The Atlas neck brace – your flexible friend!

Neck braces are normally super-stiff but Atlas have taken a completely different tack with theirs. Touted as the world’s first non-rigid brace, it’s been designed to flex. The outcome is a comfier fit and less restrictive feel.

The million dollar question is how this affects the level of protection on offer. Atlas say they carry out the most stringent real-world testing of all the US manufacturers and that it meets all the relevant European standards too.

There are no clasps to undo – instead you pop the brace straight over your head. It can still be removed safely in the event of a crash though, thanks to its tool-free Emergency Release System – a thumbwheel on the left-hand side which once undone, allows the brace to be split into two parts.

Atlas’s ‘3-Axis’ adjustment provides a snug fit (you can alter the length by swapping rear offsets, the height by adding or removing shoulder padding, and the width with an aftermarket ‘wide body kit’), in conjunction with the pivoting twin chest and back plates. Chest straps (not pictured) hold the brace in place.

Seen here is the Atlas Original, which costs $299.99 / £249.99. Don’t worry if the bright green finish clashes with your kit – there’s a choice of seven colours. Children’s and youth versions are also available, and a pricier carbon version is due to hit shops in the new year. More info at http://atlasbrace.com and www.decade-europe.com.

To put it on, you simply lower the Atlas brace over your head. Picture by James Costley-White

To put it on, you simply lower the Atlas brace over your head

The twin chest and back plates sit either side of your spine and sternum, to redirect impacts away from these areas. Picture by James Costley-White

The twin chest and back plates sit either side of your spine and sternum, to redirect impacts away from these areas

Atlas say leaving the back of the brace open allows it to flex and hug your body in the event of a crash. Picture by James Costley-White

Atlas say leaving the back of the brace open allows it to flex and hug your body in the event of a crash

The chest and back plates pivot, so they adjust to your body shape. The larger rear ones can be folded flat for storage. Picture by James Costley-White

The chest and back plates pivot, so they adjust to your body shape. The larger rear ones can be folded flat for storage

These switchable inserts allow you to tailor the fit of the rear of the brace. Picture by James Costley-White

These switchable inserts allow you to tailor the length of the brace

The padding is waterproof and is designed to help disperse impact energy before it hits the body. Picture by James Costley-White

The padding is waterproof and is made from a 'custom engineered material' designed to help disperse impact energy

The brace is supplied with a second layer of padding. Picture by James Costley-White

The brace is supplied with a second layer of shoulder padding

This can be clipped in to raise the height of the brace and tailor the fit. Picture by James Costley-White

This can be clipped in to raise the height of the brace and tailor the fit

Remove this split pin and unscrew the thumbwheel and the brace splits in two so it can be removed easily in the event of a crash. Picture by James Costley-White

Remove this split pin and unscrew the thumbwheel and the brace splits in two so it can be removed by paramedics

Dismantling the brace in this way takes just a couple of seconds. Picture by James Costley-White

Dismantling the brace in this way takes just a couple of seconds

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