Motocross Knee Brace Buyer's Guide

Find a dirt bike knee brace that fits your needs

A wasted knee is a painful situation, involving a lot of recovery time and a lot of bills to be covered. In many cases, you are never 100 percent after a serious knee injury, and in rare instances, it can put an end to your riding days for good. Many riders never invest in a good set of motocross knee braces simply because they don't want to be fitted for a custom pair or they don't have a doctor's prescription.

Now there are quite a few options for over-the-counter dirt bike knee braces with no prescriptions or special fittings necessary. We tested each motocross knee brace on tracks and trails over the last six months, and here is what we thought.Doctor's OrdersTo add some medical credibility to this evaluation, we took all our knee braces to be reviewed by a couple of doctors, including a knee reconstruction specialist who has worked on some of the biggest names in motocross. We also showed the braces to a sports chiropractor who rides. Both had very similar comments on the braces and stressed two very important things:

  1. Anything is better than nothing
  2. You really get what you pay for. Even the most expensive brace here is cheaper than the MRI you'll need if you tweak your knee.Our experts also agreed that they would classify only three of the braces, the EVS Web, the Innovation Sports Morph and the Asterisk Cell, as true knee braces. The others are beefed-up knee pads with hinges on them. A doctor's point of view is presented in each description.The doctors also had some suggestions for riders shopping for knee braces. Remember, the most important thing is fit! The brace should essentially attach to your skeleton as much as possible through the straps and formed hard parts.

Seek out braces with these features:

  • 1. Poly-axial hinges. (They move more like your knee.)

  • 2. Long bars or arms off the hinge (the longer the better) with the hinge set just
    behind the middle of the knee joint to provide the most protection.

  • 3. Protection to the front of the knee, especially just below the knee at the tibial
    plateau.

  • 4. Above-the-knee protection.

  • 5. Good strapping (dual is best) that attaches or molds to the calf to stop the brace
    from moving up.

  • 6. A good extension stop.

KNEE BRACES 46
COMFORT 13/30
FUNCTION 20/50
WASH/CARE 8/10
PRICE 5/10
**CONFIDENCE 2/10

661MX-2

DR Says: The MX-2 fits much like the MX-1 brace, but it has extra straps that ensure it won't move around. It fits good, but the hinges are tight, restricting normal knee movement. The lockout didn't allow the brace to fully extend, causing the lower metal edge to dig into the shin. It was just plain too uncomfortable to ride in. The brace is very strong, probably too strong. Impact protection was good everywhere, but the top of the knee was left exposed.Doc Says: "This one is the same as 661's MX-1 but with a better strapping. This provides good support, but you wouldn't want it to take a hit and bend with your leg in it."_Note: Our testers couldn't ride in the braces because of the lockout extension issue. The ratings were based on this fact.__**How much did they improve your feeling of security or safety? Confidence points are counted separately from total points._

Price: $225 each Fit: Right/left leg-specific www.sixsixone.com 888/52O-4888
KNEE BRACES 61
COMFORT 27/30
FUNCTION 20/50
WASH/CARE 8/10
PRICE 6/10
**CONFIDENCE 5/10

661Comp

DR Says: The Comp is comfortable, slides on easily and stays in place well. Protectionwise, it is one of the weakest in the group. The hinge is flimsy, and the metal could bend easily. Unless you tighten the straps too tight, the hinge also slides around in the neoprene. The hard plastic patella cup works well, but the brace doesn't offer much protection from impacts above or below the joint.Doc Says: "The Comp is OK for jogging and better than nothing. It may be good for riding minibikes."

KNEE BRACES 67
COMFORT 15/30
FUNCTION 38/50
WASH/CARE 8/10
PRICE 6/10
**CONFIDENCE 6/10

661 MX-1

DR Says: The MX-1 fits like a medical brace and stays in place. It is rigid, and the foam feels like it will do the job--until you ride with it. The metal edges can be felt through the padding, and the hinge seems stiff--as if it's putting the brakes on your knee movement. The lockout adjustment was crude at best, but it stopped in the right place. The strong metal construction of the brace was a little unnerving, with one tester being concerned that the brace itself could hurt you in a crash.Doc Says: "This brace could be more dangerous than helpful. The single pivot forces the knee to move in ways it doesn't like. The designers could have rounded out the lower aluminum seam."

KNEE BRACES 68
COMFORT 28/30
FUNCTION 22/50
WASH/CARE 8/10
PRICE 5/10
**CONFIDENCE 5/10

EVSSX01

DR Says: The SX01 has a good fit, an above-average knee cup and comes in a slip-on design with elastic straps for adjustment. As far as protection goes, it didn't do much more than a normal knee pad; the neoprene body allows the metal bracing hinge to flex when it should stay rigid. Kneecap coverage is good with a hard plastic cover, but it is lacking in protection below the joint. The design is similar to 661's Comp, but the metal hinge is stronger on the SX01.Doc Says: "A glorified knee cup, little or no knee protection from impacts."

