Top Five: Posts of the Week

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Another week and another batch of social-media posts to sift through! We have trawled the internet to find the greatest posts from the world of motocross and enduro, then placed five of them below. Do you think these deserved to make the cut? Would you like to be featured? Tag # 24MX in all of your Instagram posts and then you may even see yourself on this page in the future!

Post #1: Craziness!

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Post #2: Dream Ride

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Post #3: Mad Skills!

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Post #4: Hard Work!

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Post #5: Smoke Screen

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Top Tips: Often Overlooked

Shop for footpegs for your bikes. Click here.

It’s not a popular dirt-bike part, but it is extremely important. What could this part possibly be? It’s our footpegs. Yep, our footpegs. Here is some simple information that will help you understand footpegs a little better. You can never have enough knowledge and, hey, this could be yet another thing that saves you time in the long run.

Construction: There are steel, aluminium and titanium footpegs that are cast, machined, forged or stamped. Some are anodized or heat-treated. Some have been drilled, sawed, ground or polished with the pieces welded or bolted together.

Dimensions: Wider is better. Most aftermarket foot pegs are 57mm wide, which is much wider than most OEM pegs. A larger platform for the feet spreads the load of impact over a larger part of the foot. It makes the peg easier to find when straightening out of a turn and makes for a more comfortable ride and more positive interface with the bike in general. Peg length is rarely discussed, but a longer peg can give a rider more leverage to control the bike. Some riding coaches teach foot positioning on the outside of the peg for that reason.

Grip: The grip of a peg on a rider’s boot is determined by the sharpness, number or shape of the teeth. The easiest way to get more grip is to sharpen the teeth, but be forewarned: Sharper teeth can wear through boot soles significantly quicker and lacerate a rider or mechanic on contact.

Position: Raising and lowering foot pegs are a compromise. Lowering foot pegs gives the rider more bike to squeeze between his legs, lowers his center of gravity and effectively raises the bars when standing. The downside is that the pegs will drag on the ground sooner and the seat will hit his rear sooner. There are several clever methods that manufacturers use to create adjustable-height foot pegs.

Camber. When a rider leans his bike over for a turn, his body doesn’t always follow. He often sits on the side of the seat or stands bowlegged to stay atop of the bike. In these positions, maintaining grip on the pegs can be difficult. Changing the pivot stop so that the top platform of the foot peg is not level but angled in toward the bike is sometimes referred to as camber. Fast-way pegs have a threaded stopper for adjustable camber.

Peg Care: During installation, be sure that each end of the spring’s coil is properly seated against the mounting bracket. Don’t grease the pivot point: It will attract too much dirt. Polish the pin with steel wool or fine-grit sandpaper instead. Don’t forget to install the cotter pin.

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Buy The Style: MXoN at Assen

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There were so many custom parts at the 2019 Motocross of Nations! A large part of the appeal is seeing things that only get rolled onto a track once a year. Believe it or not though, there were still parts in the Assen TT Circuit paddock that you could grab for your very own machine! This feature will act as a bit of a guide and help you make correct decisions.

This Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing machine, which belonged to Arminas Jasikonis at the 2019 Motocross of Nations, is full of many custom parts. Look at the thing! There are still parts that you can replicate on your ride though, like the ProTaper handlebars and bar pad. There are a ton of ProTaper options on 24MX, all of which are outlined on this link.

Bell had quite the set-up at the 2019 Motocross of Nations and welcomed fans inside to check out the extensive range of cutting-edge products that they have available. How much do you like the Bell helmets? A lot? We thought so. The low prices on 24MX will only prompt you to love the high-end products even more. Peruse the Bell range in all its glory on this link.

The slick sandy surface that was ever present at the Assen TT Circuit baffled riders. It had the look of a bottomless sand track, yet rode like a hard-pack track in spots. Traction was difficult to find in some sections and this made tyre choice very important. Pirelli tyres are used throughout the paddock and can be put on your bike too, simply by perusing this link.

