It’s better to ride your bike without braces. This is our 2020 knee brace buyer’s guide. If you are shopping for your next set of knee braces I have to admit you have a difficult decision ahead of you. We have a lot of great knee braces that are available in the market and the good news is they’re all really good knee braces. The difficult part is knowing which one do you think is going to be best for you, so we are here to help you out.
As you can see on the table in front of me we have six different knee braces that we’re going to talk about today so I’m going to go through and talk about each one briefly I’ll cover the key features and the highlights of each to help you know what we think makes them unique and separates them from the rest and when you find one that you are interested in do yourself a favor watch the product spotlights that we have on these braces where we break them down in a full detail.
Now we know when it comes to knee braces that fitment is crucial so make sure always use the sizing guides on the product pages but these are an apparel item which means you buy any knee brace, if you’re not happy with the size and/or fitment send it back in brand new unused condition, but check before you buy whether you can exchange or not because we want to make sure that you get the correct size.
So with all that out of the way let’s get started with brace number one. Alright, so first knee brace that we have in the lineup is the X-Frame coming from Leatt. Now right off the bat one feature I really like about this brace is the price point. There’s a lot of riders that want to get into a high quality knee brace but not break the bank and that’s what you’re getting here with the X-Frame, you’re going to be about $450 which makes them the least expensive knee brace that is in our lineup today.
But along with that a lot of great features built-in, carbon composite frame so that keeps a lightweight but also rigid, you’re going to see with the knee cap and this goes for all the other braces in our lineup today you are going to have full knee cap protection so if you do have a crash you’ve got very good impact protection there.
With the hinge on here what I like is that you have a metal gear hinge so great durability with this phrase but also you’re going to see that it’s asymmetric. So the reason that the hinges are asymmetric is to help you know to mimic the anatomical shape of the rider’s knee and also the leg.
Now as I mentioned earlier fitment is crucial when it comes to knee braces so make sure you use the sizing guides on the product pages for these braces you want to make sure that you have a nice fit on the inside and outside of the knee as well as the upper and lower cuff and the reason for that is you want the knee brace to be as one with your legs, so you want to have a good snug fit. So what I like is that they include these extra pads that are a little bit thicker than the ones that come in the brace so if needed you just install these and that will give you a little bit tighter fit.
You also can adjust the extension of this brace that’s going to be for all the braces in the lineup as well you have these extensions stops so if you want the knee brace to lockout before it goes vertical and that kinda danger zone for the knee well then you can actually just insert one of those and it will lock out previous or before it gets that vertical position.
Now the last feature about the X-Frame that I want to highlight that I really like and there’s only one other knee brace in our lineup that has this as well is that these are FDA-certified as a medical device. And what that means is that if you go to your doctor and he writes you a prescription for knee braces because he’s an FDA certified there is a billing code so there’s a very good chance that you can submit that to your insurance company and they will help you out when it comes to the expenses of the knee brace. So like I said only one on the knee brace in the lineup that offers that.
So again if you’re looking for a high-quality knee brace that is going to be budget-friendly, has good adjustability and is going to be FDA-certified with the billing code, then the X-Frame is going to be a rock-solid option.
Second knee brace in the lineup we’ve got the Axis Pro and the Axis Sport from EVS. Now the reason I have both of these up here is that they’re almost the exact same knee brace the only difference between them is with the Axis Pro your upper and lower cuffs are made from carbon fiber whereas with the Axis Sport the cuffs are made from injection molded nylon and I’ll talk about those differences and help to help you choose between these here in a minute.
But a couple of features about these that I like, first of all with fitment. These are you’ll notice that compared to the other knee brace that’s in the lineup these are the shortest so for rider’s with shorter legs or maybe we just don’t like a knee brace that feels really long this would be a good option. With the strap design, one of my favorites you have four straps but you have a fit strap that they call their comfort compression strap you see it down here at the bottom.
So this just wraps around the rider’s leg the lower leg the cuff area. And what I like about it, it just helps secure the knee brace in place so it doesn’t slide a lot of riders have that concern that knee braces will move on them so by having that compression strap there just helps keep the knee brace in place. Now with the hinge design a couple of unique features about this, so the user patented Tru-Motion 2.0 hinge design so it’s a dual alloy hinge so great durability.
But also it’s just built to help mimic the natural movement again of the rider’s leg and also the knee and these were designed after an orthopedic knee brace. So you’re getting that Tru-Motion 2.0 hinge again just like we saw with that X-Frame from Leatt you have additional pads that come included so you can adjust the width inside the knee to make sure you get that correct fitment, you also do have your hyperextension stops to adjust where that knee brace locks out.
Now between the Axis Pro and the Sport to help you decide between the two which one you think will be best, a couple things to consider with the Axis Pro, okay being carbon-fiber upper and lower cuffs, very rigid, very little flex to these whereas with the Axis Sport with injection molded nylon cuffs a lot more flex, a lot more give to those cuffs.
