WHAT IS IT? The Alpinestars Fluid Tech knee brace is
an ultra-lightweight brace that offers a customizable and
WHAT’S IT COST? $349.95 (per pair).
www.alpinestars.com or (800) 409-0903.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand
out with the Alpinestars Fluid Tech knee brace.
(1) Updates. The Fluid Tech knee brace received some
updates in key areas last year. Alpinestars addressed
some problem areas that the MXA wrecking crew had
complained about in the past. Alpinestars’ new Ergo Fit
spacer allows for a closer and flatter feel to the bike. The
thicker spacers are still included, but we vastly prefer the
thinner Ergo Fit spacers, because the thick spacers always
produced a pressure point on the medial side of the knee.
Alpinestars also beefed up the lateral side padding for
more support. In addition, a new material was used on the
dual-strap system and a new carbon polymer compound
was used on the chassis for greater strength.
( 2) Construction. The Fluid Tech’s frame is comprised
of a carbon polymer compound that’s CE certified by the
European Union. The material is light, strong and resilient.
Coming in at under 1.30 pounds per brace makes the Fluid
Tech one of the lightest braces on the market. By comparison, the Troy Lee Designs Catalyst X brace comes in at
1.40 pounds and the Pod K4 at 1.38 pounds.
( 3) Movement. The Fluid Tech brace has a system that
works much like the Human Motion system of the Pod
knee brace. This system provides tension in one direction
and a springy feel in the other. The difference between the
two systems is that the Alpinestars brace has two elastic
straps that position the knee cup under tension, while the
Pod brace spring loads the hinge. The Fluid Tech brace
provides more tension in both directions. We have always
loved the way spring-loaded braces feel. It’s akin to having
bionic legs. It makes riders with good and bad knees get
up out of the saddle easier. Overall, this system makes
riding easier on the body. It’s probably more psychological
than mechanical, but every test rider mentions it.
( 4) Knee cup. The ventilated knee-cup system is constructed from semi-rigid TPU plastic that is backed by
memory foam for comfort. The patella cup is overlapped
by two TPU shields that leave no area of the leg exposed,
regardless of how far the knee is bent.
( 5) Adjustability. The Fluid Tech brace is one size fits
all. Thanks to a wide array of different thicknesses of Ergo
Fit spacers and adjustment pads, the brace can be cus-tom-fit for most leg sizes. However, we only recommend
using the thin Ergo Fit spacers with no shims on the medial side of the brace to avoid the inevitable pressure point.
The Fluid Tech brace has a tool-free poly-centric hinge
system equipped with easily exchangeable extension stops
that are offered in 0, 5, 10, 15 and 20 degrees to prevent
( 6) Performance. The previous iteration of the
Alpinestars Fluid Tech knee brace was not on any MXA
test riders’ list of favorites. But, thanks to the small
updates made to the Fluid Tech knee brace, we have
to say that Alpinestars has taken a big step in the right
direction. When we replaced the Ergo Fit spacer with the
thin Ergo Fit spacer on the medial side of the brace, it
made for a better contact patch to the frame of the brace.
This eliminated the pressure points we experienced in the
past. The new lateral-side padding helped minimize previous pressure points. We did notice that the knee-brace
pads flattened out very quickly. This caused the brace
to fit incorrectly. We had to keep adding new shims to
narrow the knee width. Bottom line: more durable pads
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? Two quibbles: (1) We would
like to see the brace offered in more chassis sizes for a
better fit. ( 2) The side knee padding works well when it is
new, but it doesn’t stay new for long.
The updated version of the Alpinestars Fluid
Tech knee brace took this brace off MXA’s
no-fly list and put it back on our test riders’
knees. It is comfortable, light and adjustable.
ALPINESTARS KNEE BRACE
MXA TEAM TESTED