iXS Flow Evo+ Knee Guards - Review

Feb 16, 2018
by Mike Kazimer  
iXS Flow review


iXS' Flow Evo+ knee guards aren't an entirely new addition to the Swiss company's lineup, but they did receive an update for 2018 to improve their moisture wicking and breathability. The Flow knee guards are intended for all-round usage, and have a simple sleeve-style design, with one velcro strap on the lower rear portion to help keep them securely in place. Impact protection is provided by a removable viscoelastic pad (iXS call it X-Matter) that's designed to harden upon impact and reduce the severity of a blow.
iXS Flow Evo+ Details
• X-Matter viscoelastic pad (removable)
• Anti-bacterial AeroMesh fabric
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL
• EN1621-1:1997 certified
• MSRP: $79.90 USD
www.ixs-sportdivision.com

There's a mesh back panel to help with ventilation on warm days, and a silicone gripper along the upper cuff to add further protection against slippage. Available in sizes S-XL, the Flow Evo+ knee guards retail for $79.90 USD.


iXS Flow review
The X-Matter pads can be removed when it's time to wash the funk off.
iXS Flow review
A silicone gripper keeps the upper cuff in place.


Performance

This time of the year I wear knee pads on almost every single ride – it's cold and slippery out, which means my chances of hitting the ground are even higher than usual, and pads serve double duty by helping keep my knees warm. For the most part, the fit of the Flow knee guards was excellent. They're very low profile, especially considering the fact that they provide actual impact protection rather than just using a few layers of foam to create a false sense of security. I was able to wear them under slim-fitting pants without any trouble – they could be a good option for the skinny-jean wearing dirt jump crowd. I haven't been able to try them in really scorching temperatures, but I did take them on a few rides in California when temperatures were in the 70s and they didn't feel overly hot.

I only have one minor complaint about the fit of the Flow knee guards – I wish the height of the upper cuff was another inch or two taller. That request is partially due to vanity – the relatively low height meant that I was sometimes showing off the dreaded gorby gap, that line of skin between the top of the knee pad and the hem of my shorts. A little extra length would help with that, and it would add even more security against slippage.


iXS Flow review
The Flow Evo+ knee guards are relatively low profile, which allows them to fit well under shorts or pants.
iXS Flow review
A velcro strap is used to adjust the fit over the calf.

I've thankfully avoided any major wrecks while wearing these pads, but they have helped take the bite out of a couple knee vs. stem impacts, along with a sudden slide out that had me dragging my knee on the ground when I lost traction in a muddy corner. If you're regularly hitting Red Bull Rampage-sized hucks I'd recommend something with a little more padding, but for general usage the Flow knee guards are a good choice. They've also held up well despite all the muddy miles that they've seen, and the removable padding makes washing them a simple task.



Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesThe Flow Evo+ knee guards are comfortable, low-profile, and provide enough protection for all-round usage. I wouldn't mind if the upper cuff was a little taller, but otherwise they're an excellent option for riders looking for a set of well-constructed knee guards. Mike Kazimer








70 Comments

  • 29 1
 I've had these for maybe 8 months. Worn them at least fifty times and through a number of wrecks. They're light and forgettable until the third straight day of riding when I start to feel just a bit of chafing in the back. Protection is adequate for XC. Going OTB and driving my knee into the ground at 15 MPH left me with a sore knee, but no lasting damage. The pads continue to look near-new. No stretching of the materials, loose threads, or damage from impacts. I think they're about as good as an XC pad can be.
  • 3 0
 I'll second that, realized that I should get something because of the rocky local trails and somehow came up with these after perusing the options and reviews for way too long. Been a season and a half and haven't regretted it since. I sweat like a pig at anything over 80F (I lie - more like 45F) and knee pad sweat was the least of my soaking wet issues.
There's been times I've wanted shin protection but I've gotten better keeping my feet on the flats and that's another entire class of product anyways. May even spring for the elbow version after a couple painful dings last season.
  • 3 0
 Mind if I ask what the size scale is like? Size up or size down, or do they fit like they should? Because pad sizes are like shoe sizes when they vary so much between company to company.
  • 2 0
 @chillrider199, I found they fit like they should. I wear a size medium for most brands, and that was the case for these pads as well.
  • 1 0
 @chillrider199: fit chart at www.bike.ixs.com/en/sizing-chart