Disclaimer: You cannot get your name engraved into the side of your FMF pipe like a lot of the riders at the 2019 Motocross of Nations. Well, you could, but it would take a lot of research and funds. You can get exactly the same FMF exhaust for your steed though, which is great news! FMF exhausts and pipes can be found on this link. Simply click it and shop away!

Take a closer look at this steed that Nathan Watson used to help Team Great Britain claim third overall at the 2019 Motocross of Nations and you will spot X-Trig triple clamps. Triple clamps are of more importance than some even realise and you can demand the same level of excellence for your bike. Shop for X-Trig products for your bike on this link.

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FMF: United By Power

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Not only do FMF sell some of the best pipes in the industry, they are also very creative with their branding and promotional material. The ‘United By Power’ series is a perfect example of that. FMF send a video crew to follow Team USA around in the days prior to the Motocross of Nations, then release multiple episodes that give fans a glimpse behind the scenes. Not only are they extremely exciting in the days prior to the event, they also act as nice historic piece that can be called upon whenever a fan is in need of a motocross fix. All five of the episodes from this year are below.

Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5

Shop for FMF parts for your bike. Click here.

Top Tips: Mental State

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Stay Positive: Mentally tough riders tend to have very positive attitudes. They encounter challenges like everyone else, but when the trials come they push through. The strongest riders enjoy the challenges because they know they’ll gain mental strength conquering them. The first key to becoming mentally tough is realising that challenges will come. The second step is tackling them head-on.

Visualisation: Pre-race visualisation is as simple as closing your eyes and riding a lap in your head. The more detailed you are, the better you’ll ride. Envision getting the holeshot and completing the perfect lap. That way, if you do get the holeshot, you’ll feel like you belong at the front and won’t get tight. Also, envision getting a bad start and plan two or three different alternate lines on the track where you can make passes. Doing mental laps in your head prepares your mind and body for what it’s about to encounter. 

Stay Focused: Everybody who rides makes mistakes, especially if they are racing hard and trying to win. It’s easy to get frustrated about a crash but it’s important not to dwell on it. Getting frustrated only leads to negative thoughts and more mistakes. The best riders can forgive themselves for the mishap no matter how big or small it was – and rebound from it. There are many examples of riders in supercross who have had a big crash in practice and rebounded to win the main event that night.

Set Goals: Set goals you want to achieve and have a plan of attack for each day to accomplish them. Goals give you something to shoot for and a reason to push through resistance. Reasonable and achievable goals have a huge impact on your mental strength. When you accomplish a realistic goal, you’ll gain confidence.  

Practice Makes Perfect: Most people are not naturally confident. For example, spelling bee winners are flustered when they are asked to spell a word they don’t know but with each spelling bee they learn more words and get more confident. It takes work to gain confidence, whether it is spelling or skimming the whoops. By accurately assessing your abilities and then working to improve them, you will build confidence. 

Train Hard: It’s harder to be mentally strong if you aren’t physically strong. Whether you are 14 or 40, a novice or pro, on a great bike or a mediocre one, you will still benefit from a regimented training program. Each rider should train his body for the level of exertion he must endure. That doesn’t mean that a vet novice needs to go to the Baker Factory, but he needs to show up in as good a physical shape as possible with his busy life.  

Have Fun: You are always going to wish you had more time or money. Most rich guys are slow (except for those who got rich winning races). Some of the slowest riders at the track have the fanciest bikes. Truth is, you’ll never be fully ready. There is always someone with more time, money, resources or skills. The fun part is trying to beat that person.

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Riding Tips: Ronnie Mac

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There are plenty of trainers and coaches out there. Some will claim not all of those know what they are doing and this video is a perfect example of that. Ronnie Mac, who has now made a living from being a goon rider, offers up some of his own unique tips in this video. The hilarious thing is that although all of this is a joke, truth can be pulled from some of the quotes. “Riding is an expression” is actually not a bad bit of advice!

