Motocross Knee Brace Comparison: Full Test 6

We check out the Asterisk Carbon Cell, CTi OTS, EVS Axis Pro, Leatt X-Frame, Mobius X8, and POD K8.

Motocross Knee Brace Comparison: Full Test

 

Knees. They are super weird, complicated joints that handle a deceivingly simple job… They just bend. Yet in the sport of motocross, there are about a hundred and one different ways that they can be bent, hyperextended, twisted, wrenched, reversed, and impacted, which can leave a rider with permanent injury. Whether or not you think knee braces do what they are supposed to is a whole different debate. Pretty much every top pro today wears them, but there are notable members of the non-knee brace crowd, our very own David Pingree among them. But if you are reading this, it’s a safe bet that you are in, or at least thinking about joining, the knee brace club. 

But knee braces are expensive; they aren’t trivial pieces of gear that, if they don’t work out or jibe with your personal style, you can toss aside like crappy grips or a bargain jersey. I personally have been on both sides of the knee brace debate. I’ve injured my knees with and without them. Overall, I prefer to wear knee braces over knee pads most of the time, but I’m also not militant about it. 

 

Fit

In a good-for-me, bad-for-the-test situation I’ve lost weight over the last six months since I started this comparison to the point where the XL braces that I started with are too big for me now. But since that is when most of the riding and testing has been, I will be talking about the XL size for all brands our trusty tester Chris Siebenhaar wore the Large size in the braces to give a different opinion. 

Also, personal fit makes this whole comparison more complicated. Given the same height and weight, each human has a different distribution of muscle which can make legs different shapes and sizes, rider to rider. Both Chris and I cycle a lot, as do most moto guys, and (not to get too weird) have very toned legs. I think me at my bigger size and Chris in the Large size give a good, wide range for riders out there. 

All the braces have some level of size adjustability as well. With different knee pad thicknesses and adjustable straps, the fit can be fine-tuned with most of the braces. Since neither of us have specific knee injuries, we set the extension stops to the middle of whatever was offered. Meaning, if the braces came with five different hinge stops, we’d go with the 3rd. If it came with four we went with the 2nd just for a little bit more movement.


Testing

To test these knee braces, we did what you would do… Ride in them. Other than getting some universal metrics like weight and hinge thickness, we just hit the track and took a lot of notes. Chris went so far as riding with one brand on one leg and another brand on the other to really tell the difference. I did ask some brace manufacturers if there is such a thing as a “brace dyno,” like some sort of device that can empirically measure the amount of force a brace could withstand and they said no. With all the different ways a knee brace could be built, there isn’t one standard metric or device that would give any kind of meaningful data. 

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Results

In the beginning, the plan was to have a full ranking of the braces from top choice to least favorite. But, after getting into the testing and going back and forth through the braces, it became clear that things are more complicated than that. So these are in order of price from most expensive to least, and while Siebs and I have top picks that we’d continue to wear as well as least favorites, there isn’t a clear ranking that we could agree upon for the braces. 

BRACE CTi OTS Asterisk Carbon Cell POD K8 EVS Axis Pro Mobius X8 Leatt X Frame
PRICE $799.99-$849.99 $799.95 $799.95 $749 $599.95 $469.99
HINGE Asymmetric pivot Asymmetric pivot Synthetic ligament Asymmetric pivot Pivot Pivot
FRAME MATERIAL Carbon fiber Carbon fiber Carbon fiber/plastic cuffs Aluminum/carbon cuffs Glass-filled nylon Carbon composite
STRAPS Four, velcro, no memory Four, velcro, no memory Four, velcro, two w/ memory Five, velcro, no memory Three velcro, one
ratcheting steel cable, no memory
Four, velcro, no memory
PATELLA CUP Independent floating Independent floating, w/ two piece sliding fixed Two piece, sliding fixed Two piece, sliding fixed Inner floating Fixed floating, w/ two piece sliding fixed
WEIGHT 3.95 lb (1792 g) 3.42 lb (1554 g) 3.1 lb (1410) 4.36 (1980 g) 3.65 lb (1656 g)  3.45 lb (1568 g)
MEDICAL Reimbursement codes available N/A Certified Medical Device/FDA Registered CE 1621-1
EN 1621-1
N/A Certified Medical Device/FDA Registered

