The Asterisk: Knee Braces for the Masses

Motocross is all about change. From handlebars to helmets, new gimmicks and gadgets seem to come our way on what seems to be a daily basis. For the most part, however, knee braces have been ignored over the last twenty years. Sure, companies like EVS and Fox offer consumers high-quality, affordable protection that prevents injuries, but for the past two decades CTi has been the sport’s staple for high-end knee injury prevention and restoration.

Nearly every pro on the track runs a set of CTis, but the reason you don’t see them more often in amateur circles lies in their cost: a pair runs about $1,600 and requires a doctor’s prescription, a custom fitting, and a lengthy turnaround time that many people don’t want to deal with. Enter the Asterisk. With a retail price of just $549 for a complete set, the Asterisk has pigged off the style of its big brother, the CTi, offering customers a level of protection that was once available only in the original, more expensive brace, at a fraction of the price. Want to know the best part? You can pick the Asterisk off of the rack at your local dealership, and through its several adjustability options, have a completely custom and ready-to-wear knee brace that day! Because the Asterisk doesn’t carry an FDA approval and is technically not a medical product, it doesn’t require a doctor’s sloppy signature nor a custom fitting: all you do is pick one of four sizes (S,M,L or XL), follow the simple directions and the brace molds itself to your leg. It does this with a small tool (included) that fits into the side of the brace (see photo). By turning the tool, the lateral support arms act like a tendon, wrapping the brace around your leg tighter and tighter with each twist until the arm is form-fitted around your thigh and calf. The tool is also used in the extension stopper at the hinge above your kneecap, allowing the user to adjust how far the brace will extend outward, which, in turn, prevents hyperextension of the knee. Other cool features of the Asterisk include an all-new lace liner on the back of the brace that prevents it from sliding down on the rider’s leg, a complaint that some people had with the original CTi. The new lace-up system also speeds up the time it takes to put the brace on and acts like a tennis shoe’s laces, hugging your leg snugly and evenly.

Enough of the features, though, the real question is how comfortable was it on the track? Well, to find out, our test riders tried the brace out several different ways, including running an Asterisk on one leg and a custom-fitted CTi on the other for a true head-to-head comparison. After plenty of hard motos, the verdict was in: the Asterisk was as comfortable for some, and more comfortable for others, even without significant break-in time.The one gripe that we had was a pinching effect between the two sets of laces: some riders experienced a gnarly rash on the backs of their knees from the laces being too close together. Our riding companion Jeff Emig was having that problem, and Asterisk head honcho Dave Castillo offered us all a quick fix. We simply moved the bottom lace up to the next set of holes and cut off a chunk of the pad underneath.

“Customization is one of the best things that the Asterisk has to offer,” said Castillo. “You can cut and customize the neoprene, laces, and almost anything else on the brace, to make it comfortable without sacrificing any protection.”

Made of foam-injected carbon fiber braiding, the materials used to construct the Asterisk are similar to those in the CTi, keeping its weight down. Overall, the comfort of the braces is phenomenal, construction is top-rate, and they’re easy to get on and off. If you’re looking for all of the key features of a high-end brace like the CTi, but don’t want to pay $1,600 for it, the Asterisk is for you.

Rating: 10Call 800/459-2999, or visit www.asterisk.com