best go kart racing rib protector

Alpinestars Bionic
  • Cordura Fabric
  • Perforated Ventilation
Best Value

Forcefield V2
  • DRI-M Material
  • Multifunctional Use
Premium Pick

K1 Race Gear Pro-Lite
  • Extremely Lightweight
  • Padded Foam
Most Affordable

7 Best Go-Kart Racing Rib Protectors in 2020

Go-kart racing is an extremely fun and exciting motor sport, especially since you are so close to the ground. Many go-karts aren’t equipped with safety belts, and beginner karts usually only have a safety belt that goes around the waist. This means that an impact with an object or with another kart on the race track could thrust your upper body into a forward motion pushing your chest against the steering wheel. Go-kart also have exposed areas around the rib cage of the driver. This leaves your ribs, sternum, back, and chest extremely vulnerable in the event of a collision. 

Depending on the impact, this could lead to harmful back, chest and rib injuries. Therefore, it’s advised to equip yourself with a go-kart racing rib protector, also known as a rib vest or chest protector. They shield your ribs and chest in the event of an accident and keep your upper body area protected. 

Go-Kart Racing Rib Protector Reviews

As the main purpose of karting rib protectors is to keep your chest and ribs safe, it’s important to understand what makes a rib protector good. In order to give you the full picture, I’ve rated them based on the fabric that was used, the features that they’re equipped with, how comfortable they feel when wearing them and how they fare with regards to build quality.

I’ve also included some of the technical specifications of each rib protector for further reference in the individual reviews. In summary, here are the best go-kart racing rib protectors that you can buy.

Best Go-Kart Racing Rib Protectors

rib-protector-bionic

1. Alpinestars Bionic

Score: 98%

forcefield-v2

2. Forcefield V2

Score: 96%

k1-race-gear-rib-vest

3. K1 Race Gear Rib Vest

Score: 95%

ribtect-3

4. Ribtect 3

Score: 93%

cuircon-rib-vest

5. Cuircon Rib Vest

Score: 90%

forcefield-elite

6. Forcefield Elite

Score: 86%

k1-pro-lite

7. K1 Race Gear Pro-Lite

Score: 85%

1

Alpinestars Bionic

  • Cordura fabric
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Perforated ventilation
  • No buckle mechanism

Brand
Alpinestars

Fabric
Cordura

Fastener
D-Ring Strap

Adjustable
Yes

Weight
1.75 lbs

Sizes
9

The Alpinestars Bionic rib protector is our top pick in this list as its high-performance build, it’s lightweight construction and its overall features are excellent for go-karting. 

The shell is ergonomically manufactured with adjustable front straps and D-ring closures, giving a customized fit according to your body type. Additionally, you can also adjust the central back panel via a Velcro attachment. This means that you are able to wear the rib protector over or under your racing suit. The inner frame is well-padded with a 3 mm high-density poly-foam and a 4 mm absorption ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). The outer layer is coated with Cordura, which is known for its durability and abrasion-resistant properties.

The ventilation in this vest is excellent for go-kart racing, due to the perforated rear. Overall, the Alpinestars Bionic rib protector is a high-quality multi-layered safety equipment that is optimized for karting performance, while providing you with a great level of comfort. 

Criteria Rating

Fabric 100%
Features 100%
Comfort 95%
Build Quality 95%

Overall Rating

98%

AWESOME!

2

Forcefield V2

  • Perforated ventilation
  • DRI-M material
  • Can be worn back or front
  • No buckle system

Brand
Forcefield

Fabric
DRI-M

Fastening
Velcro

Adjustable
Yes

Weight

Sizes
3

The Forcefield V2 is multi-purpose rib protector that is excellent for go-kart racing. It’s made from a DRI-M material blend, which is award winning and endorsed by many professionals. DRI-M stands for dynamic, reactive, intelligent material and consists of technical base layers and performance textiles. 

The first thing that is noticeable when wearing the Forcefield V2 is that it’s extremely comfortable, well-padded and lightweight. The ergonomic design shapes around the contour of your body. The elastic shoulder straps and the Velcro hook-and-loop ensure that it fits all body sizes. It actually feels like the rib protector really wraps around your upper body. The materials used are also not too thick and the inner area is well aerated, while racing on the track.