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The Ideal Set-Up: #16

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A regular feature on the 24MX Magazine! At the conclusion of each week, our editorial staff will sift through the thousands of bits of gear that are available on 24MX.com and piece together a set-up that would make any rider stand out at the track! What’s the focus of the sixteenth ideal set-up? Scroll down to see the gear that’s been picked out this week.

Fox V1 MX Helmet Navy-Red. Click here.

100% Racecraft Goggles Fire Red. Click here.

Shift WHIT3 York MX Clothing White. Click here.

Shift WHIT3 MX Boots Black. Click here.

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Recap: WESS at Hawkstone

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Nathan Watson delivers the goods to claim a home win at round six of the World Enduro Super Series, the Hawkstone Park Cross-Country. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider showed his class on the physically demanding Shropshire course to take victory over Germany’s Manuel Lettenbichler and Jonny Walker.

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24MX Interview: Dr. Chris Leatt

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Those present at the Grand Prix of Belgium got the opportunity to meet the founder of one of the most successful companies in action sports. Dr. Chris Leatt met with riders and media alike to discuss the path that has led Leatt to produce neck braces, helmets, gear and effectively every bit of protective gear that a rider could possibly want and what lies ahead in the future. All of those exciting topics are analysed at lengths in this 24MX Magazine interview with the man himself.

MX Vice: Let’s go back to your start. In the presentation yesterday, there was one interesting thing that really stood out to me. You mentioned that when you said you wanted to start motocross, your dad took you down to a spinal clinic or something to put the fright in you a little bit. Go into that and how you got into the sport. Give us some of your background.  

Dr. Chris Leatt: Thanks. So, [I am] medically trained and have been passionate about motorcycles pretty much my whole life. The coming together of those two elements is what produced the brace, after a very significant incident. Going back, I think my dad had a vision that this was the way my life was going to go. At the age of fifteen, my parents were taking the family to the ‘States to go to Disney World. Although I was fairly excited about the trip, I’d just been to watch some short-circuit racing near my hometown in Cape Town.

I absolutely fell in love with it. Helped a friend of mine who was racing in the pits a bit and entered the mechanic’s race on his motorcycle. That was it. I was 100% hooked. I went to my dad – who is quite a conservative guy and not really into motorsports – and I said, “Is there any chance I could take the money for the trip and spend it on a motorbike?” Well, my father and my mother looked with sighs of consternation.

They eventually agreed that if I do a month in the spinal unit and saw what happened to people who were silly enough to ride motorcycles, I’d lose my passion and that would be that. Well, it didn’t happen. I did my month in the spinal unit. I found it interesting and it didn’t deter me at all. I guess that’s like most riders, really. Little did I know, later in my life, it was going to become a major topic. I bought a motorcycle and started racing at the age of sixteen. 

When you got out of that spinal clinic and kind of told your parents that it had done the opposite of what they had planned, was there just this massive shake of the head and just disappointment? Even when you got to the point where you were like, “Right, this has actually now inspired me to start a business…” Obviously everyone has got belief in their children, but was there a bit like, “Are you sure? Is this a real business model?” When you started Leatt this wasn’t a thing, which is crazy to think of.

Well, kudos to my parents. They were more visionary than I anticipated at that stage. Kudos to them for going against their initial gut feeling saying this is not good for you, when actually potentially it is. Later in life, it’s become a massive part of my life. I didn’t really say to my parents, “I want to get into the neck-brace thing.” After having witnessed the accident where Alan Selby passed away and I tried to resuscitate him, it wasn’t a business idea. It was really about solving a problem.

The solution to the problem initially started as more of an academic exercise. It was looking at major injury vectors, mechanisms of causation, classification of neck injuries, talking to biomedical engineers, talking to spinal surgeons and my colleagues. Really, it wasn’t a business proposal. When I got to the point where I believed that there was something that could be developed… In fact, the first one I ever developed was fittingly around my father’s neck using plastic and foam. We have had a few chuckles since then about the way my life has changed.  

Let’s go into a little bit more detail about that accident that you witnessed and the thing that kind of really inspired you to get into the industry you are now.

