Despite a few issues, I really liked the EVS RS8 knee braces I had for the short period I used them. Not to mention that the left one appears to have saved my knee. I don’t have any knee issues (knock on wood) and I really like the idea of a lighter weight knee brace that provides extra support and protection without a stiff, heavy frame. I was glad to give the new and improved EVS RS9 knee braces a try.
What are the features and how do they work?
Patented Tru-Motion 2.0 anatomically correct hinges: No issues here. A somewhat simple hinge design that works well. They are the same hinges that used to come on EVS’s higher end knee braces.
Dual Defense full coverage knee cup: This is a great idea that seems to work better than it did on the RS8 due to improved adhesion of the Velcro that hold everything in place. A tension strap helps to move the two piece knee cup as you bend your knee, keeping your knee fully covered as you bend it. I like the idea here, but the elastic band that makes the dual defense system work does feel odd, maybe a little tight when bending your knee.
Moisture wicking bio-foam molded liner: This is just a fancy way of saying “liner”. The liner is fine – removable and washable, nothing fancy. I do think it’s a downgrade from the RS8’s liner though.
ClickTec quick release buckle system: The ClickTec system ratchets together easily and stays tight. Great right? You would think so, but for some reason it’s hard to get the buckle to release when you’re done riding for the day. This is a pain in the ass.
FormFit frame: The fact that the frame is made of plastic means it isn’t stiff as a carbon brace. When tightened, the RS9 flexes and “forms” to your leg a bit, giving you a nice snug fit. This is a very nice feature that isn’t common, in fact, even the RS8 Pro knee braces I had that claimed to have a FormFit frame didn’t FormFit very well due to the built in carbon struts.
What did they fix from the RS8?
Fit: The RS9 fits me much better than the RS8. Where the RS8 was too tight it seems EVS created a little more space to improve the fit. The FormFit frame allows the brace to flex a bit and fit to your leg snug. For me, they fit perfectly.
Velcro: On the RS8 I had issues with the Velcro that held the padding on the frame coming loose, causing all kinds of problems with the Dual Defense system and padding being out of place and. The RS9 doesn’t seem to have this issue as bad as the RS8. That said, there has to be a more solid way to hold the liner (and the Dual Defense system’s strap) in place than Velcro glued to plastic.
Downgrades from the RS8
It seems like EVS downgraded the straps and padding from the RS8. I’m sure this is a cost saving measure, it doesn’t affect performance during the ride, but I’m not sure if it will screw up the impact performance at all. The particular area that looks like there may be slightly less protection is the patella padding. Of course, this is just my eye test, I could be completely wrong.
The thing the buckle goes into broke off one of my knee braces after only a few rides with no crash or anything, I’m unsure what caused this problem. Luckily this can be fixed for $3.50 by purchasing the RS9 female clip and buckle rivet on EVS’s website. Also, the Velcro that holds everything in place seems to be improved, but isn’t perfect.
I have no problem recommending these to a friend. While I don’t think they offer as much protection as more expensive, bulkier carbon knee braces. The RS9 does provide support and protection, is lower profile and lighter weight than most knee braces on the market. The MSRP on a pair of RS9’s is $279, but you can buy them on Amazon for $193.