Although this rib protector has a multi-purpose functionality, it seems perfect for go-kart racing. It’s available in one color combination (dark grey/black) and comes in 3 different sizes. 

Criteria Rating

Fabric 95%
Features 95%
Comfort 100%
Build Quality 95%

Overall Rating

96%

AWESOME!

3

K1 Race Gear Rib Vest

  • Formed from carbon
  • Secure buckle system
  • Cordura fabric
  • Relatively thick design

Brand
K1 Race Gear

Fabric
Cordura

Fastening
Buckle

Adjustable
Yes

Weight
2 lbs

Sizes
8

The K1 Race Gear Rib Vest is another great go-kart racing rib protector that absorbs and evenly distributes unwanted vibrations and impacts while kart racing. At the same time, it’s built with high-grade materials, while also feeling comfortable so that you can fully focus on your race.

K1 Race Gear’s rib protector features formed and tooled carbon fiber panels and padded-foam layers that wrap around your rib cage. They’re designed to be lightweight, while having the ability to absorb and distribute shock. The outer layer is coated with Cordura fabric that is known to be abrasion-resistant and robust.

The vest is also adjustable in two places. The shoulder and chest areas are adjustable via straps. The front is fastened using a reinforced buckle system that ensures a secure fit.

Criteria Rating

Fabric 100%
Features 95%
Comfort 90%
Build Quality 95%

Overall Rating

95%

AWESOME!

4

Ribtect 3

  • Injection-molded material
  • Cordura fabric
  • 1/8" thickness
  • Limited chest protection

Brand
Ribtect

Fabric
Cordura

Fastening
Buckle

Adjustable
Yes

Weight
2 lbs

Sizes
1

The Ribtect 3 is designed with injection-molded polycarbonate materials that effectively spread and absorb shocks.  It also features horizontal slats and padded foam panels that are less than 1/8″ in thickness. These panels flex around the driver and they feel comfortable and light. You won’t really notice wearing this vest on the go-kart track as it’s thin and lightweight. 

The Ribtect 3 is specifically designed for go-kart racing and is therefore designed to be light and thin. The outer layer is manufactured using Cordura. This helps to keep the driver well protected. The 1/8″ material thickness feels really thin and is optimal for karting.

This vest also has adjustable chest and shoulder straps that can be loosened and tightened depending on your body size. It uses reinforced buckles that hold the vest together tightly. Overall, the Ribtect 3 is a great go-kart racing vest with high-grade materials. 

Criteria Rating

Fabric 95%
Features 90%
Comfort 90%
Build Quality 95%

Overall Rating

93%

AWESOME!

5

Cuircon Rib Vest

  • Kevlar fabric
  • 4 size adjusters
  • Well-padded
  • Relatively thick

Brand
Cuircon

Fabric
Kevlar

Fastening
Loop Strap

Adjustable
Yes

Weight
3 lbs

Sizes
5

The Cuircon Rib Vest is another great alternative rib protector for go-karting that uses a form of molded carbon. The robust carbon Kevlar and polyester fabrics protect your chest and ribs from impact, shielding you from potential injury. 

It’s ergonomic design wraps around your lower body effectively. The padded panels around the rib cage area feel comfortable and not bothersome while go-kart racing. As the vest is relatively well-padded, it feels a fair bit thicker than the options on this list.

The vest features two robust buckles that securely fasten the belt around your lower body. It also has two adjustable shoulder straps. With a total of 4 adjustable straps, this vest is suitable for almost all body types. While it is available in 5 different sizes, it only features one color combination which is silver and black.

Criteria Rating

Fabric 85%
Features 85%
Comfort 100%
Build Quality 90%

Overall Rating

90%

AWESOME!

6

Forcefield Elite

  • CE certified
  • Nitrex Evo fabric
  • Perforated ventilation
  • No buckle mechanism

Brand
Forcefield

Fabric
Nitrex Evo

Fastening
Velcro

Adjustable
Yes

Weight
1.1 lbs

Sizes
2

The Forcefield Elite rib protector is positioned as the lite version of the Forcefield V2 and is focused on softness, flexibility and comfort. At 1.1 lbs (500 g) it’s one of the lightest go-karting rib protectors in this list and great for entry-level go-kart racers. Because of its lightweight properties and low profile, you barely feel it on your upper body. Moreover, you can easily wear it underneath a go-kart racing suit.

