The AWS rib protector is an entry level product at the lower end of the price range. It’s not the prettiest of things to behold. Then again neither is a Ford Transit Van but it has a sense of purpose to it and seems to be of reasonable quality. It’s a simple design with hard plastic outer shell covering a high density foam inner structure with the usual adjustable Velcro straps.
I bought this rib protector during my first season in Karting with what was left of my starting out budget. I wasn’t intending on buying one at all at first but after having a rather unpleasant first meeting with rib injuries I realized it was a must!!
The first thing I noticed was just how much of a difference actually having a rib protector makes. I immediately felt more comfortable in the kart and was able to relax and just think about driving instead of constantly tensing up to protect my ribs.
I got this in size large which is a little on the big size for me so as with any piece of clothing or safety equipment I would suggest taking the time to make sure you get the right size as it does cause a few problems with the front of the rib protector pushing forwards when you sit in the seat.
Over the 18 months that I have used this protector I must say I have not experienced any problems with my ribs and it seems to be lasting quite well. There is a little deformation in the plastic shell where the seat has been digging in but it doesn’t seem to have affected the protection it provides.
There is a negative to this product which could be expected for the price I paid for it, and that’s comfort. There seems to be a problem with the bottom of the back plate digging into your spine and leaving a sore, cherry sized lump half way down your back at every meeting and the straps have a habit of falling off your shoulders when you sit in the seat. This could be attributed to the fact it isn’t quite the correct size for me but I expect it to be more of an ergonomics issue with the design.
Overall I have to say I have been pleasantly surprised by this product over the time I have used it. It “does what is says on the tin”. However now I can afford to spend a little more, I will be looking a little further up the price range for my next rib protector. This is mainly due to the comfort issues I have experienced with this one and I expect, as with most things, you get what you pay for. So although this does the job as a budget option, I would suggest that if your wallet will allow it, look a little further up market.
- Good protection
- Reasonable quality
- Back plate digs in causing painful sore on the back.
- Shoulder straps and basic shape cause comfort issues.