Riding Notes

CTi – OTS

PRICE: $799.99 - $849.99
HINGE THICKNESS: 16.5 mm
WEIGHT: 3.95 lb pair, size Large
FRAME PROFILE THICKNESS 1-10: 3 (Moderately thin. Thin cuffs, somewhat bulky frame)
STRAP STYLE: 4 individual straps
STRAP MEMORY: No. You must adjust each strap every time you put on the brace.
CUFF CLOSURE: Flexible.
HINGE STYLE: Pivoting “ACCUTRAC” Hinge (lower frame rotates and slides under the top).
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CTi having pioneered the moto knee brace market, offers their own direct to public or OTS (Off The Shelf) knee brace, that while still not pocket change by any means, it is in the realm of other high-end knee braces.

CHRIS’S NOTES:

What I liked:

Right away this was one of the more comfortable braces in the group. Largely in part to its thin, flexible thigh and calf straps that allow the brace to mold perfectly to your leg no matter your thigh or calf size. The low profile of the cuffs also made it disappear under your riding gear more than most of the other braces too. 

When Gripping the bike, the contact pressure was distributed across a wide area of the frame (top to bottom) and it felt as if you were making secure contact from your calf all the way up to your thigh. This was an added bonus as it kept from developing hot spots (soreness) on any area of the knee during long days of riding. 

As mentioned CTi has a patented ACCUTRAC Hinge, meaning that the hinge is designed to mimic the natural movement of the knee. If you look at your knee (go ahead) and bend it, you notice that your Tibia slides slightly under your Femur as it moves. CTi has found a way to replicate this in their hinge making it feel as one with your body’s natural movement.

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Despite the OTS having the thickest hinge measurement, I didn’t mind it one bit. In fact I would say the extra meat just helped me squeeze onto the bike that much more. Now when testing a comparison like this I will often wear two different products, when doing this and wearing the CTi with the thickest hinge vs the Leatt X-Frame with the thinnest hinge, that was the only time the CTi felt wide. 

Lastly, I really liked the padding in the patella cup. It reminds me of my old skating knee pads that are in the perfect placement to take an impact or simply kneel down to check tire pressure. This was the most comfortable brace by far. 

CTi's hinge stands out as extremely natural feeling.
The patella cup was one of the best.

What I didn’t like:

Now my first gripe comes from adjusting the stops of the brace just slightly off and creating a pressure point on my shin. Again, while this was my fault, the fact that the frame comes to a point at both the top and bottom only exaggerated the pressure point rather than dispersing it over a broader cuff like some of the other designs may have. 

My next issue is the large gap above the patella cup, and while it’s not massive, it does leave a vulnerable area exposed to getting clipped by the handlebar or other handlebar controls when cranked over in a rut. 

The lower section comes to a point which create a pressure point on the shin.
The padding is covered in a super sticky silicon material that does not allow any slippage.

KLINGER’S NOTES:

What I liked:

Comfort is really high on the CTis. When riding, this brace had the most “melt away” feeling for me where I just didn’t notice the brace. When I did think about them and squeezed the bike, the hinge had a nice, wide contact patch on my knee that didn’t have a pressure point or anything like that. The pad material is by far the most comfortable and grippy. Sliding down wasn’t a issue at all. The knee cup is super beefy and reminds me of old skate knee pads. If I were pick braces to continue to wear, this is one of my top picks. They let me focus on riding and not notice them at all, while also being secure and make me feel like my knees are super protected. 

What I didn’t like:

Like Chris said, when walking around, the bottom of the brace where the frame comes to a point, there is a pressure point and at the end of the day there is a sore spot on my shin. But I’m willing to deal with that since the brace feels and performes so well on the bike. 


Asterisk - Carbon Cell

PRICE: $799.95
HINGE THICKNESS: 13 mm
WEIGHT: 3.42 lb pair, size XL
FRAME PROFILE THICKNESS 1-10: 1 (this was the lowest profile frame in the test)
STRAP STYLE: 4 individual straps
STRAP MEMORY: No.
CUFF CLOSURE: Rigid Carbon Fiber.
HINGE STYLE: Pivoting/Sweeping Hinge
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As far as moto specific knee braces, Asterisk is the oldest name in the game. Their latest brace, the Carbon Cell is based on their decades of experience and are a super-thin, very custom feeling brace. 

