I don’t know if you know this… but Motocross is a dangerous sport 🙂 One of the guys over on All Things Moto runs a line in his signature that says “I once read about the dangers of motocross. I almost gave up reading.” I laughed when I read it, but it’s true. Riding motorcycles in any form is dangerous. However, there are measures we can all take to limit the liability we incur when we go riding. I could name all the protective gear you should have and wear (actually wearing it is very KEY 🙂 ), like helmets, gloves, goggles, etc… but I won’t bore you with the details. One problem we get from wearing protective gear, namely the helmet (all sports that wear helmets have this same problem — NASCAR etc) is that due to the weight of it, our little heads like to really flop around when we crash… And crashing is a part of our sport. So with this comes neck and spinal injuries that often times leave riders in wheel chairs or worse. Thank goodness there are products on the market now that really help to alleviate or at least help prevent neck and spinal injuries. This leads me to the topic for my post.
I had the chance this last weekend when I was at the Motoman Facility to try out a Leatt Brace. I’ve been wearing neck rolls since I started riding again in 2002, but this is the first chance I’ve had to use something other than a neck roll.
After years of wearing one thing or another as some sort of neck protection, I’ve concluded that most if not all neck rolls add value in that they will help you to not break your collar bone, and will probably help reduce neck injury. You might ask why I think this. It is my belief that the large majority of collar bone breaks are due to the helmet actually making contact with the collar bone when the head whips forward (to the forward-side actually). I also believe the neck roll helps limit neck injuries simply due to the fact that they limit the range of motion.
There are those on the “net” that are stating that the Leatt-Brace doesn’t aid in the safety of your collar bone. This may or may not be true, and after wearing one, I can see that there might be some validity to the claims, however, I’d rather break my collar bone than my neck. Collar bones heal easily, necks & spines … well, not so much.
My first neck roll was an EVS RC1, which I loved and wore religiously. Even in the summer heat. You actually get used to them after maybe 2 rides, and I enjoyed the added protection. Over time and with the help of my children, I was forced to replace it with another product.
My next neck roll, and coincidentally the one I currently wear, is a Thor Race Collar. I actually haven’t liked this one quite as much as I did my RC1, but that’s really my own fault since I’ve been too lazy to trim the foam on it so my head can go backwards just a tad more than it does now. That might also have something to do with my new TLD (Troy Lee Designs) helmet too since I’ve not worn my old helmet or the RC1 with it. I went with the Thor Race Collar simply due to cost differences between it and the EVS RC2 (which I had wanted for a while). I tried both on, and both were similar enough to go for the less expensive one, which I did.
And now finally to the part that more than likely brought you to my blog post… The Leatt-Brace.
While in Indiana at the Motoman Facility one of my riding buddies told me I could take his Leatt for a spin which I was more than happy to do.
At first the leatt was a little weird to get on. The buckles are on the side, and you really can’t see them at all, so getting it latched up took some patience, but once it was on, it felt good. I normally always wear a chest protector, and it’s been stated that you would have to modify your chest protector to make it work with the leatt, which was also the case for me. However, due to not actually owning the Leatt, I skipped the modification and simply rode without it.
With helmet on I moved my head from side to side, and from front to back just to check the range of motion. It certainly felt like it would do its job. Also of note, the Leatt actually made me feel safer. Yeah, I know, Feel Safer??? But it did. It’s also very comfortable on the shoulders and back where it touches.
Once on the bike and riding, I didn’t even notice I had it on. Now I know that for those that haven’t worn some sort of neck protection this will probably not be the case, but for me, it certainly was. I really did like the brace. As stated earlier, I can see why it could be a problem for collar bones, but it’s a risk worth taking.
Now if there weren’t pending products coming out on the market, I would buy one for sure. However, with the EVS RC-Evolution (pictured below & costs less too) & Alpinestars (yet to be named or even hinted about on their website) looming on the market I’m going to wait and see which product to buy.