Small fits my pygmy knees perfectly. Great pads, very comfortable (although minor chafe), good protection. My knee hit a rock during a stack, came away with minor bruise instead of a limp
  • 1 0
 @caltife @mikekazimer: Noted, Thank You!
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer: beautiful calves mike, really can tell you're putting in the work.
  • 2 0
 I've had these for a year and did not know the pad was removable! Ha! Size wise, I went from medium 661 Kyle straits, about five years old, to medium flows and found the fit to be horribly tight. After a year, it's spot on. Plus I ve gained a bit of muscle since then. I guess my old ones are bagged out due to age.
  • 1 0
 @chillrider199: I'll second @mikekazimer that the medium at least is consistent with other brands that I wear. I'll add that they are reasonably cool when I ride in Arizona, mostly due to the fact that they're not that tall or long. In SoCal I don't notice them until (like @JWadd said) I've missed a wash or two and then they start to chafe.
  • 3 0
 @jaame: I have IXS Flow's from last year and the pads don't come out, I think that's a new feature. I have the Hans Rey ones, maybe they are slightly different.
  • 2 0
 @jaame: Meh just realize these are Flow "Evo", they have removeable, mine are just normal flow.

Saw on their website they have flows with side zippers. If it doesn't affect comfort, seems like that would be really addressing the only arguable "weak point": of the flows.
  • 1 0
 @KennyWatson: yeah I checked mine after I wrote that comment and they are stitched all around. I have the Hans Rey ones too.
  • 1 0
 @KennyWatson: I have the Hans Rey ones as well, great pads wear them every ride most comfortable 'forget you are wearing' pad I've ever had. These new ones do look a bit different, looks like less protection and thinner material above the pad on these new ones.
  • 20 7
 When is a manufacturer going to make a 3/4 chamois that have knee pads built in. I'd buy them in a second.
  • 19 0
 Think of all the times you probably want to take your knee pads off during the day. Now in order to do that you just have to get naked haha. Would kinda suck
  • 29 0
 Sounds like a german fetish product. Hard shelled knee pads attached to spandex with a pad built into the rear.
  • 4 0
 Or at least some sort of attachment system like they do with shorts. Attaching chamois to shorts seems as useless as attaching your underwear to your jeans, what would actually be great is if there was a way to attach your knee pads so the top doesnt slide down and bunch up behind your knee.
  • 3 0
 Maybe buy full length bottoms, put your knee pads on over top, and cuff the tights back up over. Should end with the same result of 3/4 coverage, and no slip knee pads. But it’s just a first thought.
  • 2 0
 You should make them. I would buy them.
  • 3 0
 looks like you and 8 others lol.
  • 2 0
 @huckmadtrix: just yesterday I was thinking the same thing
  • 1 1
 this is pretty smart, if i'm in bike gear i don't take my pads off, what's the point? i'm muddy and stinky everywhere else (lol) but it would keep the pads from falling down if you had that issue previously.
  • 3 0
 @employee7: cod piece optional
  • 2 0
 @ReformedRoadie: Cod pieces are never option in german fetish wear. "Hans fetch me my schnitzel suit".
  • 2 0
 @huckmadtrix I wish more manufacturers would make a 3/4 chamois even without integrated knee pads that aren't intended for cold temperatures. I have been using these same knee pads for 3.5 years on 90% of my rides and I have really come to like having 3/4 chamois underneath them to prevent chafing, keep the pads fresher longer, and prevent the dreaded gap over the knee pad when your shorts ride up a bit.

