Recently I had a brief email exchange with Ken Smith, editor of Australia-based VMX Magazine regarding the problems neck brace wearers have integrating other forms of protective gear. As Ken pointed out, everything from the bottom profile of your helmet to the shape of your chest protector/body armor can affect the way the neck brace works. Or doesn’t work.
Many of us who have opted to wear a neck device have had to hack up our body armor or settle for a skimpy chest protector. That’s a choice I don’t want to have to make. This morning I was browsing the magazine rack at the local Barnes & Noble store and just happened to pickup the 10APR2010 issue of UK-based MotoX magazine. While thumbing through the pages I saw a blurb about some new AlpineStars body armor designed specifically to integrate with the AlpineStars Bionic Neck Support (BNS) and other neck devices.
According to the blurb AlpineStars has recognized the frustration of riders who don’t want to be forced to choose between torso protection and neck protection. They’re working hard to promote the use of BNS and have introduced a series of body armor to fit with neck devices.
The lineup includes the full coverage Bionic 2 Jacket for BNS (approximately $300,) the more conventional MX racer-style A-10 Chest Protector (which includes back coverage and retails for approximately $200,) and a lightweight foam pad MX Tactic BNS Vest (approximately $60) for those who just want to make a nod toward protection with a little more padding.
All three should integrate with most neck devices but are specifically designed to work the BNS and have removable panels where required to accommodate the rear cervical support and a wider neck opening to accept the BNS shoulder supports.
The Bionic Jacket 2 is the full armor version, including arms and elbow protection. The A-10 is more of a shell incorporating removable front and back panels to work with the BNS.
The Bionic 2 Jacket and the A-10 do not appear to be available yet in the US, as the only sales links I could find were in Europe. They don’t even appear on the AlpineStars website yet, but they’re new products and I would expect them in the US soon.