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Review: Ion K-Sleeve Amp Knee Pads

Aug 31, 2021
by Matt Beer  
ION Rascal Select Boa clip shoes. ION K-Sleeve AMP knee pads

If you're looking for a set and forget style knee pad that won't end up in a meme, the K-Sleeve AMP might do the trick. Ion's knee pads might ring a bell with their sought after and burlier K-Trace AMP Zip knee pad that has easy on and off convenience, as the name suggests.

The K-Sleeve AMPs are geared towards the rider spending all day in the saddle, but who would rather avoid hobbling into the office on Monday. They offer a lighter amount of impact protection in a slim design that is also fuss free.

Ion K-Sleeve AMP Details
• SAS-TEC pad insert
• EN1621-1 certified
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL
• Colors: black
• Weight: 320 grams actual (size large)
• MSRP: $84.95
The pads inserts are made by SAS TEC. It is a PU foam like other protection inserts on the market except SAS-TEC foam is not based on mineral oil but on renewable raw materials (vegetable oil). This meets Ion's internal "Save Our Playgrounds" sustainability requirements.

On the front face of the three dimensionally curved and flexible padding, is Ion's "No_Sew" material. The durable swath is laminated on and said to stand tough against tearing and promotes the pad to slide on the ground, should you hit the deck.

The word "sleeve" in the product name refers to the slip on, strap free arrangement. Instead of velcro closures, there are elastic cuffs with silicone grippers on the inside, along with stretchy bit above the calf muscle. Behind the knee, near the bottom of the pads, lies a mesh material to circulate fresh air. Fashion mongers won't bother poking at these stealthy knee pads because the branding is less obtrusive and the over length of the sleeve won't reveal any thigh gap, unless you're wearing short shorts.

Fit and Price

As always, fit and sizing can be troublesome when trying to convey 3-D shapes into a length. I typically wear a size medium in knee pads ,and despite referencing the sizing chart the medium was impossible to slide on further than my calf. Even the elastic cuffs of the large size were on the tighter side and didn't change shape after a wash, thankfully. The absence of velcro straps saves on the bulkiness of the pad, but it would be best to try these on before purchasing a set. The fit can be smaller than most and the range of the stretch is also less. The pad coverage is an average length, but a little shorter than the Fox Enduro Pro knee guards, for example.

The $84.95 MSRP is a little on the high side for lesser protection, but I think it goes beyond that to the quality and workmanship of the pad. The long-term durability hasn't been put to the test, but so far there are no signs of the stitching fraying or delimitation of the front slide zone.

ION Rascal Select Boa clip shoes. ION K-Sleeve AMP knee pads
ION Rascal Select Boa clip shoes. ION K-Sleeve AMP knee pads
The K-Sleeve AMP pads offer a comfortable, fuss-free fit and keep the air flowing. The elastic material above the calf muscle keeps the pad in check and top cuff is lengthy to avoid an unsightly gap.


In action, these pads are super comfortable, are well ventilated, and don't rub anywhere. They also punch above their weight class for impact resistance and stay securely in place. I actually had a massive, scorpion style crash on my first ride with these pads. The ground was fairly soft, but there was a web of roots near the crash site. The SAS-TEC pad material dissipated energy well like other PU foams. I was able to brush off my intact knees and retreat back to the parking lot. The K-Sleeve AMPs get a giant checkmark in my books.

Further right-side up riding revealed that these knee pads do breath well and I gladly left them in place for climbing. I did find that the silicone, like almost all joint protection these days, irritates my skin after wearing them for an extended amount of time. Although, that might be more of a "me" problem.

Behind the knee, inside the sleeve, are two overlapping seams where the pad insert can be removed. The 3-D curvature of the padding removed any initial thoughts I had about chafing in this area, and I never noticed the seams once while pedaling. The lowering leading edge of some padding can sometimes cause chafing or a pressure point in the shin area, but I never experienced any unwanted points of contact here either.

ION Rascal Select Boa clip shoes. ION K-Sleeve AMP knee pads
ION Rascal Select Boa clip shoes. ION K-Sleeve AMP knee pads

The "No_Sew" material laminated to the outside of the pad is abrasion resistant and helps the pad slide, keeping it in place if it meets the dirt.


