Eurobike 2017: IXS Incorporate Stretchable Zips Into Protection

by
September 5, 2017

IXS said they hadn’t changed much on their helmets this year, but have made some major revisions to their kneepads, including a new zipped model. For that, and some of their new body armour, they’ve added what they’re calling FlexZips, developed in partnership with YKK and made to have 20% stretch. The idea is that’ll let things sit flatter, bunch up less, and not ride up so easily either. Inwardly, their padding retains the Xmatter foam protection they’ve developed and put in their previous pads. Aesthtically, the pads move from black to grey.

(You can read how close a previous IXS model came to the top spot in our recent kneepad grouptest).

Eurobike 2017 - IXS Protection
The Flow Zip looks like any other knee pad until you get up close.
Eurobike 2017 - IXS Protection
On the side you find an extremely compliant zip though.

As a British mountain biker, you’re probably well familiar with the sensation of really wanting to take wet kneepads off after a ride, but frustrated at having to deal with shoes first. Or perhaps you just want to take them off quickly at the bottom of a climb. IXS haven’t gone for zips before, because of the unpleasant way they can bunch up, producing spots of discomfort. The FlexZip is one they’ve developed in partnership with YKK, and has a good amount of stretch in it. It’s not impossible to get it to bulge outward, but as is visible above, it can sit flat on a curve without going in a million other directions too. Despite that compliance, playing with it on the stand the zip had no stickiness or difficulty in either direction. We’re looking forward to testing some in real world conditions.

eurobike 2017 - IXS Protection
Here’s a quick shot of it being zipped back up. It seemed to sit flattest if you stretched it a little while doing it up.
Eurobike 2017 - IXS Protection
Xmatter is an open cell, multi-impact viscoelastic foam that IXS have been putting in their higher end protection for some years.
eurobike 2017 - IXS Protection
The difference with their latest batch of high end pads is that’s it’s removable.
Eurobike 2017 - IXS Protection
The Flow Evo+ doesn’t have zips, but does incorporate the other high end features of IXS pads, such as Xmatter and more breathable mesh fabrics.
Eurobike 2017 - IXS Protection
The Carve Evo+ is a slightly burlier pad with similar features to the Flow Evo+, but still softer and lighter than their hardshell pads.

As well as kneepads, IXS are this year introducing their new Trigger body armour, which like the pad range is softer and lighter than full stormtrooper gear, but offers enough protection to be permissible for many races. Previous armour suits they’ve made have lacked integrated elbow pads, which meant for some British races riders had to wear some separate pads on top. The Trigger integrates it all in the from of Xmatter, but makes most of it removable too.

eurobike 2017 - IXS Protection
Just like the Flow Zip pads, the zip on this has 20% stretch. It’s not as critical to comfort here, but apparently does help the front to not ride up so much as you move around.
Eurobike 2017 - IXS Protection
Unlike their previous armour suits to the left, the Trigger has integrated elbow pads.
Eurobike 2017 - IXS Protection
The back, shoulder and elbow protection are all removable, so riders can tweak the suit to suit, so to speak.
Eurobike 2017 - IXS Protection
The removable pads are IXS’ own Xmatter.
Eurobike 2017 - IXS Protection
The thigh protection…
Eurobike 2017 - IXS Protection
… and chest protection aren’t removable, but they are lightweight.
Eurobike 2017 - IXS Protection
Lots of small details like this zip cover too.
Eurobike 2017 - IXS Protection
All of IXS armour suits have substantial back protectors.

Sustainability was on a lot of people’s lips at Eurobike this year, with more companies talking about how their products are made, what they’re made from, and also not rushing headlong into a cycle of new everything for every year. In that vein, IXS have started thinking through and revising their entire supply chain to be more sustainable. They’re making much of their apparel from recycled PET bottles for a start, and also in their approach to design and seasons, they’re trying to not create overstock situations for dealers. Instead of redesigning and relaunching their clothing line each year, they’re going to be keeping designs around for 2 – 3 seasons, perhaps introducing new colours each year, but overall gradually shifting things onward in a slower cycle.

Eurobike 2017 - IXS Protection
How it’s made! PET bottles are collected, washed, turned into pellets, then spun into fibres and made into fabric.
Eurobike 2017 - IXS Protection
That’s basically a whole jersey put in many of our recycling bins once a week.
Eurobike 2017 - IXS Protection
IXS are trying to minimise the environmental impact of their clothing.
Eurobike 2017 - IXS Protection
As well as recycled materials, they’re slowing down some of their product lines, with designs meant to last 2 – 3 years, with new colours each year rather than complete redesigns.
Eurobike 2017 - IXS Protection
As well as adult clothing, they do a wide range for kids too, including downhill race PJs.
Eurobike 2017 - IXS Protection
As well as that, they make stretch denim jeans and shorts.
Eurobike 2017 - IXS Protection
And of course flannel shirts.
Eurobike 2017 - IXS Protection
Their 2018 jerseys also have more breathable mesh arms.

 

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