A knee brace for motocross is very similar to a medical knee brace. Originally, motocross knee braces were worn as a way of treating knee injury’s sustained when riding dirt bikes. Because this type of injury is so prevalent in motocross, riders started to wear knee braces before they got injured. This meant that motocross knee braces began to evolve into a more complex piece of kit. In this article, we will discuss some of the features and benefits that set a motocross knee braces apart from a standard medical knee brace.
Top 6 Motocross Knee Braces 2021
1. Leatt X-Frame motocross Knee Brace
You cannot afford to buy cheap when you are shopping for safety equipment. $450.00 is the starting point for our suggested knee braces. Leatt has built a technical product, which allows for adjustment in leg width via the use of pads.
With the Leatt X-Frame, you are also able to adjust the angle at which the brace locks out. If you have a previous injury and need to stop the knee brace extending to entirely straight, this product will allow you to do that.
Carbon composite materials help keep the weight of the Leatt X-Frame down to a minimum. The design also features full knee-cap protection, so if you take a blow to the knee head-on, there is adequate material to absorb that force.
The quality of construction continues with the use of metal hinge components. Plastic hinges will not really cut it with a knee brace.
Why we chose the Leatt X-Frame
When considering all of the knee braces out there, the Leatt X-Frame had many of the things we would look for. The price point is not cheap, and so we wanted to see as many features as possible in our entry-level brace. Metal hinges, carbon composite shell, full knee protection and anatomical design are a minimum. The Leatt X-Frame has them all
The reason the X-Frame snuck in ahead of some other competition is that the X-Frame is FCA Certified. This means that if your physician has written you a certificate for a knee injury, you can supply your insurance company with a billing code. In some cases, the insurance company will use that code to cover the cost of the knee brace for you. Have a chat with your medical specialist if you think that you might qualify.
2. POD K4-2.0 motocross Knee Brace
Sitting at a slightly higher price point than the Leatt X-Frame is the POD K4-2.0. At just over the $500 mark, POD released a new version of an already popular product. There are some neat design features which made the POD one of our top knee braces for 2021.
Carbon Composite construction in the main shell helps keep things light. Where the brace comes into contact with you, POD have used an intelligent adaptive cuff system at the top and bottom of the knee brace. Some cheaper braces tend to transmit the vibration and impact into your leg at the points of contact. This hi-tech material cuff adds flexibility, and more importantly, increases shock absorption to reduce that effect.
POD are well known for their ingenious hinge system. Inside the hinge components, POD have created a bio-mechanical ligament structure which mimics the human knee. These ‘ligaments’ have been beefed up for the new version.
POD also uses an odourless microfibre lining to wick moisture away. The material lining is designed to repel the moisture and prevent odour and bacteria building up in the material.
Why we chose the POD K4
At $500 the POD offers reasonable alternatives to the Leatt without going too full-on with the budget. However, the features we particularly like are:
The two-piece knee cover, which makes up the hinged joint is much lower profile than many of the three-piece models we have seen in the past. If you prefer to wear a tighter trouser when riding, the POD K4 is one of the slimmest models in its class.
We also like the easy to set up, quick-release straps. Once you have found your setting, you can release the buckles, and next time you use the braces, there is no need to dial in your setup. Little features like this go along way toward making your pre-ride set up more bearable!
Finally, the new elasticated ligaments create a super smooth extension action. The POD brace does some of the work of extending for you. This natural movement helps to settle you in quickly with the knee braces.
3. EVS Sport Axis- Sport/Pro Motocross Knee Braces
The EXS range comes in at two price points. The Sport, is around the $500 mark and is in direct competition with both the Leatt X-Frame and the POD K4. The Axis-Pro is a little more high end at around the $700 mark. The only difference between the Axis sport and Axis Pro is the use of carbon fibre composite on the Pro. The Sport uses a plastic compound.
Apart from the more exotic material on the Pro, these two knee braces are precisely the same. To keep things simple, we decided to review them together.
Dual alloy hinges are the perfect starting point for both models in the Axis range. Lightweight, strong hinges are a must. The aluminium design hits the spot. Additional padding comes as standard, and you can fine-tune the width of the knee cavity as with the other braces we have discussed so far. Hyperextension stops are also adjustable so you can set locking out points.
Each of the models has its own character. The carbon Pro offers little to no flex. If you have an injury that demands a solid frame, then the Axis Pro may well be the right choice.
With its plastic composite construction, the Sport has more flex. This may suit you more, especially if you are new to knee braces, as it will be less time to adapt.
Why we chose The EVS Sport Axis Pro+Sport
Sometimes the kind of gains that can be made between products is very minimal. None of the knee braces we have featured are toys. The EVS does have one feature that sets them apart. They are a short fit in the leg. If you prefer a short leg brace or have been struggling to find a brace to fit you, the EVS Sport Axis pro+Sport might be the answer.
