In a moto-topian world, we all would have premium, top of the shelf equipment, and protection equipment would probably be at the top of that list. But unfortunately we all don’t have the deep pockets like a Factory Honda or Monster Kawasaki to fund our riding. We have to abide by our own budgets and work with what we have. So when it comes to knee protection, it was a choice between some cheap plastic knee cups or spend a small fortune on highly engineered knee braces, right? Well not anymore. Enter Alpinestars’ SX-1 knee guards
The SX-1 lands right in that sweet spot for those who do not want the husky feeling of a knee brace or think they do more harm than good in a crash, but want something more than a knee cup. The SX-1 offers shin and knee cap protection just like knee cups, but where the knee cups stops the SX-1 extends up onto the thigh. The knee cap is protected by a floating’ protection cup for continuous coverage and mobility regardless of leg position so there are no gaps where that arrant rock can find its way in.
First impression, I like the SX-1. A lot. I have worn off the shelf knee braces for years for the beefier protection they provide compared to knee cups. The SX-1 is very comfortable, gives me the feeling of a protected knee, shin, and lower thigh but without the bulky feeling of knee braces. Riding with the SX-1 gives me better feedback when gripping the bike and a much slimmer feel.
The strap system works very well too It has what Alpinestars calls their Dual Gear System (DGS), a dual pivot with hinge for dynamic fit for mobility with Velcro and TPR dual strap closure systems for easy in and out and a personalized fit. In other words, it’s not just a two inch wide strap digging in the back of your leg when cinched tight. The SX-1 features wide upper and lower airprene pads that are comfortable and provide airflow. There is a Velcro strap that overlays the airprene holds the SX-1 firmly in place while spreading the pressure out on your calf and the thigh. The SX-1 stayed in place while riding and I never found myself having to yank it up back into place.
Like most things in moto, trying something on before buying is always a good idea, and the SX-1 is not an exception. The sizing is based on knee circumference. So, if you have a calf and thigh with some girth, you may need to go up a size. What is nice is you can buckle the SX-1 on then utilize the Velcro straps to snug up the fit. The downside is if you have an undersized SX-1, the Velcro hooks may not meet up to the Velcro loops. It would be nice to see additional Velcro added to the straps.
I recommend the SX-1 to those who would like affordable protection that is comfortable, provides great feedback while riding, and does not want that ‘wide’ feeling of knee braces. I have not gone back to my knee braces since using the SX-1.
Tested: Alpinestars SX-1 KNEE GUARD