Product Picks

Aug 26, 2011
by Mike Levy  
iXS Slope-Series Evo Knee Guards

The iXS Slope-Series Evo knee guards have had a lot of thought put into them to provide a substantial amount of protection, be comfortable enough to wear for an extended period of time and stand up to the abuse that they'll no doubt see. The body of the Slope-Series Evo is made from a material that iXS calls "AeroMesh" that is said to allow more air flow than other materials, while the rear features an open section behind the knee joint to prevent any excess fabric from bunching up. The hard knee-cup is covered with Kevlar fabric that will be resistant to ripping when you're sliding across the ground on your knees. Hook-and-loop straps at the top and bottom, along with grippy Silica strips where they make contact with your skin, help to keep them in place. The Slope-Series Evo knee guards are not as bulky as many other options out there, but still include padding for the side of the knee that has been channeled for flexibility, as well as soft padding extension above and below the hard knee cup. The 370 gram/set Slope-Series Evo pads are available in three sizes: small, medium and large, and in the black color shown below only. They retail for $69.95 USD. More at iXS

Slope-Series Evo knee guards
The Slope-Series Evo knee guards not only feature a hard knee-cup for protection, but also flexible padding on the side. A cutaway on the back of the pad keeps the material from bunching up.

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThe iXS Slope-Series Evo knees are my go-to pads when testing downhill bikes, or even when riding challenging terrain on our all-mountain rigs - that says a lot about how comfortable we found them to be. The more comfortable your pads are, the more likely you'll be to wear them, which is a good thing. They also did a great job of staying put throughout a long day in the bike park. The flexible side padding adds another level of protection that riders who have issues hitting the insides of their knees on the top tube will find especially nice. Gripes? We found them to be quite warm, even hotter then some other knee pads that we've used. Not ideal if you ride in a hot climate. Overall the Slope-Series pads are comfortable and, at $69.95 USD, they are also a great value. - Mike Levy



Giro Xar Helmet

Giro's Xar helmet replaces the Xen, a longtime favorite lid of riders who were looking for a bit more coverage or didn't want to look like full-out XC racers when on their bikes. The Xar continues with that same theme, but adds an edgier and more modern look, along with some important updates. While the new shape is more obvious, the Xar's new Roc Loc 5 retention system has a much bigger impact on the helmet's performance. The new retention system is adjustable height wise to three different positions (just like the previous version), but is much more svelte, and uses only a single central dial for fit adjustments. Hidden inside the Xar's EPS foam is the Roll Cage, a tough DuPont Nylon web that increases strength. The visor is adjustable without requiring you to loosen any dials, simply push it up or pull it down to the desired location. The shell features 17 vents, the same amount as the Xen had, but they have a more angular look when compared to the Xen's softer, rounder appearance. The Xar is available in six different colors, three different sizes that will fit most heads and retails for $130.00 USD. Giro


XAR Helmet
The new Giro Xar has a more angular look than the Xen, but the real difference is the helmet's mega comfortable and easily adjustable Roc Loc 5 retention system.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThe Xar has a very similar fit to the Xen, and every tester who gave it a go found it to be quite comfortable, but the revised Roc Loc 5 retention system is what sets the new helmet apart from previous models. While the Xen used a dual buckle arrangement for its Roc Loc that nearly always required two hands to adjust, not to mention that we found that it could loosen by accident if it made contact with the top of your backpack, the Roc Loc 5's fit could be easily modified with one hand while on the go. The adjustment range also felt to be much finer, allowing us to find a better fit than before. When compared back to back, it is also clear that the Roc Loc 5 feels much less intrusive - nearly unnoticeable - on the back of the head. The helmet's 17 vents are not quite as airy as Giro's race oriented Athlon, but certainly on par with what the Xen offered. The P.O.V. visor attachment works as advertised, being easily adjustable while also holding the visor from rattling about on rough trails. The Xar was comfortable, the helmet's new Roc Loc 5 was easy to adjust and felt more invisible than previous iterations, but it proved to be not as robust as previous versions - the unit on our Xar test helmet came apart at the clip where the vertical element clips into the band. It still functions fine, but we'd expect more from such an expensive helmet. - Mike Levy



