FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (BRAIN) — Swiss gravity brand iXS is at Eurobike showing off its innovative line of protective gear, helmets and apparel for trail riding and enduro and downhill racing—all of which it will showcase next month at Interbike as iXS enters the U.S. market with the 2014 model year.
iXS crossed the pond for the first time last year, entering the Canadian market through NRG Enterprises, the Nelson, British Columbia-based distributor of brands including Chromag, Hope, Maxxis and MRP. Raising its profile in Canada, iXS sponsors athletes including native sons Richie Schley, Geoff Gulevich, Darren and Ryan Berrecloth and Matt Hunter, as well as trials legend Hans Rey.
Now iXS is entering the States through a different avenue, partnering with Taiwan component brand Spank Industries to form the Gravity Cartel, which will represent both parties’ interests in the market. Gavin Michael Vos, managing director and chief designer for iXS, sees it as an ideal partnership: hard goods on one side, soft goods on the other—both targeted at the same consumer, from trail to downhill.
With 30 years in the motorcycle market, iXS makes all its cycling protection up to EN1621-1 standard—safe enough for moto use. And while it may be easy to reach that standard just by bulking up pads and helmets, iXS achieves the same level of protection while maintaining light weight and comfort.
The Flow soft-shell knee and elbow pads—developed with riders Schley and Rey—are made from an anti-bacterial mesh rather than neoprene, resulting in lighter weight, improved fit and better breathability.
Higher up on the protection spectrum, the Dagger freeride pads use a dual-density impact shell at the kneecap and elbow surrounded by a soft-shell gusset to fit around the knee for greater comfort. An interior pad under the shell not only provides extra cushion from impacts, but also keeps the shells from rolling off the protected area in a crash, Vos says.
But the company’s biggest push at the moment may be behind the new RS Trail enduro helmet, designed over a period of a year and a half with Schley. iXS got its start in cycling about a dozen years ago in full-face helmets and other downhill gear, but since the DH scene in the U.S. is far less robust than Europe’s, Vos sees enduro as the best bet for the market.
That said, Vos notes that all the company’s DH technology goes into the new open-face helmet, available in stylish matte colors including blue, lime green and gray.