You may or may not recall that a few months ago I was weighing what to do for a neck brace for downhilling. At the time, I was looking for observations on the EVS RC (Race Collar) and the then-new Leatt ADVenture - - both non-adjustable braces.
As background, Leatt developed the around-$200 entry-level ADVenture brace for riders who just were not ready to shell out the $400-$600 price tag for the fully-adjustable Club and Sport models. The non-adjustable shelves were designed for the average-bodied (moto) rider who might not need all that adjustability.
My hope was that one of the two more entry-level products, being the 'average-to-scrawny-bodied' person I am would work for me for downhilling. So, the local moto gear shop (Cycle Gear) finally had ADVenture braces in stock and I had some time last week; so I loaded up my helmet, armor and even my bike (riding positions) to do a thorough try-out/fitting. Here are the results:
Sad to say, the ADVenture brace is just too limiting in its range of motion for me to use on a bike. First off, the thorasic strut is angled such that it hits into my back before the shoulder portion can settle in, so the collar does not rest completely down on my shoulders. There are fore-and-aft adjuster connectors for the front and rear halves for different chest-to-back sizes but changing these would not have helped. To get it to nest down, it would have to sloppy a fit fore and aft. For a moto rider in a more upright riding position, an adequate fit could probably been achieved. I might add that my armor was not a limiting factor in the fit. My Pro Pressure suit actually has a convenient 'slot' between the shirt and the top of the removable spine armor that the brace's thorasic strut slips right inside and rests right down you back. No need for removeable spine-plate armor like the new Core Saver.
So, for laughs, I wanted to see how a 'real' Leatt brace would fit; so I tried the Moto-GPX Club. The guy who helped me has fitted other DHers, so he had a handle on some of the adjustments that were needed. First off, the stock thorasic strut has a different angle than the fixed one on the ADVenture; and other angle struts are available. Then, we fooled with the spacer plates for the strut, moving both in front of (I think that's how I remember it) the strut. Lastly, the rear shelf was slammed down as far as it would go.
All that done and I snugged it on and snapped the latches shut. It fit like a glove. Spot on. SUCH a good fit, in fact, that I think a day with it and I would forget it was there. Nested right down squarely on my shoulders and plenty of forward visibility even on extreme downward descent angles. I think as much head-tilt range without it as with - but there to catch me before any hyperextension. Just what it should do.
I really was not expecting that; I went into the whole session figuring I would not find enough difference (hoping, actually) to justify the higher price tag of the Club. I was wrong. The ADVenture may work for some but I am convinced that it won't be me. At least with some current coupons and incentives they have going, it's going to be about $365 out the door, rather than the full $400. If you are considering adding this to your protective gear, by all means, go in and try them with your own gear before you buy. It's too important not to get right.