Giant XC Glove

Giant may be well known for their expansive line of bikes, but they have an impressive gear range as well, including a mountain of different gloves to choose from. Their XC Glove is a lightweight and minimally padded option that puts an emphasis on ventilation and bar feel. The single layer palm uses Clarino™ leather, and you'll find silicon grippers on the palm and finger tips for a positive feel in wet conditions. The top of the XC Glove doesn't use single layer fabric like found on many other hot weather inspired gloves, but instead a lightly padded and well vented mesh that no doubt provides a bit more protection. The minimalist XC Glove also forgoes any Velcro closure at the cuff. They are available in XS, S, M, L, XL and XXL sizes, as well as blue/white, white/gray and black/gray colorways. Retail price is $30.00 USD. Giant.


Giant glove
Giant's XC Glove feels airy on hot days and fit my hands perfectly.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThe XC Glove certainly isn't just for cross-country riding, but work well whenever the temps start to rise. They strike a middle ground between gloves that use a completely mesh top, and much warmer, fully padded gloves that are better suited to lift assisted riding. Fit will always be a personal thing that is different from rider to rider, but I found that they matched my paws quite well, with no extra material to get bunched up, and the length of the fingers also felt to be spot on. They have held up quite well, not being any worse for wear despite having quite a few summer miles under their belt. The XC Glove is a great choice, but if I had to nitpick I would like to see the cuff opening a touch larger - they could be difficult to get on and off. A small complaint for what are otherwise a great pair of gloves. - Mike Levy



Truvativ Holzfeller Pedals

Truvativ's stealth looking Holzfeller pedals certainly don't attract as much attention as some of the flashier options out there, but it should be mentioned that they were among the first to make use of larger inboard sealed bearings, something that is now quite popular among boutique pedals. They use 16 proprietary pins per pedal (8 per side), each one screwed in from the opposing face with a hex key, and the 18mm thick body is slightly concave to help your feet stay in place. While certainly are not the lightest option out there, they weigh in at 590 grams/set, their sturdy construction and sealed bearing internals should have them turning nicely for a long time to come. The galvanized color option shown here retails for $96 USD and the white for $107 USD. Truvativ.


Truvativ Holzefeller pedals
Truvativ's Holzfeller pedals offer tremendous grip in a sturdy package.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThere are flashier pedals out there, but there is no denying that the Holzfellers offer an incredible amount of grip. Enough, in fact, that I'd put them at the top of my list in this category. The modest amount of concave helps, but most of the traction is surely down to the pedal's fierce pins that are far pointier than what is commonly used. The smaller diameter pins do provide loads of grip, but the downside is that their smaller size makes them a bit more vulnerable to damage. The good news is that if you do manage to break a pin, it can be easily threaded out from the opposite side, as opposed to having to get out the vice grips or drill as you would on some other pedals. While 580 grams per set is portly compared to some other pedals, they are still spinning as smooth as day-one and I expect them to continue running great for a long time to come. These are a great choice if grip and reliability trump light weight on your priority list. - Mike Levy

Have you used any of the products featured in Pinkbike's Picks? Share your impressions below.


