image credit: GuyKesTV)
Our testing explained

For information on Bike Perfect's testing procedures and how our scoring system works, see our how we test page.

Design and specifications

While a lot of the latest helmets have gone with a ‘fewer, bigger vents’ strategy the IXS Trail Evo keeps things more old-school with 22 mid-sized ports evenly spaced all over the helmet. That includes a grid of nine exhaust vents that cover the whole rear of the helmet but there’s only limited internal channeling heading towards them though.

The pads all sit on a single sheet, secured with elastic straps to create the allegedly brain saving MIPS slide effect. The straps are only Velcro-ed on though so you can still pull the pads out for washing. 

IXS helmet top

(Image credit: GuyKesTV)

The security cradle is secured with a plasticky feeling click dial and can be popped and plugged between three different height settings and there are four different shell sizes. Basic form is on the oval rather than round side if your skull has a preference though.

The straps are fixed into the helmet rim for easy access and less skin contact and the Y buckles have a flip-up lock lever for easy fore and aft adjustment. There’s an optional chin strap pad too.

The lower edge of the helmet is hardshell protected as well as the top but the irregular gap between the two halves will irritate some aesthetes and the overall finish quality is OK rather than outstanding.

IXS Trail Evo

(Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Performance

It’s easy to get sucked into talking about vents and other bonus features on helmets but the key aspect is always fit. Four different shell sizes mean you can get a more accurate volume with the IXS Trail Evo than a lot of other options. Bear that oval form in mind though and try before you buy if you can, especially if you’ve got a more spherical skull. While the dial and cradle adjust feel basic they do a decent job and the easy adjustment of the straps makes a secure fit easy to achieve. Light weight makes it easy on your neck on long days and rough descents too.

The multi-vent strategy works well at lower speeds too, with noticeably less sweat sting in the eyes compared to big scoop lids I rode it back to back with on hot days. That cooling comparison reverses on faster runs though as there’s not much through flow to the rear exhaust vents.

It also lacks any specific glasses holders or goggle grippers and the ‘adjustable’ helmet just tilts a few degrees between top and bottom position. You can actually see the peak in your eyeline when it’s tilted down though so it’s not just decorative like it is on many of the latest helmets.

IXS Trail Evo

Many many vents means lots of low speed heat radiation (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Verdict

The IXS Trail Evo doesn’t have the fashion features and shaping of the latest helmets but that gives it a better low speed cooling than most of the big hole lids and the peak actually keeps sun/rain out of your eyes a bit. Lots of sizes make finding a snug fit easy too and, while finishing is OK and not outstanding for a $120 / £120 lid, you can find it for much less than that online and that would obviously increase the current score.

Tech Specs: IXS Trail Evo helmet

  • Price: $120 /£120/ €159 
  • Sizes: XS, S/M (tested), M/L, XL
  • Colors: Black, Grey (tested) Saffron yellow
  • Weight: 331g

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He spent a few years working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg