iXS's new Trigger knee pads are aimed at riders who are looking for a little extra protection without crossing all the way over into the extra-burly downhill realm – something that's pedalable, but can still help reduce the reprecussions of a solid hit. The design is similar to iXS's popular Carve model, but the Trigger has an additional hard plastic section that's sewn to the outside in the mid-shin area.
The bulk of the pad's protective properties comes from an Xmatter foam insert that's designed to be flexible when pedaling, and then harden up upon impact. There's also non-viscoelastic foam on each side and the very top of the pad. Two velcro straps help adjust the fit, and the back panel is constructed from a mesh fabric for extra breathability.
iXS Trigger Details
• XMatter padding
• Asymmetrical design
• Silicone gripper on upper cuff
• Sizes: S-XXL
• Weight: 540 grams (med)
• EN1621-1:2012 certified
• $139.95 USD
Available in size S-XXL, the Trigger knee pads retail for $139.99 USD. Performance
The Trigger knee pads do look big and a little bulky, especially sitting on a shelf next to more minimalist models, but they're much more form fitting I'd expected, and the overall profile is slim enough that they can fit under most downhill pants without any trouble. They're also nice and comfortable when pedaling – I didn't experience any chafing or hot spots, and they remain surprisingly cool considering how much coverage they offer. You'll obviously still sweat more than if you weren't wearing knee pads at all, but the fabric and the cutouts in the Xmatter foam do allow for a decent amount of ventilation.
I took a massive slam while wearing these pads, a crash that involved getting thrown from my bike and into a jumble of extra sharp rocks. My helmet was destroyed, the dropper post lever looked like it'd been run over by a truck, and I had a new collection of deep cuts on my arm and ankle that were in need of some immediate attention. My knees? Unscathed, despite the fact that a good portion of the impact was delivered to my left knee. The fabric on that pad was ripped, and the layer of hard plastic had some nice skid marks, but that was it. Ideally, the fabric wouldn't have ripped, but these rocks were about as sharp as it gets, veritable stone razor blades.
The fact that my knees didn't even get cut or bruised at all counts as a win in my book, although I think that the next step for iXS should be to put a layer of plastic on the center of the knee. After all, that spot's more likely to hit the ground than the shin area, at least in my experience, and the plastic would help keep them from sticking and ripping on rocks. I'd also like to see the upper cuff extended a little further, something I mentioned when I reviewed iXS's Flow
knee pads. Just another inch or two of material would prevent any unwanted skin exposure, and keep them even more securely in place, although they didn't slip at all during my rock garden tumble.Pinkbike's Take