Comfort and breathability are superb, even in the hottest temperatures abroad, but stability less than perfect
Part of a new breed of easy-to-remove kneepads, Ion’s K-Lite Zip is lightweight and relatively slim-line, but still packs loads of protection.
On top of a hard shell cup (to better distribute any crash forces), Ion uses an impact-hardening German polymer called SAS-TEC. The overall padded area extends far enough down the shin to protect against pedal strikes, and smaller side pads deal with knocks and bumps against bike parts if things get squirrely, too.
Keeping the K-Lite firm is an extremely comfy, criss-cross rear mesh cradle using sticky grip strips. The rear panel looks a bit like Troy Lee’s Shock Doctor design, which is another pad we rate highly.
Unlike the non-zipped K-Lite, a Velcro cinch above the knee reinforces the holding power of the silicone grip strips used at both ends. I found this elastic strap to be pretty essential, since the pad has a slightly larger than normal thigh opening.
The zip-open feature is great for removing a muddy pad without dirtying the inside, but when putting it on, the skinny zip (tucked away underneath little tabs to prevent chafing) is a bit too fiddly to fasten quickly and it’s as easy to just take a shoe off like any other pad.
Comfort and breathability are superb, even in the hottest temperatures abroad, but stability is less than perfect — the K-Lite gradually shuffles downwards over time, even with the upper cinch strap (that rests on the side and is easy to knock open) pulled tight.
Supremely unrestrictive and top quality then, but just a fraction less planted than other pads.