German manufacturer ION has its roots in the water sports sector, where it’s known primarily for wetsuits. However, in 2012 they added an entire bike line to their product range, which includes clothing, accessories and protection. For 2022, the K Lite was redeveloped from the ground up and designed to offer medium impact protection for enduro oriented riding – which makes it a perfect match for this test! A medium strength material lines the side panels of the pads while a thin mesh patch covers the back of the knee.

Click here for an overview: 14 trail knee pads in test

Weight per pad 168 g | Price € 99.99 | Certification Level 1 | Removable Insert Yes
Fastening System Velcro strap on the thigh end and at the back of the knee
Lab Test Results 21 kN at 3.0 ms | Manufacturer’s website

At the front, a sturdy-looking fabric encloses a removable Polyamide/Elastane insert. Moreover, a thin abrasion resistant plastic layer enhances the sliding properties of the pads, preventing them from riding up when you hit the ground. Although the K Lite is Level 1 certified, measuring 21 kN at 3.0 ms it offers the least protection in the entire test field. Tipping the scales at 168 g, it places it in the midfield for weight while the € 99.99 price tag is just above average. The K Lite combines a Velcro strap on the thigh and one in the hollow of the knee.

The Velcro strap at the back of the knee is quite long, making it hard to fasten the pad securely.
The thin PU layer on the front plate is meant to improve the sliding properties of the pads, preventing them from moving in the event of a crash.
A Velcro strap firmly secures the K Lite to the thigh
The sturdy material makes the ION one of the warmest protectors in this test.

The ION K Lite on the trail

The ION K Lite is easy to put on and the Velcro fasteners are pleasantly stiff, allowing you to secure the knee pad firmly to the leg. However, the strap at the back of the knee is quite long, making it hard to tighten it properly. Nevertheless, the ION K Lite doesn’t slip and stays in place in all conditions and terrains. The thin insert ensures excellent flexibility and makes you forget you’re even wearing pads. The thigh end of the sleeve is rather short and extends only a few centimeters above the knee, but the compact dimensions don’t have a negative effect on wearing comfort. That being said, the sturdy material makes it one of the warmest pads in this group test.


  • Good fit


  • Not the highest protection level
  • Quite warm

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The test field

Click here for an overview: 14 trail knee pads in test

All kneepads in test: 100% Teratec Plus (Click for review) | Alpinestars Paragon Plus (Click for review) | AMPLIFI Havok (Click for review) | Chromag Rift Knee Guard (Click for review) | Fox Launch D3O (Click for review) | Ion K Lite | iXS FLOW EVO+ (Click for review) | Leatt AirFlex Pro (Click for review) | Ortema GP5 Knee Protector (Click for review) | Pearl Izumi Elevate Knee Guard V1 (Click for review) | POC Joint VPD 2.0 Knee (Click for review) | Rapha Trail Knee Pad (Click for review) | Scott Soldier 2 (Click for review) | Troy Lee Designs Stage (Click for review)

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Words: Simon Kohler Photos: Mike Hunger

About the author

Simon Kohler

​​Simon loves speed. He has many years of racing experience as a longboard downhill skater, blasting down alpine passes on his board. In the meantime, he’s swapped four wheels for two, charging down trails and bike park lines aboard his mountain bike instead. He’s savoured some of Europe’s finest trails on various road trips through the Alps. Having lived in Austria for some time, he knows the local Austrian bike parks like the back of his hand. He’s a tech nerd through and through, using the skills and know-how from his engineering degree and his attention to detail to put the latest bikes and components through their paces for our reviews. As an early riser and self-declared muesli connoisseur, he lives his life powered by oats and the strength of his legs.