My son, who was four years at the time, had ridden a little 50 motorcycle two weeks before this particular event. He had a smile on his face. He tore off down the road and fell into a bush. We put him back on and then later somebody told me, “You really need to put a dog leash on a motorbike when the kid goes for a ride so you can curtail the speed the motorcycle travels at.” Anyway, he really loved his ride. He was with me when I went to an enduro event. I was post-calls. I’d been up the whole night. There was no way I could ride, but I went to watch this enduro event.

In the parking lot was a paramedic who I used to see in the casualty bringing in patients. We got to chatting. At that point in time, somebody came down the mountain and said, “Listen, Alan’s fallen off and he’s not looking good.” The paramedic said to me, “Will you come with?” Matthew, myself and the paramedic went up the mountain in a 4X4. We found Alan. It looked like he had fallen at a pretty low speed and gone over the front of his bike. I suspected he’d broken his neck. We had all the equipment to try to resuscitate him. Unfortunately, it was not successful.  

I ended up having to tell his wife and his young family that he had passed away. I made sure that I got the autopsy report afterwards and, as I’d suspected, he’d broken his neck in two places. That’s really what the driving force was, my son riding. I said to myself, “I can’t put him in harm’s way like this. I need to come up with some sort of solution.” I thought that solution is something I’m just going to go out and find. The more I searched, the more I couldn’t believe that actually nobody had produced anything.

The only thing that was on the market were foam collars and, as we later showed in testing, the foam collars could actually be more dangerous than not wearing them at all. That was the start of the brace and the development of the concept of this alternative-load path. If you can get the helmet to touch the brace and unload the neck and reduce the force going through the neck, then you don’t get to the threshold where the injury actually occurs.

It’s interesting. When you came up with the idea that you wanted to solve this, you must have had so much confidence in your ability and your knowledge to actually fix the problem. You were putting yourself in the limelight and, at the end of the day, if something went wrong then you were going to be the one who gets the sh*t for it. You must have had so much confidence that the problem could be solved and, additionally, that you were the man to do it. 

I think by the time we started making prototypes and this became potentially a business model, you have got to be confident. If you are not confident, it’s never going to happen. If you were doing this in the US and fear being sued for everything… We have been sued more than fifteen times so far. You probably would never do it. The barrier to entry is significant, but I really think it was my combination of being a doctor who saw a lot of trauma and somebody who was really passionate about motorcycling. I needed to put the two things together.

Sure, we were confident in the beginning. One of the things that I always said as the development process unfolded, and in-house and independent testing continued, was if there was ever any doubts that the brace was potentially harmful, we would take it off the market and we would just stop the whole project right there and then. I’d just go back to medicine. To this day, the products we develop… If I’m not prepared to put it on my child, it’s not going onto the market.

In that time from concept to launch, was there a time where you almost threw in the towel? You looked at maybe the cost or the way the experiments were going, and you were like, “Look. This isn’t going to work. I just need to turn my back on this.” Was Leatt almost not a thing?

There were certainly times. There are a lot of challenges one has got to go through whether that be cash flow, the business process or trying to find the right factory. I think we have been through them all with just about everything. We were producing braces in low volume in South Africa. We had staff problems, we had material problems and we had software integration problems. Really the biggest episode that sticks out in my mind was when we initially did some testing at the South African Bureau Standards, which is a test center that tests automotive products.

We tested the motorcycle brace on essentially a car-slid system, where the forces were being applied were the same size as what we were trying to generate, but they were in tension or compression. In other words, the brace is on the shoulder and you strap it down. You accelerate and then you stop it, but the neck actually elongates rather than compresses. We got some quite alarming results. We had to think very hard. We were lucky enough to have a professor who is head of biomechanical engineering at our local university who helped us wade through some of the results we were getting and make sense of them.

Then we realized we were actually doing the wrong test. When we started doing the right test and the most appropriate test, the results were there. The other thing about being in South Africa, and in developing a brace where there is no standard, was that we built all our own test equipment in the beginning. We became very familiar with ways in which we could produce the right forces in the neck in really novel ways and in cost-effective ways. I think if I’d done this not in South Africa but somewhere else it would have been a much more expensive exercise.

