- Bike Checks
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Protect your neck! Over the past few years, neck braces have become an essential part of many gravity racers gear. Along with a helmet, they are intended to reduce the possibility of a serious neck injury by limiting the neck's range of motion and dissipating the energy from headfirst crashes. There are a few designs and price points to choose from and even some customization thanks to stickers and pad options.
There are two types of neck brace depending on how they rest on a rider's body. The most common type of brace rests on a rider's chest and back thanks to padded supports designed to absorb and dissipate energy from impacts. The other type rests on a rider's shoulders on either side of the helmet, rather than on the chest, but still uses a support on the spine. Both types are designed to provide the same kind of protection and are equally viable options.
Depending on the manufacturer, neck braces are offered in two to four different sizes ranging from small to extra-extra-large. Thanks to detailed sizing charts that factor in rider weight, height and chest circumference, selecting the proper size is quite simple. We recommend visiting the manufacturer's website to find the appropriate sizing chart.
Neck braces use a combination of materials in their construction. The supports and collar are made from either plastic or carbon fiber, hinges are plastic and aluminum, and different types of foam are used where the brace touches the body.
When shopping for a neck brace, it is important to find a model that fits well with both your body type and helmet choice. Just like any other piece of protective gear, a proper fit is essential to ensuring the neck brace does its job. Most manufacturers offer their braces in different sizes and some models may fit better than others. Riders who wear body armor will want to look into possible compatibility issues between braces and protective gear (there are body armor models designed specifically for use with a brace). Also be sure to choose a brace that suits your personal style and taste, this way wearing it will not seem like a chore.
Neck braces range in price from $200 to $800.
In the $200-$400 range, both types of brace are available in all sizes. They use plastic supports and collars and provide the same type of protection as the more expensive models but without some of the features.
Moving up to the $400-$600 range, neck braces become lighter and less bulky thanks to slimmed down designs and the use of some carbon fiber. More expensive models, such as these, also have greater adjustability to maximize comfort.
Finally, the $600-$800 range of braces are carbon fiber models designed for maximum performance. They offer the most adjustability and are noticeably lighter than the less expensive plastic models.
Before buying, be sure to do your research and read product reviews. Reviews are a great way to find out specifics about a particular model, user impressions, and things to watch out for. After you've purchased a product and had enough time to thoroughly test it, we encourage you to leave a review for other people to see when they are researching bikes and parts on the web.
We hope you've found this information to be helpful. If you have a question that isn't answered in this guide, our mountain bike forums are a great place to get advice from knowledgeable riders. Your local bike shop is also a great resource.
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