The best ones I have found were some non-bib 3/4 roadie chamois' from Louis Garneau. Fox made 3/4's too, but the quality of the pad in them was not great.
  • 2 0
 just yesterday on that article about good things done bad, there was some chap that said he used to make and sell them but they never took off. Of course, you may know this and my sarcasm radar might have failed....
  • 2 0
 @tsn73: Endura do a really good 3/4 ones, had the same pair for years, easily the most comfy and durable ones I've used.
  • 2 0
 I have Odlo 3/4, great quality and work well up to 15C
  • 9 1
 Thanks Mike, pretty spot on review! I own a pair of these and love 'em... my only gripe is the silicone cuff can start to chafe a tiny bit on very long rides. Also, sorry to say it but I'm pretty sure you're wearing them the wrong way around in the pictures (i.e. the left one on the right knee and vice versa). I feel they fit more snugly wearing them with the IXS logo print on the outside of the knee. But of course they're so soft and flexible that it won't make a big difference to most people. :-P
  • 6 2
 @Lankycrank, you're right, the tags do say to wear them the other way, but I didn't find much difference in fit no matter what leg I had them on, and this way the velcro goes towards the outside.
  • 4 0
 @mikekazimer: First thing I thought when I saw them in the photo, "I think he has them on the wrong legs..." Granted you cant noticed a difference while wearing them (I know Ive done it too) but they sure do look funky in the photos.
  • 2 0
 @yuroshek, the fact that I'm super bowlegged probably doesn't help things either...
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: I have two pairs on the Hans Rey versions bought about 8 months apart they look identical except the tab indicating left and right are reversed on them. The newer ones have the strap inside your knee the old ones on the outside, I find strap on the outside better.
  • 3 0
 I have had a set of knee and eblow ixs flow pads for about 3 years and love them. Pretty much my go to set now after trying allot of brands out and they don't fall off or slide down when you are pinning it though that section of chunder or rock garden. Another thing I noticed is whatever the pads are made of the material won't continue to shred apart when you wreck and put a hole in them. I have wrecked (quite a few times) in mine and have acquired some small holes in the material wich none have gotten any larger.
The only down side to a fabric covered pad is if you wreck and slide for any distance the pads do move or tend to slide up or down your arm or knee.
My ixs flows are about due to be replaced and honestly will he replaced with new ixs flow pads.
  • 3 0
 I own these and haven't had the fantastic experience that everyone else has had. These knee pads don't feel good when riding XC at all, they're too think and don't flex well when your leg is fully extended. I also had them slide partially off my knee in a big crash, which obviously rendered them useless since I scraped up my knee anyways. Other than these things, they're fine, but I personally wouldn't recommend them to someone looking to spend a decent amount of money on knee pads.
  • 1 0
 I found them pretty comfortable, especially in the heat (they are pretty compact) but after a short while the top cuff stretched too much and any significant crash resulted in them slipping down. This probably happened about 6 times. Better than nothing but I eventually replaced them with Dakine Slayer. I've tried a lot of knee pads over the years and the Dakine is the best, all things considered, and it doesn't slip down!
  • 1 0
 My right one has slid in almost every big crash I’ve had.
  • 2 0
 Agree with Mike on all fronts...great pads for AM, but the upper cuff is definitely a little short. Still love them for burlier rides....no pads for most of my AM stuff though, I guess I'm old school, but I've always only worn pads for DH
  • 3 0
 Think shorts manufacturers need to just make shorts that little bit longer. Ridden IXS Flows for years now and cant fault them, but most shorts are well..... too short.
  • 5 1
 Go 2005 style and buy everything too big. Remember those giant Fox Racing shorts with plastic logos weighing as much as a DH tyre? Then they got wet and weighed more than the whole fricking bike.
  • 5 0
 just get bands tatoo'd on your legs in appropriate places between pads and shorts
  • 5 0
 What kind of look do you use for a knee pad photoshoot? Blue steel?
  • 5 0
 I prefer Ferrari - it's a much more aggressive look.
  • 1 0
 2xCalf Raises to failure and then immediately go into the photoshoot
  • 1 0
 If the upper cuff was longer and more elastic for those with more muscular legs these would be the perfect trail knee pads.