EVS also use a neat compression strap. As with most of the braces we have suggested the EVS have a four strap system. At the base of the leg, between the cuff, and the lower knee strap, the EVS design features an extra strap to prevent the brace slipping. This neat feature inspires confidence, and riding is all about trust.
4. POD K8 Motocross Knee Brace
The POD K8 represents the top end of motocross knee brace products. At around $800 a pair, they are a serious investment. If you ride competitively, aggressively or are regularly catching big air, these are the beasts for you.
What makes the K8 so unique?
To start with, we are now into a full carbon fibre frame. This construction makes the POD K8 super lightweight, extremely strong and very rigid. With the use of carbon fibre, comes the ability to profile advanced shapes. The POD K8 is shaped to provide an unparalleled upper leg fit.
As with the K4, we are also seeing the unique bio-mechanical ligament system. The K8’s combination of hi-tech, lightweight material, with the smooth action hinges, equals extreme comfort.
Why we chose The POD K8
The POD K8 has a progressive dampener system. As your leg extends, the system increases the amount of pressure to slow the extension down. This all contributes to a safer leg extension and a smoother action.
We also like the inclusion of a 5-year guarantee as standard. When a manufacturer is willing to place an extended warranty onto a product that is going to take punishment, this is a big confidence booster.
Finally, POD K8 is FCA certified. Depending on the severity of your medical condition, the policy you hold, and the underwriters, you could get these incredible knee braces covered on your insurance.
5. Alpinestars Bionic 10 Motocross Knee Brace
It is always lovely to see an Alpinestars product on our recommended list. The new Bionic 10 knee brace is exceptionally lightweight. An ingenious design provides an ultra-low profile knee cap. One of the issues we had with the old model was that it only came in two width sizes. Alpinestars have addressed this issue with the new 10. There are now four sizes for more accurate fitting.
Although the width sizing has increased, the extra padding that you see in the box with other manufacturers is only available on request with Alpinestars. If you are accurate with your measuring, and the brace still requires some extra padding, Alpinestars will send out a kit to you.
Hyperextension is adjustable through a range of easily replaced, screw-in end stops. The impact resistance of the knee cap is tremendous, and a dual pin hinge keeps everything moving as it should.
Why we chose Alpinestars Bionic 10 knee braces
Quick-release straps are a real bonus as we saw with the POD braces, and Alpinestars have included their own design with the Bionic 10’s
The open cup allows superior airflow around the knee area. The all-new carbon poly material gives a rigid design to the Knee brace. A shallow profile design cap means that you will not have to struggle to get your over-trousers on, and there is less restriction in movement.
6. Asterisk Ultra Cell MX Knee Braces
The Ultra Cell knee braces by Asterisk are so full of technology it is almost hard to comprehend. Picture a standard base model ford focus, it works, but isn’t anything special. That is a regular, cheaper brace. The Ultra Cell however, is more like a fully loaded Ferrari. It is made with top quality materials and is a state of the art design. As a result, the price is also one of the highest that you will find for motocross knee braces.
However, before we get into that, here are the basics. The braces come in 3 color options, black, white, and red. As far as sizing goes, you can purchase these braces in small, medium, large, and extra large. Any rider should be able to find these braces fit well, especially considering the adjustment.
Talking about protection of motocross knee braces can get rather repetitive. All braces essentially stop hyper extension and protect the knee cap in one way or another. However, each brace does so in a different way. So let’s talk about what makes Asterisk’s Ultra Cell brace so good. Starting off with the frame, Asterisk made sure the brace was anatomically correct. The actual build of the frame is made from a stiff carbon fiber epoxy which is of course also quite lightweight.
As far as bending the knees go, an asymmetri-glide hinge is used. This hinge is supposed to track the natural motion of your knee throughout flexion and extension. It also allows for automatic tibia alignment for the lower part of the brace. Like on the other braces you can also adjust the extension range. Condyle shims can be used to make the fit of the brace more precise. Talking about how this brace stops you knee from moving the wrong way is near impossible as there are so many technical features.
However, all you really need to know is that the A.R.C (adjustable retention control) cuff will keep everything how it should be in the event of a crash. There is also an anti-rotation tether that links the boot to the brace to help transfer forces of lower leg rotation. The knee cap protection on this brace is an all around winner.
It is a 3 layer telescoping guard that offers maximum protection in any position. The padding of the brace forms to your leg once you warm up making it very comfortable. Especially when taking into account all of the straps and the fancy boa system that tightens the brace evenly all around. To top it off the Asterisk Ultra Cell motocross knee braces are also water resistant and includes undersleeves.
Best Features of these Motocross Knee Guards
It is hard to list the best features of a brace so advanced. However, the tele-tri patella cup is an all-around winner for knee cap protection. The glide hinge is also a winner as it allows for such a natural bend.
- Very protective
- Manufactured with of top of the line materials
- May feel a bit bulky to some
- Price tag is very high
What does a dirt bike Knee Brace Do?
