It’s the dream of every parent that their child will prefer reading or singing rather than more dangerous activities like dirt biking or ATVing. The protective instincts cause us to fear that our child could be hurt at any moment, making us cautious of dangerous activities and sports. If you’ve ended up with a daredevil instead of a quilter, you are probably looking for the best equipment to keep your child safe from harm. Sports like dirt biking and ATV riding are no exception to the list of activities that worry parents. As automobile and motorcycle accidents account for a good portion of spinal cord injuries, it is important to find equipment that will protect your rider from harm. These pieces of equipment include helmets, chest protectors, boots, and long pants. In this article, we’re going to discuss one such piece of equipment, the Leatt GPX 6.5 neck brace, and why you should choose this product over its competitors.

Common injuries in ATV riding and motocross

Before we get into what a neck brace is, it is important to talk about the most common injuries that occur in riders. Most accidents occur as a result of rough terrain or jumping maneuvers. When accidents do occur, they have the potential to cause serious harm to the rider involved. Over half of injuries occur to the head, neck, or arms of the rider. The head and neck are delicate areas that cannot take a lot of force without being severely impacted. Areas like the arms or hands are much more able to withstand force than the head and neck.

Studies have shown that about 85% of riders were treated for minor to moderate injuries and were then released. The other 15%, however, sustained more life threatening injuries. From this you can see that the vast majority of accidents do not cause life threatening injuries in riders. Despite this, you should still be aware of the small percentage of accidents that can end up deadly.

In these serious accidents, the resulting injuries are quite dangerous. These injuries can include traumatic brain injuries and traumatic spinal injuries. Both injuries typically result in life-long consequences that severely impact the sufferer’s life. Traumatic brain injuries can cause cognitive and emotional deficiencies, and traumatic spinal injuries can cause paralysis. It is also important to note that these conditions are not fully treatable. They can be managed, but once they have occurred, they cannot be fixed.

What is an ATV neck brace? 

The neck brace is a relatively new piece of safety equipment on the ATV and motocross scenes. There is still some controversy about its effectiveness so it’s not worn by every rider. Many forego the neck brace because they falsely believe that the brace will increase their risk of harm. This brace, as the name implies, is situated around the neck and shoulders to prevent injuries in the event of a crash. The braces come in a variety of designs and sizes, each meant for a different rider size or age class.

Who should wear a neck brace? 

You may be wondering if you should consider purchasing a neck brace for the rider in your life. The bottom line is that every person who is riding an ATV or similar vehicle should be wearing one. No matter the age or skill level, traumatic accidents can happen at any time. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so that you will be protected should the worst occur. Even the most experienced riders have accidents, and its almost impossible to predict how bad the accident will be until after it has already happened.

What does a neck brace do?

It may seem as though helmets have the job of head and neck safety covered. This does not encapsulate the entire picture, however. The most common injuries associated with ATV and other riding accidents include traumatic spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and fractures. These are very serious and can result in disfigurement, paralysis, and even death. Neck braces and used to supplement helmets, by preventing injuries in ways that a helmet alone cannot. A helmet alone cannot prevent the sudden, jerking movements of the neck that occur during accidents as a helmet alone would still allow the neck to snap in any direction. A neck brace, on the other hand, prevents the neck from being jerked suddenly, and helps prevents traumatic spinal injuries.

Types of neck braces

As with any other piece of protective equipment on the market, ATV neck braces come in a variety of styles. It is essential to examine each style of neck brace to determine which one is right for you.

The simplest style looks like a padded cylindrical collar that is intended to sit between the helmet and the shirt or chest protector. This style does not attach to the chest protector, which makes the neck brace mobile rather than stationary.

The second style is similar to the first, but has some additional features. This style has rubber or plastic arms that connect to the chest protector, as well as the ability to open the front of the ring.

The first two styles are good for those who are not looking to invest a lot of money into their neck brace. As they are relatively cheap, they make a good purchase for those who are new to wearing neck braces.

The next class of neck braces is rated more highly than the first and second in terms of effectiveness. The main difference between this type and the first two types lies in the way that the brace connects to the chest protector. Rather than having plastic arm-like connectors, this type has a plastic plate that connects the brace to the chest protector. This strengthens the connection, making the neck brace less mobile. This style makes a good purchase for those who want the added protection of the back plate, without the high price of the final style of brace.

The final, and highest class neck brace, looks similar to the shoulder pads worn in football. This type of brace provides the most protection for the neck, as it is the most stable brace available. This style is perfect for those who want the highest amount of protection available, and are willing to incur the cost of the product. The Leatt GPX 6.5 neck brace would fall into this category.

