Dirt Bike Knee Pads VS Knee Braces

Dirt Bike Knee Pads VS Knee Braces
Dirt Bike Knee Pads VS Knee Braces

Dirt Bike Knee Pads VS Knee Braces – There are different types of protective gear you will need when riding a dirt bike. Depending on the type of rider you are, you may need extra gear like a dirt bike chest protector and knee protection. Why have knee protection? If you are someone that is on the riskier side of dirt bike riding, wearing knee protection can help to decrease the chances of ACL rupture occurring because it helps to prevent hyper-extension and over-bending.

When it comes to knee protection, you have the option to wear either knee pads or knee braces. Both have their pros and cons and distinct features to them. However, which one is better?

Dirt Bike Knee Pads VS Knee Braces

Dirt bike knee pads and knee braces are both good protective gear to consider, but what makes one different from the other? Before delving into whether one is better than the other, here’s a basic explanation on the two gear types:

Knee Pads

Knee guards are a basic form of protection for your knee cap and sometimes your shin too. They are popular because they are inexpensive and lightweight. They also have a simple design that’s comfortable for all riders.

Knee guards come in different types. The basic ones cover your knee and the area above and below it. Some guards have full shin coverage, some with soft materials for trail riding, and some with hard plastic for motos. There are two designs for fit: one that slips on over the foot and one with straps that close in the back. Both designs offer the same protection, and it’s up to the rider’s comfort preference. If you buy guards with straps in the back, make sure the strap below the knee on top of the calf wraps around the thickest part of your calf as it holds the pad in place.

Knee Braces

Knee braces aren’t just for after an injury. They can also be worn to prevent injuries from happening. Knee braces are meant to protect your knees by reducing the impact of falls and keeping your movements in check. There are lots of different types of knee braces on the market today, made by many different companies. The main differences between them are the materials they’re made from and the way they hinge.

There are two types of knee braces available for riders: rigid-framed braces made of carbon fiber and soft-sided braces made of materials like nylon, foam, neoprene, and TPR. Carbon fiber braces are the most advanced and provide the best protection in any crash, but are more expensive. Soft-sided braces are a popular choice for riders transitioning from knee guards.

The hinging system is another important feature of knee braces, with the most advanced having varying hyperextension stops to limit over extension and protect the knee from possible injury. Riders with previous knee injuries may need to adjust the travel of the brace. The type of hinge will depend on the rider’s specific needs.

Read my full article on dirt bike knee braces here.

Dirt Bike Knee Pads VS Knee Braces Pros and Cons

Now that we have an idea of what the two gear types are, here are some of the ups and downs that come with owning each one

Knee Pad Pros

  • It’s lightweight
  • It is affordable to purchase initially.
  • It offers great protection against impacts.
  • The materials used are durable and can withstand abrasion.
  • It won’t cause damage to your riding pants or the plastics of your bike.
  • This product is even used and endorsed by Travis Pastrana.

Knee Pad Cons

  • Doesn’t protect from hyperextension
  • Can’t prevent a twisted knee
  • Cannot be fixed or rebuilt

Knee Brace Pros

  • Knee braces have many benefits to prevent injuries
    • They can help prevent hyperextension and twisted knees
    • They provide superior impact protection with a knee cup and frame structure
  • Top professional and amateur racers wear them for pro-level protection
  • They are rebuildable, with replaceable parts available to keep them in good condition
  • They are CE 1621-1 and EN 1621-1 (K) Level 1B Certified.

Knee Brace Cons

  • Braces are heavier
  • Braces have a higher initial cost.
  • In some cases, braces can damage riding pants or bike plastics.

Other Options for Protective Gear

Just like there are different options with knee protection gear, there are various options with certain dirt bike gear. For example, there are Chest Protectors for Under Jersey and the option for Neck Braces. There are also gear options for specific bikes like ATV Helmets. If you want to explore even more options for the best gear, you can check out the Best Dirt Bike Boots or check out what you may need for other seasons like with Dirt Bike Winter Gear.


It’s important for all riders to wear knee protection when they hit the tracks or trails, whether it’s for practice or just for fun. Choosing high-quality knee protection is crucial to prevent injuries. Knee pads are a good start and provide protection to the knee cap and shin. However, they don’t offer protection against lateral impact or twisting.

To enhance protection, we recommend upgrading to a knee brace. Soft side braces are a great option as they offer decent protection at a reasonable price, while rigid braces offer the highest level of protection. Rigid braces are lightweight and provide strong support to the knee, allowing it to move naturally while preventing any unnatural motion. Always choose a motocross-specific brace, as medical braces aren’t built to withstand the wear and tear of motocross.

If you want to explore other gear or bike options and comparisons to learn more, you can learn things like twist throttles vs thumb throttles.

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