Whether you ride or race motocross or an off-road discipline, upper body protectors such as the Leatt 3DF Body Protector are wise to consider as part of your motorcycle gear, as body armor often makes dodging roost behind another rider much more pleasant than without protection.
More importantly, should you take an unplanned slam, a body protector can prove very effective at dispersing energy over a broad area while providing abrasion, impact and laceration protection. So, in addition to educating you on the types and potential benefits of upper body protection, we're going to evaluate the features of Leatt's 3DF soft upper body protector, this way you'll know what you're getting into should you choose to use this type of protection.
FYI, as the name suggests, the Leatt 3DF is designed by the distinguished pioneer of the Neck Brace, Leatt Corporation, a company founded by a trauma surgeon and off-road motorcyclist, (Dr. Chris Leatt) whom has a personal interest in providing effective personal protection for participants of recreational, or competitive natured off highway motorcycling.
The Leatt 3DF is a strategically padded soft garment type of upper body protector constructed from a Moisture Cool fabric, similar to what cycling jersey's are made of. However, unlike pullover garments, the 3DF is equipped with a left side zippered opening which simplifies putting it on and taking it off, as well as the 3DF body protector is equipped with a mid body elastic strap which helps keep the protective areas properly positioned on the rider.
In addition to being constructed of a Moisture Cool fabric, the garment is of a compression sock design which allows quick evaporation of sweat from a rider, and within the fabric are overlapping hemmed pockets which securely position each of the multi layered, CE Safety Certified ventilated impact absorption pads in a way which allows easy removal and reinsertion of these pads to facilitate hand or machine washing of the base garment.
Excluding the Atlas brace, Yes. With the advent of Leatt's flagship neck brace and the competitor's models which followed, it quickly became apparent that although a neck brace provided valuable protection, due to poor fittment between neck braces and roost guards, riding with a neck brace was often at the expense of riding without a previously worn, and accustomed to body protector which would leave a rider's midsection and shoulder area more susceptible to injuries in a crash.
Aware of the limitations imposed by wearing a neck brace, which often limit the abilities to use an upper body protector, Leatt Corporation designed their 3DF body protector to provide an equivalent level of chest, back and shoulder protective characteristics to that of a hard shelled conventional "Chest Protector", yet be compatible with any neck brace by providing adequate clearance for the rear thoracic strut and frontal support of neck braces.
Although Leatt's 3DF body protector is designed to offer midsection protection, covering a rider's back, chest and shoulder areas similarly to how a conventional chest protector would, the 3DF also provides elbow and limited tricep and kidney protection through use of a soft, body conforming, energy dispersing padding, and although it appears constricting, the 3DF does prove comfortable and it allows a rider full range of unrestricted movement while permitting integration with any neck brace unlike most conventional hard shell roost guards.
Furthermore, unlike hard shell upper body protectors which are often fitted outside of the wearers jersey, and are often semi restrictive such as when bending forward, the Leatt 3DF is a soft, very breezy feeling set of body conforming upper body armor designed to be worn against the skin, either under a jersey, or without a jersey and although comfortable and non restrictive when riding, the 3DF can get "Stuffy" while waiting in staging, or during a similar wait, however once moving the garment's presence quickly "Disappears" and proves very comfortable.
Although we've yet to find anyone willing to throw themselves a yard sale to find out what it's really like when you really need it, we can say with certainty that through the use and placement of the CE Safety Certified 3 Dimensional foam, we do feel that the 3DF body protector could offer a substantial amount of relief to a rider, equivalent to that of a conventional, hard shell protector if he / she were to hit the mat wearing this.
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