IXS Dagger Knee Guards
Size Tested: M
- 60° all around breathable “AeroMesh TM”, moisture wicking, anti bacterial
shin extension to prevent from pedal penetration
- “ArmadilloDuo TM” – high quality double injected protection shells made of shock absorbent polypropylene
- Skid Protection – tear resistant Nylon layers prevent protection zones from cracking
- “NockOut TM” – shock absorbent padding along the leg, upper leg and knee sides as well as in all vital zones
- “SideTap TM” – integrated side padding
- “LoopLock TM” – fasteners. maximum security and adjustability, decompression
- Silicone – non slip, no creep
Intended Use: DH’n and crash’n
Reviewer: 5’9” 155lbs
Test Duration: about 10 days
Test Locations: Whistler, BC, Coast Gravity Park, BC
I’ve spent a fair amount of time in IXS knee pads in the past, and I always had good luck with them – they fit well, they were comfortable, and they stayed put pretty well in crashes. I expected nothing less from the Daggers, and not only did they deliver, but they might just be my new favorite DH pads.
I wear a Medium in pretty much everything, and by the numbers, I fell within IXS’s suggested range for a Medium Dagger pad – my leg measures about 40 cm in circumference, 2 cm above the knee. I’d say the Dagger fits true to size – they feel snug enough to stay put, but not so snug as to be uncomfortable.
Construction and Protection
First and foremost, I think my favorite feature of the Dagger is that it actually has hard plastic knee protection. Many companies are doing visco-elastic foam or some other soft material, and while those pads can be great to keep the things light and more pedal friendly, they just don’t work as well in a legitimate, violent crash.
Plus, I’ve found that knee pads with fabric covering the padding are much more likely to snag or hang up when they hit the dirt, which tends to pull them down around my shins. Hard plastic shells, on the other hand, seem more inclined to slide across the ground, which means they do a better job of staying put in a crash.
Beyond that, the Dagger also extends a bit lower than a traditional knee guard, which gives a bit more shin protection against errant pedals or flying rocks, but without the overheating that comes with a full leg guard.
On the sides, the Dagger also has some soft padding to help ward of minor impacts against the side of the knee which, more often than not in my case, are inflicted by my top tube.
Inside the guard is a very well defined knee cavity as well as some silicone grippers at the top and bottom, all of which help keep the pad in place both while pedaling and while crashing.
It’s a fairly minor note, but IXS gets points for including a long strip of velcro both at the top and bottom closures. This means that, as the elastic straps wear out and get longer (which they inevitably do), it’ll be a while before I run out of velcro real estate to keep things tightened down.
On The Trail
My time in the Dagger has been spent pretty much exclusively on the downhill bike, and that’s the scenario where I think this pad works best. It offers great protection, and by DH pad standards, it’s reasonably breathable.
While the Dagger moves through the range of motion pretty comfortably, it’s definitely not as comfortable to pedal in as a pad that’s designed with pedaling in mind. It’s a bit stiff and pretty warm for putting in many miles. The Dagger is clearly aimed at the gravity crowd, and while it’s not terrible to pedal in, there are better options out there for that type of riding (including some lighter weight options from IXS).
While some hard shelled knee guards can feel pretty bulky while riding, the Daggers don’t feel any bigger than any other DH knee guard. The only downside I can come up with is that the hard plastic scuffs up the paint on my top tube a little bit.
I haven’t taken any real diggers yet while wearing this pad, but in the interest of science, I threw myself at the ground in the comfort of my grassy yard and they stayed put just fine. I also never had a problem with them slipping down while riding.
If you’re looking for a super pedal friendly “enduro” knee pad that’s comfortable for long miles of climbing, this isn’t the pad I’d pick. But for dedicated DH use (with maybe the occasional trail ride here and there), this is the best pad I’ve spent time in. It’s just as comfortable as previous IXS pads I’ve worn and even more comfortable than the Alpinestars pads I’ve ridden, but with more protection. All in all, the Dagger is top notch and does a great job minimizing the pain associated with fuck-ups.