Standing in line this year at the Whistler bike park earlier this spring it seemed like almost half the riders were wearing a neck brace. There seems to be very little written about actually wearing one so getting one ordered up for a nsmb test seemed like the right thing to do.
The brace showed up last week. The model we are testing is the full blown top of the line bicycle specific DBX (GPX is for moto) Pro carbon. Last year Leatt starting making the lower profile mountain bike specific braces. Before that you had to buy the moto version.
The DBX Pro comes in a quality carrying case with a harness strap and three different sizes of hinges for finding the proper size. First thing I noticed is that the carbon model is actually a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. The carbon structure combined with the CNC machined aluminum hinges makes the brace a thing of beauty. The attention to detail and finish is fantastic.
I hunkered down on my living room floor to try and figure out how to set it up to fit the best I could. It was a good thing my carpet was shag cause you have to get comfortable when trying to figure it all out the first time. For such a beautiful piece of craftsmanship and for the price tag the instruction manual is not up to scratch. It is not that well written. Actually nowhere in the manual does it even mention the harness. It took me 10 min to figure out how to attach the harness. I Googled Leatt straps and I found someone who actually gave up trying to figure it out and was asking for help.
Once I did figure it out though I found that adjustments were fairly straight forward to make. On the DBX Pro there are basically only three adjustments to make. One is the size of the hinges which basically affects the diameter of the circle from front to back. A very wide range of chest and shoulder sizes can be accommodated with the three different hinge sizes. Second is the distance of the back plate (called the thoracic strut) from the center of the neck brace. For example a thicker back would require that the thoracic strut is further away from the center of the neck brace. The third adjustment is the angle of the thoracic strut. The bottom end of the strut can be angle in or away from your back to fine tune the fit.
Mike ‘testing’ the Leatt DBX Pro Carbon off the GLC drop. Neck braces are the sort of product you never want to fully test.
After it was all adjusted the brace felt light and comfortable. The straps or harness on the DBX Pro actually go under your armpits instead of across your chest like other models. The Leatt boys at Crankworx were saying that this is proving to be very effective and popular. It was obvious in talking to them though that Leatt is still trying to determine the ultimate harness set-up.
So now it is off to the park to try it out. Stay tuned for the full test. Actually let me rephrase that. Stay tuned for the full comfort, use and practicality test. I hopefully will not be able to provide ‘full’ test results.
You can pick up a DBX Pro online for US$695
Our DBX pro weighed in at 655 grams.
Have you worn a neck brace? Are you a believer? There isn’t much independent scientific evidence to tell us if these actually do anything in the event of a crash. At least I haven’t been able to find it. Give us your take here…