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A Look at Neck Braces

Neck braces have been the topic of much controversy as of late. When the Leatt neck brace first came out, just about every rider reached out to give the new piece of dirt bike protection a try. Many adapted well and quickly the Leatt brace became a huge part of our sport. Soon after, an array of companies developed their own version of the neck brace including Fly Racing, Alpinestars, EVS, Omega, and the newest company Atlas. Each company bases their product around essentially the same concept. The theory is that the force placed on the head during the crash will be diverted to the brace instead of the neck.

Thought to have changed the world of motocross gear safety, Chad Reed, Ryan Villopoto, Trey Canard, Ryan Dungey, Andrew Short, and many others were believers. It didn’t take long, however for the braces to come off. Chad Reed stopped wearing his after a few years, attributing a friend and fellow racer’s (Andrew McFarlane) death to the brace. Another person who has been negatively vocal about the product is the always outspoken ex-pro Ryan Hughes, who believes the product hinders correct riding position and increases injury (ironically enough Ryan is recovering from a broken back after a wreck). Now it seems the popular thing to do is to take the brace off, even Ryan Dungey has stopped wearing his. On The positive side, many still believe that neck braces are incredibly effective. One rider who believes he was truly saved by his neck brace is none other than Trey Canard. After a devastating crash where another rider landed directly on his head, Trey’s neck was without injury. After Trey Canard’s amazing recovery we all witnessed, now it seems like the roar and urges to take the braces off as dulled.
Leatt has made some videos debunking the myths about the brace. In these videos, they demonstrated the type of testing they conduct, and also discuss the data and what the brace is actually doing. You can view these videos here:

Ultimately what is driving riders to steer away from wearing a brace now is comfort. At the pro level racers look for any edge out on the track, and if they feel the brace is causing a quarter of a second a lap decrease, the brace comes off. Andrew Short was a long time Leatt brace wearer however opted to ditch the brace, proving riders are willing to risk it for any advantage. Atlas has paid close attention to the complaints of riders and has developed a much more minimal and smaller brace that now is endorsed by the reigning Supercross champion Ryan Villopoto. I think Villopoto says it best “If it even helps even just one percent, it’s worth it.”
Check out the latest neck braces from all the top manufacturers at Motorcycle-Superstore.com.
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