Neck Brace for Adult Freerider: Yes or No?

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Neck Brace for Adult Freerider: Yes or No?
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Posted: Jul 15, 2019 at 17:20 Quote
Hey guys,

I had a pretty scary crash today that involved some high-speed tumbling and my helmet visor breaking off. It scared me a little and made me consider getting a neck brace.

I mentioned to a few other riders that I was planning to get one, and they told me they advised against them because of how much they restrict range of motion. I’ve never ridden with one, so I don’t know about this. They also mentioned that neck braces are typically better for younger kids because their necks aren’t as strong / developed yet.

I ride pretty much only park / DH, and I occasionally hit some pretty big stuff, like 12-foot drops and 20-foot gaps. I’m 6’4”, about 220 pounds and in my mid-twenties.

Currently, my riding outfit consists of the following:
-Full face helmet
-Softshell torso protector
-Knee pads
-Denim skinny jeans

Anyone have experience with neck braces restricting range of motion? Are they a good idea for hitting really big lines? Worth $300-$400?


Posted: Jul 16, 2019 at 5:00 Quote
Newer leatt or atlas braces are pretty slim. Atlas seems to be the slimmest fitting one. The only way to know is trying and see if you feel comfortable. I advise against astars, I currently have it and it's a weird fitting brace, moves around a bunch.

Posted: Jul 16, 2019 at 6:12 Quote
Yes!! If it will helps increase survivability

Posted: Jul 17, 2019 at 0:07 Quote
Topic does seem to come up on forum every so often. Here is a link to a 2017 pinkbike poll:

There is a post by a neurosurgeon in the comments with his experience with some neck trauma's and he also posts a link to a summary done on neck braces.

There will always be controversy on this topic as it is not a perfect/simple science to study head/neck impacts.

I've always worn one (for dh only not trail riding) and my son who is 15 has worn one since he started riding downhill at around age 8 (both using a Leatt DBX). I've never felt restricted wearing one, and my son has never complained about feeling restricted. I also did a little video footage of him and it didn't seem there was any limitation of his head during riding (and ironically there really wasn't that much head movement riding - there's much more when your stopping and talking to others).

I do wonder if some of the "less restrictive" designs truly provide the same level of neck protection???

I do also think that the person who "occasionally hit's some pretty big stuff" probably needs to consider more protection than the pro's who have a much higher skill level.

Personally, I'd hate to undergo a neck trauma with consequence without one and wonder "what would have happened if I had on a neck brace?"

Posted: Jul 18, 2019 at 12:59 Quote
It´s a rather simple topic, despite the controversy.
A functioning neckbrace will protect you to some degree. There´s no arguing that point.
Where it gets tricky is the point about them being non restrictive while still providing an amount of protection that´s worth the hassle.
From personal experience, my older style LEATT was too restrictive.
That said, it was also on the fringe of what i consider to provide adequate protection. If it was any less restrictive i´m absolutely sure the protection benefits would have been marginal at best.

Just go to a shop and try one.
Check how far the range of motion it provides is and if you feel like it´ll stop excessive movement in a crash.
It´s a decision that needs to be made between perceived comfort/range of motion and the individual restriction of hyperextension it provides for your body.
The last thing i feel is especially important and not often discussed. If for example you have a longer neck or a helmet with a high cut in the back, you may never even touch some of the newer super low profile braces, in which case you might as well just ride without one.

Posted: Jul 18, 2019 at 14:58 Quote

I just bought one today, had it properly sized and rode about 3 hours of DH park with it on. The first 20 minutes felt a little different, but after that it was hardly noticeable at all! It also gave me some more confidence on bigger features.

I’ll DEFINITELY wear it for big DH lines, high speed stuff, slopestyle etc., but I think I’d be comfortable riding without it for familiar, smaller stuff, trail riding etc.

So far, I would recommend one, as long as it’s properly sized and doesn’t interfere with your helmet too much.

Thanks to everyone for your input!

Posted: Jul 18, 2019 at 19:15 Quote

Good to hear your feedback after getting one/trying it out.

Which brand/model did you purchase?

Now about the "denim skinny jeans" .....

Posted: Jul 20, 2019 at 15:10 Quote

I got the Leatt DBX Carbon in size L/XL. Seems pretty good so far.

Hahaha...about the jeans: At 6’4” with a 34 waist, it’s hard to find MTB pants that are long enough, so I go with stretchy denim. The skinny ones seem more comfortable and have less potential to get in the way of the bike.

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