A lot of thought goes into producing protective gear. Ventilation, safety, weight, materials, design, fit, will it pass safety standards? iXS’s Pascal Haf talks to Mark Sutton about the firm’s strong reputation among speed freaks...

Interview: IXS talks protective gear development

XS originally made the transition into cycling product from its origins in the MX and GP world – what safety technology has come from the motorsports world?
iXS’ history is in high speed and aggressive sports with the highest safety standards. Our know how and experience guarantees we are up to speed on the latest technologies available. High tech fabrics, high manufacturing standards and a high level of quality are all based on over 30 years of experience.

What science goes into the development of products like iXS’s helmets?
Our helmets are engineered and designed to fulfill specific safety standards. Part of those standards and technologies are based on crash tests, which give us the necessary information. New technologies and ideas to improve safety levels have been introduced to the markets over the last few years and we are sure there is more to come.

Have athletes from the cycle market had input in the development of products?
Our product development is strongly connected to our athletes. We work very closely with our riders to get real riding and performance feedback. Our Hans Rey, Darren Berrecloth and Richie Schley signature models are testament to the importance of rider feedback.

How far beyond what’s required to get the safety certificate does iXS go?
We follow and exceed the EU and or NA directives relevant to any individual product. With our new pad technology X-Matter and ArmadilloDuo, for example, we are using lighter, aerated and ergonomically improved materials that are also exceeding safety standards. It is an exciting time for development of protective equipment with many big improvements in recent years.

Any big sellers or new product highlights dealers should be aware of for 2013?
We would like to point out our new pad technology X-Matter, which is an engineered protective foam with intelligent open cell formula for slow rebound and high-energy absorption. This technology is implemented in our new Carve and Flow pads presented to the market for this year. These are lightweight, endure specific pads.

iXS also produces clothing – tell us a bit about this range and its development:
iXS has always been a clothing manufacturer. Around ten years ago we decided to bring our knowhow into cycling clothing as well. Today we are focusing on a compact range covering trail, freeride and downhill riding. As a highlight of this coming season and as an example of product development we have introduced a bamboo fiber/fabric technology to our clothing range. Bamboo is known as a “green” fibre. It can be cultivated quickly, can be used to develop impoverished regions, and is a natural fibre. Cultivation results in a decrease in greenhouse gases. Bamboo fibres also have great features for use in clothing such as anti-odor, anti-bacterial, quick drying and temperature regulation.

How has the label tackled the problem of overheating in padding?
One of our main focuses and key features in our protective range is to design the lightest most highly aerated, anti-bacterial and moisture wicking range on the market. Specific technology and fabric development, as well construction techniques guarantee us the product we want to provide. We do not use neoprene in our pads, which is one of the key differences to many other pads on the market.

Any proprietary tech or unique materials used in the range?
We have developed our ArmadilloDuo hard shell, which is a dual compound injected PP shell, allowing to have different material structures and functions combined into a one piece ‘skid plate’.
Our now famous and patented Squeezebox technology is found throughout our whole range of knee-shin guards, allowing our products to have a free moving, articulating and protecting joint between the knee and
shin area.

What stock packages, marketing and POS back up is available from Hotlines?
Hotlines is currently offering a 60 per cent margin for shop staff and race teams that want to try any of the iXS protection range. We are also offering 45 per cent margin on stock in packages.
 In 2013 iXS will continue to support the iXS European Cup as the title sponsor and new for 2013 iXS will be a sponsor of BikePark Wales the UK’s first large commercial bike park opening late 2013. iXS and Hotlines will also be sponsoring a host of riders including Grant “Chopper” Fielder, Rowan Sorrell, Darren Berrecloth and many more.
For more info Hotlines can be contacted on sales@hotlines-uk.com or on 0131 319 1444.

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