Is Leatt Taking Gear To The Next Level?
As the sun dipped behind the hills of Santa Clarita, Californa, I strolled up to the Leatt headquarters here in the USA for its 2018 gear press launch. Even though I’m not a neck brace guy, I’ve been a fan of Leatt’s dedication to rider safety and its scientific approach to riding gear. If you didn’t know, Leatt first started off with just making a neck brace, the first company to do so. Soon after it continued to expand its product lineup by including body protection (torso, arms, and legs) and then recently released a helmet, which you can get a more in-depth look at here. Lastly, this past year Leatt introduced a full line of motocross and off-road gear.
New For 2018
This is a much more wallet-friendly lid from Leatt. What makes it cheaper? It uses a different shell material (injected polymer) and loses two of the four main grated vents which reduce production costs. It also has a slightly different chin bar and mouthpiece that are simpler than the other helmets. The only downside is that it is slightly heavier than the other helmets Leatt offers. It still passes all the same tests and has the same technology as the more premium-level lids. That includes the 360° turbine technology, reduced outer shell volume, multi-density V-shaped foam, and hydration tube channel.
This is a simple lightweight chest protector for moto and off road. There is nothing specifically different about the ROX than Leatt’s previous base-model chest pros, other than it has a revised overall shape that is said to be more natural and comfortable. It is CE certified to have roost protection (EN 14021) but not impact protection.
GPX LX 2.0 Hydration Pack: $179.99
This pack has all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a hydro pack, but what is really cool is that its 2-liter water bladder lies sideways at the bottom of the pack rather than running vertically up your back. I’ve seen this in mountain bike hydration systems, but I haven’t run one like this so I can’t really say the benefit. But it is sort of an outside-the-box approach to getting your center of gravity lower and this pack should have less leverage to throw you off balance as you move around on the bike.
GPX 4.5 Lite Jacket: $189.99
This is one of the pieces of gear that I’m most excited about. I’ve worn the other Leatt off-road jackets and they are full-on gnarly and sort of bulky jackets for more serious weather and protection. But here in California, our weather isn’t that extreme, and just because it’s wet, doesn’t mean it’s freezing outside. The 4.5 Lite jacket seems like the answer. It is way less bulky and thick with a stretchy water-resistant main material that is supposed to not let water in but let your sweat out. There are fewer pockets so this isn’t a pack-everything-you-have choice, but it does have ample venting, zip-off arms, and a big pocket in the rear. Plus, it folds and packs way smaller than Leatt’s other jackets for those of us who travel to ride.
Leatt has been one of the best and most active companies when it comes to youth protection. It’s always had youth-size neck braces and continues to make youth products available, including knee braces. This year it offers youth gear for the first time. The 3.5 gear is designed with more stretch and the 2.5 is a little more basic.
X-Frame Knee Brace: $449.99 per pair
This is the other product I’m most excited about. To be honest, when Leatt introduced the C-Frame, one-sided knee brace I was pretty skeptical and just couldn’t bring myself to trust not having any protection on the inside of my knee. Yet I am only one dude and there are plenty of riders who wear and dig the C-Frame braces. But if you are like me (and the Leatt representative who was explaining this knee brace told me she prefers to have two hinges) and want something between you and the bike, the X-Frame is for us. It is medically certified and has a 40-percent slimmer hinge on the inside of the brace that makes contact with the bike. I will be getting some of these into the office ASAP to give them a go.
3.5 Neck Brace: $249.99
Neck braces are Leatt’s main deal, and when it comes to lowering price, that usually means increasing weight. But the all-new 3.5 is the cheapest adult brace as well as the lightest. It has a polyamide framework inside an EPS foam frame. It is a pretty much all-new design and even opens from the front, rather than the side. It also doesn’t have a hinge; rather, it has a flexible rear section that allows the brace to be opened from the front. The front and rear pieces are adjustable though not as adjustable (number of positions) as pricier braces.
Lastly, Leatt introduced its Enduro pant. I’ll be the first to say that I’m a little, I don’t think offended is the right word, but I’m slightly put off that it only offers its off-road-specific pant in an over-the-boot version. It is cool that the Enduro shares the super-stretchy, athletic-cut chassis as the 5.5 moto pant and it has the IKS system to help your knee braces from destroying your pant. And it has pockets and vents that the moto pant doesn’t, but I would like to see a pant with all those features that I can put in my boot like most serious off-roaders. But before I get my undies in a twist I’ll have to ride in the Enduro and see if the leg opening at the bottom is bell-bottom-ish or if it sticks close to the boot—that’s really the issue with over-the-boot pants for me.