Being a bit of a riding gear “nerd”, I recently started following some discussions on ADVrider.com regarding neck braces. These aren’t the kind one gets put in after an accident but rather the opposite. These are the kind that attempt to prevent the need of the “post-crash” ones.
Off-road riders have been using the collars and braces for years but there hasn’t been much on the consumer market for the street rider. Over the past fifteen years or so, there have been a lot technological strides in the neck brace area due on no small part to Christopher Leatt, who patented his design for the Leatt neck brace back in 2003.
Where once there were just padded collars (or “donuts”) the Leatt Brace had a framework of flexible and rigid parts designed to keep a rider’s head from flexing to the point of causing injury. This design requires that the rider be wearing a full-face helmet and it works by presenting a surface around the rider’s neck that physically stops the helmet from moving beyond a certain point.
My friends over at webBikeWorld.com reviewed Leatt’s STX neck brace which is one of the first designed for street riding as far as I know. In fact I’m not sure who else make street-oriented gear like this (I’m welcome to info on this so please feel free to comment). I have looked at some brands like Atlas which make neck braces but when I reached out to them, I was told that they do not recommend their devices for use over a street jacket.
What I haven’t mentioned yet is the price of the Leatt STX which is typically around $399.00 (USD) with carbon fiber and racing versions adding even more on top of the cost. It is a pretty high price to pay, but of course saving your neck, literally, is hard to put a price tag on.
As I was following the discussion someone mentioned neck-braces from EVS. Looking at the EVS Sport site, I saw several options including the new R4K Race Collar. EVS has been making protective motorcycle gear for some time and a bit of research turned up some very favorable reviews on the collar in question.
The price is a little easier to swallow with an MSRP of $199.00 (or can be found on Amazon.com right now for $149.00). Comparing the images above its obvious the EVS unit is less complex to construct and as such costs have the price.
Does this mean that it protects half as well as the Leatt? While I don’t plan on impact testing this directly, I am going to start using the EVS R4K when I ride and see what it’s like to live with on a regular basis. Carmen will be using it too and we’ll be putting together a complete review soon.
I’m very interested in what other street riders think of using neck brace like this on the street. Tell us what you think in the comments below.