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Ribs: they’re important. Just think that behind those thin slips of bone are your heart, lungs and liver. You’ve even got your thoracic diaphragm back there and even though we don’t know what it does; it sounds important!
Put simply, ribs are a pretty vital part of your anatomy that protect the things that really do need protection. They’re also incredibly painful to have damaged themselves, as anyone who’s endured a broken rib will tell you (over and over again). So, when you’re karting it’s in your best interests to protect those ribs as best as possible. We’ve seen and tested our fair share of rib protectors in the past, but when we were asked which the best karting rib protector was, we had to pause for a moment. It’s by no means a field without competition, but we’ve finally landed on a model – The Tillett Ribtec P1.
Developed over many years with by their team of engineers alongside input from European and World champions, the P1 is described as ‘The Choice of World Karting Champions’, and who are we to disagree? Constructed from multiple layers of composite plastic and soft touch suede, the P1 is designed to effectively distribute the impact across your body. This minimises damage and could potentially save you a from a long and uncomfortable hospital trip. The P1 also has built in shoulder straps which stop it slipping mid race and an adjustable rear angle means that it can be fitted to almost any body size and shape.
On the downside, it does come in near the top end of the market, costing around £150 – though it does come a comprehensive range of sizes from XS to XL. Those on a slightly tighter budget will also find much to love in the R4 Ribtec, also from Tillett. It’s around £25 cheaper but retains most of its sibling’s excellent protection and is pleasingly thin and light, just one less thing to consider when out on the track. Another option at this level is the Bengio Bumper Rib Protector, which is constructed from fibreglass and carbon fibre, making it extremely lightweight and durable. Check out Demon Tweeks for more rib protection.
As with all rib protectors though, we recommend vising a retail store and testing them for yourself. Fitting varies from model to model, so ensuring you get the right size will save you significant discomfort during those races yet to come.