There is a lot of controversy when the subject of wearing a neck brace is brought up. Many people have “heard stories” about how a neck brace will only break your collarbone in the event of a fall, or that you are unable to look up or down a hill when wearing one, or even as absurd as it sounds, That they increase your chances of potentially seriously injuring your upper back. Well, let me tell you – they are wrong! You should always be wearing a neck brace and in this article I’m tell you exactly why.
A recent study conducted by Action Sports EMS, a ambulance service company that caters to the amateur motocross industry has published its statistical findings about injuries related to riders while wearing, and not wearing a neck brace. Read below for more details.
Neck braces are designed that in the event of a crash, they are able to reduce the force from the rider’s head and neck and rather absorb it through the neck brace itself – through this the force is sometimes transferred to the bigger, more muscular parts of the body which could still result in injury – but nowhere near the severity of a head or neck incident.
In the list below we’ve checked out some of the best motocross neck braces on the market and given you our honest opinion to help you choose the right one. In all honesty, these are all really great options, and I don’t think you could go wrong with any one of them – so pick the one that fits your needs best!
Best Motocross Neck Brace Quick Review
|1. Leatt GPX 5.5 Neck Brace
|2. Atlas Air Neck Brace
|Value for Money
|3. Alpinestars Bionic Neck Support Tech 2
|4. Leatt GPX 3.5 Neck Brace
|5. EVS R4 Koroyd Neck Brace
Top Choice: Leatt GPX 5.5 Neck Brace
You just can’t go wrong with the Leatt GPX 5.5 Neck Brace
Best Motocross Neck Protector Review
Preventing severe damage can be as simple as wearing one of the best neck braces for dirt bikes.
If you’re looking for an affordable, lightweight neck brace – this is a great option. It’s one of the more entry level neck protectors but still a great option to consider, especially if it is being bought for adventure riding.
Off the bat, a couple of features that we like about the EVS R4 Koroyd is the weight, it comes in at only one pound! One of the lightest neck braces available. Because of its weight this also makes it one of the more comfortable neck braces on the market.
It is also designed with a material called Koroyd. (The red material on the white design, and the green material on the black). Koroyd is a unique material that’s actually 95% air. It is lasered hollow tubes clustered together which keeps it very light, but still acts as a great stock absorber of energy in the case of impact.
The neck brace opens and closes with a velcro strap underneath and a small button tab on the front. By pressing the button it then allows it to come apart. At the back you’ve got your thoracic strut which is the vertical shaft which can be adjusted for comfort. By adjusting this you actually can change the angle of the back support to fit your body best.
Like I said, fitment is crucial so make sure that with any neck brace you get, you’re able to adjust it to ensure that you get the best fit possible. A great neck brace that’s super affordable and lightweight but I guess my only concern is with its sizing.
In conclusion, I think the R4K is a good, well priced neck brace, but certainly not the best on the market. More suited to adventure riding and not as much so for track and enduro racing. It’s fit isn’t as customized as some would want and its functionality is there, but more at the beginner and ameutur levels. Depending on your purpose for buying a neck brace you should know if this one is sufficient enough for your needs by now.
Next we look at the Atlas Air Neck Brace. Started In 2009 this is another awesome value for money neck brace that still does a great job at keeping you safe! The Atlas Air has 27% more contact with the rider’s body than most other neck braces making it great in comfort and adjustability.
The first rider that comes to mind when talking about this neck brace has to be Ryan Villopoto. He’s been rocking the Atlas Air for years and was funny enough, one of the riders that helped test and develop this neck brace.
Right from the get go, the Atlas Air (just like with the EVS) is a very lightweight neck brace – The size large comes in at 1.1 pounds and is also low-profile. It is very minimalistic and follows the “less is more” motto – regardless, you can’t take away from its functionality and for this Atlas has set out and achieved what they were aiming for.
One of the features that I really like is the Atlas Air’s great adjustability – if you look at the rear back supports you will notice it actually has smart mounts. With these you have six different mounting positions to change the angle of the back support which in turns helps with the comfort of it. Because of this each rider is able to fine-tune and customise his/her neck brace to suit their own feel.
