EVS R4 or Valhalla 360 for a kid?

Looking to start getting new safety gear for my son since all his is snug to finish the season. I’ve narrowed it down to these 2 neck braces, just looking for input before I order one. The 360 looks like it would have plenty of support in the event of a hit.

The EVS R4 is more of a collar bone brace and not meant for neck protection. The 360 goes a bit further in that in a rear end impact, it prevents the head from whipping back due to the tall collar behind the helmet. Neither is 100% protective, but I would say the 360 protects more than the EVS. That said, my daughter prefers the EVS collar over the 360.

Kids…what do they know?!? :rofl:

The tall collar is more of a marketing gimmick to mimmic NASCAR style braces in my view (where car neck braces are designed to work with the full length seat back support), whereas in a kart, it’s the solid base that abuts the helmet to restrict movement & hyperflexion.

Agreed, but a Hans Devise is locked in by the seat belts which karts to not use. The 360 does not protect in frontal impacts (Nascar type Hyperflexion that killed the late Dale Earnhardt), but it does reduce the Whiplash Effect from Rear Impacts. Keeping in mind we are talking about children with little on no neck strength compared to an adult. Is it perfect? By no means! Does it provide more support than the EVS? Absolutely! I am just saying when it comes to my kid on a race track, if one product can provide that little extra protection I am going to take it. As I said above, we have both. For practice I let her use the the EVS, but for a Race she has to wear the 360. As she gets older/more conditioned, I will let her use the EVS for racing.

I have the 360 for Nick and he likes it a lot. It is kind of huge and is sort of annoying to pack (suitcase). I personally just switched to the motocross style neck protector from foam donut. I love the EVS since it’s so easy to put on/off. Does not require you to have helmet off to put on. It’s also very compact.


When my daughter was in cadet, we had both styles. We were told when we had coaching lessons with Alan Rudolph, that the EVS makes it easier to look into the turns, and around for other drivers. The Valhalla is too restrictive to allow the proper vision and body posture when driving.

So, this has actually come up on the forums before I couple years ago. I will bring one piece of information/story for everyone else to read. It is entirely anecdotal but from someone that I trust with this type of information.

So apparently the only reason that neck braces are even a thing in US karting is because some company came up to WKA back in the 90’s or so and said “hey we designed this thing that is going to reduce neck injuries in karting” with no scientific information or proof behind it, and the WKA went “that sounds great, everyone needs to get one of these for next year.” The IKF followed right after and neck braces were mandated all across the US.

The guy I heard this from actually met a kinesiologist at PRI a few years ago and asked “hey, do you know anything about how safe these neck braces actually are for kart racing?” and the kinesiologist went “No, but I’ll look into it.” This doctor then contacted a bunch of his colleagues and did some studies and tests, came back, and went “yeah nah these things are actually incredibly dangerous to be worn when a driver is racing karts.”

Essentially, the human body (and neck) are designed to move and bend a lot, like a lot a lot. When you put something around the neck to keep it from moving, you are restricting the body’s ability to bend and dissipate that energy from deceleration. This actually leads to a higher risk of spinal column injury and related trauma. The reason we have HANS devices for cars is because the neck is not designed to be put under that much load, especially while the rest of the body is strapped firmly into the seat, so it needs support at that high of speeds and forces, but in karts we do not have that same risk.

I even asked “So, even in cadets it’s more dangerous to wear a neck braces vs. not?” And the guy I was having this conversation with said “yeah, but they’ll be hesitant to remove the requirement for kids because of the perception of safety from parents.”

The entire point of me telling this is to say that when looking at neck braces, for any age, I would look to find whatever is least restrictive for the head motion. I think that would be the EVS R4? Although I’m not super familiar with the neck braces available.


Not that I disagree with what your doctor friend told you, but I think there are some misconceptions about what neck collars protect against. It’s not the neck! Excluding a Hans Device, Neck Braces/Collars protect the Collar Bones!

During an impact, when the head is flopping about like a bobble-head the lower edge of the helmet can come into contact with the collar bones. Being a relatively narrow edge and having the added weight of the skull and helmet in conjunction with the acceleration/deceleration due to impact can put a lot of pressure in a very localized point causing fractures to the collar bones. Most neck injuries are in the form of Muscle Strains not actually Spinal/Vertebra related. I think this affects children more due to the lack of muscle development compared to most adults, but then again I could feel the strain in my neck after a day of racing when I first started karting in my 40’s, lol !

This is true, however those collarbone injuries are in motocross where they are jumping and landing very aggressively multiple times a lap. Since we are not going up and landing at that degree, we don’t run the risk of breaking our collarbone in that way.

Completely anecdotal but, I know a kid that broke his collarbone because of his neckbrace. I think he landed weird and it pushed the brace in a strange way but if he hasn’t had a neckbrace on his helmet wouldn’t have broken the collarbone.

Your muscles aren’t designed to pivot around the neck brace either, so I don’t know if having a neckbrace helps there either. When your helmet contacts the brace, it changes the pivot point of your neck from the center of the neck to wherever the contact is on your helmet.

