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  1. #1
    In search of moar cowbell dminor's Avatar
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    An Update on Leatt braces

    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.
    Last edited by dminor; 11-16-09 at 05:40 PM.

  2. #2
    ÖöÖöÖöÖöÖö Dannihilator's Avatar
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    Good to know now.
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  3. #3
    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    are there any documented studies or evidence to show neck braces offer any protection over no brace at all?

    i have my doubts of their effectiveness in preventing serious injury.

    mx

  4. #4
    In search of moar cowbell dminor's Avatar
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    I'm not aware of a wealth of scientific studies yet; but there seems to be a lot of empirical and anecdotal evidence that points to it being effective. But, then, I'm an old and brittle worry-wort. I went from a bicycle-specific full-face helmet to a Snell-approved motocross helmet about the time that I'd been reading that a lot of professional downhill team managers were starting to recommend that their racers wear moto helmets, because of the evolution of the sport - - attaining speeds with the potential for crashes as high-energy as what one might expect racing a motorcycle. The debate rages on in many downhill circles as to whether or not a moto helmet is superior or, perhaps, inferior protection compared to a bicycle-specific full-face for bicycle racing.

    I decided to err on the side of caution; which is probably what I will do in the case of a Leatt too. Besides, if it gives my wife more peace of mind as I keep ripping down mountains as I edge closer to 60, that has some value right there, wouldn't you say ?

    I have no doubt that there are certain instances that a brace is not going to protect you; just as there are cases where field spinal immobilization and a C-collar are not always going to save a c-spine patient from further injury; but we do the best we can with the tools at our disposal at a given time. The Hans device has been around motor racing for a couple decades now and there is a lot of hard evidence from numerous scientific studies that point to its effectiveness. The mechanics of the Leatt are much the same and enough so that I at least trust the rudimentary physics behind its design.

  5. #5
    Don't really have a bike. craigcraigcraig's Avatar
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    I always wondered about neck braces when watching the downhill videos. If this is the brace that connects to the helmet like with straps? like in driving races? or just so your neck cannot move back or forward past certain points?

    I think i would prefer to wear one if i was a downhiller if there was no limiting factor to vision. Would add to peace of mind and maybe offer a hint more courage.

  6. #6
    In search of moar cowbell dminor's Avatar
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    It does not attach to the helmet. It rests on the shoulders, somewhat 'floating.' They come with straps that go around the torso under the arms but most people don't use them. The purpose of the device is to limit backward tilt of the head (hyperextension), forward and side-to-side tilt (hyperflexion) and axial loading (cervicle vertebrae compressing downward into themselves).

    Quote Originally Posted by craigx3
    I think i would prefer to wear one if i was a downhiller if there was no limiting factor to vision. Would add to peace of mind and maybe offer a hint more courage.
    That's exactly why I wear body armor. No, it did not save me from breaking my collarbone this year; the mechanics of that crash was outside the limit of anything armor could do. But it has protected me in other crash situations. I view it as courage that I can wear.

  7. #7
    Don't really have a bike. craigcraigcraig's Avatar
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    got it. sounds like a good investment to me. even more so if the wife goes for it.

  8. #8
    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dminor View Post
    I'm not aware of a wealth of scientific studies yet; but there seems to be a lot of empirical and anecdotal evidence that points to it being effective. But, then, I'm an old and brittle worry-wort. I went from a bicycle-specific full-face helmet to a Snell-approved motocross helmet about the time that I'd been reading that a lot of professional downhill team managers were starting to recommend that their racers wear moto helmets, because of the evolution of the sport - - attaining speeds with the potential for crashes as high-energy as what one might expect racing a motorcycle. The debate rages on in many downhill circles as to whether or not a moto helmet is superior or, perhaps, inferior protection compared to a bicycle-specific full-face for bicycle racing.

    I decided to err on the side of caution; which is probably what I will do in the case of a Leatt too. Besides, if it gives my wife more peace of mind as I keep ripping down mountains as I edge closer to 60, that has some value right there, wouldn't you say ?

    I have no doubt that there are certain instances that a brace is not going to protect you; just as there are cases where field spinal immobilization and a C-collar are not always going to save a c-spine patient from further injury; but we do the best we can with the tools at our disposal at a given time. The Hans device has been around motor racing for a couple decades now and there is a lot of hard evidence from numerous scientific studies that point to its effectiveness. The mechanics of the Leatt are much the same and enough so that I at least trust the rudimentary physics behind its design.
    is the hans brace the one that received notoriety with earnhardt?

    i was just curious about the brace. there have just been instances in past where a protective device is used and then years later it's decided "well maybe the incidence of injury is really unchanged..."

  9. #9
    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    can you post a photo? i am lazy

  10. #10
    In search of moar cowbell dminor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mx_599 View Post
    is the hans brace the one that received notoriety with earnhardt?
    Yup, same Hans.

    Quote Originally Posted by mx_599 View Post
    i was just curious about the brace. there have just been instances in past where a protective device is used and then years later it's decided "well maybe the incidence of injury is really unchanged..."
    Quite true; but I imagine it's going to be a while before that gets determined. Seems like everything having to do with protecting/preserving the human body changes over time. Just look at CPR protocols. Those have undergone major changes 5 or 6 times (or more) since I became an EMT over 20 years ago. Now the AHA is not even recommending rescue breathing at all for layman CPR - - just chest compressions.

    Quote Originally Posted by mx_599 View Post
    can you post a photo? i am lazy
    Of a Leatt?

    Moto GPX Club:


  11. #11
    Old School Rad mtnbiker66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mx_599 View Post
    are there any documented studies or evidence to show neck braces offer any protection over no brace at all?

    i have my doubts of their effectiveness in preventing serious injury.

    mx
    O have a friend that's very good rider and he won't raced without one. He swears that's the reason he didn't break his neck in a MX crash last winter.
    Like a circus monkey on a stolen Harley......

  12. #12
    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker66 View Post
    O have a friend that's very good rider and he won't raced without one. He swears that's the reason he didn't break his neck in a MX crash last winter.
    oh okay. i had always sworn by my cti2 knee braces for motocross. i am just not as familiar with this product. it was not used when i raced motocross.

    i am pretty sure knee braces were recommended for some sports and then later they find out not really much better. i think there are mixed opinions on shoe orthotics. same with weight belts for weight lifting.


    dminor, please post a photo of you wearing the neck brace

  13. #13
    In search of moar cowbell dminor's Avatar
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    When I get one, I will post pics.


    My good friend Arnold (another 50+ Cat 1) wearing his:

    Arnold.jpg

    (Although I am much taller, yet much less photogenic)
    Last edited by dminor; 11-19-09 at 05:33 PM.

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