This makes for one of the best youth motocross neck braces as it ensures the comfort and protection of your child, while allowing a lot of room for growth with all the adjustable features.
Ii is also designed with something called ‘Split Flex Frame Technology’ – This is what allows the neck brace to work its way up and down separately on either side of the rider’s back, so that as he/she’s moving on the bike, the brace works and moves too. And remember, as we mentioned earlier, you want to have as much contact with the rider’s body as possible.
The adjustable back supports also have an extra set of pads that come included. These pad’s mount underneath the brace above the shoulders which assists with adjusting the height. To open and close, you’ve got a button right underneath in the front which is easy to reach and use.
The BNS Tech 2 is designed for use in motocross and off-road riding and offers a highly personalized and stable fit.
Next up we’ve got Alpinestars very own BNS Tech 2 Neck Brace. We’ve seen the BNS 1 from Alpinestars for many years and it was a great neck brace made popular by the likes of Justin Barcia. But then in 2018 they came out with the new and improved Tech 2.
It looks very similar to the Tech1 but they’ve just refined a couple things to make it a little bit lighter and have a better interface with the riders helmet. It comes in at 1.7 pounds in a size large so it is a little bit heavier than the Atlas Air or even that EVS, But there are some features that not only make up for that, but put this neck brace in contention for one of the best rated motocross neck braces on the market right now.
The first thing is the open and closure system. This is personally my favorite system out there. It’s very easy to operate, with a pull tab in the front. There is also a magnet that secures the lock even further once closed keeping it in place.
I’m a big fan of the thoracic strut at the back too along with the pivot system which allows movement side-to-side. It also has the Split Flex Frame like the Atlas Air which allows the back support to move with the rider’s body and to keep that contact.
I also like that the thoracic strut has the back supports which are designed to break away if enough force is applied. This is a handy safety feature, as well as a little bonus if you want to dismantle it for easy storage.
The Alpinestars BNS Tech 2 also leads the way so far in terms of adjustability with a size adapter system. It comes stocked with extra plates in the box which are able to be removed on the neck brace and replaced with ones which suit the rider best.
Just worth the note: As great as it is that you are able to customize it with the correct plates for your fit, This process does take a little more work than a lot of the other neck braces in the lineup. Patience and a tad of effort though and you should be good to go!
However, overall I’m a big fan of Alpinestars BNS Tech2 and definitely say it is one of the top braces for track and enduro riders.
Next we’ve got two neck brace offerings from Leatt. A fun fact about Leatt is they were the first company to design a motorcycle specific neck brace. The two braces that we are going to look at are the 3.5 and the 5.5.
I will say that of all the neck braces in the list, I enjoy the fitment of these two the most. I think Leatt did a really good job in this department adding chest supports, as well as the way the thoracic strut works. It gives the rider a nice snug fit and increases the comfort drastically.
The Leatt 3.5 neck brace is definitely the more budget-friendly option. Aside from the price point and the fitment, some other features that I really like about this is the weight. The Leatt 3.5 neck protector comes in around the one pound mark too. This means it is one of the lightest neck braces that we have in our lineup along with the EVS.
The closure system is also incredibly user friendly – you’ve got a red tab on the front that with a simple press allows you to open and close it. It’s thoracic strut, just like the Alpinestars, is designed to break off if enough force is applied or in the case of a crash and adjustablity, although not the best around, is still decent.
On each side, it is equipped with red tabs that, if you pull, show you two different mounting positions for that thoracic strut. This allows you to get that fine-tuned fitment.
So that’s the Leatt 3.5 – A very lightweight and budget-friendly neck brace, but what you are sacrificing is the level of adjustability if you start to compare to the 5.5 as you will dive into below.
You just can’t go wrong with the Leatt GPX 5.5 Neck Brace
The Leatt GPX 5.5 neck brace is the premium offering coming from Leatt. If your fan of Marvin Musquin this is the neckbrace he’s been wearing for years.
