Written by Michael Lindsay

The first time I saw Leatt's new knee brace, I actually thought it was a cutaway model. Why? Unlike other braces that have pivots on both sides of your knee, the C-Frame pivots on only the outer half of the brace! Yes, I actually thought part of the brace was missing. They're that different-looking.

Compared to the other knee braces on the market, this one definitely has some unique design features. Even though the brace is jointed on only one side of the brace, it actually still has two pivots. The C-Frame has a dual  on the outside of each brace (InteliLink). This is designed to replicate a more natural movement for the knee. Eliminating the inner hinge also creates a much thinner-feeling brace that also gives you more direct contact to the bike. However, this doesn't mean that your knee is directly pressed against the bike. Instead, the top frame has a section with padding that comes down the side of your leg to sit between your knee and the bike. Of course, this piece is still much thinner than an actual hinge, leaving you with a less "bowlegged" feel on the bike.

Leatt has also focused on eliminating some of the problems that riders comment on with knee braces. One of those being that knee braces could possibly break the lower leg (tib/fib), or the femur during a crash. Leatt's upper and lower frames are made from carbon fiber and plastic that's designed to break away before it reaches the average force needed to fracture any of these bones. Even better yet, the frames are replaceable. So no need to buy a whole new brace if this were to occur. Also, the actual shape of the brace where it contacts your legs has been designed to eliminate any cuts or fractures during a crash.

As for the fit, the C-Frame offers quite a bit of adjustment to get it just to your liking. There's an X-strap system, which means the top two straps are interlinked in an X shaped pattern behind your leg. This allows for a more comfortable and snug fit when the straps are tightened down and helps eliminate the straps from "biting" the back of your legs. The upper set are inter-linked in this pattern, while the lower two straps are separate. Personally, I've been a huge fan of any brace I've ever tried with these style of straps. Leatt also has a stop system built into their braces to prevent hyperextension. There are plastic wedges of different thicknesses that can be placed in the joint of each hinge. This way, you can eliminate the total travel on the brace if needed for comfort and protection.

If you're like me and have large upper leg muscles (thunder thighs!), sometimes the fit of the upper frame of a knee brace is the most challenging. The width of Leatt's upper frame is adjustable for just this situation. There are two allen-head bolts that connect to the upper frame to the aluminum center section. When loosened, the upper frame slides in a channel, allowing it to expand to your needs.

After spending the day in the C-Frames, I can say they feel massively different than any pair of knee braces I have worn. Between the thinner profile of the brace and the removal of the inner hinge, it's quite a bit to get used to. Keep an eye out for a full review in the upcoming months, as we're definitely going to be putting in a lot of time in the C-Frames and put them through the wringer. If you're looking to get a pair, you'll have to wait just a bit longer as they're set to launch in October. The braces already have a home on Leatt's website, which you can check out here: Leatt.com/knee-braces

Leatt C-Frame Features:

  • Low-profile shin plate is designed to fit inside boots without as much adjustment.
  • Adjustable soft lockout helps prevent hyperextension and ACL injuries.
  • C-Arm is made of die-cast 383 Aluminum alloy, while the top and lower frame are made of carbon fiber.
  • Engineered brace fracture points are designed to help prevent upper and lower leg injuries.
  • Low-profile inner knee allows for more direct contact with the bike.
  • Available in three sizes: S/M, L/XL, XXL
  • Sold in Pairs.
  • MSRP $599.99

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