You only get two knees, and if you injure them, all of the surgery in the world will never make them as good as new again. So...you should probably take good care of only pair. In moto, that means using quality knee braces. For 2014, Alpinestars redesigned their braces and the Fluid Pro is an...more
Added a product review for Raptor Titanium Xtreme Footpegs 12/5/2013 9:08 AM
There was a time, not too long ago, when MX pegs were no wider than two fingers side by side, and with teeth no sharper than your own molars. By contrast, today’s stock footpegs are far more adequate to handle the rigors of racing, even on a professional level. However, much like many other parts on a dirt bike, footpegs are also not meant to last forever. Wear and tear, especially on the extremities of your motorcycle (handlebars, levers, fender, tires, etc.) is inherent, and that is where aftermarket companies have found a strong niche.
When replacing stock parts, riders have three choices: 1) Opt for a cheap alternative; 2) Use OEM or equivalent parts; 3) Upgrade and go for stronger, lighter…and more bling. Of course, if one can afford to, option number three is always the way to go, and for where to plant your feet, Raptor Titanium Xtreme Footpegs are a newer entrant into the market.
Raptor Titanium Xtreme Footpeg Feature Highlights
Ti - Titanium parts are nothing new. Heck, there were a few works bikes back in the ‘70s that had titanium frames, but as the lightweight metal has become more costly, it’s usage on MX machinery has decreased. The Raptor Xtreme pegs take advantage of the light and strong element.
Width - The Raptors are much wider than stock by several millimeters at 57mm, but not to a point where they prevent your feet from pivoting on the pegs.
Huge Teeth – The grip factor on any footpeg is the most important feature, and the enormous teeth on the Raptor pegs make us think they should change the name to Tyrannosaurus.
There are only a handful of materials out there that make MXers drool, and titanium is right near the top of the list. But implementation of the exotic metal does not mean much on its own. The true wow factor comes in the construction quality of the part, and the Raptor Titanium Xtreme Footpegs has that in spades.
The main laser-cut pieces of the teeth have a refined look that instills confidence. At the same time, the laser etching of the company logo and respective brand the footpegs are intended for (Yamaha in this case) denote an air of sophistication. Then comes the bling: the welds.
On the inside of the teeth, the beads are precise and methodical all the way from the base and around the inner curvature. In contrast, the welds that connect the pivot to the teeth have a much more raw look that make you think they came straight from a factory R&D department. Sweet! From a construction standpoint, the Raptor Xtreme footpegs have a handmade aura of quality.
On the fitment end, the Raptors were surprisingly easy to install on our YZ450F. Where the pivot can occasionally be a bit too snug on some aftermarket pegs, the Xtremes were a breeze to install, which was made even easier by the included replacement steel springs.
On the Track
When first hopping on the bike, the grip is immediately noticeable and almost surprising. While there are innumerable options nowadays for footpeg teeth, sharp triangle-style teeth are tried and true, and on the Raptor Titanium Xtremes, they work very well.
Different riders have different stances and foot placements, but the need for grip is a constant. Having bigger feet (size 13), I need all of the traction I can get and was happy to find that the Raptors have plenty to offer. My feet have never felt more planted on a bike.
Obviously the teeth are the biggest contributor to grip, but the placement of the middle row, a separate laser-cut piece welded into the center, provides both extra support on the sole of your boot and additional purchase. The other contributor is the width, which is noticeably more than that of the stock Yamaha footpegs (and probably any stock pegs for that matter), yet is not too wide as to inhibit foot pivot or get in the way of using the shifter or brake pedal. Then again, if you wear a size six boot, you may have a different experience.
Things That Could Be Improved
We would complain about the high price, but it is basically implied in the name of the company, Raptor Titanium, that their products are going to be high end and priced accordingly.
For the footpegs themselves, I honestly cannot find any flaws in either the construction or function. However, as a taller rider, I am always looking out for options to lower my center of gravity and to make it easier to grip onto the bike with my legs. For footpeg companies, lower and higher platform options (for shorter riders) might be small markets, but are greatly appreciated and sought after by those who need them. As of right now, there is only one height available, but I would like to see a higher and lower options.