+ Rounded padding fits natural knee position without chafing
+ "No_Sew" material slides on impact, keeping pads in place
+ Long sleeve prevents dreaded "thigh gap"
+ Excellent breathability


- Overall tight fit, even when going by Ion's recommended sizing
- Silicone grippers can irritate skin after prolonged use

Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesIf you are the kind of rider that loves to blast out big miles and wants more protection than the false sense of security of a knee warmer, than the ION K-Sleeve AMP knee pads are a worthy choice. They breath well, stay in place, and didn't rub my knees in any areas. The balance of giving up protection for flexibility and comfort is a tough one, but these have done their due diligence as a light duty pad for me. Matt Beer

Author Info:
mattbeer avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2001
353 articles

  • 53 0
 just tell us about the Spire already
  • 20 1
 I’ve got one. It’s boring and slow on boring trails, and absolutely amazing on the terrain it’s made for.
  • 5 0
 Agree lol
  • 4 0
 @MegaStoke: i mean... to be fair, aren't MOST bikes boring and slow on boring and slow trails? It's a 170mm 29'er, you can't really expect it to be super lively on slow and boring trails right?
  • 6 0
 Those pads are the perfect fit for the missing bike between Spur and Sentinel Smile
  • 1 0
 Must be good seeing they use it in every dam product review...
  • 3 0
 @abotchway: I have MX'd Evil Wreckoning V3 (170/166) that is a blast wherever I ride it. This includes everything from coaching rides with the local middle/high XC team to all day bashers in the woods and bike park nonsense. Evil's shorter wheelbases and geo have a lot to do with this as they don't handle like tugboats on tight twisty trails. Bears that can tap dance. That said, I am sure the hate will flow since I mentioned Evil. :\
  • 4 0
 @2pi: Agreed. Transition please bring back the Smuggler! Still loving my gen 1.
  • 1 0
 Agreed - I’ve just received my own Spire, but because of our lockdown I’m not supposed to be riding it on anything it’s made for. Bring on the review!
  • 1 0
 @Patu: If you send it to me i'll give you a review before mailing it back haha
  • 2 0
 Some information on the care of the pads would also be helpful. Can the pads be machine washed? Do the inserts need to be removed before washing? If so, how difficult?

My kids have the g-form pads, which I don't fi d to be super comfortable, but the ability to just throw them in the washing machine without pulling out the inserts is a major plus. I ride the Sweet pads, which for me are very comfortable, but pulling the inserts out is both time consuming and seems to tear the foam with repeated use. A pad that is both comfortable and machine washable without need to temove insert would be really great, if such a thing exists.
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 Partial answer: It is hand-wash only: www.sas-tec.de/en/about-us/material
i would refrain from washing the pads though.. As they dont have contact with the skin, I don't see the need. Also, frequently doing so, would likely shorten the life of the foam.
  • 1 1
 I got a set of these pads to match my rascal amp's, very impressed. More confidence inspiring than other sleeve style guards and they wrap a little more around the side. Also those shoes look pretty horrendous in photos but not so offensive on your feet. The fit is also much better than most with a deeper heelcup than normal. Overall ION seems to have come from nowhere but they are making good stuff!
  • 3 0
 Say "Ion K-Sleeve AMP Knee Pads" 5x fast. Just rolls off the tongue. Marketing geniuses.
  • 1 1
 No way in hell these fit on my legs in XL, despite my K-Pacts in XL being on the very relaxed side of fit.

Also, there is (at least officially) no SAS-Tec in here and there is nothing 3D or rounded about the padding either.
  • 3 1
 Insert Spire comment here.
  • 1 0
 Looks really good! Good pricing too, I still prefer strapped pads to sleeve, they seem good!
  • 1 1
 these deff look worth buying. i like the wrap around design and they look a bit beefier than the a-stars paragon plus i've been rockin
  • 2 0
 Worst company ever!!! Good luck if you ever need to warranty something!
  • 1 0
 I've got the zip version of these. Really happy with them.
  • 4 4
 That was some useful informatION, thanks !
  • 1 1
 All day and overnight comfort with wings…..
  • 1 0
 Knee pad memes, what?

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