Leatt: C Frame Knee braces the ultimate protection for those with joint issues:
Riders who have sustained a knee injury know all too well, they no longer refer to their knees as “left and right,” but rather, the good one and the bad one. We at MBA have a few staffers who have dealt with torn knee ligaments and know all too well that joints simply don’t go back together as well as you hope after an injury. While the super-light kneepads seen on the fastest enduro and all-mountain riders may be the most fashionable, the reality is, some riders need more support and safety to avoid redamaging their parts. This is a motorcycle product. Before you send the hate, understand that our riders who tested it truly need this product to feel comfortable on the mountain. While we wouldn’t recommend this to everyone who jumps on a bike, we can truly say that the ones who are still reading may find this a product that keeps them on the bike.
Tech features: The Leatt C-frame is a medically certified knee brace that’s designed to reduce injuries by limiting range of motion and absorbing impacts. The one-sided brace reduces forces to the ACL, MCL and meniscus in the knee, and reduces rotational forces with a rigid frame construction. The brace uses a super-stiff mono hinge design to limit rotational and hyper-extension forces. The super-low-profile design is built for comfort on the bike with dual pivots and sealed bearings, plus impact protection for the shin, upper thigh and kneecap. Our pair of size-large C-Frame kneepads tipped the scales at 3 pounds and can be purchased through any local bike or motorcycle shop for $599.
Field test results: Let’s just start off with one thing: these are overkill for most riders. For nearly any situation, the multi-pound weight penalty and added complexity of a pair of knee braces are simply too much. Where these things can come in handy is in the case of injury rehab. In our case, one of our test riders shredded some of the ligaments that give stability to his knee. If you’ve ever been in that unfortunate situation, you know that ligaments don’t go back together the way they were in the first place.
The C-Frame knee braces work basically the same way any other braces do. They restrict movement to only the range of motion the joint is intended to have. They’re particularly useful for cycling for one main reason—they’re single-sided. This not only allows for improved clearance for pedaling, it also keeps them from ripping holes in the paint of your top tube. In fact, with these things well-adjusted, you really can hardly tell you’re wearing much more than a conventional hard-shelled pad. As an added bonus, the skeletal structure of the brace allows for excellent ventilation, and the well-placed hard plastic guard and shin protection offer the same level of impact protection as the best pads we’ve tried— with the added bonus of the range of motion protection.
Make no mistake here; this is not a piece of equipment most riders will ever want to buy. It’s a tool to reduce reinjuring a knee after ligament damage has already occurred. In that respect they perform very well, with a level of comfort and lack of intrusiveness that’s better than any other brace we’ve used to date.