Sea Otter Coverage

KC Fontes and his Bartlett Tendon Knee

Photos Cam McRae

KC Fontes was riding around Sea Otter with a unique prosthetic leg, and one that was designed by a mountain biker. I only met him briefly but his story stayed with me.


KC was cruising around Sea Otter and checking things out and I was keen to know more about his unique prosthetic. 

A cancer diagnosis in the 6th grade lead to an above the knee amputation. Eventually KC tried riding with a prosthetic but with limited success. Finally he decided to ditch the knee when he first started riding because he wasn't big enough to handle its weight.  Despite that he succeeded in his goal of finishing every race of the NICA high school XC series in his junior year in high school. 


The unique tendon design allows KC to load the prosthetic on his upstroke so it can apply power and help even out his stroke. It also allows him to stand to descend or pedal. 


KC riding for his high School in the NICA series. 

Now that he's fully grown KC is back on the Bartlett Tendon Knee, designed by Brian Bartlett. After a car accident required the amputation of Brian's right leg, the former US National Ski Team member decided to design a knee that would mimic the motion and support of a human knee for sports like skiing and mountain biking.* The unique tendon design (along with a RockShox Monarch air shock) allows mountain bikers to pedal and descend out of the saddle, despite above the knee amputations. 

*the BTK can be used for XC skiing, motorcycling, waterskiing etc. 


A prosthesis that allows mountain bikers to stand in the saddle is a revelation. 


A closer look at Brian Bartlett's revolutionary design. 

KC was enthusiastic about what the knee allowed him to do and he was keen to keep riding and racing his bike. "I can sprint out of the saddle no problem," he told me. KC plans to continue to ride and race - possibly even pursuing a spot on the U.S. Paralympic squad.

We'll be rooting for him wherever mountain biking takes him. 

Tags: KC Fontes
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+3 Merwinn bart Ac

That is awesome!


+3 Cam McRae Mbcracken Niels van Kampenhout

I guess his version won't be forward compatible with Trunnion or metric shocks? ;)



Awesome story. I was going to say, kudos to them for finding an application for a monarch where it can actually perform as desired rather than turning  into a squelchy mess every other week. Ha!


+1 Ac

Damn, THAT is astounding!

Hats off to KC and Brian!


+1 Ac

Awesome story. The strength of human will never ceases to amaze me.


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