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IXS Flame Heat-Retardant Base Layer Review


Many, many moons ago, I club raced for five years, and one of my favorite stories from that era involves a high-speed crash in Turn 7 of the big track at Willow Springs. Every Saturday, at the end of the day, expert riders had the chance to sign up for practice starts. Novice racers had these required as part of their school day. So, on the first of the practice starts, during the warmup lap, where we’re trying to get heat in the tires, a novice racer commits the cardinal sin of abruptly chopping his throttle on the back straight where everyone is WFO heading for the ultra-fast Turn 8. He went from motoring away from me on his much larger displacement bike to essentially dropping a high-compression anchor. The result was that I barely had time to cut my throttle before I plowed into him.

The impact of the collision pitched his Buell to the pavement with enough force to push the clip-on through the side of the tank, and the bike immediately burst into flames as it slid down the track. I vividly remember sliding through the ball of fire before my world went all ground-sky-ground-sky. When I came to a stop on my hands and knees, I took mental inventory, stood, flipped up my visor and looked down to survey the damage to my leathers only to discover that my arms and legs were on fire! I rolled on the ground and with a little help from the other rider, got the flames extinguished. So, now you know why former EiC Kevin Duke used to occasionally refer to me as Fireball.

No, the iXS Flame base layer isn’t slimming, but it will protect you from heat and flame while delivering the comfort that you want when riding.

With that experience in my track riding past, you can imagine how I knew I had to get a set of the iXS Flame base layer the moment I saw the press release. While, if you are in the same situation as I was in full leathers, they are hardy enough to protect you as mine did, but if you’re riding in textile gear, the heat and flame retardant nature of the Flame base layer may come in handy in a slide, where friction could melt textile; through contact with a hot exhaust where it, again, melts the textile; or in the highly unlikely event of catching fire, like I did. 

Constructed of a mixture of viscose, aramid, mondacrylic, and other fibers, the iXS Flame base layer feels like a well-worn set of cotton pajamas – only form-fitting. The design places the seams where they won’t irritate the rider’s skin as they sweat. The nature of the fabric makes it ideal for keeping you warm on cold days and cool on hot ones, and I’ve experienced both on the same day at the KTM 1290 Super Duke R intro where we had a cool, misty morning street ride followed by an afternoon on the track. The fabric’s ability to wick away moisture really does assist in keeping you cool. 

In the few months I’ve been riding with the iXS Flame base layer, I’ve found only one small niggle. Because the fabric is so soft, it tends to get pushed up my arms and legs when I’m putting a jacket or pants over it. The solution is to hold the sleeve end in my hand when donning a jacket and putting my socks on over the legs for the pants. If you’re shopping for a good base layer, consider adding the iXS Flame shirt and pants to your riding kit. The iXS Flame shirt is available in sizes M-2XL for $89 directly from iXS. Unfortunately, the pants appear to be no longer available on the iXS website. 

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