They say to follow your passions, and that’s exactly what brought Ion into the cycling realm. Since 2004 Ion has been producing wetsuits and accessories for watersports, but since the company founder also happens to love riding bikes, they decided to take their experience in making wetsuits fit comfortably into MTB protection in 2013.
Ion’s new top of the line K Cap and K Cap Select pads are designed for maximum protection when you’re riding at maximum speed. Their design elements allow for full mobility and excellent protection so you can get up to speed, and stay safe when you suddenly go from full-tilt to full-stop…
The K Cap Select is based upon the K Pact Select, which was an award winner for Ion at Eurobike. The K Cap Select pads add a polyurethane Grind Cap that’s deigned to slide well during high speed crashes. The semi-hard asymmetric knee cap is held on with Velcro, and can be easily removed and replaced if needed. Asymmetrical side padding is positioned in the legs to minimize impacts from top tubes, and Ion has moved away from a slip-on design in favor of an open-backed, three strap setup so riders can get in and out of the new pads easily, with their shoes on. While they’re the bulkier of the two options, Ion still suggests the K Cap Select for trail riding and backcountry descending in addition to full-tilt downhilling. The K Cap Select is primarily constructed from a combination of neoprene, polyester and nylon, with abrasion resistant Power Aramid fabric covering high-wear areas.
Ion’s interesting Tectonic Fit construction, seen here on the K Cap model, has carried over from the K Pact. By using a series of overlapping and sliding panels, Ion aims to provide a full range of free motion for pedalling while keeping the protective pads snug and in place.
For those who quote-unquote ‘never hit their shins down low’ the K-Cap is the knee-only version which features the same main features as the K Cap Select but with no shin protection. The removable Grind Cap and Tectonic Fit construction are present, and the knee pads have also gone to a two-strap, open-backed design. All materials and fabrics used are the same as the K Cap Select. With good pedalling ability and less coverage the knee-only option might have a broader appeal towards all-mountain riders looking for some solid kneecap protection.
The K Cap pads both use the same SAS-TEC visco-elastic foam padding. Not only is the padding multi-impact resistant and tolerant to high temperatures (no need to worry about cooking and warping them in your hot car), it also conforms to the shape of your legs and quickly expands back to its original shape when the pads come off. To keep things fresh, Ion incorporates perforated Air-prene pads and hits the K Cap pads with their Anti-Smell Sanitized treatment.
The K Cap or the K Cap Select pads come in Grey only. Ion offers S/M/L/XL sizes, so check their online sizing chart to find your fit. The K Cap knee pads retail for $120 USD and the K Cap Select knee/shin combo goes for $150.