CHRIS’S NOTES:

What I liked:

The thing I loved most about the Asterisk Carbon Cell knee braces was the frame. It’s absolutely beautiful. It reminds me of the carbon fiber parts one would find on factory bikes, exotic cars or F1 machines. The detail of the shapes, the fit and finish is damn near flawless. 

The bike feel with these braces was probably one of my favorites of the bunch. They had a very broad distribution of pressure when squeezing onto the bike and with an average hinge thickness of 13mm, they felt neutral when compared to the other braces of the bunch. 

The hinge has a pivot to it, meaning it is not a true one-to-one swing like most of the mechanical/gear driven braces. It has a sweep to it (similar to the CTi) that allows the lower frame to swing slightly under the upper frame giving it a natural motion. 

This is hands down the slimmest knee brace in the test. By far. Between the low profile of the frame, the no frills strap system and average hinge thickness, the Carbon Cell disappears under your riding pants compared to any of the other braces in the test. For a rider like myself that has larger legs from years of riding and cycling, this is especially beneficial with the current trend of slim-fit stretch pants that high-end racewear has been leaning towards, thus allowing for as much room as possible for effortless mobility on the bike. 

Lots of coverage with the floating patella cup and sliding fixed guards.
One downside is that the patella cup straps could wear down quickly, as well as the padding.

What I didn’t like:

While I loved the design and execution of the frame, it seemed as though the foam was slightly overlooked. The cut of the foam and the foam itself is the most rudimentary of the bunch. Where-as most were molded or formed of some sort, the foam on the Carbon cell seemed like it was just cut from a sheet of neoprene and velcro’d into the frame. There were even some of the areas that looked as though they have been finished with scissors before they were packed in the box.

The design and attachment of the patella cup was nearly the same (maybe exactly) as the patella cup I had on my first pair years and years ago. What I mean is that while most braces have the patella cup being self-centered by elastic bands or some other modern design, the Cell’s cup is held on with some Velcro and buttoned straps which leaves it just kind of floating around. 

Lastly, on to wear and tear. After the very first ride, upon taking off my pants I noticed black dust that was caked everywhere. Further inspection lead me to discover that the plastic plates both above and below the patella cup were rubbing against the padding on the inside of the cup. Next was the straps that held on the patella cup, but the inner Velcro straps showed a considerable amount of wear for the amount of time ridden on the braces. I don’t think they were anywhere near being worn through, but over time they would probably get there. Lastly was the padding on the hinges. This padding was held on by the tiniest adhesive Velcro strips, within hours one of the insides pads began falling off as the adhesive backing had lost all of its stick. This is a simple fix with more velcro, but one that should have to be made on a brace with this price tag.

These have a beautiful carbon frame.

The carbon frame is super low profile and conforms well to the leg.
The padding seems to be afterthought.
Thin neoprene padding was disappointing.
The patella cup just floats rather than being held in place by elastic like other braces.

KLINGER’S NOTES:

What I liked:

The first thing I noticed with the Carbon Cells was how light the felt for being such a big brace. Not bulky, (I agree with Chris on how thin and form fitting they are) but they cover a large area of your thigh and shin. This is actually something that I really like. It makes the brace feel more secure and adds a little peace of mind for leg impact protection. The fit is on the generous side, and XL was not tight at all. I eventually went down to the Large as my legs slimmed down, but at this point, we lost a knee pad. On the bike I found the brace to be comfortable without pinching or hotspots on the inside of the knee. The placement of the straps are perfect, which, at least for me, let me run the straps not crazy tight. Some braces can feel like you need to wrench the straps to keep them from sliding down, not these. Also, the top and bottom straps have elastic so that adds comfort when your thigh is flexing. 

