IXS makes some of the best youth protective pads on the market. Perfect for bike park or other aggressive riding, IXS pads are both comfortable and beefy. Unlike more minimal pads, like G-Form, the IXS pads are intended for true downhill riding. This is the kind of armor that will help you sleep at night knowing you’ve done everything you can to keep your child as safe as possible on the mountain.
Review in a Nutshell
- Small sizes fit even tiny riders
- Pads stay snugly in place
- Meet EU standards for DH riding
- Not as breathable or pliable as trail-oriented pads
Price & Where to Buy:
IXS MTB Armor Detailed Review
We recently tested both the IXS Hack Evo elbow pads and the IXS Assault knee guards. Both meet European standards for downhill riding which make these perfect for lift-assist days. The Evo pads have a soft construction which make them comfortable and pliable. The IXS Assault knee guards are a knee and shin guard in one and have a hard-shell construction. We appreciated the full shin guard as my son was using Wellgo pedals with aluminum pins which can cause stitch-worthy lacerations.
We’ve struggled forever with finding my son pads that fit his petite 5-year-old body. I was surprised, therefore, to discover that not only did these pads fit, there was actually more strap to spare — meaning an even smaller kiddo would fit in these. Compared to the Troy Lee youth pads, these are a much better fit for younger riders.
The XSI pads do not come in separate “youth” versions. Instead, these are the same high-quality pads that are marketed for adults, just sized down for children.
The Hack EVO elbow pads slip on as a sleeve and are tightened by a velcro strap top and bottom. The Assult knee guards have a wrap-around sleeve up-top that use grippy plastic in addition to velcro to stay snug. There are two other velcro staps — one at the top of the calve and one at the bottom. My son is pretty picky about fit and had no complaints on a 9-hour Whistler bike park day about the pads slipping or needing to be readjusted. That speaks volumes to the comfort and anatomic fit.
The IXS pads are nowhere near as breathable or pliable as the minimalistic G-Form pads. For this reason, I would not recommend them for trail riding. Compared to other downhill and freeride pads, however, the CSI pads are surprisingly comfortable. My son had zero complaints about them — and as I previously mentioned, he’s SUPER picky about the way things feel.
Other IXS Offerings
If you don’t need the shin protection that the Assault pads offer, you can also opt for the Hack Evo knee pads* that match the elbow pads we tested. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, if your kiddo is going big, IXS offers an upper body protective vest* that comes in youth sizes.
Comparison Chart: Youth MTB Elbow and Knee Pads
How do the IXS pads compare to other mtb protective pads for kids? The IXS pads are a bit more expensive but are of excellent quality.
You might also want to check out our list of the Best Knee and Elbow Pads for Kids.
|Troy Lee Designs||Speed Knee Youth Sleeve||$49||Youth Medium (10.5”-12” measure 4” above knee cap center)
Youth Large (9.5”-11” measure 4” above knee cap center)
|Troy Lee Designs||Youth Elbow Sleeve||$24||One size (ages 5+)|
|Leatt||3DF 5.0 Knee Pads||$60||One size (10.5″-12.5″ around thigh)|
|IXS||Hack Evo Elbow Pads||$76||XS: 26-28 cm (measure around bicep)|
|IXS||Assault Knee/Shin Guard||$70||XS: 36-38 cm (measure above knee)|
For parents looking for maximum protection for their child, we highly recommend the smaller-sized IXS armor. They fit better for small kids than the Troy Lee Designs armor and offer more protection than minimalistic pads like G-Form. Despite the more bulky nature of downhill pads, the IXS armor does a good job of staying comfortable even on long bike park days.