Moto Neck Brace
Back in the day when I was learning to ride motocross there wasn’t a whole lot available in the way of protective gear. Basically you had a helmet and goggles, a jersey (no protection whatsoever), maybe leather pants, gloves and boots. Today, the pursuit of innovative protective gear for the motorcycle rider has never been stronger. Perhaps the most significant device to emerge has been the protective neck brace.
Next to the head and brain, the neck is perhaps the most vulnerable part of the human anatomy and deserves protecting. The industry leader for protective neck braces is Leatt. Named after its inventor, Dr. Chris Leatt is a South African doctor and motorcycle enthusiast. He developed the Leatt-Brace with physicians and biomedical engineers to help prevent or lessen the severity of injuries to the cervical spine in the event of a fall.
The concept of the Leatt-Brace is to bring the head to a controlled stop in the event of a crash and provide an alternate load path for forces exerted on the neck. The design of the brace channels forces away from the neck and limits the movement of the head while the circular, padded structure spreads impact load forces over the shoulders, upper body and chest. The brace provides this protection while at the same time allowing the essential freedom of movement necessary for riding.
The two Leatt models we tested were the GPX Club Brace and the Moto-GPX Sport Brace. The GPX Club Brace is the base model, made from glass injected Nylon. The Moto-GPX Sport is the top of the line, made of injection-molded glass reinforced Nylon and carbon fiber. The Sport is slightly lighter and has additional adjustment possibilities on the front lower member to better fine-tune the brace to the rider. Leatt includes a number of additional pins and hardware with each unit to ensure the wearer can tailor fit the brace.
When I went out for the first time wearing the Leatt-Brace I was definitely aware of it. However, after just a few minutes I forgot it was on. There is an adjustment period of getting used to having your helmet movement constricted when your helmet touches the brace, but this is quickly overcome. The only serious limitation is not comfortably being able to look over your shoulder. But many riders will say this is a bad habit anyway and you shouldn’t be looking behind you in the first place.
By the end of the day I had become so accustomed to-and reassured by-the Leatt-Brace that when I went out for a session without it on I felt a little naked. The riders I spoke to wearing the Leatt-Brace swear by it and many say they won’t ride without it. Looking at the starting gate of professional motocross and supercross events these days the Leatt-Brace has become ubiquitous, which speaks volumes about the evolution of the device. Next to your helmet, the Leatt-Brace might well be the most important piece of safety equipment you purchase.
Leatt also produces the ADVenture Brace and the Moto-KART Brace. Stay tuned for Ultimate MotorCycling’s track day application/test of the Leatt-Brace.