What I didn't’ like: 

This is a bit of a weird situation. My biggest problem on these is the lack of attention to the foam padding and lack of adjustability. That being said these don’t match the pictures of the braces on the website. My guess is that these are earlier versions of the brace where the carbon fiber frame is same, but now they’ve gone into the padding and made it more legit. But, with the braces we had, I lost one of the side knee cushions which is probably floating around my very messy garage floor. 


POD – K8

PRICE: $799.95
HINGE THICKNESS: 15.2 mm
WEIGHT: 3.1 lb pair, size XL
FRAME PROFILE THICKNESS 1-10: 6
STRAP STYLE: 4 individual straps
STRAP MEMORY: Yes. Both the top thigh and lower calf had a quick clip to attach the strap
CUFF CLOSURE: Firm but pliable plastic
HINGE STYLE: Artificial Ligament Hinge
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What makes the POD K8 stand out is it’s artificial ligament hinge. It is modeled after the human knee and how it works, but has a steel cable inside, which is obviously much stronger than your ligaments. 

CHRIS’S NOTES

What I liked:

Fitting the brace to my leg initially was, overall, very comfortable. The semi-flexible calf and thigh closures allowed the brace to mold naturally to my leg, and the padding on the inside was more than adequate. 

Bending the knee was everything that I had remembered about the POD braces, effortless and organic. There is something so silky about the ligament style hinge that POD has created, and when you think of it, it makes perfect sense. The knee, what you’re trying to protect, is made up of ligaments, the ACL, MCL, PCL, and LCL. So, adding one more encased in a carbon frame seems like a very logical way to protect the vulnerable ones you were born with. 

I love the fact that the POD braces were the only braces in the bunch to use a “Memory” style strap system with the upper and lower straps have clips that snapped into the frame. This allowed you to set that size once and quickly affix the knee brace each time thereafter.

The top and bottom straps had clips for strap
Synthetic ligament in the hinge.
The top and bottom cuffs are hard, yet slightly flexible plastic.

What I didn’t like:

The patella protection, while smooth and seamless moving on the bike, was awkward in the pits when having to kneel on the ground for simple maintenance. 

At full bend these frames pinched my thighs a little just above the hinge. Believe it or not, this is actually quite a common issue with knee braces. Trying to get this area slim enough to fit in pants yet work with flexing of the quad muscles in a wide variety of riders, is very difficult. 

These were one of two braces that had very distinctive contact points against the bike, and while this did give you a very positive feeling and really help you know exactly how hard you were squeezing the bike, after a long day of motos, this left my knees a bit sore. 

The padding is thin but comfortable.
It is also very grippy.
The two-piece patella cup works fin when riding, but a little awkward putting on pants or kneeling to work on your bike.
The carbon frame is super light and super rigid.

KLINGER’S NOTES

What I liked:

These braces definitely fit on the slimmer side. Even with the XL brace, this was one of two braces that really pinched the quad muscle right above the knee. Yet, when I went down in size in all the other braces I stayed with the XL now that they fit better and these became one of my favorite braces. The firm but flexible plastic thigh and calf cuffs bend just enough to be comfortable and conform to my legs, but are more supportive and impact resistant than the CTi braces. I agree with Chris that there is more of a pressure point on in the hinge area when squeezing the bike, but it wasn’t painful and I sort of just got used to it. While riding the braces are not bulky or impede my riding in any way. I also liked that the top and bottom straps have clips that make getting them on and off much faster than other braces. They are the lightest out of the bunch and that contributes to “melt away” feeling while riding. Out of all of these braces this one of my top picks.

What I didn’t like:

There is only one extension stop to choose from and it is very difficult to instal. But it's a one time deal so no biggie. Also, one of the hinge screws backed out and was lost so I had to cannibalize another brace. 


EVS – AXIS PRO

PRICE: $749.95
HINGE THICKNESS: 14.9 mm
WEIGHT: 4.36 lb pair, size XL
FRAME PROFILE THICKNESS 1-10: 7
STRAP STYLE: 5 individual straps
STRAP MEMORY: No.
CUFF CLOSURE: Rigid Carbon Fiber.
HINGE STYLE: Mechanical
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The two-piece patella cup is more comfortable than the similar design on the POD braces because the EVS' have a single piece of padding that is independent of both plastic pieces and stays in contact with your knee.