75 Comments

  • 53 2
 iXS knee pads - nice choice
Giro Xar helmet - nice choice
Giant xc gloves - ok i guess, i like a strap
Holzfeller Pedals - $100, really? there aren't better pedals for that price? ill stick with my straitlines
  • 16 1
 I agree not the best pedal...
  • 14 9
 in my opinion the holzfeller is the best pedal i have ever ridden so far. you can get this pedal for 70 usd in germany or cheaper. i tried the straitline pedals but they did not have the same amount of grip. i think one of the many advantages is that you can ride with any shoe you want and have no problems staying on the pedal which saves you the trouble of buying a five ten or teva shoe. downsides are, as mentioned, the weight, the vulnerable pins and that it seems to be impossible to change the bearings. after two years those are pretty beaten.
  • 2 5
 what? $100 for flats? why not just buy the DXes for $30 less?
  • 3 0
 I bought these holzfeller pedals three years ago and i found 2 negative points about them, but maybe i'm just not enought lucky: The pins break every time you hit the pedal to a rock and the bearings were smoots for 3 ride...kinda weird for sealed bearings. I wanted to replace the bearings but you need a special tool that the distributer doesn't stock so you're stuck with a pedal that has 5 pins left on each side of it and exploded bearings that aren't replaceable.



I just bought straitline pedals that's what you should do if you destroy every pedals you try haha...go take a look to mine after 2 years of riding they are working like new but looks beaten to death!
  • 4 1
 Ive had my hozfellers for a year or two now and ridden dirt jumps and downhill with them. besides the paint chipping, i have no complains. They feel like the first day i bought them. Most grippy pedals ive ever had and the sealed bearings last forever
  • 2 0
 those pedals are worth the money when they are on sale for $50
  • 11 4
 KONA WAHWAHS BABY!
  • 8 0
 Those are the best pedals ive ever used, i would recommend them to anybody. Mine are black crome though, maybe they dont make that finish anymore?

Worst pedal ever is the 50/50. My $45 DMR v6's are far better
  • 5 0
 Deity Decoy 2.5 $85, Decoy LT $120, even the Compound Pedal $48 is better then that out of date Truvativ's Holzfeller. They are hands down the worst pedals I have ever used! The pins are way to long, they break off when you look at them, the bearings last for one day of ridding, they are big and ugly. I will stick with Deity.
  • 1 0
 DMR Vault. Price has come down to about $110! Worth it for sure. AMAZING grip, HUGE platform, thin, and light. Don't forget the most important factor for every component - color options...
  • 1 0
 I have a Holzfeller pedals in a few year and they're just awesome , they have an impressive grip and they are super light ...

