The Good: This is a really good brace.
The Bad: The middle straps tighten up more than I would prefer.
Ten years ago, if you wanted knee braces, there were only a few options to choose from. Either you were able to convince your doctor that you needed a prescription for knee protection in order to acquire some custom made braces, or you went with one of the few off-the-shelf (OTS) offerings. These were either still pretty expensive or barely more protective than a knee cup. Today, options abound, with a multitude of design, material, and color options, and the latest brace to join the fray just hit the market: the EVS Axis Pro.
On first appearance, the Axis Pro does not look much different from your standard higher end knee brace, but there are a few elements that are definitely unique. The most obvious difference is the Hybrid Technology Construction, which mates carbon fiber and aluminum on the frame. Other items that stick out are the upper knee floating protective cup and the bio-foam liner.
Fitting for the Axis Pro is fairly accurate to other braces, as is the length. I typically wear a large for other braces, and that was the size that worked best for me on the new EVS unit.
The strap system uses a faux velvet material that is both comfy and offers some additional grip, and hook-and-loop closures at either end of each strap allow for almost infinite adjustment. I typically cinch down the strap at the top of the calf first, followed by the strap at the very bottom, then the strap just above the knee, and finish off with the quad. Using this method, while it did a fine job of securing the brace, I found that the tension on the top calf and above the need increased significantly when bending the knee…for one reason or another. In order to get the adjustment to a point that was comfortable at all points of the knee range, I had to keep the two middle straps slightly looser than I’m typically comfortable with, but that was what worked.
If you have a bum knee (which, if you’re a motocrosser you either do already, or you will soon enough), adjustability in the brace extension can go a long way. The adjustable “stop” system, that works with a series of different sized shims, can help to keep your knee from hyperextending. My left knee sucks, so I ran the stop that locks out at 15 degrees from full extension.
Down to Business
On the track, the Axis Pro performs just as you would hope a knee brace would: unobtrusive, protective, and helpful. How? The Axis Pro, while low-profile and light, is not the narrowest brace I have used in joint area, but that is not necessarily a negative. In fact, for someone who does not naturally hold onto the bike with his knees, I found that it was easier to grip the bike thanks to what is really just a few extra millimeters of girth.
Fortunately I have not had any major spills since I started wearing the Axis Pros, but I can say that my knees have been saved a few times by the red floating guard extension. On almost every other brace I’ve used, I will inevitably catch the top of my knee on the under side of my handlebars while going through a turn. If this has ever happened to you, then you know how painful it can be. The red extender has so far been worth it’s weight in gold, keeping my delicate knees away from handlebar hell.
Overall, EVS has definitely upped their game for knee protection. The Axis Pro is light-weight, low-profile, and works in a way that you would wish out of high-end knee protection.
For more information, visit www.evs-sports.com.