There’s a couple of features I want to highlight that I really like about this brace. First, the way you open and close it is really simple. There’s a tab underneath on the right side. If you press on that, it then allows it to open and close. This neck protector also has a side entrance versus what we see on the other braces which usually is the front.
I also really like that on the left side you will find a small red screw. In the event of a crash, if you want to get the neck brace off in two pieces, so you don’t cause any further injury to the riders head or neck. All you have to do is just undo this red screw and you can actually pull the neck brace apart into two pieces. This is a cool additional safety feature.
Onto the thoracic strut – Just like you see with the 3.5, it is designed to break off when enough force is applied but the big difference here and something I personally like a lot and think is critical to finding the correct brace for you is the adjustability.
The Leatt GPX 5.5 is by far the most adjustable neck brace you’re going to find. It actually uses two systems – First, the sure fit adjusters. This system works with the thoracic strut and the chest supports in the front. If you lift up the red tab in the front it’ll allow you to slide the chest mount backwards and forward. On the back you have 6 different mounting positions and in the front, 4. That means there’s a total of 10 different mounting positions.
Aside from that sure-fit adjuster system, you also got these little rubber pieces that you can interchange. These come included in the box. You have four different positions or angles accessible with the thoracic strut from 0 up to 20 degrees to align with that Sure Fit adjustment system. This allows you to adjust more or less the entire width of the neck brace, on top of that you can also adjust the angle of that thoracic strut making almost any angle and fitment achievable.
The Leatt 5.5 GPX neck brace comes in at 1.7 pounds, which is slightly heavier than the other options. But includes all these great features. If you are however big into the weight side of things but don’t want to compromise on the fitness and adjustability you could look into the Leatt 6.5 which is the exact same neck brace at a lighter weight.
On the 6.5 the only difference is the chassis, thoracic strut, and the chest mounts all being manufactured out of carbon fiber. This is where you will save some weight. Weighing in at around 1.4 pounds it is light, but not a massive drop.
Best Youth Motocross Neck Braces
Unfortunately, with most motocross gear, the saying one size fits all is very rarely used. This can’t be more of the case with neck braces as their size, fit and adjustability is so fundamentally important. Because of that we thought we’d expand this review with some great YOUTH neck braces for you too. Protecting our next batch of pro riders necks is crucial!
Make sure you do it right with one of the great youth motocross neck braces mentioned below.
From the same manufacturer of the EVS R4 Koroyd neck brace, they have come out with a mini version for our littler riders.
Made not a lot different to that of the adult version, the EVS R4 is a youth neck brace that is extremely lightweight and comfortable to wear. Its high-tensile cell polyurethane core is made to absorb any impacts a rider would take in the event of a crash, to the neck or collarbone region, and it is equipped with a super simple open, close system in the front of the brace.
Coming in at just under 400g lighter than the standard R4 it definitely provides relative comfort to the size of the rider too.
The EVS Youth R4 is generally for any rider smaller than 5’3 or 106 pounds (48kgs). If bigger than the adult version may be good enough for you already.
Next we have the Atlas Youth neck brace. Again I’ve taken a brand that we have already reviewed in the adults section as not only do I believe they are a safe and reliable motocross apparel brand, but also because they have a youth version which is not too dissimilar to the adult version.
Atlas have 2 options in the youth category when it comes to neck braces: The Tyke which is more of the stock standard youth brace, as well as the Prodigy which although a little more expensive, is a seriously high end kids neck brace!
With flexible polymer construction, a Split-Flex frame, chest suspension making it spine and sternum free, and aluminium smart mounts as just a few of its great features – you can see why it’s right up there in my books!
Give both a look depending on your budget range, but in my opinion either the Atlas Tyke or Prodigy would be a great buy and something you would be very satisfied with.
The 3rd youth neck support/brace I want to look at in a bit more depth from the Alpinestars.
A world renowned brand in the motocross and extreme sports industry and the makers of some of the best gear around – Anything with the infamous Alpinestars logo on it is bound to be a great product!