The EVS AXIS PRO was another brace that had a gorgeous frame structure, marrying a large weave carbon fiber thigh and calf cuff with a bronze anodized aluminum cage. The fit and finish of the frame is fantastic, especially at the joining of the materials. 

CHRIS’S NOTES:

What I liked:

As mentioned above, I really liked the construction of the brace, this also carried over to the feel of the brace on your leg. Due to the size of the brace (one of the bulkier frames in the test) and combination of material, this brace gives your leg & knee a very secure feeling. Additionally, the generous padding that lined the inside of the brace had enough give to it that it really allowed the brace to conform to your knee and thigh. 

The protection along the front of the brace was complete top to bottom with no gaps whatsoever, so whether your leg is bent or straight, you’re covered. I really liked the elastic band that keept the patella protection close to the knee and gliding over the upper and lower sections. For padding, EVS chose to use a large piece of foam that goes from the shin all the way up to the knee cap. Doing this allows the patella plates to glide effortlessly over your knee while never actually coming in contact with your knees. 

I say with every brace, but I like the usage of pivoting rings for the straps. EVS uses them generously for both inside and outside connecting points, doing this allows the straps to snug up to the exact anatomy of your leg’s muscles.

The build quality is excellent.
While they are super stiff, the carbon/aluminum set up is heavier than other braces.
Padding is super grippy and the straps are wide and the most beefy.

What I didn’t like:

Like the POD-K8, these braces had a very definitive contact point against the bike. While this is preference, I like the contact point to be spread out a bit more for comfort over time. But again, this is preference. 

There was a “5th” strap that is on the calf, that never really understood what it was for. Furthermore, it’s the same thickness as the rest of neoprene padding in the brace (roughly ¼”) and doubles over itself when secured, adding seemingly unnecessary bulk. Again, I say seemingly because I do not understand its purpose. 

While the carbon sections of the frame were something, I had given praise to, the lower section of the frame, particularly around the shin, is a rather funny shape. It’s almost like a wide “U” and a bit squarish. This caused A) a sore spot on my shin from not evenly applying pressure to the bone and B) created extra bulk/gaps around my shin that made me have to loosen the straps on my boot buckle. 

The fifth strap is confusing. It is right below the third strap which is the most important (behind the knee, above the calf muscle) and doesn't really serve any purpose. Plus, since it is the same neoprene-like padding material, it adds bulk behind your leg.

The lower cuff shape is a little off.
Like the PODs, the hinge has a little more pressure point feel.

KLINGER’S NOTES

What I liked:

The finish and overall presentation of the EVS braces are probably my favorite. The seem to use very high quality materials and all of the junctions and transitions between materials are very clean. They are beefier than most other braces and I had a very secure feeling while riding. They fit true to size, not too big, or too small for the XL I wore. Unlike Chris I didn’t really find them to have too much of a pressure point and I found them comfortable to grip the bike and squeeze with my knees. 

What I didn’t like:

These are the heaviest and one of the more bulky braces in the test. They never ‘melted away’ and I was always sort of aware of wearing knee braces. They feel very protective but they were also really bulky behind the leg. That extra neoprene strap doesn’t make much sense to me and when you fold it over on itself, it is twice as thick. I certainly didn’t have any sliding-down issues and that fifth strap could’ve been helping with that, but the other four strap braces do just fine without it. 


Mobius – X8

PRICE: $599.95
HINGE THICKNESS: 13.1 mm
WEIGHT: 3.65 lb pair, size XL
FRAME PROFILE THICKNESS 1-10: 7
STRAP STYLE: 3 Individual Straps and 1 cable routed strap
STRAP MEMORY: No.
CUFF CLOSURE: Semi-flexible glass filled nylon
HINGE STYLE: Pivoting hinge
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There were many stand out features to the Mobius X8 brace like the full coverage frame, the hidden patella cup, the perfectly flat hinges that make for an ultra-smooth transition from frame to hinge. The ratcheting cable system is also intriguing since it was the one of the first major changes to knee brace straps in years. 