Unfortunately the original version I got is just too small in the upper cuff even in XL but I’m a former weight lifter so my legs aren’t exactly the usual, but still a stretchier and longer material there would be welcomed.

I still use them from time to time but my go to trail pads have become 7IDP’s transition knee for the above reasons. Longer up top and more comfortable with similar protection.
  • 1 0
 I have a set of these (2015) and they have been fantastic.

Highly recommended. Once adjusted right, they are a great fit and can be work comfortably on long rides that involve loads of pedaling.
  • 2 0
 I have the Flows and been using them for a couple of years; Every ride and I hardly notice they're there. Trying to work how the Evo+ is different to the regular Flows??
  • 1 0
 I have had these knee pads for a while and they are the greatest pads ever!!!!! great side and front protection feel like nothings there, slim, theres just one wish have....... they need to make these in a knee-shin combo!!!
  • 3 0
 I kneed protection from your jokes
  • 1 0
 I have a pair of these, they are super comfy , light and easy to pedal (sometimes I even forget I'm wearing them) I only wish they made them in black
  • 2 0
 I own them, ride in Az heat up to 105 degrees and they have been perfect. Perf blend of functionality and protection
  • 1 0
 Ive used the same poc pads for four years.tons of crashes.thought the 170 i paid was excessive at the time but worth every cent.top notch fit quality and protection.
  • 1 0
 Do the poc guards in the same variation have neoprene? Have allergic reaction to the stuff. Anyone else have a bad rash after riding with neoprene panels on or in you knee pads or gloves?
  • 1 0
 Like the IXS pads.
  • 1 0
 Pretty sure it’s a personal thing. Cheers!
  • 5 3
 I kneed to get a pair of these
  • 2 3
 You kneed better puns because that was as cheesy as KD!!
  • 1 0
 I'm curious about these versus G-Forms for lighter duty XC/trail riding. Does anyone have experience with both?
  • 2 0
 I don't technically have experience with both, but I have the IXS Flows (not the newest updated versions) and my girlfriend has G-Forms, and she never fiddles with hers or wants to take them off on long rides, and I will re-position these at least once per long ride. The IXS Flows are comfortable, and I think they offer better protection, but they're not quite comfortable enough for me to completely forget they're there on long pedally rides.

I will say her G-Forms ripped pretty easily on a slide out. My Flows have seen quite a few crashes and have held up great.
  • 4 1
 Not saying that these IXS are for Rampage, but G-forms don't protect against anything more than mild abrasion. My POC Airs are bad enough. Fell directly on my knee once after I couldn't clip out and spent 10 minutes doing family guy aaaah - shhhhh, aaaah - shhhh, aaaah - shhhh. I think I'm opting for Fox Launch as my next pads. D30 or Evo or Exige or plastic, if there's no soft padding under the "armor" layer, anything that is not sliding is going to hurt.
  • 1 0
 Should've stayed with the helmet model theme and found someone to squeeze those pads over their leg hair man-bun.
  • 1 0
 G-Form FTW IMHO. Never let me down - when I'm down - and I forget their on.
  • 1 0
 I own v1 and they're the best, least "felt" knee guards I have ridden so far. Perfect!
  • 1 0
 Are the mesh back panels still made of tissue paper? Mine got holed from taking them off almost immediately...
  • 1 0
 You should either take your shoes off first, or cut your toe nails.
  • 1 0
 Nice, have been looking for a while for a pad that doesn’t have neoprene. This one looks neoprene free.
  • 1 0
 Marketing works. Just ordered a pair.
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