Knee protection comes in a wide range of options— from minimalistic soft pads that are only slightly more ffective than a pair of knee warmers to rigid braces
designed to protect against nearly every sort of injury a
knee could face. The iXS product line spans much of this
spectrum, with the Dagger attempting to bridge the gap
between rigid protection and soft-pad comfort and flexibility.
Tech features: The Dagger kneepads are designed
for downhill and all-mountain riding applications and are
constructed of their Aeromesh material for breathability
and flexibility. The Dagger’s most novel feature is the dual-injected ArmadilloDuro protective shell over the kneecap.
This design uses a very rigid plastic in the middle of the
shell, which then transitions into a softer, more-pliable
plastic material on the outsides of the mold. The idea is to
have ultimate protection where it’s needed and to maintain
mobility by allowing the hard shell to essentially move with
the soft pad structure as one unit. Also aiding in mobility
and comfort is iXS’ squeeze-box joint design, which creates
a flexible spot just below the knee.
The pads extend from the lower thigh to just past the
knee, with more shin protection than most dedicated knee
pads, though much less than a full knee/shin combo. The
pad uses two flexible hook-and-loop-style straps, bands
of silicone material and an internal knee gusset to hold the
pads in place. Aside from the dual-compound hard shell,
the Dagger features ventilated soft padding on both sides
of the knee as well as above and below it. The iXS Daggers
weigh about 13 ounces a pair and sell for $95.
The Dagger kneepads feature a
dual-density, hard-plastic shell to
blend protection and comfort.
A weapon for protection
Field test results: The vast majority of the time, when
it comes time to pad up for a day in the bike park, we
reach for our soft-shell pads. Whether it be the increased
comfort of soft pads or the low-profile looks, it’s easy to
see why minimalistic pads are popular with riders. While
the Dagger’s look still says hard shell, the fit and mobility
feel nearly on par with soft-shell pads.
The Dagger’s Aeromesh material is quite comfortable,
and we like the full coverage all the way around the back
of the knee. This prevents any weird pinching that can
occur with many open-back pads we’ve worn. They are
even comfortable enough to be a viable option for trail
riders looking for extra protection while still needing to
turn the pedals all day.
The hook-and-loop straps are very flexible, which lets
them move with you rather than creating pressure points.
The pads also did a good job of staying in place; we never
had an issue with them migrating south. The pads don’t
cover enough of your shin to do much against slipped
pedals, leaving plenty of room for hungry pins to take a
bite, but the extra length isn’t annoying on the bike.
With comfort and flexibility exceeding that of many
soft-shell pad designs we’ve experienced, the Dagger
may possibly be the most comfortable hard-shell design
available. Of course, with the hard shell comes a bit more
bulk than some minimalistic soft-shell designs, but it’s a
trade-off that will be well worth it for riders seeking more
Contact: www.isx-sportsdivision.com. ■