Also, you are going to save some money going down to Axis Sports. Really ultimately it’s just going to be up to the rider but again that is the Axis Pro and the Axis Sport coming from EVS.
Alright, so third up on the list we’ve got the Pod K8 2.0. So we saw the previous K from Pod for multiple years great knee brace but in 2018 they updated and they find the couple things to make it even better. I’ve worn this knee brace personally I’m a big fan some features about that I really like, the first one is with the frame in Pod’s warranty.
So it’s a carbon fiber frame, Pod gives a 5-year warranty on this frame so if you break it within 5 years which I think is highly unlikely they will warranty it for you. But the upper and lower cuffs are made from a softer material to help it fit the contour of the upper and lower leg better. What I like too the kneecap is more little profile now so it’s a little bit slimmer fitting you can see great protection from the entire knee but what’s very unique about the K8 2.0 is with their hinge design.
So we’re seeing this carry over from the K8 the previous K8 what they use to call their human motion hinge technology. So inside this hinge rather than the mechanical like we see what the other braces they use a synthetic ligament. Now, this is made out of a material called Vectran it’s five times stronger than steel they do a hundred thousand cycles on these and make sure they have good durability.
But you can see these are meant to mimic the actual natural movement of the ligaments inside the knee and by using these versus a mechanical hinge Pods says that it just helps mimic the natural movement and motion of the rider’s knee and also the leg. Now going along with that you can see these extra pads do come included those go on the inside of the knee to help give a better fit.
You also do have these progressive damper dampener inserts that go inside the hinge as well to help dampen the knee brace as you’re, or getting closer to that lockout point. Now the last feature about this that I really like we talked about this with the X-Frame from Leatt as this is the only of their knee brace in the lineup that is FDA-Certified as a medical device.
So again if you talk to your doctor he writes a prescription talk to your insurance they are probably going to work with you when it comes to the cost of your knee braces. So again that is the Pod K8 2.0.
Alright, so fourth up on the list we’ve got the Fluid Tech Carbon and the Fluid Pro coming from Alpinestars. The only difference between the two is going to be in their construction. So with the Fluid Tech Carbon obviously you have a carbon frame and then with the Fluid Pro, you’re going to have a polymer frame. Now with these braces, the first thing that really stands out about these is what their weight.
So the Fluid Tech Carbon comes in at 1.3 pounds, in fact, the Fluid Pro is only a few ounces more so it is the lightest knee brace that is in our lineup today. Also just looking at it one thing I’ll tell you very low profile when I put this knee brace on in my opinion, in my opinion, it is the most low-profile knee brace that is in our lineup.
So if you like in knee brace that’s going to be very slim this would be a really good route to take, you have great kneecap protection, dual pivoting hinge on both sides but what I really like about their hinge system and what Alpinestars really focused on with this brace is making sure that you get a really good fitment.
So with the strap system, you can see it’s a little bit different you don’t just have individual four straps instead you have these X straps here in the back which I think do a great job of securing the brace and holding it in place.
But when you look at that hinge system, okay remember dual pivoting hinge but what I like is you have a lot of adjustabilities here to adjust the width on the inside and what I mean by that is you have these ErgoFit spacers you can see that come included but they have an additional set that comes they’re going to be a little bit wider.
So if you want to narrow down the inside of the knee you just put these other ErgoFit spacers in there. But aside from these you also have these little spacers that come included so if you really want just fine-tuning get those real fine adjustments by just a millimeter or two they have these spacers that you can put right on the inside of these ErgoFit spacers.
So again they’re just really focusing on making sure you can find to the fitment and get it exactly where you want it so I’m a big fan of that. Going along with that you do have extension stops these are right here these little red inserts this is just inserted right here in front of the knee brace again if you want to have the knee brace lockout before zero you have multiple different inserts that you can choose from.
But again very lightweight, very low-profile and really choosing between the two there are just a few ounces in weight difference but also what I really like about that Fluid Pro is you’re going to save over $200 if you’re willing to sacrifice just a couple ounces. But that’s the Fluid Tech Carbon and the Fluid Pro coming from Alpinestars.
So fifth up on our list we’ve got the X8 coming from Mobius. Now Mobius is a company out of Idaho and they haven’t been around as long as the other companies in our lineup but they came out the X8 just a few years ago and has quickly become very popular. I’ve ridden in this knee brace, I’m a big fan a lot of features about it that I really like.
The first thing I want to highlight that I like is with the knee cap design you can see it’s an overlapping design so what it does I think it just allows it to be very low-profile and that’s in streamline. If you look at the back here, four strap system plus and tendon backplate I’ll cover in just a second probably my favorite strap design that you have of all the knee braces.
They’re nice and wide which I like they do a great job of holding the knee brace in place. But a very unique feature that Mobius has is their tendon backplates, it is a big piece right here in the back so this is on there by their CCRS called their Continuous Cable Routing System.
So what this does there’s a little tab right here in the front if I lift up on this, this allows me to pull this tendon backplate out so after you put the knee brace on you can just slide your leg through and then all you going to do is just take this twist on the front you twist this and as I do that you’ll see that tendon back plate cinch down and by having that tendon backplate there a rest right on the back of the knee so they say that it really just helps support the back of the knee and the ligaments that are there.