Designed as a compact and easy to use, lightweight neck protector for kids between the ages of 8 and 14, this neck supporter is a combination of smooth edged architecture and strong mechanical construction which always have the riders safety at heart.
With a reinforced back connector which is joint to the left and right frames, allowing the neck to follow the body movement while riding, and perfect fitments if you wanted to pair it with the A-5S Youth Bionic Action Jacket (sold separately) for wider coverage – The Alpinestars Youth neck brace is seriously high quality at a reasonable price.
It also has a very easy to use closure system and now comes in a special KTM edition too – If you are looking to pair it with your bike. Click here for KTM Alpinestars Youth Neck Support.
You could say i’ve saved the best for last, but some of the above neck braces reviewed really have been great quality, and for the most affordable prices. However, you know how they say you can’t put a price on your safety? The Leatt 2021 Youth GPX 3.5 proves that and quite frankly is in a class of its own – with its sleek new look, incredible vinyl and colour schemes and all the safety bells and whistles to match it! – this is an incredible youth neck brace.
CE tested and certified as Personal Protective Equipment and proven to reduce head and neck injuries by 47%, the Leatt definitely has proven it is worth its price tag. Weighing just under 500g for the youth model it is super light and comfortable, it provides all the adjustability in the world so you are able to find that perfect fit, and is fitted with a CoreFlex split rear folding thoracic strut which is designed to work with the body’s natural movements. It’s also been engineered in such a way that there is a cut out which is meant to keep your helmet and brace away from your more fragile bones like your collarbones – This has proven to reduce the amount of breaks in this area.
It also has air flow ribbed body padding for optimum ventilation and a user friendly open, close system.
Although at the higher end in terms of pricing I thought it was well worthy of an inclusion into this Youth dirt bike neck brace review article. It really is that good!
What to Consider When Choosing a Motocross Neck Protector
First thing to consider when looking for a neck brace is the fitment. A Neck brace will only be able to do its job if the fit is right. You want to have as much contact between the neck protector and the body, as well as the helmet. The helmet should not sit too high above the neck protector. This is simply because in the case of a crash or an impact, the helmet will still have a lot of room to move, before it starts to be supported by the brace.
Next you want to be sure that the brace has some adjustable features. This aspect actually ties into fitment above. To achieve optimal fit, you need to be able to adjust the brace according to your body size. Some neck protectors offer back support that is able to move as your body moves. The back support should ideally be able to break off if there is a big impact, preventing a large amount of force being displaced to your upper back and spine.
You also want to look out for adjustable features on the front of the brace where the brace fits underneath your chest protector, or roost guard. If this area is too loose, the neck protector will slip out from underneath the chest protector. You also want to look for adjustable shoulder pads that will enable you to raise or lower the neck guard until it fits properly across your shoulders and underneath your helmet.
A lot of riders complain about the comfort when wearing a neck guard. In my opinion, comfort is a small price to pay when your head/neck is on the line. With your helmet, boots and chest protector, another piece of armor seems a fair compromise when we consider what’s at stake. To help with comfort, you can look for a neck guard that comes in at a lower weight which will minimize any irritability during your ride.
So there you have it! That is our neck brace buyer’s guide. Hopefully this has helped and given you a good starting point when it comes to buying your next neck brace! Some of the best advice that I can give when it comes to shopping for neck braces is to make sure to ask your questions, whether it be right here, on product pages, or to your friends.
In terms of my personal recommendations – I would definitely say one of the Leatt braces in the Adults section – particularly for enduro racing or motocross – the build quality is unquestionable, and although a little pricier, you really do get the full value of your buck, and it’s still much less than neck surgery! ;)
Then with the Youth section I’d suggest either the Leatt again, or the Alpinestars Youth Neck brace! Either way you go though, all the products reviewed have the First Checkpoint Stamp of Approval! And I have no doubt will do the necessary job and keep you out there riding on the tracks or terrains safer and for longer!
Please leave your comments and questions below, as well as tell us what’s your take on neck braces and maybe any personal experiences you’ve had with different makes and brands!
Until next time!