Living in the flat country of Denmark, I have to go to Sweden to riding my DH bike. So I'm not doing it that often, but loving every minute of it when I do. Since the season here is starting in a few months, I've been wondering if I should get a neck brace.
What's everyones take on them? Do they work? Do they restrict head movement too much? What model would you recommend (if any).
I've heard plenty of arguments for both sides of the debate. I ended up getting one for myself despite all of their disadvantages. I didn't notice the lack of range of motion all that much and it was certainly not something that you couldn't get used to. But after having gone through a pretty serious crash to my noggin, I have a slightly different perspective than I did in my gung-ho youth. I'll take skinned up elbows, broken collar bones, cut up shins, broken ribs, sore wrists, and any number of other injuries common to our sport by the hundreds and be okay with the effects those things will someday have on my body. I will not say the same thing about spinal injuries. Having some in my family, I have seen their long term effects and if there is a product out there that addresses the issue, I'm all for it. I know that the scientific research into these things is pretty new and hasn't reached the point where we can definitively say "this thing increases safety!!!" like we can with maybe seatbelts in cars... it makes sense to me and seems to be safer than going without it.
I don't cast any judgements on people who don't wear them like I do people who ride without helmets but ultimately, it's a personal decision.
Personally i wont ride without one. Whether they work or not is really up in the air i guess, i think they do, i know Gwin isnt too fond of them, but id be willing to bet your chances are better with it on then not. Ive gone otb off a drop to my face and im glad i had it on, my shoulders hurt like hell for about a week but its better then what might have been.
Price has always been the deciding factor for me. Can't afford one, so I don't run one. That may change soon though as a few more companies are stepping up to the plate with cheeper models. I'm not so sure that the TSG model would do much for you. But the new EVS brace looks sturdy and is actually affordable.
I really think it comes down to two major elements:
a) riding style. By this I mean how involved you are with your shoulders and you overall posture as you lean into corners. This in addition to where you tend to look on the trail ahead of you, some people look down pretty far while others prefer their head more upright on a normal bases. Cornering and average head position are probably the two biggest factors in the debate between people for and against. Some people just can roll with wearing one because its too damn uncomfortable and cramps their style.
b) Helmet choice. there are some helmets that can make wearing the leatt like a prison sentence or something you dont even notice. I originally was wearing a TLD D2 when i was first riding with the leatt and I hated it, my helmet would constantly be on the back of the leatt and all over the shoulder pads, not very comfortable. for X-mas i got myself a D3 and it made the world of difference. the fitment of a D3 and a leatt is near perfect and allows a day and night difference of room and comfort to move my head around and backwards. This is probably the biggest factor in deciding whether to be pro- or against leatt braces.
I come from an area that has very steep trails so having the ability to move my head was a huge factor. with the D2 i was sometime put in a position were I couldnt even see the trail in front of me because my head would be against the leatt and constricting my view. for this reason my leatt sat in the corner of my room for acouple months as I found comfort in just free ballin it. I understood the risk I was taking but at the time, having a clear field of view and ability to really roll my shoulders into corners and what not made it safer in my opinion. However, when the D3 rolled around and I tried it again it really made the difference, it gave me the freedom to move my head to whatever position I needed without hitting the leatt base. This erased the problem of visibility as well as the shoulder/cornering issue. never looking back to not wearing one from here on out.
in a nutshell, it really comes down to what helmet you'll be wearing and your natural riding position and cornering style.
hope that helps bud
I have tried both the Leatt (older moto gpx version) and the Alpinestars BNS and in my opinion the Alpinestars takes the cake hands down. I had many fitting issues with the Leatt and I decided to just not wear it, but with the Alpinestars it only took me a couple of rides to get used to it and now I don't even know its there anymore and can be used for moto and mtb. I recommend getting the A-straps for it though, they really keep it from moving around on your neck.
No proven third party testing. No neck brace.