When you produced that first neck brace, did you feel like there was an opportunity for it to evolve? Did you feel like, at the time with the technology you had, that it was the neck brace and would always be the neck brace? Are you amazed with how far the technology has come and how far Leatt has even come with their neck braces?

For sure. In the beginning, it was about solving a problem. It was about producing a neck brace that you could wear comfortably and that produces the right test results. Little did I think at that time that there were going to be all the subsequent horizontal and vertical product line extensions that there are today. Probably within the first year or two of really starting to work on the neck brace, and looking at biomechanics which is not my primary field, I realized that actually there were quite a few other products that could potentially do with a good re-look, from knee braces to neck braces to helmets to all sorts of impact biomechanics.  

I produced a list. I cannot remember what year I produced a list, but I jotted down a list of all the things that I’d like to do differently. I’m quite amazed. Fifteen years later I’m almost at the end of my list. Not to say that there is not future innovation coming, but we have innovated quite a few products. We have tens of patents to our name. There are some really exciting products that we have done subsequently. To this day I go to a foreign country, drive around and I see people wearing our apparel or drive past a shop and see the Leatt logo. I have to pinch myself. It’s quite bizarre.

Before we move onto that other apparel, do you feel like the industry has hit a bit of a ceiling with neck braces until maybe science evolves or new research comes out? Is it just going to be a case of tweaking things? 

So, the thesis of the neck brace is this alternative load path technology. It’s a platform that unloads the neck and, as time has gone by, we have not found a way of making the neck brace better, in terms of its function and its primary function, which is to prevent neck injuries as well as prevent collarbone injuries and head injuries. Those are two added benefits to wearing a neck brace. I think if you look at a ceiling in terms of sales… I think that’s come about, because the early adopters have used it. The people who really believe in the product and have taken the time to understand the product are using it.

I think the next real step is homologation agencies and racing authorities are going to say, “Let’s produce a standard and once and for all say they either work or they don’t work.” I think there is now irrefutable evidence that they do work. The work that we have done and the work that other people have done, there is a study that’s just been published which is a very compelling scientific study. There’s the EMS action-sport study, which is a good clinical study where they have looked at almost 10,000 riders in almost ten years’ worth of crash data. When the data comes back saying you are 89% less likely to break your neck with a neck brace on, those kinds of figures are really difficult to ignore.

I think the next growth in the neck brace market is going to be adaptions of standards and the logical next steps thereafter. In terms of the technology itself evolving, we have a complex lab. We are constantly looking at ways of improving the brace and other products. I think, for the medium term, the neck brace will evolve in terms of fit, form and function rather than a radical departure from where it is now. They will be aesthetically more pleasing, more wearable and more integrable. I don’t think we are on the fringe of another breakthrough.

Obviously, Leatt was surviving very well as a neck-brace company. Everyone associated the name Leatt with the neck brace. Like you said, that was where your field of study was. Moving into other apparel like knee braces, helmets, gear and all of that stuff… Was that maybe more of a risk than even starting a neck-brace company in the first place? 

Not knowing a huge amount about business in the beginning, which is where I was, and asking lots of people lots of questions, it was almost easy as I had a vision. I had a goal, and I was there to achieve it. When you start looking at other product categories, you have really got to do the math. Does this make sense? Should I enter this market segment? When we were just a neck-brace company, we were not a threat to other manufacturers. Now that we do head-to-toe, it’s more of a threat to other manufacturers. It really does change the business dynamics.

The knee brace for me is a really interesting product category. It did require a significant investment. Not only did it require a significant investment, but we know they don’t fit and that they are not comfortable… If they break, they can really kill you in terms of the product category and cost you a lot of money. This was in fact a risky product. We made some material choice errors in the beginning. Fortunately, we survived that with the subsequent evolutions of the knee brace. It’s just a fascinating product for me. It was a product that we had to do the math on to put it into that market segment.

