Leatt are taking mountain bike body armour to the next level. Literally

When we heard neck brace gurus Leatt were branching out into body armour we knew they wouldn’t do things by halves. They’ve not just matched the protection offered by other brands, they claim to be offering the highest level on the market.

The US$199 Body Protector 3DF jacket – also available as a vest ($149) or spine protector ($99) – uses a soft-until-there’s-an-impact foam that works in the same way as d3o and SAS-TEC. Nothing new there, so what’s all the fuss about?

First off, unlike many of their rivals, all of Leatt’s padding is CE certified, and in key areas not just to the basic EN1621-1 standard. The critical chest and spine areas achieve level 2, meaning they offer double the protection. The only other company we know who offer that level of impact absorption with soft pads are POC – and only on their VPD 2.0 spine protectors.

Another difference is that Leatt’s pads are 3D shaped for improved fit, as well as removable for washing. They’re attached to a lightweight compression shirt made of wicking MoistureCool fabric that’s available in three adult and two kids’ sizes.

As you’d expect, the jacket is fully compatible with neck braces – the chest protector is low enough down that it doesn’t get in the way, while the spine protector has a removable section at the top. Clever loops on the shoulders mean you can secure your Leatt brace in place without any straps.

The 3DF padding on the front and rear of Leatt's new tops has CE EN1621-2 certification. Picture by James Costley-White

The 3DF padding on the front and rear of Leatt's new tops has CE EN1621-2 certification

See - we told you! Picture by James Costley-White

See - we told you!

This is what 3DF impact foam looks like. Note the 3D shaping and the thickness of the padding. Picture by James Costley-White

This is what 3DF impact foam looks like. Note the 3D shaping and the thickness of the padding

Leatt say getting the correct fit is essential. The jackets come in five sizes. Picture by James Costley-White

Leatt say getting the correct fit is essential. The jackets come in five sizes

A removable insert means you can use the spine protector with or without a neck brace. Picture by James Costley-White

A removable insert means you can use the spine protector with or without a neck brace

Push the tabs on either side of your Leatt brace through the loops on the shoulders of the new armour jackets and there's no need for straps to hold it in place. Picture by James Costley-White

Push the tabs on each side of your Leatt brace through the jacket's shoulder loops and there's no need for straps

Leatt aren’t just offering upper body protection – they’ve developed new knee ($59) and elbow ($49) pads too. These use a thinner layer of the same 3DF padding, covered by an abrasion resistant aramid fibre outer, and are certified to the CE EN1621 level 1 standard. They come in three adult sizes and one junior version.

Leatt's 3DF knee and elbow guards use the same soft-yet-hard padding as their jackets. Picture by James Costley-White

Leatt's 3DF knee and elbow guards use the same soft-yet-hard padding as their jackets. Picture by James Costley-White

The 3DF knee guards have an upper Velcro strap plus silicone gripper on the knee cups. Picture by James Costley-White

The 3DF knee guards have an upper Velcro strap plus silicone gripper on the knee cups. Picture by James Costley-White

The elbow pads rely on a MoistureCool 'sock' and silicone gripper. Picture by James Costley-White

The elbow pads rely on a MoistureCool 'sock' and silicone gripper. Picture by James Costley-White

Leatt have updated their DH-specific neck braces for 2013 too – they now offer more adjustment and redesigned rear struts, among other changes, and there’s talk of the top-end carbon model, the DBX Pro Lite, having a £150 price cut in the UK, to £450 (US price is $499). UK pricing for all the new armour is still to be confirmed. More info at www.leatt-brace.com.