Rib Protector Sizing

Hi all!

Back again with another question. In a nutshell, is there any problem with using a rib protector that is slightly too large?

I recently picked up an Alpinestars bionic rib protector (size S-L, essentially “one size fits most”) and found that it was pretty small feeling in both width, and height. Not to mention, it seemed to offer very little in the way of protection. For reference, I’m about 6’2" and 175lbs at the moment.

As I was rather underwhelmed with the Alpinestars protector, I went and ordered the Sparco K-7 model, which arrived today. After my experience with the Alpinestars protector, I ordered a size L. I tried it on and, though a little large, I’m much more satisfied overall with it. According to the sizing guide on the tag, my chest measurement is about 13cm below the suggested range for a size L (94cm vs 107-113cm). While I can just about fit a finger between the sides of the protector and my ribs, the overall fit is comfortable both seated, and while standing.

I’m planning to pack on 20-30lbs over the offseason to reduce or eliminate the need to put weight on my kart. As such, I’d imagine the delta between my actual chest circumference and the recommended size range will shrink considerably. But if for whatever reason it does not, am I setting myself up for problems either in the event of an accident, or just with general discomfort?

As a person running with to large of protector it becomes annoying. Mine finally has almost enough damage to justify a new one.

Also, why not just bolt weight onto your kart? Or scale it as you are now and find out where your at. You may find you want to have that weight available to you to move around

I’m with @highSRT i never heard anyone saying they wanna bulk UP to max weight for their class :joy:

It’s advantageous to have weight low on the chassis to keep c of g lower.

I’d heard having weight bolted to the kart can be a nuisance, but I can see how it might be useful to have it located in various places. I’ll likely need to gain around 15lbs regardless to really be in good racing shape, but I’ll look into having the kart scaled to see what I really need to get to!

Hahah what can I say, I’m not afraid to look dumb online :joy: I’ll need to gain a fair bit regardless, but like @highSRT said, might not need to pack on all of those pounds.

I think I recall coming across that advice in some other threads on here. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the intricacies of chassis tuning. I’d also heard that taller/larger drivers have an advantage under certain situations as a result of being able to use their body weight to alter the behavior of the kart? In general, a higher CG tends to free the kart up, correct?

My advice would be to bulk until you’re comfortable. Comfort in itself breeds speed. I found over a second after I found a rib protector that actually works. With you on the alpine, I have one also it’s useless. Bengio all day long.

When you’re comfortable scale the kart and add weight if necessary to make up class weight.

Definitely good to hear, those extra pounds will definitely be necessary to get me into acceptable racing fitness. Definitely like the idea of a Bengio, but the $500 price point is a bit killer at the moment. I still need to buy a stand, a mychron, and a set of tires to begin with.

Do tracks usually have scales available during testing sessions?

I don’t know your current fitness. But it’s more of a cardio sport than a muscle mass. So depending your build you very well may end up the same weight or lighter.

I’m thin. And I lost about 5 lbs getting into better shape for karting.

And scales. Call the track. Mine all do but they aren’t 4 wheel scales. Just a single platform.

Scales, top tip go buy some cheapo bathroom scales. Do not however get the ones that auto shut off after like ten seconds or you chase around lifting a wheel at a time one after the other. Ask me how I know :joy::joy:


Fair point! I’m also on the thinner side, so perhaps the same will happen to me as well. Either way, sounds like something not to stress about too much!

Ah, makes sense. Its been tough finding a midwest track that’s still open during good weather days during the winter, but I’ll make sure to ask once I find somewhere I can turn a few laps at.

Hahah that must’ve been something :joy: sounds like maybe the old fashioned analog ones are the way to go!

Personally, I don’t like when the rib protectors get too large, it just feels strange. I had a too big rib protector in the beginning of my last season, and it caused more damage to my ribs than help. I switched to a cheaper, but better fitting rib protector for me which I am using today, works perfectly.

I would echo the “bulking up” comments. While I can understand not wanting to add weight to your seat, gaining 20lbs seems like a bad idea unless you need to add muscle. Watch just about any kart videos of top-level racers and you will notice the general body type is thin build.

As for the too large chest protector, you could try wearing it outside your suit as a way to get a better fit if it’s a little too large.

No no no no no. Just no. :joy:

What are some of the rib protectors that you guys like the most

The general consensus is Bengio makes the best one. Tillet fans may object.

ive had both a tillet and a bengio and my tillet cracked in half after a wreck last year and ive had a bengio since then and ive had 0 problems with it.