Pod K4 Knee Brace Review
Having worn knee braces ever since my ACL replacement a few years ago, I’m always interested in trying the latest protection. Currently, I’m using the K4 knee brace from Pod, which utilizes the Human Motion system–a technology that mimics human ligaments.
Lightweight and slim fitting, the Pod MX K4 polymer frame is a rigid exoskeleton that provides stability and protection, while the patented Synthetic Ligaments allow the K4 to move seamlessly with your knees’ natural movements–exactly what off-road and motocross riders need for comfort.
The construction of the K4 enables you to customize the brace for specific activities by adding or removing parts, though for off-road riding you’ll want to include every optional piece.
Initial setup of the Pod K4 includes selecting from an assortment of pads to customize the fit at the sides of your knees, installing the included patella guards, and inserting the optional plastic stops at the top and bottom of the Human Motion hinges. Depending on the combination of stops you insert, you can limit the full extension of your knee from 10 to 30 degrees.
The first couple of times you put on the Pod K4 braces, the process may seem tedious. The braces are right/left specific, and there are four non-elastic adjustable straps to be secured in a specific order so that the brace fits properly and stays in place throughout all riding movements. Happily, everything is labeled and numbered, and after a couple of rides you’ll have the routine down.
In addition to the the straps, there are strap pads on the upper and lower straps which can be positioned via Velcro to the optimal location on the back of your legs.
Once on, it’s easy to forget you’re wearing the Pod K4 knee braces. At just over a pound, they don’t interfere with your movements on or off the bike, and they quickly become an intrinsic part of your riding gear, alongside your helmet and boots.
The K4 knee brace is a sleek, low profile unit that fits comfortably inside my Fly Kinetic Women’s Race Pants. The K4 can be worn with or without a knee brace specific riding sock (such as Pod’s own Kneesleeve). I put a Fly Knee Brace Moto riding sock on one leg, and went au natural on the other.
After an afternoon’s ride, the Pod K4 had shifted a bit on the leg with the riding sock, but on the side where I wore the brace directly against my skin, it budged not at all. Follow up rides confirmed that wearing the K4 without a riding sock is the way to go, but will need to be deliberate when fastening the straps to ensure no Velcro edges touch your skin.
Riding motorcycles off-road subjects your knees to an increased risk of twisting and impact injuries, and many riders simply rely on inexpensive plastic knee guards for protections—until something goes seriously wrong. Having been there, done that, I am a knee brace convert; the $500+ cost of a pair of knee braces pales in comparison to surgery.
While no knee brace is a guarantee against injury, Pod claims their braces have been “proven to help reduce knee injuries in action sports,” and that the brace “directs twisting forces away from the knee joint to other more robust parts of the leg.” The Pod K4 knee brace is a registered medical device, so you may be eligible to get a prescription for one, depending on where you live and your insurance coverage.
The hinge and ligament parts of the K4 will need to be replaced at some point, depending on the amount and type of use. As with a helmet, if the brace undergoes a significant impact, affected parts should be replaced as they’ve done their job disbursing energy. Replacement kits are available, as is a Brace Bag for carrying your K4s.
For non-professional motorcycle riders who are looking for real knee protection, without going the route of a custom brace, Pod’s off-the-shelf K4 is a perfect solution. Adapatable, comfortable, and non-intrusive, the K4 provides that extra layer of security and peace of mind that allows one to ride with full confidence.
Pod recommends getting fitted by a suitable healthcare provider, or a local Pod Active dealer.
For additional information, visit Pod.