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MXA TEAM TESTED: LEATT GPX 6.5 NECK BRACE

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WHAT IS IT? New for 2015, the GPX 6.5 is the next evolution in neck brace coverage from Leatt. This is the exact brace worn by top racers such as Trey Canard, Marvin Musquin and Blake Baggett.

WHAT’S IT COST? $499.00.

CONTACT? www.leatt.com or (800) 691-3314.

WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Leatt GPX 6.5 neck brace.

(1) Construction. Leatt has methodically revamped its neck brace line. The GPX 6.5 is Leatt’s latest creation. It is constructed from specialized MaxiWeave carbon matrix for structural rigidity and lighter weight. At first glance, the GPX 6.5’s shape looks remarkably similar to that of the lower-priced GPX 5.5, but it is actually quite different. Leatt hollowed out excess material in the rear thoracic support and front shelf of the 6.5 for weight savings, and the helmet rim-striking platform profile is narrower for improved helmet side clearance.

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(2) Weight. How much lighter is the GPX 6.5 than the GPX 5.5? It is 0.4 pounds or 6-1/2 ounces lighter. Total weight of the GPX 6.5 is 1.4 pounds or 22.4 ounces. The carbon fiber frame, sleeker profile, hollowed chassis and new foam eliminate added heft, making this the lightest Leatt brace we have ever tested. We can’t imagine how Leatt could possibly create a lighter neck brace in the future. Note that the updated foam on top of the brace and the liner can handle the rigors of a pressure washing and still look new.

(3) Adjustment. Leatt has simplified the adjustment process by replacing hard-to-install spacing pins with a sliding system. Fitting the GPX 6.5 can be done without tools and in less than a few minutes. The single-button release mechanism is easy to locate and allowed testers to take off the brace with minimal effort. Included rubber bumpers can change the angle of the rear thoracic support for a tighter fit and fine-tune the fitment. The optional adjustment bumpers come in 0-, 5-, 10- and 15-degree stops. Leatt offers the GPX 6.5 in two adult sizes: small/medium and large/extra large.

(4) Frame. Leatt’s first neck brace limited head mobility. Its new braces attempt to cater to a wider demographic by moving the frame away from the rider’s helmet. We can’t help but wonder if safety has been sacrificed, especially for riders with long necks. The new GPX 6.5 sits lower than the Pro Lite, which equates to more mobility.
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(5) Performance. Test riders loved the feel of the Leatt GPX 6.5. The plush foam padding was comfortable. The light weight was impressive, and riders with shorter necks raved about being able to swivel their heads without bumping their helmets against the frame.

WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? We have a few complaints. (1) The GPX 6.5, at $500, is expensive. (2) The lower-helmet rim-striking platform profile felt too low for riders with long necks. We can understand the draw of having a lower profile, but safety should be a top priority.

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The Leatt GPX 6.5’s lower profile might convert those in the anti-neck-brace crowd, but we know, because Leatt told us years ago, that the closer the brace is to the helmet, the more protection there is.

 

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