Leatt Brand

It is common to want information on the company selling the equipment before you decide whether or not to purchase from them. Leatt is a company centered around the sales of protective equipment for motocross, ATV riding, and winter sports. The company’s website has a page that details the origins and history of the business from 2001 to present. On the page, it is explained that the creator of the Leatt neck brace began his work after his son witnessed the traumatic death of a fellow rider. Since then, Leatt has worked tirelessly to create and improve upon equipment that would prevent injuries in ATV and motocross riders. In 2008, the Leatt Lab was created to test the company’s products before they go out for sale. The company has continued to improve their product designs to meet safety standards, and have received a variety of accolades and endorsements as a result.

Leatt GPX 6.5 neck brace

It’s finally time to discuss the product itself. This section will detail the specifications and features of the Leatt GPX 6.5 neck brace. This brace is made from a carbon matrix, and does not sacrifice its light weight for stability. Designed to fit any rider, the Leatt GPX 6.5 neck brace has a variety of adjustable parts. This allows the brace to fit to the exact body shape of the user. Additionally, the brace comes in two sizes, S/M and L/XL. It has easy-to-clean padding and provides excellent ventilation, which will prevent the brace from developing an odor from sweat.

The safety features of this neck brace are impressive. The website claims that the Leatt GPX 6.5 neck brace reduces risk of injury by 47%. This makes sense when you look at the long list of safety features that the product boasts. The neck brace has a cutout for the collarbone area that prevents undue pressure on those easily broken bones. Similarly, there is a thoracic read strut that is made to snap off before high pressure is exerted on the back. This can prevent a variety of injuries in the back muscles and spine. The Leatt GPX 6.5 neck brace has an emergency release mechanism, should medics need to remove the device in the event of an injury. This prevents medics from having to struggle to remove the protective equipment if they need to provide fast, life saving treatment. The most impressive feature of this neck brace is probably that it has been tested and meets requirements to be considered Personal Protective Equipment. You can rest assured that you are purchasing a product that has been tried and tested for quality.

Pros: 
  • Meets requirements to be considered Personal Protective Equipment by current standards
  • Fits most riders comfortably
  • Can be easily cleaned to prevent foul smell
  • Carbon matrix keeps brace strong yet light
 Cons:
  • Can be out of the budget for some consumers
  • Some users reported that the brace got caught on their helmet
Consumer thoughts

Consumers were quite pleased with the Leatt GPX 6.5 neck brace. Buyers reported that the brace had a light fit that did not weigh them down or interfere with their helmet fit. It was also reported that the brace provided comfortable support that did not irritate the rider. The only complaint seemed to be that the Leatt GPX 6.5 neck brace can get caught on certain brands of helmets. Overall, the Leatt GPX 6.5 neck brace maintains high ratings across every website that sells the product, showing that consumer thoughts are consistent for this product.

The hard evidence

If you were looking to purchase a new car, you’d probably look at the safety testing that was done on the vehicle. Purchasing a neck brace is, understandably, no different. Rest assured, however, that Leatt products undergo serious testing before they are put up for sale. As previously stated, this product has been rigorously tested by RICOTEST and meets standards for Personal Protective Equipment under the European Directive 89/686/EEC. This standard indicates that a device is appropriate for moderate protection against spinal injuries during normal use. It is important to note, though, that this device is determined to be safe under correct product use. If you don’t use it as directed, it’s not going to work as well.

The competition

For you to make an informed decision, you should know how the Leatt GPX 6.5 neck brace stacks up against the competition. This product is one of few on the market that is CE certified as Personal Protective Equipment. Additionally, the lightweight carbon matrix design makes it one of the lightest on the market at only 600 grams. The product that provides the most competition to the Leatt GPX 6.5 is the Leatt Fusion 3.0 Vest. The Leatt Fusion 3.0 Vest provides more protection, but is also substantially more bulky.

Conclusion

Injuries among ATV riders are on the rise in our country. These injuries can cause serious cognitive, emotional, and physical impairment to the rider involved. It is important to protect the rider in your life by insisting that they wear a neck brace to supplement the protection provided by their helmets. It may not be required gear, but it’s recommended for all riders. You’d rather have a bit of discomfort from extra equipment than a lifelong injury like paralysis. When looking for a neck brace, be sure to choose the Leatt GPX 6.5 neck brace. This well-tested brace is tough enough to follow you or your favorite rider wherever the thrill may take them.