You’ve got a dual pivoting hinge as well so very good construction with this brace the way you adjust the fitment is pretty simple Mobius just includes a full set of pad you have a thinner and a thicker option this pad right here actually just goes right here inside the knees so you can adjust that rim or interchange those if you want to.
You also have an extra set of pads a thicker and a thinner version for the back of that tendon backplate so it’s very easy with this brace using these pads to get that fit that you’re looking for. You also do have an adjustable extension stop you can see it’s actually right here in the center where that kneecap is so all you have to do is just take this one out you take one of these that come included and then you would just install that right here in the center and again that will lock the knee brace out prior to fully extending.
So that’s the X8 coming from Mobius again very unique using that tendon backplate and their Continuous Cable Routing System. Alright, so last but not least we’ve got the Ultra Cell and the Ultra Cell 2.0 coming from Asterisk. The difference between these two is going to be in their strap system I’ll point that out here in just a bit but asterisk gives us a knee brace company has been around for a lot of years and as you’re about to find out they make very technical knee braces.
Now right off the bat one feature I really like about these is their adjustable cuff system. You know with any knee brace it’s really important that with the upper and lower cuff you want to have a good fit for the rider’s leg so the knee brace is really just working as one with the rider but I don’t think anybody does it as good as Asterisk. So with their upper and lower cuffs what is unique is you have this tool that comes included, in the cuffs you have these two metal bands that wrap around.
So once you put the knee brace on to get a customized fit to your leg all you have to do is just take this tool that comes included you insert it here on the side and all you’re going to do is just tighten this down and as you tighten that down those two screws will actually make that cuff start to mold and fit to the rider to the shape of the rider’s leg.
And once you set at once you don’t have to touch it again so let’s set it and forget it and it gives a really good customized fit with those cuffs, so what I like that. Another unique feature getting here with the Ultra Cell is you get the BOA System with their straps.
So the way you put this on is really simple you have these straps here on the outside you take these you hook these on and once you’ve done that you take this boa dial you just start to twist it and as you do it’ll start to tighten everything down and it gives it well just overall fit to the back of the strap so you don’t have any pinch points it gives nice even pressure throughout that entire strap you have it in the top as well as the bottom.
And that’s going to be the difference between the Ultra Cell and the Ultra Cell 2.0 is the 2.0 has the same strap design but you don’t have that BOA System. So for some riders that don’t want as much bulk in the back of the knee brace, the 2.0 would be the better option.
So I really like the strap design they have with that BOA System but when you look at the front here so they call it their ACM Frame so it’s an anatomically correct frame and that goes in conjunction with their Glide hinge system. So you can notice when I bend this knee brace you can see very technical hinge that they have so having that be an asymmetrical along with the frame just allows the upper and lower part leg to align correctly and to follow the natural movement of the knees so I really like what Asterisk does with this brace.
And also you’ll notice that here on these side, okay on the lateral and medial side of that hinge you can adjust the hyperextension lockout point and the way you do it is really simple take that exact same tool that I just showed you for the cuffs you actually just insert it right here on the side you tighten it down and that will actually make the knee brace lockout sooner so it’s very easy to adjust that so props the Asterisk for making it simple to do.
Now the last thing with this knee brace I want to highlight that no other knee brace that we’ve shown in the guide today does is they have their Anti-Rotational Tether System. So it’s down here at the bottom so this comes included with the boots you can see you’ve got your buckle down here at the bottom you have your strap so you’re actually going to install this strap on your boot takes a little bit of work it’s not that difficult but you have this attached to your boot and then all you do once you’ve done that you just attach the buckle you clip the buckle in.
By doing that what you’re doing is you’re connecting the rider’s boot to the actual knee brace that way as you’re riding maybe you dab your leg or you get your leg caught in a rut and you get that violent jerk to your leg and rips it maybe to the outside well what that does is that will actually help keep the knee brace connected to the rider’s boots so everything is moving as one.
You got to remember that rotational injury is another easy way that you can injure the knee so by having that tether connected to your boot everything’s going to help just work more as one so it’s a really cool feature that Asterisk is coming with that tether. So again if you’re looking for a knee brace that is super technical that in my opinion has the best adjustable cuff system it is the Ultra Cell and the Ultra Cell 2.0 coming from Asterisk.
Alright everyone so there you have it that is our 2020 knee brace buyer’s guide. Now if you have one of the knee braces up here that we talked about feel free to leave your comments below let us know what you think about it that’s going to help other riders out.
And lastly I will just leave you with this you have to remember that knee brace is yes they’re a big investment but they’re built to help prevent knee injuries you don’t want to go have a knee injury and then go out and buy a set of knee braces you also have to consider hospital bills are a lot more than a set of knee braces are going to be and you have all that time that you’re going to miss riding. So if you’re on the fence, in my opinion well worth the investment.