While there are an ever-growing array of brands offering protective wear for mountain biking, there are very few that are founded primarily around making safety equipment. That makes Leatt stand out. The South African brand is expanding into apparel and footwear but it was founded around the idea of keeping riders moving safely through crashes.
Leatt’s focus on protection is reflected in the brand’s broad array of protective wear. Where most brands offer one knee pad, or a couple of different levels of protection, Leatt offers an exhaustive range. That covers everything from lightweight to heavy-duty padding in knee and elbow pads, chest protectors, all kinds of helmets and, of course, the brand’s neck braces.
“We try and have something available for everyone,” explains Calla Meyer, Chief Designer at Leatt. “For sure there are pads that overlap in terms of features but there are also so many consumers that want specific features. We are passionate about product development and we have just kept on adding more pads to the range as we have learned about new materials and tech and tried to fill the gaps that we saw in the market.”
Leatt’s Airflex range is a prime example of the brand’s goal. The pads are light enough that they can overcome objections to wearing pads while also providing CE-level certification.
Airflex Pro chest protector, as modelled by Canadian enduro pro, Evan Wall
Airflex also has a women’s model in the chest protector
Both offer full spine coverage
With their own specific range of features
“Our Airflex range was developed due to the need for thinner, more vented pads that still pass CE standards. Airflex material consists of an injected polymer with non-Newtonian properties, performing very well to absorb impacts,” says Meyer. “Because of this, we could reduce overall bulk and maximise ventilation by creating a cell-like structure that conforms very well to the body.”
The UltraLite pads push this concept to the extreme, maximizing protection in a minimalist pad.
“Our UltraLite is the thinnest, most vented pad we developed so far while still exceeding CE standards. It’s like the gateway pad for non-pad riders,” Meyer says. “The aim was to get people who generally would not wear pads to wear this super lightweight and pedal-friendly version. Once you start moving, you forget…