I recomend the Truvativ Holzefeller pedals Wink
  • 1 0
 for a super tacky grip on the foot you should pick up some 1664 pedals for like $45 USD - They are half the price, half the weight, and twice as strong and grippy
  • 3 0
 canfieldbrother crampon, best pedal ever
  • 1 0
 any platform pedal with replaceable pins should be fine for any rider. don't need to break the bank to get he thinnest lightest pedal out there.
  • 1 0
 NEVER BUY 50/50s! I 100% AGREE WITH THAT. I've ridden many pairs as well as had friends who have owned pairs and the pins are trash and they look hideous. Stick to your DMRs, Specialized, or Straitlines.
  • 1 0
 I ride my Holzfellers since 2005/2006 and they stick well after an amount of crashes ...
  • 1 0
 I haven't ridden much of the Holzfellers so I can't really speak on that.
  • 1 0
 Yeah , but I did
  • 1 0
 I have only riden Holzfellers once, after which my shin required stitches. Not my first choice of pedal tbh...
  • 1 0
 that can happen regardless of it's hold. that doesn't mean it's the pedals fault.
  • 1 0
 Feet slip on any pedal that doesnt clip in, dont bitch about getting hurt from your pedals when you slip cause it happens to everyone.
  • 19 0
 I can't believe the amount of people who just come on this site day after day and just bash everyone's opinion. "This is a sh*tty POD"
"Those pedals suck" "These reviews are one sided" Everyone has brand loyalties and different opinions. All PD did was take 4 products they have had access to and wrote a review with a couple Pro's and a couple Con's. Everyone is going to think differently.
Every product is going to have a different use, for a different person, with a different budget. You internet people drive me nuts.. Anyway
that's me ranting.. have a good day all.
  • 6 0
 That was not a rant, it was one of the most sensible comments i have ever read on PB. You should be given 100+ props for that comment...
  • 2 0
 Bang on, BC4x4. Product Pics is going to be a weekly (hopefully) feature that is exactly that, some basic pros and cons. We get to ride a TON of stuff and this will let us share more of it with the readers.
  • 1 0
 To begin with, no one is bashing anyone and also, who cares? This post was meant for people to see what products Pinkbike thinks are good right now. By posting your opinion it's only to help someone make a correct decision. If you saw a product on here that you've had bad experiences with, you'd have done the same thing.
  • 15 2
 I like these kind of articles but do wonder whether PB has ever given a negative review? I can't recall reading one.
  • 2 0
 i guess these are just the good ones. they didnt just pick a whole heap of products then test them. the shit ones dont get talked about which sucks for us consumers...
  • 2 1
 *PRODUCT PICKS* .............And they do offer some negative points on each product.
  • 2 0
 yeah, but i don't see why they'd bother putting something up if they thought it was rubbish. surely the point is to recommend good products?
  • 1 0
 It's product picks. I was looking for new kneepads and if someone who has probably ridden all the kneepads that exist on the market takes time to mention those, might as well save myself the hassle of figuring it out the hard way and buy those...
  • 7 0
 @TrailSailor - each product has suggestions of improvement or things that we ran into with them. Do you go out of your way to find products that you don't want to ride?
  • 3 1
 C'mon, PB gotta pay the bills. It's like any mag; these reviews aren't out of the goodness of their heart; it's everyone else commenting here that has the freedom to share their unfiltered opinion, not PB.
  • 1 0
 @brule - that's true, you're right.
  • 2 0
 @brule - No but you can't say every product in the industry is up to par, most riders don't look for bad products, but they are out there and not hard to find. I've purchased many products that i was stoked on and had great "reviews" only to find it was a complete POS after using it for more than a 'test'... PB does have a tendency to hype product they are reviewing, but where would PB be if they gave a negative review? probably not seeing much demo gear from companies to review..... catch 22.
  • 3 0
 I've ridden Holzfeller pedals for a couple seasons off and on, usually keeping them on my XC/AM rig.

The pedal body is tough, the pins are not.

The bearings have held up well, but are not serviceable (without some proprietary tool I can't find.)

They're a bit heavy.

They have incredible grip.... and incredible shin killing potential.

I picked them up in a shop for $60 and feel good about that price.
  • 2 0
 The IXS pads are the best I've ever used. Stayed in place through the roughest terrain (more than can be said for other brands), keep their shape and don't stretch and tear (again unlike some other brands), offer great protection (from experience) and don't stink after ever ride and excellent value. Great job IXS!
  • 1 0
 this 'other brand' wouldn't be 661 would it?
  • 1 0
 LOL! I wouldn't like to say! Smile
  • 2 1
 Giro are the masters of comfy and great fitting skid lids IMO. Some of their colour schemes are not to my personal taste but hey, someone somewhere will like them. Those giant gloves look tidy also, always have problems with gloves especially on my little finger,very odd i think...Any suggestions on a Post card...
  • 3 1
 those pedals are the only ones I ride!! best pedals for the money
  • 1 0
 Giro's Section lid kinda sucks... although it fits well, it's super bulky, and Triple Eight makes a better jump/park lid. my 2c
  • 2 0
 My giro dirt jump helmet SUCKS! It may be light and all, but you toss a rock at it and it dents. Just from it falling off my bar it dents. I do not feel safe with it, but it's better than nothing...
  • 1 0
 no doubt, I can't wait to smash the shit outta mine so I can get a new one.
  • 1 0
 if you want a good pisspot go get TSG comfyiest helmet i ever wore and still in one piece after me using it for almost two years .and yes it does make for a good emergency brake
  • 2 0
 @louiscritchie
lol I know that feeling. A small part of you wishes to crash so bad that you can justify that nicer helmet.

