I just recently purchased the Asterisk Cell braces. I have about 6-7 hours riding time on them. I was going to wait till I had about 10 hours before I gave a full review, but I'll share my first impressions here.
I have had a bad knee since high school. So I knew if I started riding again I would have to wear braces. I decided to try the Cell's after much deliberation. I must first state that the customer service of Asterisk is as good as you will get, period. They will help you in any way possible to get you into the right braces. I spent at least an hour on the phone with them and they were more than helpful. Great people!!
Here is some background info. I am about 6'1/2" tall. When I first purchased the braces I didn't think I could get braces that would fit correctly. In the last year or so I put on a LOT:scream: of weight, went from 190 in 1999 to 290 in 2001:scream:. I got down to 250 when I ordered the braces. My legs were 18 at the calf and 16 at the knee so I was on the very edge of being able to fit their large version. I decided to get them anyway because I knew I would lose the weight soon. When I got them they fit VERY tight, which was no surprise. The support was great however, even for a lard butt like myself. They even fit in my Tech 6 boots.
Now about a month later I am down to 230 and the braces are fitting MUCH better. they used to pinch the fat:eek: on my leg, but now there is a lot less fat to pinch so they are much more comfy. The braces offer superb support. I now barely even recognize they are there. It is still a little awkward when I kick start the bike, but not too difficult.
As far as build quality and support I give them the highest rating. As far as comfort for my fat rear I give them a high rating, but they still pinch every once in a while. Of course this will change once I lose more weight.
I would have to give these braces a 9 out of 10. At any rate they are WELL worth the money. In fact as some have said they are a steal at the price they are currently at.
As far as the deal they did have free ground shipping to DRN members when I bought mine. You will have to call and talk to them.
Mine have been mountain biking, white water rafting, hang gliding and yes even dirt biking. The only issue I had was turning the patella cup to hamburger on the coarse sand on Jocky Ridge when I was not landing on my feet and a delamination of one or two ofthe pads due to the water and sweat. The replacement pads are of much better quality and I seriously doubt this will come up again. The hamburgered patella cup was all my doing and shows what might have been without them.
My knee specialist looked at them and said if he could he would perscribe them but they are not classified as a "medical device" so it wasn't possible. Why would he do that for me? Because in his opion they are the best possible solition for somebody that abuses their knees like I do. Partial tears of both the ACL & MCL, hyperextension of everything in the joint, broke the patella TWICE in 3 months (3 times total), the list goes on.
I give them an 15 on a scale of 1-10! Awesome customer service, super product and well they are just plain cool.
OK...if you do a search you will find that I have been the one who has sparked many a discussion on braces. I had worn EVS RS6's for quite some time. Having crashed on many occasions while wearing these, I find them to be a good thing compared to knee pads or shin guards. HOWEVER....I now ride with the Cells and I find them to be of far better quality for the money than the RS6. IMHO these two braces use differing schools of thought, rigid vs. flexible bracing, but I won't take the argument down any more paths.
I found the Asterisk to be at first a bit more painstaking to find the proper fit than my former baces, but once I figured out how to mount them, I can wear them all day without major pinching. These braces are very well thought out. Just about every item on them is ingenious. To me the CTi is the only brace comparable to the Asterisk, and for the price there is no comparison.
If I were you, I'd hurry and buy a set....there is no way that a quality product like these can stay priced as they are for too long. If they do, Buster, errr...I mean Billy, may have to go back to riding for money!
btw...these braces will be rough on your pants and graphics, but a small price to pay for protecting the knees.
One thing I found that helps the damage to pants and graphics is taking an old or new pair of sweats and cut the knees out. Then slip the cut out knee section over the knee section of the brace. This may help you and others experiencing problems with graphics and such. Of course YMMV.
Do you have any problems with the sweats not staying in place? Do you secure them anyway? I ride in SMP riding shorts with the Asterisk braces and love it but I'm currently riding without graphics cause the braces destroy them within about 3 rides.
I use a pretty big section of the pant. I also use a small size sweat pant so it is fairly tight. It basically covers the whole brace then when I roll the under skin over the brace ends it holds the sweats fairly well. They do bunch up a bit but that just adds to the padding:)
You may also want to try putting padded tape on the protruding part of the brace that causes the damage. All that and the sweat pant thing should save your legs and graphics. At least it works well for me and like I said I have at least 7 hours and zero graphics problems.
This is hard on sweat pants I have noticed, but sweats are cheaper than pants and graphics.