First Impression: Alpinestars’ Bionic Neck Support

PRICE: $679

SIZES: S-M

CONTACT: www.alpinestars.comThe new brace is only available in red/black.

WHAT IT IS

After months of waiting, we finally got our hands on one of Alpinestars’ newest editions to their product line—the Bionic Neck Support. If you pay attention to our site and magazine, you know what proponents of neck braces we are, so without a doubt we couldn’t wait to see what Alpinestars had to offer.The BNS opens using a single buckle on the front. 

Like other neck braces on the market, the BNS is designed to provide an alternate load path in the event of a crash, thereby reducing the risk of neck injury. As for construction, the BNS is made from entirely carbon fiber to increase frame stiffness and lower the weight. But like expected, this did raise the cost of the brace, which is near $700. Perhaps one of the coolest features on, though, is the collarbone preservation system, which is possible due to the continuous member that runs over the shoulders and the buckle on the front of the BNS. There are no pins, screws, or metal sitting directly over the collarbone, and furthermore there is space between the collarbone and brace, allowing the brace to rest above the collarbone. Improving the safety of the brace even further is the pivot key system, which is a magnesium key found at the back of the BNS and allows the entire brace to be easily dismantled into three pieces in the case of an emergency. Lastly, the brace comes standard with what Alpinestars calls the X-Strap system—elastic straps that wrap around you and over hooks on the brace, holding the BNS in the correct position needed for optimal protection. If that system isn’t what you like, though, you can purchase separately a larger A-strap system that works like a traditional chest strap.The pivot key system allows the brace to be easily dismantled in the event of an emergency.

WHAT WE THINK

So far, we have only ridden a few times in the brace; however, our initial impression is a good one. When riding, the BNS feels lightweight and doesn’t hinder our movement at all. The only thing that we did notice, though, was that the rearward movement of the helmet seems to go pretty far back before being stopped by the brace, but again, we only have a short amount of time riding with the BNS, and haven’t tried different helmets to see if the movement is any different. In the event of a crash, we would bet though that the brace would still do its job of stopping the helmet from moving too far backward. Comfort wise, the BNS feels a little less comfortable when sitting on our shoulders than a Leatt Brace, but that is largely due to the different, stiffer foam used by Alpinestars, and once riding, it’s nearly unnoticeable.The BNS is made entirely out of carbon fiber.Every brace comes with its own high-quality bag.

In the time that we have spent using the Alpinestars Bionic Neck Support, we are pretty impressed. Granted the price is a little high—which might drive some consumers away—but for the quality you get, it just might be worth it. We’ll keep you updated on our testing of the new brace, but look out for a full test of it in an upcoming issue of TransWorld Motocross where we’ll bring you a more in-depth review on the much-anticipated BNS.