This protective vest is fully CE certified and is made using Forcefield’s in-house Nitrex Evo, which is a high-tech shock-absorbing material. Its lightweight foam helps to absorb and distribute shocks evenly. This suit also features multiple vents and air channels that promote the inflow of air while racing. 

The Forcefield Elite is secured around your body by fastening the 4 elasticated harnesses using Velcro strips. Alternatively, they can also be removed if you are wearing it inside a racing suit. However, I always recommend wearing the vest with harnesses fastened. 

 

Criteria Rating

Fabric 90%
Features 80%
Comfort 85%
Build Quality 90%

Overall Rating

86%

VERY GOOD!

7

K1 Race Gear Pro-Lite

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Well-padded material
  • 9 different sizes
  • No buckle mechanism

Brand
K1 Race Gear

Fabric
Blend

Fastening
Velcro

Adjustable
Yes

Weight
1.04 lbs

Sizes
9

The K1 Race Gear Pro-Lite is basic go-karting rib protector that has an inner lining made of foam mesh and an outer hydro-foam rib barrier for extra protection on the race track. 

The Jumbolon sheets that are underneath the padding provide extra comfort. With a weight of 1.04 lbs (472 g) this rib vest is extremely light and you won’t feel it bothering you while you race. This is very useful, as go-kart racing with uncomfortable gear can very quickly wear you out. 

The Pro-Lite features an elasticated band for a customized fit. The circumference is not adjustable, but the elastic band should be sufficient since this rib protector comes in 9 different sizes. The height of the vest is adjustable using the two D-ring straps. This will ensure that the vest is comfortable and securely wrapped around your body.

Criteria Rating

Fabric 85%
Features 85%
Comfort 80%
Build Quality 90%

Overall Rating

85%

VERY GOOD!

Buying Guide: How to Choose Go-Kart Racing Rib Protectors

There are many go-kart racing rib protectors on the market and each one has their respective benefits. Some tend to have a superior build quality, others have a multi-purpose functionality and some even features premium material selection. 

As safety in go-kart racing is always a priority it’s important to fully understand what kind of rib protector is most suitable for you. The following section is dedicated to explaining the most important aspects of rib protectors. Specifically, this buyer’s guide will deep dive and explain the function, comfort, fabrics and materials, closure systems, features, design and price. Let’s dive in!

Function

An important thing to note is that a rib protector can also function as a go-kart racing chest protector depending on the shape and features of the vest. Some rib vests also protect the lower back, which can be beneficial if your kart has a low or hard seat. 

Ensure that you understand what function this vest is for. After having decided on the function that it should serve for you, can you decide what type of protective karting vest you should go for. Essentially, these vests aim to protector your chest, sternum, ribs cage and lower back, or a combination of these.

Comfort

Nothing is more irritating that wearing something uncomfortable during a go-kart race. It can decrease your overall performance, take your eyes off the track and even make you lose focus, which increases risk for potential collisions. Keeping that in mind, it’s really important to wear something that feels comfortable.

Most go-karting rib protectors have padded interiors and adjustable straps so that you can customize the fit for your body type. The vests in this list, which I have tested all feel fairly comfortable. Before starting a race, make sure that all your safety gear feels comfortable and not bothersome. If it doesn’t you should get something more suitable. 

Fabric

The fabric used in go-kart racing rib protectors is very important, as they have various properties that can help protect you in the event of an impact. For example, Cordura has a high abrasion resistance and is commonly used in more premium and high-quality vests. It’s robust and protects the inner material of the vest. 

Kevlar vests are also used in high-quality rib protectors. This fabric is quite expensive and is known to be highly durable, which is excellent for karting. There are also manufacturers that use their own blend, such as DRI-M or Nitrix that are known to be strong and resistant. Proprietary blends are more commonly seen in vests that serve a multi-purpose function. This means they can either be used for go-karting or for other activities. 

I personally go for rib protectors that are made from Cordura, due to their abrasive properties and the fact that this material is also commonly used in other go-kart racing gear. 

