K-Traze Amp (Zip) looks like the filename of an attachment that you probably shouldn't open, but it's actually the model name of Ion's newest knee pads. The Traze Amp pads are designed for all-mountain / enduro riding, times where there's pedaling mixed in with the descending.
The main protective element is a SAS-TEC pad, which is designed to harden up in the event of an impact, reducing the force that reaches a rider's knee. The viscoelastic pad has a thin layer of plastic on top of it, which should help block any sharp pokey things that manage to make their way through the outer layer of fabric. There's also a bit of additional foam padding on each side of the pad, but it's the SAS-TEC material that provides the bulk of the protection here.
K-Traze Amp Zip Details
• SAS-TEC viscoelastic padding
• Full length size zipper
• EN 1621-1, Level 1 certified
• Size: S, M, L, XL
• Colors: grey, blue, black
• Weight: 342 grams (pair, size M)
• MSRP: $110 USD
To keep the pads relatively light and breathable, Ion uses a perforated neoprene along the sides and back of the pads, along with mesh panels and an unobstructed opening at the very back of the knee. The fit is adjusted via a single velcro strap at the top of the pads, with silicone grippers found at both the upper and lower cuffs.
The zip-on version is reviewed here, but there's also a pull-on version that costs slightly less. The K-Traze Amp (Zip) is available in size S – XL in either grey, black, or blue. Performance
I wear knee pads on nearly every ride, not because I crash a lot, but because I know that the day I leave them at home I'll somehow end up skidding along the ground on my knees. I'm not sure why, but the gravity level seems to increase whenever I ditch the gloves or knee pads. In any case, the Ion Traze Amp pads have been in regular use for the last three months, and passed the comfort and protection test with flying colors.
As far as comfort goes, I've worn these pads on everything from long trail rides to days in the bike park and haven't had any issues. They're very unobtrusive, the type of pad you can put on and forget about until the ride is over. They're not overly hot, either, and I didn't have any qualms about wearing them on warmer summer days. For really long climbs I still usually slid them down to let my knees breath, but overall they're well ventilated. The upper cuff isn't all that tall, but the form-fitting shape of the pads kept them stayed securely in place, without needing to make the upper velcro strap uncomfortably tight.
The size zippers didn't cause any discomfort either, and they both still operate as smoothly as ever. A few years ago I reviewed a set of Ion pads that didn't hold up as well, but it looks like Ion's decision to go with a burlier zipper paid off. I don't usually take my pads on and off in the middle of a ride, but it's nice to have a zipper for those embarrassing instances when you realized you've put your shoes or pants on before your pads. It's a handy feature at the end of a muddy ride too, since you can unzip them and hose them off rather than sliding them down and smearing mud all over the place.
I've taken a few spills with the K-Traze pads, and in all instances they stayed in place and worked exactly as intended. They're not designed to be burly, Rampage-worthy pads, but they do a great job at providing protection from an inadvertent knee-slide through a turn, or an impromptu tumble off the trail. Ion does make the K-Pact knee guards
for riders looking for more heavy duty protection, which are essentially a beefed up version of the K-Traze.
Comfortable & unobtrusive +
Zipper adds convenience
On the higher end of the price scale for this style of pad