It has been just under 12 months since I first took hold of the Atlas Neck Brace thanks to Monza Imports and during that time I have worn the brace on each and every occasion that I have swung my leg over a bike.
I have worn a neck brace since mid 2007, like most people I have never been in a situation where I have had to test the full capabilities of any neck brace and every now and then I do question if they are something that really is needed. From the weekend warrior like myself to the top pros, the Neck Brace has people divided, though I would say from what I have seen the majority of riders out there still run them.
For myself I think it has become a bit of peace of mind thing. A lot like playing lotto with the same numbers each week, you just know that the weekend you forget to put it on will be the weekend your number comes up, in both situations!
As for the Atlas brace itself, in terms of comfort, fit, ease of use and looks, the thing is near faultless.
The first time I rode with the Atlas brace was at the South Australian round of the AORC in 2013. I was getting myself ready for the sight lap and at the last minute realised I had not tried fitting the brace into the roost protection I was wearing, I had not bothered bringing the support straps to wear in case I did not use the armour either!
I did not have time to figure out if the brace was going to fit with my armour or not, so I had a quick decision to make, wear the armour or the brace. After flinging the brace over my head (yes it is that easy to put on the Atlas brace, no pulling apart or undoing anything, just slap it over your head and let it rest on your back, chest and shoulders.) I put my helmet on and went off for my sight lap.
The first thing I noticed about the Atlas brace was that I did not notice it at all! Sure I was pretty consumed by getting over ankle high logs and ensuring that I did not miss a chicken run as to not contend with a knee or hip high log as an Off-Road rookie, but the brace itself was a non thought after putting it on.
At the conclusion of the sight lap, with a million marks across my chest from being whipped by pine tree branches getting the Atlas brace to fit in the One Industries interceptor armour that I was wearing at the time was a must.
The good news was, it took all of 2 seconds to get it to fit! Yep wish I had taken the extra few seconds to try it out before that sight lap. The brace design makes it compatible with most roost protectors. In the past couple of weeks I have started wearing a Scott Commander roost protector which has been designed to be compatible with another brand of neck brace.
The good news is, while the Atlas back supports do not slide into the slot provided, the Atlas brace still slides in under the rear of roost protector and fits comfortably all round.
I have found the Atlas brace just as comfortable to run with or without a body armour / roost protector, and when running without out the armour have not needed to run any support straps to hold it in place.
The brace itself comes with extra padding across the shoulder area to help with fit and two different rear back support off-sets to really help ensure it is comfortable on your body shape.
With three different sizes available in adult sizes along with the adjustable options with-in each brace itself, finding the right size brace is simply a matter of trying a couple on, or heading to the Atlas brace technologies website and use their size guide.
Another handy aspect to the Atlas brace, that I hope I never have to put to the test is the emergency removal system that is in place. While the brace is simply put on and taken off by simply putting it over your head like a helmet, in emergency situations, the brace pulls apart via the removal of one cotter pin and losing a single axle nut.
Nearly every part of the Atlas brace is also replaceable, meaning in the unlikely or unlucky situation where the brace itself is damaged, instead of purchasing a new brace, it is a matter of just replacing any necessary parts.
As for storage and transport, the Atlas brace comes with a handy carry bag, or if you are like myself, I just fold in the rear back supports and lay it flat across the top of my gear bag.
The graphics that come on the brace have stood the test of time with just a few marks where my helmet rubs the top of the shoulder area.
Keeping the Atlas brace clean is as simple as giving it a wipe over with some water every now and then across the top, while the front and rear chest/back supports will take a little more effort with dirt building up inside the ridges.
All in all I have been more than happy with the Atlas Brace, you can't fault a product that sits in your gear bag between each race and you simply throw it on to ride in then slide back in the gear bag afterwards.
What we are Running: Atlas Brace - Original
Australian Distributor: Monza Imports
Top Image: Atlas Brace
Credit Aaryn Minerds
Disclaimer: Monza Imports are a current advertiser with fullnoise.com.au