Cordura Rib Protectors

  • Highly durable and robust
  • Patented material by DuPont
  • Highly abrasive-resistant
  • Used in high-quality vests

Kevlar Rib Protectors

  • Highly durable and robust
  • Patented material by DuPont
  • Relatively expensive
  • Used in high-quality vests
blended fabric go-karting rib protector

Blended Rib Protectors

  • Proprietary material blend
  • Combinations of materials
  • Multi-purpose functionality
  • Used in all kind of vests

Closure

Velcro straps have a hook and loop side that bind together upon closure. This helps to keep the rib protector secured. Velcro systems are easier to adjust as you can simply open and close the straps. Getting the same adjustment lengths may be difficult as you have to align the straps each time you close them. 

Buckle mechanisms consist of a male and female component. The male part has a rod and two prods, whereby the female part has two open sides that the male rods spring into. These buckles are usually made out of durable plastic and are very secure. It also ensures that rib protector always keeps the same length settings. 

D-ring straps feature a D-shaped ring and a strap that goes in and around the ring to tightly fasten the rib protector. While the D-ring straps are convenient, you’ll need to set the length adjustments each time you wear your rib vest. This may be inconvenient at times, but they are very secure and shouldn’t come loose. 

Features

The main aim of a rib protector is to protect your rib cage by absorbing and distributing shock in case of a collision with another kart or an object. However, certain go-kart rib vests have additional features that you may want to consider. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Additional Protector Features

  • Chest & sternum protection
  • Foam-padded interior
  • Adjustable length
  • Perforated ventilation
  • Heavy-duty materials
  • Lightweight components
  • Wearable under a racing suit
velcro go-kart vest
Rib protector with velcro closure
go-kart vest with perforated ventilation
perforated ventilation

Price

Go-kart racing rib protectors are priced between $80 to $140. Considering that these ribs vests protect your lower body, it’s a reasonably price to pay for increased safety. Of course, there are different grades of karting rib vests that are priced according to the fabrics used, their build quality and several other features. 

At the end of the day, get a rib protector at a price range that you are comfortable with and that fits your go-karting needs. Pricing levels look something like this:

  • Entry-Level Rib Protector: around $80 to $100
  • Mid-Range Rib Protector: around $100 to $120
  • Premium Rib Protector: around $120 to 140

Design

The design of go-karting rib protectors is fairly simple and usually come in only one color variant. The colors usually include, white, black, grey or silver and are all shaped similarly. Some rib vests even feature a carbon fiber or mesh design which gives it a very sporty look. Pick something that suits you. For karting rib protectors, design to me is secondary, as its main purpose is to protect your ribs and chest. 

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions around go-kart racing rib protectors. If you have more questions, please feel free to get in touch and I will add them accordingly. 

Question: How Do I Wash My Rib Protector?

Washing your go-kart rib protector is simple, as it isn’t bulky or hard and fits in the washing machine. You first want to remove any soil, oil and grease stains with a dry-cleaning solvent or multi-surface fabric cleaner, which you then rinse off with water. 

After that, you can simply put it into your washing machine on a regular speed setting with a cold-water cycle. In general, avoid harsh chemicals, bleaches or alcohol-based cleaners. Remember not to put it into a dryer. 

Question: How Do I Know What My Rib Vest Size Is?

On the actual product page, you’ll be able to see the different sizes available for each karting rib protector.  Please remember that you should always check out the manufacturer’s sizing guide. The sizing guide will indicate the exact body measurements for reference. 

Question: How Do I Wear a Go-Kart Racing Rib Protector?

Wearing a go-kart rib protector is very easy. Simply slip the vest on, followed by closing the Velcro, D-ring strap or buckle. Once the vest has been closed, you can adjust the shoulder straps to ensure that it firmly wraps around your body. If the shoulder straps are inconveniently placed and out of reach, simply unbuckle the vest, adjust the shoulder length and slip it on again. 

It’s best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that you strap the rib vest on the right way. Usually, the buckle is on the front, as it’s uncomfortable leaning against it with your back. 

Conclusion

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this list of best go-kart rib protectors and the buyer’s guide. The goal of this article is to give you as much information as possible, in order for you to make a well-informed purchase decisions. If you have any feedback or questions, please leave a comment or get in touch.

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