Swiss clothing company iXS have a fairly low profile outside of mainland Europe, where they sponsor the Downhill Cup series, but judging by the latest kit they've sent us, that could soon change.
The Backcountry mountain bike line looks particularly promising, with a freeride-inspired look that should appeal to fans of Race Face, Sombrio and Fox riding kit.
The Elict jersey has a baggy cut so you can wear it over armour, but the breathable, wicking Aerocool fabric means it should perform out on the cross-country trails too. There are mesh panels under the arms and a lens wipe on the inside. RRP £49.99.
The matching (well, kind of – the graphics are the same colour) Fly-By shorts have a tough nylon construction, with a stretch panel across the back and a mesh lining, Velcro tabs to adjust the waist and a cargo pocket on each leg. RRP £59.99.
We tested the Sinister II jacket recently and it held its own against more cross-country inspired waterproofs – not bad for a garment that would look perfectly at home down the pub.
The Commox shorts are part of iXS's main trail/cross-country range, with city slicker pinstripes and a pricetag to match – £109.99. Upgrades over the Fly-Bys include a detachable inner short, stretchier polyamide fabric, a water repellent coating, ventilation zips on the front of each leg and two front pockets.
The 'regular fit' (ie. figure hugging) Bashow jersey is another item from iXS's top-end Elite range, with some neat features including a disguised front zip and a 'money pocket' at the rear. RRP is £69.99.
If it's protection from the elements you're after, look no further than the Mahone Elite Thermo Pants. These are basically full-length bib tights with a wind- and waterproof fabric down the front of the legs. When we tested them recently we were impressed by their performance but not by their fit. RRP £114.99.
One thing we've noticed with this latest batch of iXS kit is that sizing varies across the range, with the Sinister jacket fitting our tall, skinny 'model' like a glove but the Commox shorts and Bashow jersey, which were also size large, coming in way too big. It's definitely worth trying before buying. To find out more, visit www.ixs.com or, in the UK, www.hotlines-uk.com.