Perhaps lend it to friends, then at least you're not wishing it upon yourself.
  • 3 0
 The Giro Xar does not replace the Xen. The Xen is still in their 2011 catalogue. I personally prefer the look of the Xen!
  • 3 3
 Is it just me or do all of the reviews on pinkbike sound more like disguised ads rather than unbiased reviews. In the past couple of years it's been rare to find a mediocre product called mediocre; it usually has some kind of spin that makes the manufacturer look like gold.
  • 7 0
 Very few companies make a straight up crappy product and if you know it's crap would you want to go out of your way to ride it? We are fortunate in that we get to ride / try out a lot of products for a short period of time and now we are wanting to share that with the readers. Each product has pros and cons/suggestions for improvement. Too bad that you don't like to see new gear.
  • 1 0
 i think it is a differance of perspective. if you get a decent product but you paid for it 100$ and it has some annoying features that a 50$ you had before didnt you may be pissed. A review forces you to look at it different, maybe more objective since there was less expectation. I think ppl simply need to know how to get the info they need from reviews. I for example now now holz pedals would annoy me due to pin loss. Had the same in my other pedal and it was a problem for me
  • 4 1
 Thank you for resisting the urge to use the word, "colorway."
  • 2 1
 I'd have given you 100 +props if I could....colorway...Aaaarrrggghhhh....
  • 2 0
 I have Giro XAR and it's awesome! It's never hot when you wear it and it's comfortable Smile
  • 2 0
 Looks good Mike - like the format and easy to follow and reproduce
  • 1 0
 pedals are the $h!t.... rode them for over a year now and never had a problem. just try not to catch them to a shin.
  • 1 0
 Anyone know if the Holzfella replacement pins will fit Wah-Wahs?
  • 1 0
 If you're looking for new Wah Wah pins, just get some grub screws off ebay. Theyre either M3 or M4 (the latter I think, quick google will tell you) and about 10mm length.
  • 1 0
 Anyone know who carries the iXS Slope-Series Evo Knee Guards in Whistler?
  • 1 0
 Ticket 2 Ride can help find you a shop in Whistler. www.t2r-distributors.com
  • 1 1
 "They use 16 proprietary pins per pedal" Not really the correct use of the word proprietary is it?
  • 1 0
 Actually, it is. The pedals don't use more standard grub screws or flat top pins that can be found most anywhere, but rather a much pointier pin that thickens at its threads. There are other pedals that use their own pins, but you won't find any that use the same ones as these Truvativ pedals. Not that it matters, but: i>"manufactured and sold only by the owner of the patent, formula, brand name, or trademark associated with the product: proprietary medicine."/i>

I love that people take the time to comment on things like this though as opposed to commenting on the gear tested.
  • 2 0
 Ahh my bad man. My thinking was how on earth are them cap head screws proprietary to the pedal other than their positioning, making me think proprietary was the wrong choice of word. I opened the high res image and its pretty cool how they turned off the top portion of the thread. simple and effective Keep up the good reporting. P.S. popped over to see Luis from K9 the other which is just up the road from me. He has more new products in the pipeline, might be worth an email to get lowdown.
  • 1 0
 I like my Giro Xen 10 times better then my Rift .
  • 1 0
 Nice!
  • 2 3
 Truvativ's Holzfeller pedals offer tremendous grip in a sturdy package. I conquer Smile
  • 3 5
 All of us realizes that these kind of reviews are bought by manufacturers/dealers, right?
Show me at least one bad review in PB.
  • 6 0
 Really? We talk about the negative points of each product, including the fact that the helmets retention band broke, the gloves are hard to get on and the pedals are heavy as sin.
  • 5 0
 I really dont know whats wrong with these people. Keep up the good work PB!
  • 1 1
 Point One Podium Pedals are the best, super light and really good grip.
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