WHAT IS IT?A remake, overhaul and redesign of the original PodMX knee brace.
WHAT’S IT COST? The K700 braces sell for $799.95 for the pair or $424.95 each.
WHAT’S IT DO? When the Pod knee brace was introduced to American riders, it changed the dynamic of the knee brace business. Developed by an orthopedic surgeon in Australia, the PodMX knee brace gained phenomenal momentum against its competitors?especially the Asterisk knee brace and CTi. Where the CTi brace was, in our humble opinion, prohibitively expensive, and the Asterisk was unreliable and clumsy, the PodMX came in at a reasonable price and with well-thought-out mechanical parts.
Unlike many knee braces, the PodMX knee brace uses space-age technology that incorporates a TPU (thermoplastic urethane) tendon. Inspired by human anatomy, Pod’s polymer hinge supports the knee’s natural range of motion at every arc and angle of movement. Two TPU tendons (one on each side of the brace) allow the brace to maintain the same natural movement as the rider’s knee. The original Pod knee brace is now available in two models the K300 and the K700. The MXA wrecking crew set out to test the high-end K700.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the PodMX K700 knee brace.
(1) Movement. Every test rider loves the Pod’s polymer hinge system and its synthetic ligaments. It makes the braces easier to wear, because the synthetic ligament provides not only tension in one direction, but a springy feel in the other. The PodMX K700’s tendon makes the brace feels less restrictive and more bionic. It is the easiest knee brace to walk around in between motos.
(2) Insurance. PodMX ligament knee braces are medical-grade products, covered by most health insurance plans if you have a doctor’s prescription.
(3) Straps. Which is the most important strap on a knee brace? The one directly below the knee. Why? This is the strap that binds the knee brace to your leg. In most cases, the MXA test riders cross the two lower straps over one another in an X pattern (even though the knee brace reps tell us not to). This trick makes the brace even more secure than the normal manner of attachment. PodMX added large pull tabs to the straps to help get them on and off, but we’d still like more overlap on both ends of the strap (where they go through the brace’s loops).
(4) Hinge stops. Fifteen-degree stops come standard. We recommend the 12.5-degree stops for first-time knee brace wearers (otherwise the knee brace will feel too restrictive). Riders with severe knee problems can go as far as 20-degree stops. On the new K700, Pod downsized the circular hinge stop mechanism and, to our sensitive knees, lessened the tension of the synthetic ligament. The smaller hinge stop fits better in pants, but virtually every test rider preferred last year’s feel.
(5) Sizing. The first thing you will notice is that you can hardly tell that you have the PodMX K700 on. It is extremely light, very sleek and less obtrusive than most other braces. We had issues with last year’s small, medium and large sizing (large-legged riders could wear the medium size in the original PodMX knee brace). This year, the sizing does make sense, and if you have tree trunk legs, you will wear an extra-large, while riders with bird legs will wear the small. No guessing, because there are five different sizes.
(6) Knee cups. PodMX redesigned their knee cup, which on last year’s brace was minimalist and often popped off in a crash. The new knee cup floats. Pod calls it “self-tracking.” It is raised up away from the knee brace and tries to stay positioned in front of your knee cap at all times. It is an improvement, but it looks strange as it floats one inch above your knee. We’ve still managed to pop them off in minor crashes and, as with virtually ever high-end knee brace we want more knee cap protection. Every motocross racer wants the gap above the knee cup to be covered with some type of protection.
(7) Adjustment. There is a wide selection of different thickness hinge pads to fine tune the fit on each side of the knee.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? We had a few gripes: (1) The Velcro that held the pads was weak. (2) We would like more padding on the shin portion of the brace. (3) Most test riders wanted a stronger synthetic tendon. (4) The cost has risen considerably since the original PodMX. (5) We would like bigger knee cups, that cover more area and stay in place.
Head-to-head against the most popular high-end knee braces, the PodMX K700 is a clear winner. It offers high-tech design, innovation and, best of all, it doesn’t even feel like you are wearing a knee brace. Oddly enough, head-to-head against the original PodMX brace, it isn’t such a clear-cut winner because Pod had it right from the beginning.