Neck Braces: Why the Alpinestars BNS is Best is part one of my five part series on why each brand of neck brace is the best. In this story I’ll focus on the things Alpinestars has done that make their neck brace appear to be the best. Atlas, EVS, Leatt and Moveo will all have their own version of this story.
Alpinestars is a huge company. They have made a name for themselves through developing protective equipment for multiple sports. Alpinestars can’t create things just to make money that could be more dangerous to potential users due to the possibility of a lawsuit or a black eye destroying their whole company. Could you imagine how horrible it would be for a company that’s main business is selling protective equipment to be exposed for selling a product that doesn’t work at all or is potentially dangerous to the user? I’m sure they took the time to research and develop their Bionic Neck Support and wouldn’t have released it had it not offered any protection value. For Alpinestars it wouldn’t be worth the liability to sell something that does nothing or could lead to additional injury. They have no cashflow issues with how much clothes they sell at the mall, protective stuff they already offer for mx and protective stuff they offer for other sports. I’m sure Alpinestars wants to make more money, but they wouldn’t do so at the risk of ruining the huge company they have already created.
Alpinestars and Leatt are pushing the sport’s protective gear standards to a new level starting with their neck braces. From there each company introduced chest protectors and upper body suits to work with their neck braces, then knee and elbow protection. All of the protective gear each company has released appears to be as good as or better than anything on the market.
Alpinestars BNS Development & Design
Alpinestars used computer simulations and data from cadaver testing to develop the BNS. The use of cadaver testing seems like a great idea, what better than an actual human body to protect a protective device. You can tell how much testing Alpinestars has put into developing their neck brace when reading the owners manual that comes with the BNS. They show graphs that compare neck brace vs no neck brace, how effective it is with different gaps between your helmet and the brace at the time of impact, an illustration that shows how the alternate load path works vs no neck brace and foam neck roll and more.
Alpinestars believes the most common cause of catastrophic neck injury is axial loading, in their user manual they describe it like this:
Research illustrates that injuries are most likely to occur in accidents wherethe rider lands upside down on the top of their head, whereby the weight of thei body traumatically compresses their neck.
The BNS provides an alternative load path when your helmet contacts the brace and diverts energy away from your neck and into the BNS. The BNS is designed to then direct that energy away from your spine and into your chest, back and shoulder muscles. The rear stabilizer features what Alpinestars calls “Progressive Force Relief” which gradually absorbs energy by flexing and eventually breaking if with enough force, protecting your back. Compressed foam that sits on your body deforms with pressure and disperses energy over a large area to help prevent other injuries. Alpinestars believes that their rigid design spreads the energy load through a larger area upon impact vs soft neck protection.
The most important thing to know – the closer the rim of your helmet is to the BNS in the event of a crash, the more benefit the BNS will offer. The best case scenario is that you are able to get your helmet in contact with the BNS before hitting the ground.
Alpinestars BNS User Manual
I talked above about how detailed this is, decided to share it with you – very interesting to read.
If you did not understand any of the terminology in the manual or above, make sure to check out Neck Braces: Definitions
Alpinestars BNS Product Video
Additional resources for more information on Alpinestars BNS
Alpinestars used to have a bunch of info on their website about neck injuries. Unfortunately the page no longer exists, this really limited the scope of this particular story.
Alpinestars BNS Features
- CE 89/686/EEC Categorry II personal protective equipment
- Structural integrity and frame strength against heavy impact energies during crash
- Lightweight performance and comfort while riding.
- Resilience to low temperatures, below 0°C.
- A highly customizable, secure and personalized fit
- SAS (size adapter system) for a versatile fitment in size ranges XS-M and L-XL.
- Lycra-laminated foam padding kits: adaptable and interchangeable EVA foam pads allow which also aid compatibility with other body protection systems.
- Strap System: Allows a small, light strap worn over or under the jersey.
- Bio-organic engineering design for superb ergonomics
- Rear stabilizer promotes PFR (Progressive Force Relief) and dissipates extreme energy loads by transmitting them across the back and shoulders and away from spine (thoracic vertebrae), and is connected to the frames via a pivot key for convenient dismantling.
- Frame construction promotes improved contact with helmet during impact and instantaneous load channeling – including rear support edge that fits closer to the body, extra width to account for different helmet sizes and raised chest to avoid hyper-flexion injuries.
- Innovative quick-release locking closure system for rapid and efficient fitting/removal offers highly secure and convenient attachment.
- Compressed EVA foam compound padding to distribute the impact force over the widest area, yet remain lightweight.
Why the Alpinstars BNS is the best neck brace on the market right now
Alpinestars is such a large company with so much money and so many resources at their disposal you know when beginning to develop the BNS they had a nearly unlimited r&d budget. Alpinestars does a great job of showing how the brace works and explaining in what situations it can help protect your neck in the user manual that comes with the BNS. It does a great job of explaining the BNS’s limitations, strong points and how to get the most protection out of the BNS.
This is part 1 of a 5 part series (and the rest have a lot more info than this one) on why each brand of neck brace is the best, you will be able to read future articles here.