CHRIS’S NOTES:

What I liked:

Comfort of the brace was at the top of my list, this is largely in part due to the frame material, glass-filled nylon. The brace is by far the least rigid brace of the group, allowing for some form of flex in every direction. While I do think there is an argument to having a “softer” frame (to a point) in order to possibly reduce femur injuries, there is always a slight concern of stabilizing the knee. Nevertheless, the give in the nylon allows the form to expand or tighten to your specific leg shape with ease. Also, the frame design which is by far the most solid, gives a very warm and fuzzy feel when securing to your legs, it’s like they give your legs a hug. 

I really liked both the size of the straps and the velcro on them. The straps are significantly wider than any other brace in the test and this lets you get a good pull on them without a dental floss feeling of a strap cutting into your legs. The velcro on the straps are good enough to use to tie down your bike. Well not really, but it is exceptionally strong. Far stronger than any other velcro in the test. While this would occasionally make for undoing them a bit of a pain, it sure kept them together. Whereas the velcro on many of braces will sometimes catch on your pant liner and detach when pulling up your pants, this was never an issue with the Mobius velcro.  

Unlike all the other braces, the Mobius's patella cup is on the inside of the frame.

The ratchet system is cool but adds bulk and is a not really necessary.
The steel cable crosses behind the brace and routes back to the front of the shin plate.
The x-strap is always attached so you have to step through to put on.

The contact against the bike was superb, in fact it's nearly identical to the Asterisk Carbon Cell braces, very spread out and broad. The seamless transitions of frame to hinge was also very pleasant as it allowed you to squeeze the bike as tight as possible, yet never really feel the contours of the plastics. What I mean is that with a typical hinge that has an outer plate, that plate will “notch” its way across the plastic panels, and the seat to frame to plastic transitions give you a bit of a stepped feeling. With the perfectly flat surface of the Mobius X8, you don’t’ feel that - the brace glides over those touch points. 

Patella cup is also very different from any other cup in the test as it “hides” behind the frame when the leg is straightened. This makes for an ultra-sleek exterior eliminating any chance of snagging on the lining of pants. 

What I didn’t like:

The first thing that immediately became noticeable is the bulk of the upper half of the brace. Not so much the frame alone, but the ratcheting closure and the “X” cable strap on the lower thigh. Between those two pieces, there is significant amount of added bulk that can make getting on some slim fitting pants a struggle. 

This brace actually felt very similar to the Asterisk Carbon Cell, which in my opinion is NOT a bad thing, I loved the Asterisk. But a major difference was the shin area on the lower frame, in specific, just below the patella cup. Wearing ONLY the mobius (right and left) you won’t notice this but wear the Mobius on one leg and an Asterisk on the other, there is a noticeable gap below the patella cup on the Mobius that gives up some of the feel of security. But again, this is only when wear side-by-side is this noticeable. 

Heat was another issue that came up late into the testing. For majority of the testing I had worn this brace in sub 90-degree weather, typically between 70-85 degrees. However, when I rode on a day that was 103, the solid design of the frame held in heat quite a bit. This brace definitely has the least amount of airflow of any of the braces. Then again, it is this same frame design that gives the brace a very comforting feel of wrapping around your legs. 

The hinge is by far the smallest and is the most flush with the rest of the brace.
There is ample padding all over making it very comfortable, but bulky.
You can see how thick the padding is on the x-strap that goes behind the leg.

KLINGER’S NOTES

What I liked:

The padding inside the Mobius is some of the thickest and softest which makes the brace very comfortable to where. There are no pressure points on the thigh, shin, or inside of the knee when you are riding, walking, or working on your bike. I also applaud the out-of-the-box design of the ratcheting ‘X’ strap and the overall structure of the frame. 

What I didn’t like:

Unfortunately, this list is longer than the one above it. First off, they are a little bit on the heavy side, and a LOT a bit on the bulky side. In fact, they are so bulky that I straight up couldn’t get a pair of pants over them. They were the Fox Legion pants that have much less stretch than moto pants, and they just would not fit over the braces. The thick and soft padding that give comfort adds to the major bulk of the brace. Also I find the X-strap a hassle to ‘step through’ since it doesn’t unhook on one side like the other straps. Lastly, while they had good bike feel, they ultimately seemed like very expensive knee guards than braces since they are not nearly as rigid as any of the other braces.