Long Term Durability
Titanium is used in motocross because it is both very light and very strong. For exhaust pipes there is a certain amount of risk because when titanium gets hot it becomes quite malleable, but from a hard parts perspective, such as bolts, the only disadvantage is price.
For footpegs, Ti is one of the best materials available, and the Raptors have been showing us why. After about 15 hours of hard use by both myself and our pro test rider, Bryan Wallace, the Xtreme footpegs show virtually no signs of wear. The teeth are every bit as sharp as they were when first installed. From a cosmetic standpoint, since the metal is raw and without any colored coatings, the only signs of damage are a few scratches on the outer curvature. Many other pegs can look far more worn in far less time simply because the paint or anodizing begin to show nicks and scratches almost immediately.
The negative of this durability and continued tooth sharpness? The wear on boot soles is far more noticeable. It makes you appreciate why factory riders (many of whom use the Raptor footpegs) go through so many sets of boots.
Hard Boiled Truth
Do you really need new footpegs? If your bike is new, then probably not. However, if you are a serious racer, you must consider every possible advantage. Aside from the weight savings of the Raptor Titanium Xtreme footpegs, the added grip and security they provide is certainly an advantage. Yes, they are some of the more expensive pegs on the market, but they might also be some of the best.
For more information, visit www.raptortitanium.com.
Raptor Titanium is distributed in the USA by Hammerhead Designs, www.hdmoto.com.
About The Reviewer
Bayo Olukotun has been riding dirt bikes since he was nine years old. Far from a child prodigy, Bayo (pronounced “bio”) spent countless hours learning toride from watching Seals Communications’ epic crash video, Thills, Spills, and Chills hosted by Dave Despain and Larry Maiers, Fox Racing’s Terrafirma series, and endless replays of the 1992 AMA Camel Supercross Series. What he didn’t learn from sitting in front of the television he acquired from racing on AMA District 6 tracks and instructing the Tony D. Motocross Schools for far too long. Nowadays, Bayo considers himself to be a top SoCal pro practicer, but still enters the occasional Loretta Lynn’s qualifier so that he might one day be able to call himself one of the best “never-was-a-pro-over-30-years-old-with-the-resources-to-race-at-Hurricane-Mills” riders in the country!
This product has 1 review
Added reply in a thread Justin Brayton gear switch 12/3/2013 5:35 PM
Not much of a change. He only added two letters.
Added a comment to langhammx's setup 12/3/2013 4:56 PM
Liked a bike check '08 Honda CRF450 12/3/2013 4:56 PM
Added a product blog 2014 Alpinestars Fluid Pro Knee Brace - Pair 12/3/2013 11:50 AM
This blog post has no comments yet
Added reply in a thread Has anyone tried these Emig lock-on grips yet? 12/3/2013 11:40 AM
Ridden with the Emig Lock Ons a couple of times now. They're a little thicker than your standard half-waffle grip, but are very cushy and are holding up well so far. We've also been running the other half waffle Version 2 ODi Lock Ons for a bit. Big ... more »
Added bike check Vital Revival 2005 Yamaha YZ125 12/2/2013 8:29 AM
Added a product blog 2014 One Industries Exo Shell 11/29/2013 12:32 PM
Every rider is different and so are there protection preferences. Some are just fine looking like football players with MX helmets on. Others want total freedom of movement and just a jersey. For those that fall somewhere in between, there are chest and back protectors like the new One Industries Exo Shell...more
This blog post has no comments yet
Added a comment to codyc24's setup 11/29/2013 12:08 PM
Added a comment to Nathan_Alexander's setup 11/29/2013 11:36 AM
Added a product blog 2014 Alpinestars Pro Bionic Neck Support 11/26/2013 7:33 AM
Stay In It is a mantra. It is a literal and figurative reminder that through conviction, commitment and perseverance, comes great satisfaction and achievement. Things get squirly...Stay In It. Barrel about to crash overhead...Stay In It. Wherever you are, whatever you're...more
This blog post has no comments yet
Added a product review for Troy Lee Designs Catalyst X Knee Brace 11/22/2013 3:04 PM
Think about this for a second: a decade ago there were not even a handful of motocross-specific knee braces available...and even fewer that were affordable without a prescription. Today, there are so many knee brace options that it’s difficult to keep them straight. Just think of how many ACL’s have been saved in the last decade. Thanks, technology and competitive marketplaces!
