The Leatt X Frame and the Alpinestar bionic 7 Knee braces are 2 braces which sit at the budget end of the premium brace line up (along with the pod k4 2.0 which are not in this test or comparison).
Both Knee braces are available online with a bit of searching for deals at approximately £350 per pair, there’s a lot of technology and safety for a fairly small price tag.
Why you should buy braces
A lot of riders do not invest in a pair of braces until injury happens (myself included) a friend of mine just last week blew out his knee not wearing braces and now is on the hunt for a pair. He says I jinxed him because I told him you should not ride without decent knee braces.
At the cost of £350 the buddy of mine will lose that in his 1st weeks wages of not being able to go to work and we don’t know if it’s just mega swelling or at worse case a ligament injury which could require surgery and up to 5-6 weeks off work.
Makes the £350 seem like a very small price to pay!
Leatt X-Frame Knee Brace
• Injected Carbon Composite Frame
• Asymmetrical Hinges
• 40% slimmer inner hinge for superior bike feel
• Metal geared outer hinge for precise movement and durability
• Reduction of forces to limit knee injuries:
o ACL, Meniscus and MCL
• Certified as medical device:
o EU CA014741
o USA FDA 10048761
• CE tested and certified as impact protection:
o Knee EN1621-1
• Hyper extension limitations 5º, 10º, 15º and 20º for ACL injury reduction
• Fixed hyper flexion stoppers for meniscus injury reduction
• Low profile shin bone pad that fits inside all boots
• Comfortable and easy fitting strap system
• Customized fit with interchangeable hinge padding sizes
• Size: S-XL
The specification boasts an impressive line-up, I feel these braces suit riders with a skinnier build, I’m a short and stocky build (lumpy rather than stocky post lockdown!) and I felt the mediums which is my size on the Leatt sizing guide felt a little narrow. A friend of mine recently picked up a pair of X frames and loves them, however he’s the same height and 2 stone lighter! You will see from the images that the X frame is also a slightly longer brace so more suited to skinnier/taller rider. Overall, I Was impressed with this brace although for me personally it did not fit too nice.
My only gripe really with this brace was the hinge felt like it sat a little far forward on the knee compare to other braces but I’m sure you’d get used to this.
A great brace for taller/skinnier build riders.
The Alpinestar Bionic 7
- The innovative design and optimized material utilization of the exoskeleton frame constructions make the knee braces extremely lightweight while still providing higher structural strength and support.
- Extremely temperature resilient: knee brace performs at temperatures as low as -20°C (-4°F).
- Correct position of knee cup is secured accurately in place by an innovative integrative mechanical guiding system allowing multi-directional freedom of movement.
- Highly ventilated: channelled padding and mesh zones for optimized ventilation and airflow.
- Soft comfortable lateral knee padding to avoid pressure points.
- Lightweight single straps on upper frames and buckle system promotes secure fitment of the brace in all riding positions and supports rapid and effortless mounting.
- The newly developed C-Frame strap system holds braces perfectly in position
- Knee pivot system: new double-pivoting hinge system incorporating tool-free, fast, easily exchangeable extension stops (0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 degrees) to prevent hyper-extension injuries.
- A lightweight hybrid frame construction of carbon composite cores over-injected with an advanced fibre reinforced polymer.
- New patented lightweight and highly ventilated double-wall knee-cup system
Again, an impressive list of specifications! I love the design of these braces and now run them myself. They are one of the lowest profile, light weight braces you’ll find (other than the carbon bionic 10 version) these braces also provide the best airflow because of its clever knee cup design.
Before this brace I’ve always run the Asterisk Ultra cell and found the fit very similarly but these are much lighter and very slim line in comparison.
The second I put these on they fit like a glove. I prefer them to the ultra-cell which are twice the price, mostly because of how slim they are in comparison.
The A* are one of the shortest braces on the market which suits me being only 5ft 6 and having large calves can often find it hard closing up the top of boots with bulkier braces (Asterisks) with these I was able to close my tech 7s right up.
The quick release on these braces are another great feature, you can set up once and forget, 4 clips out and they are off, and 4 clips in and they are on.
The only difference between these and the bionic 10 knee brace is the carbon fibre frame of of the 10 however I was amazed how rigid the fibre reinforced polymer 7s were.
My only gripe/concern is the knees cap whilst a great design with good airflow seems a little thin. I haven’t yet hit the ground on the patella with them so have yet to see how they hold out but they are impact tested and certified so that gave me a bit more confidence.
Both braces are exceptional value for money, and are both very good braces, for me personally I’ve gone with the Alpinestar Bionic due to how they fit and feel.
Had I been a skinnier/ Taller I may have gone with the Leatt.
They are both exceptional braces for the money and both have similar technology and features, it’s hard to put one over the other in terms of which is the better brace as I feel they are so close, I think you just need to pick what’s right for you.
My advice would be to purchase both and send back the ones that don’t fit you as nice, either way you’ll have a great brace.
Final words – if you do not have knee braces, get some. It will cost you more in the long run not to!