The GPX range of neck braces from Leatt are arguably the best form of neck protection on the market today, but there still seems to be a lack of understanding attached to the subject of wearing neck protection. We take a look at the latest offerings from Leatt and get the thoughts about braces from some top names in international MX.
Leatt was the very first company to manufacture neck braces. Surgeon Dr Chris Leatt is the founder of the Leatt company and famously produced prototypes of his first brace after the tragic accident to a friend, Alan Selby, while riding off-road in his native South Africa. The Leatt brace first became part of the off-road scene in 2006 and now has seven different versions of the protection that has progressed hugely in the last thirteen years. Leatt’s research and development from their lab near Cape Town has led onto a raft of other protection equipment including knee braces, helmets and body protection.
Their top-level neck braces – the GPX 6.5 Carbon, the GPX 5.5, and the GPX 3.5 – have all been developed to reduce the risk of significant neck injury in the event of a hard crash on the dirt. Coming in at different price points, they each offer specialised protection when worn correctly against extreme neck extension.
Each of the Leatt GPX range has been developed in their state-of-the-art lab in Cape Town, with “Martin”, Leatt’s 50th percentile Hybrid III Anthropomorphic Test Dummy featuring 23 in-built sensors to ensure reliable data when testing the new products. They then go on to be independently CE tested and are certified as Personal Protective Equipment, offering up to 47% reduction of risk for a serious neck injury.
The construction differs between models, but the way they work doesn’t. The GPX range of neck braces are designed to prevent the rider’s helmet from over-extending the neck by placing a barrier on top of the shoulders, to limit how far forward, backward, and sideways the helmet can move under duress.
The most important aspect when choosing a neck brace is getting the right size. Leatt suggest measuring around your chest area, just below your armpits, then using their website to choose the size neck brace that will fit you best. Leatt claim their neck braces feature the most adjustability of any on the market, with the GPX 6.5 Carbon and GPX 5.5 featuring SureFit adjusters on the front chest pad rear thoracic strut. They also feature replaceable rubber angle adjusters for the rear thoracic strut, ensuring you get a perfect fit for your body size. The third-in-line GPX 3.5 offers two adjustment levels for the rear thoracic strut, but it is designed to break away in the event of excess force, the same as the GPX 6.5 Carbon and GPX 5.5 neck braces.
The top-of-the-line GPX 6.5 Carbon is constructed of a rigid, non-flexible carbon matrix, weighing in at only 600 grams. Its light weight offers the least amount of possible intrusion while riding, meaning riders will be comfortable with wearing it quickly and easily.
The GPX 5.5 features a fibreglass shell with a polyamide reinforced chassis, weighing in at 790 grams, meaning it’s still very lightweight and easy to wear. Finally, the GPX 3.5 is made from a polycarbonate shell with a polyamide reinforced EPS chassis, and weighs as little as 536 grams. It doesn’t have as much adjustability as the GPX 6.5 Carbon or GPX 5.5, but still offers excellent protection from neck injuries when worn correctly.
All GPX neck braces come with optional clear chest straps to hold the brace in place but will work with Leatt’s own roost and chest protection, easily and quickly tying together to simplify wearing them together. Additionally, the GPX thoracic struts fold away for easy storage in your kit bag.
Leatt’s GPX neck braces all feature simple clips to remove them from the rider in case of emergency, without having to remove the helmet first. The GPX 6.5 Carbon and GPX 5.5 both feature a clip on the right side, and a large quick-turn toggle on the left to completely disengage the neck brace from its wearer. The GPX 3.5 can be removed by pushing the red toggle inwards, which unclasps the brace and allows the left and right side to swivel on a hinge away from the rider’s neck. The two adjustment toggles on the GPX 3.5’s thoracic strut are also removable, meaning the strut can be removed from the brace to allow easier removal.
Extra Safety Features
All of the GPX range of neck braces feature CoreFlex split rear removable thoracic struts, with a spinal partition for added comfort, designed to work with the body’s natural movements. The engineered collarbone cut-out helps keep the rider’s brace and helmet away from their most fragile bones, reducing the chances of a broken collar bone in a crash from helmet impact. Each model is also designed with air-flow ribbed body padding for optimum ventilation. The construction and highly adjustable fit of the GPX neck braces ensures that riders have a full range of motion when wearing their neck brace correctly and in a normal riding position, with no impairment or restriction to the rider’s head or upper body movement.
Looking for a Leatt neck brace or any of their other protective equipment or riding apparel? Then either head to your local Leatt dealer or visit www.bits4bikes.co.nz where you’ll find the complete range. And if you’re worried about getting the correct fit, head to www.leatt.com where you’ll find sizing charts.