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Much like many of you I never put much thought into wearing knee braces. Sure, I spent big bucks on boots, helmet and a chest protector but I was always under the impression knee braces were for those that have been unfortunate enough to have had an injury. Now after tearing my ACL and 6 months off the bike due to surgery and rehab I know different. I can only hope that this article will impress upon you the need to brace your self. Every time you get on the bike with unprotected knees is like riding without a helmet. Your local shop might carry one of these brands or your parts guy may only know of one and recommend it but in fact, many companies make affordable off the shelf braces that are designed to prevent injury. My goal is to inform you of what is out there, give you the information and let you decide what brace is right for you.

My accident was not supposed to happen, the front end washed out while I was slowing down to exit the track. I got off the bike going about 7 miles per hour and POP! the ACL was history. Still to this day I shake my head thinking if only I knew... Looking back at it I am certain the injury would not have happened had I been wearing a brace. The worst part, aside from the pain and 6 months of rehab, was calling my wife from the driveway and informing her that she would have to come out so we could go to the Emergency Room, she was not very happy about that.

For years I have done a lot of running in Nike Air Max, generally 30-35 miles a week. For years the Max worked great, going through a pair every other month. I never strayed from the Max, then one day I tried on the Reebok DMX and like that I switched. The DMX feels better to me and lasts 2-3 times longer for me. The point is, don't get hung up on a brand or what other people say is the best because everybody is different. I urge you to make your own informed choice in selecting knee braces. Try them on, run in them, ride with them if you can because your knees are worth the effort you put in to selecting a brace. I have compiled a list of several brace options that will allow you to compare each brace with non-bias facts.

What you need to understand before reading is that there are two theories of bracing. The first is the rigid frame construction (CTi2, Cell, Edge and Defender Pro). The thought is to build a brace that will mimic the motion of the knee but offer stability through material strength. These brace designs are many time stronger than the knee and offer little to no margin of flex. The goal, to ensure that injury does not occur by transferring the load to the brace instead of the joint. Is it possible that if the brace does not give that something else might? Yes, but understand that a broken bone is MUCH easier to recover from than torn ligaments, tendons and cartilage.

The second theory is the flexible frame construction (Rage and RS6). The thought is to build a brace that will mimic the motion of the knee but allow the brace to flex with the contour of the leg to maximize surface contact with the leg while offering strength and stability to the joint. These brace designs are also many time stronger than the knee but do flex. The goal, to ensure that injury does not occur by the brace absorbing the load and displace it across a large area. Is it possible for the brace to flex too much and allow injury to occur anyway? Yes, that is why brace material is of such great importance.

Which ever type of brace you choose do your homework, find out what it is made of, what kind of research and testing went into the brace and what kind of history the company has with braces. Keep in mind that brace frame strength is best determined while the brace is on the leg.

What you are about to read is a composition of factual data provided by the Manufacturer and data and experience I have gained while wearing these braces through rehabilitation workouts, running and finally back on the bike riding. Please read about each brace before reading my opinions because it is important for you to choose what is right for you, not what is right for me.

I would like to thank Asterisk, Innovation Sports, Dil and XO-Skeleton for choosing to participate in our review. And a special thanks to Brad Freeman, General Manager of Asterisk for all of his help. He truly understands the need to inform the public and was more than happy to share his expertise with me.

Fell free to contact me with questions regarding testing conditions, specific questions, your comments about the article and or your experience with braces. thump@dirtrider.net

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Asterisk, Cell
Asterisk LLC is a new venture created by Jim Castillo, the founder and chairman of Innovation Sports and creator of the C.T.i II knee brace. Unfortunately, the C.T.i II is not readily available at the retail level. Asterisk set out to design a knee protection system better than any available today, making them accessible through retail shops and reasonably priced so that extreme sport athletes can afford to wear them as a normal piece of protective equipment. The result is an advanced knee protection system utilizing never-before-seen design technologies.

Read more...

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Dil, Defender Pro1
The design objective is simple... Provide maximum protection to the knee during vigorous sporting activity with minimum restriction of the function of the knee joint.

The exo-skeletal design of the Defender Pro1 encloses the vulnerable parts of the knee in a strong shell, protecting it from impact injury.

Read more...

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XO-Skeleton, Rage
A division of Bledsoe Brace Systems, XO-Skeleton has put twenty-two months of research and testing of an already released orthopedic knee brace. Made of 7075-T6 aluminum this brace provides great strength while allowing the brace to flex and conform to the leg to maximize surface contact. XO has not had any ligament tears or strains, bone fractures or compartmental problems reported since the release the Rage knee brace two years ago.

Read more...

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Innovation Sports, Edge
A synthesis of custom fit technology and "off-the-shelf" convenience, the Edge takes immediate fit bracing beyond the boundaries of "off-the-shelf" and into performance. Edge features a hand-laminated frame with cuffs that conform to patients' individual sizes and shapes through the stages of recovery. Patella Cup, Flexion Stop and post-op conversion kits are available options for the Edge.

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EVS, RS6
EVS has been making motocross braces since 1985. Their research and hard riding over the past years has resulted in the new RS6 knee brace.

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Compare them to the ultra custom CTi2
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Innovation Sports, CTi2
The most prescribed custom brace in the world, C.Ti.2 is demanded by top athletes and respected by leading physicians. With a hand crafted custom fit, sleek carbon composite frame, a six-point support system for optimal tibial control, and anatomically correct Accutrac™ hinges, each C.Ti.2 brace is built to perform. And the most extensive custom paint program in the industry allows patients to express themselves with color and patterns that bring bracing to life. With a look created to insure compliance and technology designed for optimal performance, C.Ti.2 is truly one of a kind.

Read more...


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Dirt Bikes, Motocross Racing, Supercross, Enduro Racing, Off-Road Riding, Dirt Bike Performance, Dirt Bike Information and Discussions
Dirt Bikes, Motocross Racing, Supercross, Enduro Racing, Off-Road Riding, Dirt Bike Performance, Dirt Bike Information and Discussions