KNEE BRACES 76
COMFORT 20/30
FUNCTION 41/50
WASH/CARE 8/10
PRICE 7/10
**CONFIDENCE 6/10

EVSRS7

DR Says: The RS7 features a solid full-coverage knee cup and 165-degree hyperextension stops with nonslip sharkskin neoprene lining. Four large straps hold the brace in place, but the positioning made them rub the back of the leg in a seated position. The bracing mechanism is not as sophisticated as in some of the higher-end braces, and the large metal bars made them less comfortable than some. The neoprene at the hinges began to wear through after extensive use. They do offer good protection of the kneecap and good impact coverage above and below the joint.Doc Says: "OK and a good value. The larger size helps with protection. Since the brace lays flat, it is hard for the hinges to stay parallel when it is cinched down. The hinges could be a bit farther back on the knee joint."

KNEE BRACES 80
COMFORT 25/30
FUNCTION 38/50
WASH/CARE 9/10
PRICE 8/10
**CONFIDENCE 7/10

EVSVision

DR Says: The Vision brace has aluminum dual-pivot hinges and is lined with antislip sharkskin neoprene. It offers a comfortable fit as it is held on by two elastic straps with a hook-and-loop closure. The Vision offers decent kneecap protection with really good coverage above and below the knee. The metal hinges are fixed into the brace, and you can't feel them too much. The brace is on the short side, and the single straps allow the brace to move around a bit.Doc Says: "Doesn't conform to the leg since it starts out flat; it has similar paralleling issues with the hinges as EVS's RS7. Too small and not enough leverage and attachment when it will be needed, so don't count on it for too much protection."

KNEE BRACES 82
COMFORT 28/30
FUNCTION 38/50
WASH/CARE 8/10
PRICE 8/10
**CONFIDENCE 7/10

EVSSX02

DR Says: The SX02 model is one step above the SX01 brace--it has longer bracing arms with customizable flexion (bending) and extension stops. The brace slides on, and the long sleeve fits snugly with accurate sizing. It stays in place very well. The longer arms makes the brace feel more protective than the SX01, but the amount of neoprene coverage can get a little warm. When it's being worn, the brace feels fairly stable, and the knee cup protection is good but gives very little hard protection above and below the joint. It feels similar to a brace you would wear after a knee injury, and it aids sore knees on and off the bike.Doc Says: "It's better than the SX01 due to the longer arms, but it will still twist inside the neoprene when taxed."

KNEE BRACES 88
COMFORT 25/30
FUNCTION 47/50
WASH/CARE 9/10
PRICE 7/10
**CONFIDENCE 9/10

EVSWeb

DR Says: The body of the Web brace is made from carbon fiber with adjustable hyperextension stops at 170, 160 and 150 degrees with a solid lockout device. The liner is removable and washable, and the build screams bulletproof. The brace fits right up with minor strap adjustments but does run a little big. Comfort was top-notch with smooth edges and padding throughout the inside of the brace. The brace stayed snug and secure, but the upper portion raised off of the thigh when in the sitting position. The knee stabilization seemed as good as on custom braces. Kneecap coverage is good, but the cup floats around and is a little loose, leaving the lower area exposed.Doc Says: "Good hinges and plenty of protection, especially the stability from the length. The biggest concern is the slightly stretchy straps."

KNEE BRACES 89
COMFORT 27/30
FUNCTION 46/50
WASH/CARE 9/10
PRICE 7/10
**CONFIDENCE 9/10

Innovation SportsMorph

DR Says: The Morph is very comfortable with a lot of adjustments to fit a wide range of leg shapes. The straps are well placed, and they don't slide around or cause excessive chafing. It is a bit wider than custom braces. The sizing is a bit big, but it provides excellent side-to-side stability. The patella cup could be beefed up and should provide a little more protection, especially below the kneecap. The Morph's upper portion breaks away in a serious crash so you don't end up breaking a femur.Doc Says: "A little loose in the fit--seems better designed to fit skinnier legs. They are a little too open in the front. This is in the realm of custom braces with good adjustability to make it fit. They are nice and light."

KNEE BRACES 89
COMFORT 26/30
FUNCTION 46/50
WASH/CARE 9/10
PRICE 8/10
**CONFIDENCE 9/10

AsteriskCell

DR Says: The Cell brace has easy adjustments for a really good fit that stays fitted once dialed in. The intricate system of tension straps can be tedious to undo, yet they snap/clip right in if you don't need to loosen the adjustment. Chafing was a little more noticeable on some riders than with the other braces, but the foam padding makes the Cell brace comfortable. The hyperextension stop is easily adjusted to where you want it. The brace moves well with your knee and rarely hinders natural movement. The patella cup is solid, and the brace offers some of the best above-the-knee protection compared with all the tested braces. The Asterisk offers good side-impact protection, and its bracing qualities are very good. One tester commented that it allowed a little more side-to-side movement in his knee than he likes.Doc Says: "Good attachment, plenty of length and excellent frontal protection. The strapping could be a little stronger. The hinge could be positioned a little farther back."To read the companion piece to this article, "Birth of a Brace," click here http://www.dirtrider.com/tech/141_0608_2007_knee_brace_building/index.html