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Wearing the Leatt

April 14th, 2008 · No Comments · Safety, Technology

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As noted the other day, I spent last weekend at the Diamond Don’s Riverport AHRMA national. What a mudfest! I’d like to say that I had a great race and finished in the top three in my class, but that was not to be. I was running well in the first moto of Sportsman 250 Novice when I stalled the bike in a corner. Getting restarted cost me several positions and I ended the moto in 6th. When I went to the line for the 2nd moto the bike died in staging, re-fired after 20-30 kicks, and died on me about 2/3 of the way into the first lap leaving me to push it home. So that didn’t go all that well.

But even with that I still put in about 10 good laps wearing the Leatt brace for the first time. I mean it was the very first time, I had not even fitted it onto my neck prior to doing my first lap of practice at DD’s.

So, how did it feel? It felt like nothing, really. I didn’t even notice it was there. Previously I wore a rather bulky set of hockey-style shoulder pads. These pads offer great protection if you’re a hockey player, and they offer good body protection. But the giant shoulder cups always interfered with my head movement, really limiting my ability for left-right rotation. It was always really annoying.

With the Leatt I had absolutely no interference with normal head movement. It was actually a great improvement over the hockey pads. In fact, the Leatt was less restrictive in head movement than even the CE-approved shoulder armor in my street riding jackets. My big complaint about those jackets is just that – I can’t rotate my head enough to safely see over my shoulder when I need to.

Given that the Leatt was way less restrictive than any of my previous riding gear I guess it’s small wonder that I didn’t notice it at all. I felt more comfortable on the bike than I have in a long time. The downside, of course, is that I have less protection for the shoulders. I did wear a smaller, modern chest protector from EVS, and I have an RXR Protect flak jacket-style protector to try. But neither does much for the shoulder area.

Still, that’s a trade-off I will make for better neck protection, less restriction, and raising my survivability ratio in the event of a major header.

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