Tested and reviewed by ROSE
Ion K_Pact knee pads
Hi! I'm Linus and I had the chance to test the new Ion K_Pact zip protectors for you!
Just a few words about myself before we start: My name is Linus and I'm 20 years old. I'm an ambitious cyclist and gravity obsessed. I have done mountain biking for almost 16 years now and got into downhill biking around 8 years ago.
I spend a lot of time on my bike, so I need reliable and comfortable knee pads – and that's exactly what the K_Pact zip are!
Fresh back from holiday, I read an email from my colleague saying: "If you like, you can test the new ION protectors!" So, I went to her office to get the new toy.
When I pulled on the pads for the very first time, they already felt comfortable and perfectly adapted to the shape of my knees, which is probably thanks to the neoprene material ION has also long used for their surf suits. Admittedly, it takes a bit of practice to smoothly close the zipper running down the outside of each leg. However, once fitted, the guards feel like a second skin – they neither pinch nor slip and you don't want to take them off again. So, I decided to pack my enduro bike into the car the next day to ride to the Hoheward tip. Of course, I also wore the protectors on my way uphill. After all, I wanted to know how they do on longer distances. At the top of the tip, I made sure everything fits properly before switching my suspension fork to the open mode and dashing down the trail! There was one question flashing through my mind: "Do I have to crash to thoroughly test the knee pads?" I repressed the question and shredded the trail.
At the end of the tour, I stood on the car park and to my horror, my knees looked a lot thicker than usual. I pushed down the pads – nothing but air. So, if you want to ride in style, you should always stay in an active riding position, as the pads tend to get a bit bulky with your legs stretched. However, after all, they are not made for walking.
Two weeks later, I finally travelled to the bike festival in Riva del Garda where I met one of the ION guys and told him about my first positive impressions of the protector. Two Red Bull cans later, I wanted to head off again, but they stopped me to give me a tip: "If you put the pads around your shin bones first and close the zipper before pulling them up to your knees, you won't have any problems getting in!" Of course! Why didn't that come to my mind right away?
The next morning, we went on top of the mountain with a slight hangover, test bikes and a camera to do a shooting. On top, I put on the pads just as the ION guys told me and, lo and behold, it was much faster and more comfortable. So, we looked for a nice rock garden on the trail and started to take a few pictures. After a few tricks I asked for too much and BOOM, there I laid in the middle of the rocks. I immediately remember the question I had on my mind on my first test ride and yes, you should also crash to properly test protectors. After a few minutes I took a closer look at the K_Pact: It was a bit dirtier than before, but apart from that I couldn't find any flaws. My knees also seemed to be unimpaired. The impact was in the centre of the main pad made from SAS TEC, a soft material that hardens during impacts to distribute and absorb the forces. Back from Riva, I wanted to throw all my cycling clothing into the washing machine as usual, when I realized that my knee pads didn't smell at all – that was odd, as you can usually wash these things after each use. No odours after one month or regular use, two bike park visits and Riva – there must have been something wrong. So, I visited the ION website to find out more. ION products have an anti-smell feature promising lasting freshness and I can only confirm that it works!
If I had to use a 1-10 scale to rate the K_Pact zip, it would definitely get 9 out of 10 points. Great protection, great handling, comfortable fit and a nice design. I will keep on wearing and recommending the pads.
When I pulled on the pads for the very first time, they already felt comfortable and perfectly adapted to the shape of my knees, which is probably thanks to the neoprene material ION has also long used for their surf suits.
Admittedly, it takes a bit of practice to smoothly close the zipper running down the outside of each leg. However, once fitted, the guards feel like a second skin – they neither pinch nor slip and you don't want to take them off again.