To Brace or Not to Brace?I am writing in response to Chris Denison's comments on Letter Rip "Brace Yourself." So, you're not sold on the Leatt because you're worried about a broken collarbone or minor injuries by the back piece? Are you kidding me? If the impact from a crash has to go to my collarbone to save my neck then so be it. After a broken collarbone you can be back on the bike in 3-4 weeks. How long after a broken vertebrae will you be riding again? How long till you walk again, if ever? I know the Leatt is not the cure all and will not prevent everyone from having a neck injury with one on. Isn't any protection you can have when it comes to neck injuries worth it? Limiting range of motion will prevent many neck injuries. If it is not comfortable with a chest protector on, lose the chest protector. What is more important, roost guard or spinal cord protection? I wear one without a chest protector and do not understand how it is uncomfortable for some. It just sits there. It doesn't restrict head movement in any way in my experience. If you have to have a chest protector you need to make the modifications so it fits together better. They do make chest protectors designed to fit with the Leatt. It is not a gimmick when most of the top riders in the world have started wearing them. Davi Millsaps has even ditched his donut for one. Get your priorities straight and "Just Wear It!"
Kennewick, WADon't get me wrong, the Leatt was our product of the year. I definitely don't think it is a gimmick, nor is it the magical safety device that some have made it out to be. While the Leatt is certainly designed to protect your neck, I've heard of it breaking collarbones in extremely small crashes-I'm talking tip-overs-where a neck injury would never have existed even without the brace. You also have to remember that in a backwards, whiplash style impact, the Leatt can transfer a ton of force to your upper spine, using the base of the brace as the fulcrum. There is some fire coming down on the brace (particularly in Europe) from cases of this happening.I'm not a doctor, so I can't really speak to the absolute safety of the product, but I do know that I am not yet comfortable in one. I need complete confidence in my safety equipment, and I just can't find that confidence in the Leatt. Depending on the style of helmet and chest protector that I am wearing, the brace either feels okay or it doesn't, though I'm still riding in one a lot to try and get a feel for it. However, I totally respect the opinions of the pros. But just as Davi has ditched his donut for a neck brace, riders like Josh Grant have given up on the Leatt completely, and Stewart, Ferry, Carmichael, Vuillemin, Hansen, Hill, Preston, Jesseman and several other don't run the Leatt at all. Ever wonder why?Thanks again for voicing your opinion, we appreciate hearing from you.Chris Denison_I really appreciate your timely response to my letter. You do make some great points and I can see your side of this debate. I hope some of the opinions you put in your e-mail to me will make it in to your magazine. I think your e-mail explains your side better than your response in Letter Rip. I should let you know that the subject of neck injuries really hits home for me. I raced MX professionally from 1993 to 1998 when I broke C-6 and C-7 in my neck. I had plates and screws put in and my vertebrae was fused together. (No paralysis) I have recently started riding again and for me the brace is a must. My 13 year old son has also started riding a CR85 and he hasn't ever ridden without one. I am anxious to see how some of the new braces, like the Alpinestar or the EVS, will compare to the Leatt. Thanks again for taking the time to write to me. This is a very important subject to the world's greatest sport.
Kennewick, WA_Right on Jeff, I'm glad we see eye to eye. I have a friend who was killed in a similar accident a few years ago, and I too have found myself wishing that our sport was somehow safer. Thanks again for reading, and we'll be sure to let you know as soon as we test the A-stars and EVS braces.
PS: Oh yeah, and tell your kid to start reading Mini Rider. He'll love it!Chris Denison