Once again it’s a product I looked at and said, “Are motorcyclists riding with a knee brace because they have got an unstable knee from a previous injury or they just don’t want to have a knee injury? Is there no way we can make a good knee brace that is as effective as a dual-sided knee brace with no hinge on the inside?” That was my driving force. We worked with knee surgeons and looked on very complex knee biomechanics. The knee is actually a very complex joint.

We developed virtual pivot points in the C-frame knee brace that doesn’t have a joint in the middle and you can actually feel the motorcycle. Subsequently, the market still likes joints on both sides. We are in the happy position of being able to offer the market two solutions. One is innovative and different, and the other one is similar to what’s on the market in terms of other manufacturers. 

Leatt is still a neck-brace company and that’s still the thing that most people associate it with, but do you foresee a time where maybe you are selling more gear or knee braces than neck braces? That must seem insane to you, because obviously that was not the plan to begin with at all. Can you see things maybe trending in that direction? 

Absolutely. If you look at the percentage sales for the company of neck braces versus other product categories, in the beginning it was 100% neck braces. That percentage shrinks. Even though neck brace sales for us are actually increasing, as a percentage of our turnover and revenues it’s decreasing. Obviously, we are introducing new product categories, but the neck brace is still our flagship product. I think more than the fact that our neck brace is our flagship product, it’s really the ethos of the company. It’s engineering and safety first, and cool second. We would like to be cool, sure, and hopefully we are doing that with our apparel. The feedback is that it is cool, but we are primarily engineered for the science of the thrill. That’s what we’re all about.

I guess that’s the biggest difference between the two. Although, with gear, there are advances made with the technology to make it a bit safer, I don’t feel like that’s what people are shopping for. At the end of the day, they want something that looks cool. That’s maybe your priority with that. A neck brace is completely the opposite. People are looking at it going, well, does it to do this safety aspect correctly? Although it goes on the same rider and they work in conjunction, they couldn’t be more different products… Even with strategies behind the scenes. 

I completely agree. However, what is fascinating to us is if we want to re-jig sales and just refresh the market then you have got to come up with a different colour-way and different use of materials whilst making very sure that the performance of the brace, no matter what price point the brace is, performs in the same way. It’s still maintained. There is no doubt that a refresh of the brace and an upgrade in terms of aesthetics definitely helps generate sales. In the beginning it wasn’t like that. Now it is. I think Leatt has moved into a different product category, or a different level in terms of a company playing in this arena.  

Another thing that stood out from your presentation is you said that one of the biggest influences on people not wearing neck braces is trainers. You said that if any trainer actually believes that, they should just go and speak to you. Have you actually had people do that? One person that pops out in my mind is Ryan Hughes, who is quite keen to get his opinion across. Has he ever actually spoken to you? Have you tried to reach out? Has there been one of these situations where you have actually fixed a problem?

So, in fact, yeah. Ryan Hughes is very outspoken. He has very strong opinions. Ryan and I have actually spoken on a few occasions. We have invited him to South Africa. We have invited him to come to the lab. I have spoken to him and I have said to him, “Let me try to change your mind and if at the end I cannot change your mind, because you are not convinced, then sure, hold an opinion.” For me, there are two folds of negativity about the brace. One is social media. Somebody gets on with no information whatsoever and just sparks a conversation saying it breaks collarbones. Well, actually, we know it doesn’t. It does the opposite.

It actually prevents collarbone injuries. All you need to do is put it out there and it is fact. Fake news today is a big thing. It just sort of perpetuates itself. The other thing is, unfortunately, the trainers with young athletes who are very impressionable. When a trainer says, “The neck brace is going to break your collarbone. You’re going to go slower. It’s going to restrict your mobility…” None of those things have to be true, but if the trainer says they are then they are to that rider. There is no doubt that trainers have had a huge impact on safety.  