While many of the brace options come from companies that specialize in knee and joint protection, a few more moto-centric businesses have entered the fray as well. One of those companies is Troy Lee Designs with their Catalyst X Knee Brace.
The Catalyst X has actually been around for a few years now and has proven itself enough that several top-tier pros wear the brace, including a few Lucas Oil/TLD/Honda riders. While the Catalyst X follows the same basic principles of the vast majority of other braces (upper and lower frame, hinge system, hook and loop closure straps, etc.) there are plenty of features that make it unique.
First off is the frame itself, which is mainly aluminum (powder coated white, of course) with flexible stainless steel sheathed in plastic placed at the top of the thigh and around the side of the shin to allow for conforming fitment while riding.
The knee cup is something similar to a skateboard-style kneepad and uses a semi-free-floating design to keep it centered over the patella.
To keep things secure, the strap system uses a numbering system to ensure the user has the right fitment and to minimize slippage. In addition, the Number 1 strap (at the top of the calf and just below the knee) also has two beads of soft silicone to keep everything in place.
I have to admit, when I first got ahold of the Troy Lee Designs Catalyst, I was a bit skeptical about the aluminum construction. The reason many companies have gone with carbon fiber-based knee braces has to do more with flexibility than weight. Carbon can be designed to be as strong or as flexible as desired. Thus many knee braces take advantage of these properties to create a product that will remain rigid in normal circumstances, but can also flex or even break when necessary. On a knee brace, the most important areas for crumple zones are at the very top and very bottom to avoid broken femurs and tibias.
Aluminum is not quite as inherently dynamic in its flexing properties as carbon fiber. In fact the metal is quite rigid, but it is also lightweight and far less costly. The steel/plastic portions at the top and bottom of the brace help compensate for the aluminum’s rigidity in addition to aiding in fitment.
The Real World
When first strapping on the Catalyst, a few aspects are immediately noticeable. For starters, the brace is probably one of the shortest I have ever worn. Granted, I am 6’3, but I typically wear a large size with most offerings to achieve the proper width in the joint area. However, most braces are still long enough below the knee that they will slip about one or two inches into the top of my boots. Not so with the Catalyst X.
I found that the TLD brace fell just short of reaching the top of my boots. During normal riding, this really has little meaning, and if anything allows for more ventilation in and around the shins. In the event of a crash, however, having two separate rigid elements (the bottom of the brace and the top of the boot) right next to each other but not connected, could potentially create a fulcrum in the center of the tibia; in other words, a point of potential bone fracture. Of course I’m thinking worst-case scenario here, but it is something to keep in mind. Bear in mind that the Catalyst X will fit everyone differently as well.
Aside from the length, I have been very comfortable with the Catalyst X from a protection standpoint. While the hinge system is fairly basic, utilizing a dual pivot system, it is also very solid and comfortable. Once I had the proper fitment (I needed to swap to thinner condyle pads to allow for enough room when my knees were bent) I felt right at home with the braces. There have been several instances in which the brace kept my knee in place after catching a foot in ruts. Of course, I should probably just try to do a better job of keeping my feet out of ruts to begin with, but that’s moto and things only go how you really want them to about 50 percent of the time anyway.
One of the aspects of braces that I always pay close attention to is the interaction with the side of the bike, and the Catalyst X passed that test with flying colors. As Ace Ventura would say, “Like a glove!” The feeling of the brace when squeezing the bike with your knees feels completely natural: no strange pressure points on the inside of the knee, and no hang-ups on the outside. The bike interaction was practically seamless; these fall into the category of braces that actually give you more control of the bike. Not all knee braces have that distinction.
Further in depth on the hinge, there is a extension stop system that can be swapped out with a small Phillips screw to change from a range of 0ºup to 25º, while the flexion stop (a rarity on MX braces) can be changed from 45º, 60º, 75º, and 90º.
