New to the trail riding backpack market, Ion brings a perspective from making lightweight, breathable protection to their new Transom packs, which won a Eurobike award in their debut. Available in two versions to haul either 16 or 24 liters of gear, the Transom shifts between two load positions, one for climbing (left) and one for descending (right) that can be easily swapped back and forth in a matter of seconds offering the benefit of added ventilation or a stable, low center of gravity depending on which way the trail points.
Then from their mainstay clothing and protection side, Ion showed some nice new gloves, light padding updates, and a taste of an updated clothing line. Get the details on it all after the jump…
The Transom backpack uses an adjustable size-specific vented mesh shoulder strap and waist belt setup that makes for a stable fit while leaving space in the middle of the back for air flow. They call the convertible system Air_Condition, and it was easy for us to adjust to either move the full pack up and off our backs or tight down for fast downhills. Once the pack is adjusted to fit, we simply had to pull the straps on the side buckles back, away from our hips to open the bag up into climbing mode, and then pull them back forward to cinch the pack close to our back for descending. It takes literally two seconds and could even be done one side at a time without getting off of the bike (but was easier to do with both hands at the same time.)
The Transom 16 pack will sell for 180€, while the larger Transom 24 goes for 200€, with either available in black or olive. Both bags come in two sizes S/M & L/XL and accept an optional soft SAS-TEC viscoelastic back protector plate insert that adds 30€ to the price, plus can get a 15€ rain cover that fits both bags.
On the glove front, Ion was showing some new products and running updates to several models, adding new colors that should be available now. The new 80€ Neo is a fully waterproof light neoprene glove with low-profile sealed seams (that weren’t noticeable when we tried them on, and accomplishment in itself in this type of glove), a long cuff, and a microfiber nose wiping panel. The 30€ Dude is billed as a enduro, park & urban glove, but is really just a simple no-padding mesh backed all-purpose glove that comes in a bright red, a black/gray, and a white/black/blue variant.
The standout glove is Ion’s 50€ Gat, a lightweight, durable glove with minimal seams, designed for enduro and freeride, but light enough for just about any type of mountain riding. It uses a thin, unpadded synthetic leather palm with printed on silicone grips and a very light open mesh back, and gets touchscreen friendly fingertips and soft nose wipers. On the outside knuckles it also adds a very light rubber protector that I would have welcomed when I lightly punched a tree on a fast forested downhill earlier in the summer and still have a mark to remember it by. The Gat is available in this black/white, the red/blue in the pic above, and a two-color olive that matches their pads and packs.
For a bit more protection heading down the trail, Ion has a new 100€ K-Lite Zip set of knee pads that build on their light, mesh backed K-Lite and K-Sleeve knee pads (and associated elbow pads). Adding a full zip on the outside of the knee pads makes them quicker to get in and out of, without sacrificing protection, comfort, or breathability. The pads combine soft SAS-TEC padding with thin hidden hardshells to distribute impacts and allow maximum flexibility. For more all-day riding comfort the K and E-Sleeves (60 & 50€, respectively) offer light-duty protection combining high density memory foam padding over the knees and elbows, coated and perforated neoprene on the outside guarding against abrasion, and a wholly mesh interior for cool running.
On the clothing side, Ion has an entirely new bikewear collection for 2016 that adds mountain biking tech to some inspiration from their surf clothing line. The new clothing includes slim-fit all-mountain Traze/Graze kit and regular-fit Scrub/Blizz and Raom/Luzid enduro gear for men/women, plus a loose-fit men’s Slash gravity line. The bikewear is all cut with a riding style and carries a unifying design throughout, but is also meant to look good off the bike as well. Ion has the new lines up on their site now, and availability is pegged at Fall 2015, so essentially now.