Rib Vest/ Protector?

this is my first season gokart “racing” in a 206lo Senior class.
I had a bunch of practice sessions and 1 race weekend.
The track we race at can be a little rough at times and now my lower ribs are sore.
I got a “soft” rib vest from a co- worker and I am not sure if that was the issue for the rib pain.
The ribs got sore over time, it was not due to 1 corner. I think the worst was when I was driving with pretty old tires and they started bouncing a little in corners. I thought it was good practice to deal with tires which have not the best traction, but my ribs did not think so.
I even tried bubble wrap between my skin and the rib vest- that did not work.
Now comes the question:
Is there any value in buying a really good rib vest? I like buying the good stuff since you usually get what you pay for.
Second, what vest? I saw a Tillet T1, Bengio Carbon, Sparco Carbon, Stilo Carbon? Are any of these not good?
Thanks for the advise.

If I don’t wear one, I’m down for a couple weeks after a day at the track.

My preference:

1.) Stilo Carbon Curva
2.) Bengio

I’ve not been comfortable in anything else. Stilo is worth the extra money.

awesome! That’s what I was looking for!
Thanks for the feedback Matthew.

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A good vest is definitely worth it. A bad rib injury will put you out of the seat for months.

All the vests you listed are good. I am a Bengio guy myself after hurting my ribs really bad several years ago. If you search on here, there are lots of rib vest threads with people’s preferences and experiences.

My only note would be, you don’t need the carbon version. My standard Bengio has held up great for almost 10 years. The carbon is more for looks than anything.

And when you put new tires on with more grip, the pain will be worse.

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Same here, +1 for Bengio

I may or may not have driven my shifter on the track a few times without a vest. Probably not the most prudent course of action.

Tillett P1 for me. Been using the same one since 2017. Comfort plus adjustability, though the padding seems to be slightly less than some others out there.

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I drove one day without a rib protector and promptly went out and bought a Bengio Carbon/Kevlar one. Very comfortable and I expect it will last a long time. :slight_smile:

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I have 2 thoughts for you…

1 - Regardless of the seat you will want a more solid rib vest… The Bengio is very stiff and likely offers the most protection. I have also liked the Armadillo vest from Valhalla as a more flexible option.

2 - Does your seat fit you properly? If you are loose in the seat it almost doesn’t matter what vest you have because you are flopping around and it will cause discomfort. The seat should be snug to the point you can’t easily move in the seat. It can be too small too. The rib vest, especially the Bengio style may take up space if your seat was roomy or it may force you to get a different seat too.

There are seats that offer more support than standard seats such as Ribtech and Deep Seat which can help with a rib issue too.

If this is your first time in a race kart understand that we all accept a certain amount of physical abuse from our karts, its part of the fun. Not to mention the mental and financial abuse too, LOL.

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I wish I could wear one but dont fit in seat with one on. I cant even use 1/4in padding as I dont fit…

Thanks for the replies. I appreciate the prompt responses.
it definitely helps knowing that my thought process is somewhat correct and you all support the listed vests/ brands.
My seat and my Birel kart are brand new and I fitted the seats at the local dealer. Where my hips are it is snug and also where waist is.
At my rib cage there is a little space to move sideways but once I wear my old rib vest that is taken up.
During the last weekend I added some padding on the upper side of the seat to cover the bolt heads and to make the seat more snug.
I did not notice that I was moving around in the seat but I will put a little bit more attention into that situation.
Interesting observation…I drove a double left hand turn in the wet and tried to lean my upper body left to reduce pressure on my right ribs (these are the sore ones). I could clearly notice how the kart became more unstable and started to oversteer more easily.
Bengio Carbon is what I was aiming for but they seem to be out of stock in my size. Stilo Carbon is my next try.

I would also test out the Freem

I’ve used an Armadillo Rib Vest for a few years now, and seems to do the trick. And I don’t think they’re that expensive, either. $145 or so at Summit Racing.

I’ve had the k1, alpinestars, bengio and freem. Of these, the bengio is best, imo. The alpinestars is a good lighter one.

I just got the Jecko JRib when I was at GoPro recently. I was looking for the Bengio but they did not have it in my size. The Jecko is very nice. Better than my last 3 rib vests. I have a Jecko seat so maybe it is made to fit :grinning: the seat.

Jecko JRib

I’ve had bengios since 2001, basically when they were created, two got through that period. One was killed by an accident that also broke my shoulder blade. The other rivet holding the strap on broke and it was cracked.

But i dont feel like i can justify $200+ on a rib protector. It just seems outrageously expensive for what is foam, fibreglass and some straps.

So i got an Arroxx TopQ rib protector for $25. One race in at a pretty harsh track and I’m doing about the same as i was when i had a bengio.

I have the same one. Can’t complain.

You got a slammin’ deal.

Yeah i snapped it up when italian motors had a deal on.


Of course now the bengio is on sale with italian motors too.


Hi, René from the Netherlands here,

I have been using a Alpinestars Bionic Rib Support protector for 2 seasons now.
It’s supercomfortable to wear under a suit, lightweight and the protection is perfect!!

The straps can be adjusted and the backpanels are mounted by a VELCRO strip and are padded.
Was having ribtrouble all the time and now nothing for 2 seasons… laptimes have come down big time too because i don’t have to worry about my ribs anymore.