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The BMW Motorrad Neck Brace System.

Prompted by events in motorcycle rally sports, BMW Motorrad as one of the leading motorcycle manufacturers in the area of innovative safety systems joined forces with KTM Sportmotorcycles to form a research cooperation for the first time in this area. The aim was to develop a scientifically well-founded system which could reduce injury to the neck/cervical spine area. Enduro expert Heinz Kinigadner was also particularly interested in providing support for the project along with his “Wings for Life” foundation. Another partner to joint the innovation team was South African biomedical specialist Dr. Chris Leatt. Based on the existing expertise and using the extensive resources of the BMW Group in the area of simulation technology and accident research, BMW Motorrad created the basis for ensuring the system functioned efficiently.

The main aim of the project was to reduce the risk of injury to the cervical spine area as a result of falls. These are mainly caused by:

  • Distension of the head (over 60% of the cervical spine cases), forwards, backwards and to the side
  • Compression of the spine due to the force of the helmet

What is more, the system was to lower the risk of collarbone fracture caused by the edge of the helmet. The basic idea of development was to decelerate the head in a “controlled” manner and at the same time limit its mobility so that the cervical spine could not be placed at an extreme angle. The mobility of the rider was to remain as free as possible so as not to reduce ride comfort. After intensive development and testing work, BMW now presents the outcome: the BMW Motorrad Neck Brace System, which can be described as a revolution in the motorcycle clothing industry and an ideal supplement to the BMW Motorrad C.A.R.E. program.

The basic principle of the BMW Motorrad Neck Brace System is simple: to intercept the head in a controlled manner when a force is applied to it, thereby prevent it from it from being moved into any dangerous, extreme angle. This is achieved by means of the special design of the BMW Motorrad Neck Brace System in four different ways:

  • Through the use of impact-absorbent material on the surface and body contact area
  • Through the high flexibility of the individual components
  • Through the interplay of a system of moving parts whose surfaces have frictional resistance and thus absorb energy
  • Through the controlled breakage lines which systematically absorb energy in the case of extreme forces being applied

The high degree of effectiveness derives from the fact that the typical force patterns which cause injury are conducted directly from the head to the upper body. The individual segments of the cervical spine are thus relieved.

Since high-quality, light materials such as carbon und Kevlar are used, the BMW Motorrad Neck Brace System is lightweight, which is extremely positive in terms of wear comfort. The head’s freedom of movement is slightly limited on all sides, but this is what prevents the dangerous distension. Nonetheless, all the axes of movement and sight angles required for the full experience of motorcycling are maintained. The rider quickly becomes accustomed and is not bothered by it while travelling. Even on longer tours and at higher speeds or during hard, movement-intensive off-road use, the BMW Motorrad Neck Brace System is hardly perceptible and rests very lightly on the shoulders. The BMW Motorrad Neck Brace System can be put on over or under standard motorcycle jackets. It consists of a front and rear section which are connected by means of two clasps. These robust, easy-to-use clasps allow the system to be closed or opened very quickly from right to left or vice versa. The clasp mechanism also allows convenient one-hand use.

The system was originally developed for motor racing so a number of professional rally and enduro riders already use the neck system, for instance the 2006 Rally World Champion David Casteu, and Cyril Desprès who finished second in the 2006 Paris-Dakar Rally - not to mention HP2 Enduro rider and 2006 Stuntwars winner on the BMW F 800 S, Chris Pfeiffer. But the BMW Motorrad Neck Brace System is not just for off-road sports, it is just the right choice for use on the road, too. There is no general limitation on the target group. The BMW Motorrad Neck Brace System offers every safety-conscious motorcyclist a great safety bonus – from the professional to the beginner, in all motorcycle segments including those outside the sports segment such as touring bikers.

The BMW Motorrad Neck Brace System is available in two sizes: one for children and young people aged from about 5 – 16 or for people of small stature, and one for adults. It is individually adaptable without much modification and is supplied in three different lengths with spacers. The collar can thus be extended or shortened so as to make it fit precisely.

The BMW Motorrad Neck Brace System can be combined with all BMW Motorrad helmets and all the common competitor models. Integral helmets are recommended for use with the BMW Motorrad Neck Brace System, but the system is also effective with jet helmets. Helmets with a very long chin section such as the current enduro and motocross helmets produced by competitors are regarded as less advantageous. The reason for this is that the leverage effect and thus the force applied to the neck or cervical spine is increased in the event of a fall. The Enduro helmet put on the market by BMW Motorrad in 2006 has a very short, almost integral-style chin section for precisely this reason. The system goes well with the BMW Motorrad Back Protector II and many other common back protectors. Worn simply over the jacket, the BMW Motorrad Neck Brace System can be used with every BMW Motorrad jacket or the BMW Motorrad Protector Shirt. The BMW Motorrad Protector Shirt has a mount feature which is designed to fit with the back bar of the neck support. Only superbike riders with a protuberance on their leather suit have to make a small modification. A small opening has to be made between the protuberance and the suit so that the back bar can be slid inside.