Tested : Ben’s Leatt DBX 3.5 Neck Brace Review.

Leatt are a brand synonymous with neck braces and Ben has been testing their latest and lightest offering in the form of the the Leatt DBX 3.5 neck brace.

It might lack the adjustability of the DBX 5.5, but the Leatt DBX 3.5 neck brace is their lightest offering. Ben finds out if the low weight and fit are up to the task.

  • Leatt’s lightest neck brace at ~500g.
  • Up to 47% reduction of risk for serious neck injury.
  • Adjustable design available in 4 sizes.
  • CE tested and certified.
  • Also available in blue/black fade.
  • £249.99 RRP
  • Leatt.com

Buy online at Chain Reaction Cycles for £249.99.

It is every rider’s worst nightmare. You are out riding, loving life, and then a crash causes serious spinal injury leading to paralysis or worse. Whilst a neck brace can’t protect your lower back, it can massively reduce the risk of injuring your neck and along with it, full neck-down paralysis. It seems strange then that so few people wear neck braces.

Despite riding since the 90’s I have never owned or worn a neck brace. Mostly this is because in my mind they are for downhillers and I have never owned a DH bike or really raced DH properly. After reading a study on the effectiveness of neck braces conducted by a US-based private ambulance company who work at motocross events I decided that needed to change. There is a link to read the study in full below.

I have mostly worn the Leatt DBX 3.5 neck brace with a Troy Lee Designs D3 Carbon Mips helmet, riding uplift at Bike Park Wales and also on some local trails and jumps. Correct fit is super important for your safety and comfort, and the Leatt brace comes in 4 sizes, all of which are then adjustable to get the correct fit. There is a size guide on their website or if you are unsure, head into your local Leatt dealer.

As you would expect from Leatt, the brace feels solid and well made, despite its low weight. The front opening and fastener are easy to use, even with cold, wet gloves on. (every ride this winter!) At first wearing a brace feels strange and you are conscious of it sat on your shoulders and upper back. I chose to also use the clear plastic straps to further secure the brace, although these are optional.

Over rough ground I didn’t feel the brace moving or bouncing around as I had feared and after a few laps of the uplift I was starting to get used to riding with it and almost forgot it was there.

Fortunately I didn’t get to fully test out the protection on offer as I didn’t lawn-dart myself head first into the ground. You get an idea of how it works by simply tilting your head in different directions and feeling the helmet hit the brace, limiting extreme neck movement.

I was also curious to wear the brace with a modern enduro full face helmet, in this case, the Troy Lee Designs Stage. After all, enduro racing is just as gnarly and almost as fast as DH and we often have to wear full faces, so why shouldn’t we consider neck braces for enduro? I could not find any information about how compatible or effective these types of helmets are with neck braces so I reached out to Leatt.

They confirmed that as long as the helmet and brace fit correctly, then a neck brace can work with pretty much any full face helmet, including modern light weight enduro ones like the Troy Lee Designs Stage, Fox ProFrame and Leatt DBX 4.0.

In my own testing I found that the more minimal profile of the bottom rim of the Stage helmet would still contact the brace in the event of a crash. It was within the ranges of clearance stated by Leatt in the product manual although your head can travel slightly further than with a DH lid and there is less surface area in contact. I was satisfied that the Leatt brace would offer me decent protection whilst wearing a Troy Lee Designs Stage enduro helmet.

What do we think?

Overall I have no doubt that wearing a neck brace like the Leatt DBX 3.5 can make the difference between a sore neck and being in wheelchair if the worst happens. I asked Leatt for this particular model as I wanted the lightest brace as I figured this would encourage me to wear it more.

After all a neck brace that gets left in the van is not going to save you. I was not disappointed and found the Leatt DBX 3.5 to be comfortable, light and easy to live with. It is well made and should last for a long time which makes the £250 price seem pretty reasonable.

Some people don’t think they are ‘cool,’ but I couldn’t care less. I think that I will continue to wear the DBX 3.5 on uplift days and Alpine trips for years to come, although I hope I will never need it.

If you are considering buying a neck brace like the DBX featured here, then you should read this study carried out by Great Lakes EMS in America.

We Love

  • Light weight
  • Comfortable protection.

Could Do Better

  • No plain black option.

Check out the Leatt DBX 3.5 neck brace and all of Leatt’s other braces on their website here.

Buy online at Chain Reaction Cycles for £249.99.