I really feel if your profession is to train somebody, you should inform yourself. I have spoken to Ryan. I have spoken to one or two others. I really encourage any trainer who has an opinion about neck braces to chat to me. It’s not an ego thing. It’s not a question of head-butting. It’s just a question of information. Information is power. Without information, how do you make an informed decision? How do you tell a young athlete to take a brace off? A little while later they fall off, break their neck and you say, “Maybe I didn’t say the right thing?” That’s a terrible situation to be in, I think.

I guess it is not one of the things where you just want to talk to them to get them to change their opinion. By talking to them, you could actually maybe learn something. They could say just a little thing that sparks something in your mind that goes, “Hey, maybe not next year, but maybe we could change this or do this differently.” Being someone who is interested in research and just constantly growing, there is more you can take from that as well. It’s not just a one-sided thing where you want these people to come across and you can go, “This is my neck brace. Like my neck brace. Look at all the great things it does.” There is so much to gain from conversations like that.  

Absolutely. I pride myself from listening to everybody and then formulating an opinion, rather than going in dogmatically and saying, “This is what I believe and to hell with everybody else.” Interestingly enough, one of the comments from trainers is that you are going to fatigue more using a neck brace. Just because you are holding your head in a different position. Actually, there have been two or three studies done with myelography where they actually put sensors on the neck musculature during riding. 

Guess what? There’s less muscle activity wearing a neck brace, so you are actually less likely to be fatigued. Once again, it’s something that started somewhere and has been perpetuated throughout the marketplace that neck braces in terms of rider and training and fatigue and head position is not a good thing. The facts actually show the opposite.

One thing I really want to get across is that neck braces don’t break collarbones. You touched on it, but let’s just go a bit more into the tests you have done and everything that you have found out. The fact is, neck braces don’t break collarbones. Full stop.

Absolutely. In fact, I’ll be bold enough to say that overall if you look at studies over many years and many riders neck braces prevent a certain percentage of collarbone injuries. How do you break your collarbone? You fall on the outstretched arm and it’s like a crumple zone, the collarbone. You would rather break your collarbone, which repairs by itself a lot quicker than if you had to break your shoulder. As the shoulder girdle, the collarbone is the logical component of your body structure to break. The body is very well-engineered. That’s the first way.

The second way is you fall on your shoulder. The third way is that your helmet rim strikes your collarbone, which drives it in and fractures it that way. If we look at somebody who falls off on the right-hand side, for example, and puts their outstretched arm on the right, they are likely to break their right collarbone. If they fall on their shoulder on the right, they are likely to break their right-hand collarbone. If they fall off without a neck brace on and break the opposite side, so they fall on their right shoulder and break the left collarbone, that is likely, because the head is forced to the left.

The brace is designed with a collarbone-relief area to sit around the collarbone and to shield the collarbone from the helmet rim, hence we see clinically in a large population study group that in fact you reduce that component of collarbone injuries and then overall collarbone injuries are actually less likely. If you are looking at an athlete whose livelihood depends on his ability to ride at the next event, why not do something that’s going to save your neck, save your collarbone, and by the way actually mitigate against head injuries? That is what the neck brace does too.

Final thing. This is a bit of a loaded question, but I like putting it to people in your position. I feel like this maybe gets across how real you are and how this is not just company PR. How about one thing you are exceptionally proud of, besides neck braces maybe, and something you maybe wish you had done differently? Just in general. Two things that stick out.

There are a lot of things that I would have done differently. A retrospect scope is a fantastic piece of equipment. I would have cut out years of development, but I think you have got to go through that process and all those iterations and make the mistakes. You grow as a person making those mistakes. I could certainly, sitting here today looking backwards, have done things differently, cut out time and done things a lot more efficiently.

What I’m really proud of is the approach towards looking at biomechanics, studying the research and coming up with a solution that makes sense for that particular injury dynamic and producing a physical product that is representative of that research and actually at the end of the day, ten years later, looking at the numbers, has really actually saved lives and kept people out of wheelchairs. For me, when I go to an event like this and I see people in wheelchairs, knowing that I’ve kept people out of wheelchairs gives me goosebumps and gets me up in the morning, as well as thinking about other products and other things to do.

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