Overall, I don’t believe the neck braces add more protection from collarbone injuries than they add risk of other injuries, at least that’s what I understood from everything. I can understand why they’re used in motocross, but we’re taking a device that was beneficial in one discipline, and misusing it in karting which doesn’t really bring along any benefits from what I have understood.

It’s pretty common to see collarbone injuries in karting when you have a flip.


I didn’t realize they were that common. I wonder if there’s some way to add collarbone protection without a full neck brace then, like something that comes up from your chest

My understanding of the current types of neck braces (including the 2 mentioned) was to limit the range of motion of the neck/spine in the event of the head hitting something hard. It was also my understanding that the old “foam doughnut” could actually be worse in this situation causing the neck to actually hyperextend. The Leatt Brace developed for MX was the creater of the “new generation” of neck braces. The white paper on the Leatt asserts the brace is safer for the neck and spine but is also known to increase the chance of broken collar bones. Collar bones heal, necks and spines do not. What is unknown is if the EVS or the 360 have documented proof as well.

As for the MX connection, I could be wrong but MX, DH MTB and karting are all unbelted operators and in each case the concern is landing on your head and having a spinal injury that could be paralyzing or deadly.

This just confused me even more, I’m sorry :rofl:

Your point about collarbones healing while necks and spines don’t is very true. I think we’re running into the reality of too much information being out there and not enough of it being proven or agreed upon. Everyone will have their own opinions, and until something is scientifically published I don’t think we’ll know the true answer.

There are very little neckbrace statistics in karting, but there are some in motocross. https://12cc690e-e409-305b-77c8-bf6972085f6a.filesusr.com/ugd/8696ef_07fac69b83344be8bc7cfe2dbdb71a0a.pdf
Here’s a study that took place over 10 years. It found that injury prevention was minimal, but it does greatly reduce the severity of an injury. The real question is, is this applicable to karting in any way? I hear a lot of “doctor” stories about neckbraces in karting, some saying they save lives others saying the cause paralysis. They seem to be split 50/50. There’s been no studies or tests to my knowledge so I don’t think anyone has an answer yet.

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Soemthing like that would seem even more restricting. At this point why not resort to a the good old foam donut?

Our bodies also weren’t designed to land upside down at 70mph, or even go around a corner at 2gs, yet here we are

You seem to be arguing on the assumption that a tool which benefits 1 discipline can not also be applied to benefit another, in this case anyway. Given the relative exposure that comes with driving a kart, there’s not going to be any free lunch where risk factors associated with a rollover spill are concerned. It is what it is, & the head/neck region is exposed to impacts. That a brace design might raise the odds of a collar bone injury should be weighed in the balance against the protection/mitigation it provides against spinal injuries. Personally, I’ll take the former over the latter. Not a great choice, but an easy one nonetheless.

In no way does a Leatt brace inhibit or alter normal head/neck motion as needed to safety operate a kart. At least, not in my experience. If anything, there’s less requisite range of motion in this region needed for karting compared to MX, & yet it functions in both spaces.

I’ll have to read that when I’m not dead tired at 2 am, but it sounds interesting :joy:

Regarding the collarbone piece, I was thinking more of a hard plastic with thin padding that brought the forces down towards your chest, probably worn under your neck like the rib protectors we wear now, probably the same thickness of a Stilo or Bengio. I have no idea how it would work, I’m not a kinesiologist or engineer, but it’d be an interesting idea.

Not disagreeing with you, but a distinction I think that should be made is that we are not falling at 70 mph into the ground. I would figure we hit the ground about the same speed we fall out of a chair at? I don’t know for sure, but it’s not 70 mph. Our bodies weren’t designed to these stresses on it, but they are incredibly resilient.

I’m more worried about applying something solving one problem in order to try to mitigate a different issue (or different cause to a similar issue?). It all is very grey area and unproven, in either direction.

The part that confuses me is conflicting information on it. I have heard: it protects the collarbone but has a higher risk of neck injury, it reduces neck injury but increases risk of collarbone injury, it has a higher risk of both types of injury, or it is safer for both types of injury (I haven’t heard this one in a few years). I naturally don’t trust the claims that manufacturers post themselves, so the only third-party information I have found was through the trusted friend who worked with a kinesiologist. I’ve been tempted to see if my university would be interested in running a study for it, but I wouldn’t know where to start there.


What are the sources for these varied statements? From the Leatt website:

That sure sounds like a neck protection device to me.

The sources have ranged from neck brace manufacturers to other people. There is no third party information out there for karting specific details, so it’s all either anecdotal or from the manufacturers themselves.

The Leatt website itself is talking about the forces going vertically, from motocross landings slamming the head down into the chest. With karting injuries, forces are distributed sideways, which brings different problems into play. I’m not saying it isn’t a neck protection device, I’m saying it may not be effective at it in this application compared to what it was designed for.

It has been my understanding that any neck device is there in the event of an accident to reduce whiplash or in the event a driver is ejected to reduce injury if the head hits the ground. Its not for support of g-forces. I think this goes for MX as well.

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