It is not unusual to see athletes wearing knee braces when involved in track and field, football, baseball and many other high-level sports. The reason is simple. A knee is a highly sophisticated collection of ligaments, soft tissues and joints. Despite being a near-perfect design for the role it has to play, the knee was not really designed for the stresses and strains of modern sports.
Motocross is a sport which puts high stress on this critical joint. The main job of a motocross knee brace is to absorb the compacting, and lateral forces felt by your knee when riding your dirt bike hard. When you land a jump, grip your bike or take a blow to the leg, a functional knee brace will absorb the shock and cushion the knee from the impact.
A high-end knee brace comes into its own when things go really wrong. Knee braces act like an external skeleton, preventing your knee being damaged by hyperextension, (Being bent the wrong way) or Varus force, (any force which knocks your knee sideways).
What does a Motocross Knee Brace protect?
The actual joint of the knee is made of very resilient bone and cartilage. Issues mainly arise when soft tissues and ligaments are damaged. By wearing a knee brace, you are effectively adding a layer of scaffolding around your knee joint, which helps disperse the forces caused by riding hard.
When cartilage and soft tissues get damaged, you are in danger of your knee freezing. This happens when the soft tissue and ligaments tense up or swell, and the joint tightens. A natural reaction is to try and work through the tightness, potentially causing more damage. If the tendon or ligament is too tight, and you receive a blow to the knee, you could end up with a critical tendon or ligament snapping! This can even happen from one hard blow. Sounds excruciating right? It is, and what’s worse is that soft tissue damage can take months, if not years to fix.
Technologies you can expect to find
With this level of protection, it is no surprise to see that motocross knee braces have developed far beyond the elasticated wrapping you may have seen around the knee of your favourite football player.
With motocross knee braces, you can expect to see high-end materials such as carbon fibre, titanium and high tech rubbers. The design aspects are futuristic, as they follow the kind of robotic logic that has been popularised by science fiction. Who hasn’t put on their dirt bike armour and pretended to be a stormtrooper? OK, just me then!
It is no coincidence that the knee brace and other armour look so futuristic. Knee braces must mimic the exact movement of the human leg to be effective. It is no surprise that the end result looks like an android limb because it virtually is.
One of the most critical elements of finding the right motocross knee brace is the fit. Depending upon the manufacturer, there are various methods of fine-tuning the fit; however, you should make sure that you take your time when measuring the critical dimensions that you will be asked for when ordering your knee braces. Measure everything twice to make sure. A poorly fitted knee brace can adversely affect your riding and potentially injure you.
What to look for in a functional knee brace
When trying to find the right knee brace for you, look for the following features and functionality. In our Ultimate Guide for Knee Braces 2021, we have made sure that the suggested models have as many of these features as possible. You should look at each in-depth to make sure it right for you. Always consult a physician before riding your dirt bike if you have an existing injury which has been preventing you from riding.
Key features of a functional knee brace
- Low profile design
- Anatomically designed hinge system
- Adjustable stops for hyperextension
- Adjustable width fitting
Should I be wearing a knee brace?
We believe that anyone who is riding dirt bikes should wear knee braces and specialised dirt bike boots. It is never too young to start protecting the knee joint, as injuries in childhood can go on to plague you as an adult. This is especially true for those who are involved in extreme motocross, motocross, adventure riding and any style of riding involving jumps.
If you have spent time in plaster, or with a strain of some kind, then you already know how frustrating it can be when you are immobilised. Knee damage can become permanent. Do your future self a favour, and make sure your knee braces are adequate.
To help you decide, here are our suggestions for
Motorcross Advice Top tips for landing a jump safely
A poor landing will contribute to knee damage. The type of compression injury caused by landing awkwardly time after time can cause ongoing pain. Once you start to compensate for that pain, you can easily make an injury worse.
Knee braces are there to stop impact, hyperextension and lateral forces too. However, if you can land a jump smoothly, the knee brace will have less work to do. Here are some tips:
1. If you want to go fast, stay low!
Catching huge air will actually slow you down in the long run. Try to aim to get both wheels back on the ground as soon as you can. This is especially true for beginners.
2. Don’t ride tight!
Stay loose and balanced on the pegs. Any tension in your body will translate into a harder landing. A wise man once said; “Float like a butterfly”…
3. Don’t accelerate off of the jump!
Aim to hit the jump at the right speed for your skill level. If you feel you are too slow when you get to the ramp, don’t open it up. Accelerating on a slope will cause the front wheel to climb higher and make your landing bias to the back wheel. In extreme cases, you could land without a bike!
4. Land square.
OK, we know there are reasons to land on the back wheel, (to clear an obstacle), or front wheel (when there is an inclined landing or series of jumps). Unless you know what you are doing, it is easy to lose control if you are not landing with your rear and front wheels simultaneously. Get confident with the basics, and build up slowly to the more technical stuff.
The biggest tip we can give you is to make sure you take your time when measuring for knee braces. Correct measurement will translate into increased protection. Have fun out there!