Leatt X-Frame

PRICE: $469.99
HINGE THICKNESS: 11 mm
WEIGHT: 3.45 lb pair, size XXL
FRAME PROFILE THICKNESS 1-10: 5
STRAP STYLE: 4 Individual Straps
STRAP MEMORY: No
CUFF CLOSURE: Carbon Composite frame
HINGE STYLE: Mechanical Hinge
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After starting and being the major player in the moto neck brace game, Leatt has moved on to other protective gear including knee braces. The X Frame is there medium level brace that has a more traditional frame shape than their top-end C Frame that has a single sided frame. 

CHRIS’S NOTES

What I liked:

Feel against the bike was superb, probably one of my favorites of the bunch. The hinge is super thin, also the thinnest of the group. This coupled with the flatness of the frame on the inside of the brace, gives the brace a crazy broad displacement of pressure while squeezing the bike. It really feels like when you’re squeezing the bike, your squeezing it from your calf, all the way up to your thigh. 

While the Leatt frame is made up of a carbon composite material, they added plastic tabs on both the upper and lower calf closure which allows just enough flex to conform to the shape of your thighs and shins. 

Airflow on this brace is also amongst the best in the group. There is plenty of perforated panels, and foam to allow the movement of air in and around your leg. 

The floating rigid patella cup is a weird design.
It sticks off the brace pretty far making pants stretch a lot when bending the knee.

What I didn’t like:

The Patella cup was the biggest nuance of the brace as it sticks out pretty far from the brace when the knee is bent. So much so, that I had to make sure to bring a looser pant on the days I was going to be wearing these. With a snug “race-cut” pant, while bending my knee the patella cup would push out on the pant leg cause it to tug on the waist/upper-thigh area. 

The lower frame, just below the patella cup, comes to a point. Not huge, but it definitely is not the shape of a shin, this may have an engineering or function behind it, but to me it seems more aesthetic. Because this point is in the same zone as the shin plate closure on most motocross boots, it adds just enough material that it required me to loosen the boot buckle a couple notches. 

Some braces performed through the test with little or no wear, some had quite a bit. With the X-Frame, after about 7-8hours on the brace, the right frame developed a “Click” in the hinge. This was noticeable while riding, specifically when going from sitting to standing. While the click never caused an issue, it had the feeling of the hinge about to lock-out. Again, it never did. I took the hinge apart at the track, cleaned it and re-assembled, still the click was there. I went home and did the same thing, went back to the track for another go, and still, the click was there.

The hinge is very thin on the Leatts.
The fit is definitely slimmer than other braces.

KLINGER’S NOTES

What I liked: 

Not the heaviest and not the lightest, the X Frames were right in the middle. Out of all the braces these fit the smallest. Both Chris and I went up in size compared to the other brands. That means I was wearing an XXL and he wore an XL. 

What I didn’t like:

As you can see, I don’t have much I like about these braces. Overall, they are a bit bulky feeling and the weird floating patella cup added to the large feel. It sticks way out from the knee and is noticeable when bending and a little distracting. Also, very awkward to kneel and work on your bike. Secondly, the padding is stiff, so the comfort level was sort of low. It doesn’t feel like the braces conform to your legs very much. The other bigger-feeling braces (Mobius and EVS) had super soft padding that, while adding to the bulk, made them very comfortable. Even with the larger size, I had pressure points on my quad muscles by the knee where the brace narrows for the hinge. Lastly, one of the strap anchor loops came un-riveted from the frame leaving them unwearable. 

Wrapping It All Up

Even with all this information, it is still not a simple task to pick out a knee brace. At the end of the day, Chris wants to keep wearing the Mobius, for comfort and bike feel, and the Asterisk, for slim fit and function. Klinger wants to keep wearing the POD for lack of weight and bulk, and the CTi for comfort and protection. 

If we were sitting on our tailgate at the track and anyone came up to us to ask about knee braces, those are the braces we’d recommend respectively. Every rider has slightly different priorities and things they can ignore or things that are deal breakers. Hopefully, putting all this info together makes it that much easier for you to make an informed decision. 

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