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Tkart magazine

The Expert Advices | Tricks and advice for the correct use of the rib protector

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26 November 2019

After the helmet, the rib protector is the must-have accessory for every driver. Its task is to protect the body from the strong stresses transmitted during the driving of a kart, especially when it comes to high performance racing karts, as a rib injury can cause several weeks of no driving. Therefore, choosing the right rib protector is an operation that should not be underestimated. With the help of Alessandro Begnozzi, owner of the company Bengio, specializing in safety products for karts, let us find out how to correctly choose and use the rib protector.

1 A kart’s seat is uncomfortable. Can the driver’s comfort be improved?

The preparation of the kart seat varies from driver to driver. There are those who insert foam rubber on the sides, others who use air cushions. Few, however, pay attention to the fastening of the seat to the chassis. My advice in this regard is to use flat bolts, less protruding than the standard version and, therefore, less bothersome. Then, to increase comfort, I suggest inserting ergonomic pads made of rubber material which absorb shocks, especially when the kart “jumps” on the track’s curbs. In general, the use of flat bolts allows you to insert a lower thickness rubber foam on the sides of the seat, thus improving the driving feeling.


2 Is the seat size important?

The seat is one of the most important elements to define the best driving position, as well as having a fundamental role in the balance of the kart. In this case too, the choice of the seat model varies according to the preferences of the driver, yet what does not change is checking the space at the height of the rib protector to get a seat of the right size. It is necessary to avoid for the seat to be too wide so as not to have too much lateral movement while, at the same time, a seat that is too narrow would drastically decrease the driving comfort. As a practical reference, we can say that when you try a new seat, without a suit and rib protector, you need about 1.5 cm of space on the right and left sides, a necessary measure to be able to wear a suit and rib protector with the relative pads to cover the bolts. Of course, the size varies depending on the model of rib protector and whether or not the sponges are inserted on the sides of the seat.

3 How do you choose the correct size of the rib protector?

To ensure the correct use of the rib protector, it is essential to choose the right size. Simply measure the chest just below the nipples, check the measurement on the manufacturer’s size chart and proceed to the purchase. If the purchase takes place in the store, you can try it on and remove any doubts. Be careful, though, as drivers often make the mistake of trying the rib protector while standing, which does not provide the correct fit. The  rib protector should be tested while sitting, even better if in the driving position so as to adjust the straps and the closure in the exact way to check the size. Some drivers prefer to eliminate the shoulder straps, a solution that we at Bengio do not recommend, as the straps allow the rib protector to remain in the position defined at the start. Without them, the protector tends to slide and, if the seat is slightly wider, it can rotate especially when driving a KZ kart where the driver moves his arm to change gears.

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