As I have already mentioned, the Catalyst X is quite comfortable, and this comfort is taken one step further thanks to the Number 2 and Number 5 straps, which are essentially the same. Let me explain.
Both straps are located just above the knee, and unlike any other brace I have used, completely wrap around your thigh. Attached to the frame by a pivoting rivet, once cinched down the 2 and 5 straps help the brace match the contour of your thighs, which are constantly changing size and shape during riding. Most braces have two flexible pivot points attached somewhere near the back portion of the frame, and therefore only have a strap that goes across the back of the hamstring. The rigid front portion of the frame then completely relies on the strap to keep everything in place. The Catalyst X’s Number 2 and Number 5 strap is one of the best systems I have encountered in a knee brace.
Finally, my only other major quibble with the Catalyst X is the bash protection. While the patella cup/guard is very comfortable, I would like to have a bit more protection where the Number 2 and Number 5 strap is located. For anyone who has ever smashed the bottom of their thigh against the bottom of the handlebar or clutch perch, you know how tender and painful that can be. I would like to see some type of plastic guard to help disperse the load of any potential impacts.
Hard Boiled Truth
So, what do all of these observations, critiques, and praise boil down to for the Troy Lee Designs Catalyst X Knee Brace? Although the brace has been on the market for a few years, this is still the company’s first foray into proper knee protection. From an actual bracing and joint protection standpoint, the Catalyst X is an excellent option. I would say the same goes for fitment. Security is also top notch; once the brace is secured properly, it will not move out of place.
Again, I would like to have better impact protection, and while the length of the brace is a point of contention, after checking with other rider who have used the Catalyst X, I found that my lack of brace and boot interaction is not universal.
Overall, the Troy Lee Designs Catalyst X Knee Brace a solid option that is not overly complicated.
For more information, visit www.troyleedesigns.com.
About the test rider:
Bayo Olukotun has been riding dirt bikes since he was nine years old. Far from a child prodigy, Bayo (pronounced “bio”) spent countless hours learning to ride from watching Seals Communications’ epic crash video, Thills, Spills, and Chills hosted by Dave Despain and Larry Maiers, Fox Racing’s Terrafirma series, and endless replays of the 1992 AMA Camel Supercross Series. What he didn’t learn from sitting in front of the television he acquired from racing on AMA District 6 tracks and instructing the Tony D. Motocross Schools for far too long. Nowadays, Bayo considers himself to be a top SoCal pro practicer, but still enters the occasional Loretta Lynn’s qualifier so that he might one day be able to call himself one of the best “never-was-a-pro-over-30-year-old-with-the-resources-to-race-at-Hurricane-Mills” riders in the country!
This product has 1 review
Added a comment to mxsport41's setup 11/21/2013 1:09 PM
Liked a bike check 1996 CR250 McGrath replica 11/21/2013 1:03 PM
Added a product blog 2014 Alpinestars Tech 10 Boots 11/21/2013 12:12 PM
The Alpinestars Tech 10 Boot has a revised ergonomic design. The revolutionary development concepts have produced the most streamlined, balanced and protective MX boot yet to hit the market.
As motocross machinery continues to become more sophisticated and more powerful, so too do the...more
This blog post has no comments yet
Added a product blog Galfer Wave Superlight Oversize Front Brake Rotor Kit 11/19/2013 5:40 PM
Jump for show and corner for dough. All the scrubs in the world cannot make up for good corner speed, and a good portion of corner speed comes from braking. Want that big 'ol 450 of yours to stop on a dime? Galfer has you covered. Oversized kits are the way to go.
Galfer USA's original...more
This blog post has 1 comment
Added a comment to MCfan4life's setup 11/19/2013 4:37 PM
Added a comment to MCfan4life's setup 11/19/2013 3:50 PM
Added reply in a thread Kick ass two strokes! 11/19/2013 1:16 PM
Throw this thing into Bike Check...hint hint!
Updated photo album ODI Ride Day for the Emig Lock-On Grip 11/15/2013 12:56 AM
And 9 more...
This photo album has 2 comments