By Brendan Lutes
Dave Castillo is the man behind Asterisk, and in case you didn’t already know, the company has recently released its newest addition to the knee brace market—the Asterisk Ultra Cell. For many years, the original Asterisk Cell brace was a leader in the knee protection market, but as is the case with anything, it needed some updates to stay ahead of the competition. We caught up with Dave while out riding at Pala Raceway to find out a little background on the very exciting new off-the-shelf brace.
We’re out here at the track right now trying out the new Asterisk Utracell. Can you give us a little background on what went into the development of it?
We went off of the old Asterisk Cell brace and just looked at some of the shortcomings and things that just weren’t where we wanted them, and then we started designing around those specifics. We tried to keep everything that we knew worked through the 10 years of feedback that we’ve gotten from the consumers and riders. We tried to keep all of that, but we addressed the hinge-depth issue—which I thought was a little shallow—we re-engineered the cuffs and flipped them around, which made for much better lateral support. Obviously the BOA system is a huge improvement over the strings, which in theory worked really well, but definitely got a little messy. With the BOA system there is nothing hanging out and you get a really good fit.
With the BOA system, we’re you guys always planning on using that or at first planning on using straps? How long has it been in development for?
We messed around with straps in the beginning based on the stuff from Innovation Sports and CTi—the company that my dad had in the beginning—but we’ve always found that a lot of contact on the back of the leg was far superior. A few guys tried out the straps, but switched back right away. It’s been in development since the day we released the original Cell—just things here and there until finally we compiled everything and decided to go ahead with it about two years ago. Around that time, we really started hitting the design hard and changing everything—pretty much changing every piece of the brace.
With the recession that everyone has been going through over the past few years, was releasing this brace a way to rejuvenate things or was it planned all along?
The recession hurt everybody and it definitely hurt us, but luckily we’ve done pretty well and we were in a good cash position to carry through it. The redesign of the brace wasn’t market driven; it was just something that we felt we needed to do to update certain aspects of the brace. It just happened to be released during a recession with a price increase, which isn’t always good, but you have to make it work.
Is it out yet for regular consumers to go buy at dealerships?
Yeah, the brace is out and has been shipping to dealerships and Western Powersports—our distributor—for about a week now. It’s wide open.
Is it too early to say how it’s been doing?
It’s well received within our group of test guys and all that, but it’s funny because it’s really only been filling the shelves for a week and we’ve all been staring at the Internet waiting for feedback. We haven’t really seen much yet, so we’re kind of up in the air as far as the public is concerned.
What’s in the future for Asterisk?
More of the same. We’re not a company that does a lot of change. We believe in what we create and that’s why the Cell stuck around as long as it did. We didn’t really feel like—other than what we changed on it—there wasn’t a whole lot that needed to be done design-wise and philosophy-wise. It’s what we think it should be. We’ll do some other things, but we like to have fun. We don’t work too hard [laughs].
Check out the January issue of TransWorld Motocross for a full review on the new Ultra Cell.