Atlas Tyke Neck Brace Review

Posted by on Jul 20, 2014 in Reviews | 0 comments

The Atlas Tyke neck brace is designed to protect the youngest motocross riders.

Atlas Brace Technologies makes three different neck braces for motocross use, each one catering to a different age group. In the Atlas Tyke neck brace review we will be covering the smallest of the three, which is designed to protect children from ages 4 – 8 years old.

Atlas set out to make a cutting edge motorcycle neck brace capable of offering greater protection against neck injury with more comfort than ever seen before. Did they succeed?

Cost: MSRP is $199.99 or $209.99 for the Ryan Villopoto Signature edition, (but don’t worry, I’m going to show you where you can get is shipped to your door for $134).

Weight: 490g , 1.1lb

Warranty: Every Atlas Brace comes with a limited lifetime warranty against breakage for the original buyer.

In The Box: Tyke Neck Brace, Chest Strap, Carrying Bag, Owners Manual

Overall Rank: 9 out of 10

Size: Generally speaking the Tyke is designed for 4 – 8 year olds, but that’s more of a guideline. Chest size is the true indicator. A chest circumference of 24″ – 28″ is needed for this brace to fit well. When measuring your child start high on the chest, go just under the arms, and all the way around the back. Anywhere in the 24″ – 28″ range and you’re good. Any bigger than that and you’ll want to move up to the Atlas Prodigy instead.

The Atlas Tyke neck braces keeps kids safe while they ride dirt bikes.

Atlas Tyke Neck Brace Overview

The Tyke is a miniaturized version of the adult model, and includes many of the same great features that made the larger one a huge success. Atlas’ Original brace was the result of extensive R&D, culminating in an innovative design with many never before seen features. So they already had the blueprint. They just needed to shrink it down, and give it designs and colors that would resonate with kids.

The guiding philosophies behind the Atlas brace’ design are flexibility and simplicity, and this can be seen throughout the brace. The flexibility lends itself not only to comfort, but also protection. The flexible design begins in the chassis itself, which is made from hardened plastics specifically chosen for their ability to be a solid mass yet still deliver the most effective level of flexibility as determined by neck brace testing.

The main idea being that the brace should absorb a portion of the initial impact force before dissipating the remaining energy to more carefully selected surrounding areas of the body. This characteristic, which Atlas refers to as “engineered flexibility”, slows the head down first, as opposed to other rigid frame models which stop the head abruptly.

Take a peek at the front of the brace and you’ll see the flexibility theme in action with the Atlas “neck brace suspension system.”

The Atlas Tyke neck brace has rotating chest supports which allow the brace to sit evenly on the riders chest.

Dual chest support struts rotate independently to allow the brace to sit evenly on the chest. Atlas chose to use two supports on the chest instead of one on the sternum, as some riders have suffered fractured sternums while wearing braces that use a single chest plate design.

The Tyke youth neck brace by Atlas features dual independently rotating chest supports which are also flexible.

In addition to spreading out the impact force over a broader area, the dual supports are tipped with soft rubberized padding to provide further energy absorption before transferring the remaining load onto the chest muscles. The soft rubber padding also serves as a comfortable connection between the brace and body during every day use. And grips the jersey quite nicely too, which helps the brace to stay in place.

Another fairly nice feature found at the front of the brace is the entry – exit point / emergency release button. I say it’s only fairly nice, because, although very simple, it’s probably not quite easy enough for most small children.

It takes a little bit of coordination to pull the brace apart and press the button at the same time. But worse than that is the amount of finger strength needed to get an effective button press. Putting the brace on is a snap. But your kid might need your help to take it off.

Rotate the brace 180 degrees and take notice of the next bit of genius construction. Well, to be perfectly honest with you I’m not too sure it’s really genius. It’s more likely a result of the fact that the Leatt Brace was out for a few years prior to the Atlas Brace. This gave the Atlas Brace engineers a huge advantage, as they were able hear many of the complaints people were having with the Leatt before designing their brace.

In any case, an innovation has been made to the back support. Rather than diverting crash energies directly onto the spine, (quite possibly not a very good idea), the Atlas Tyke straddles the spine.

The Tyke's rear supports straddle the spine for increased rider safety.

Two generously sized back supports spread impact forces over a much broader field, thereby reducing pressure points in this critical area. Once again the supports have built in flexibility and are lined with the same impact absorbing padding as on the front of the brace. Oh! Another thing about the Atlas padding I almost forgot to tell you about. It doesn’t absorb sweat, water, and dirt the way foam does. This gel-like substance keeps the brace looking like new because it can’t be stained by dirt. And it won’t gain any water weight either since it’s also water proof.

Each back support attaches to the brace by way of a CNC machined aluminum axle block, which pivots on its own axle. The isolated axles are an integral part of yet another excellent innovation, the split back design.

This youth neck brace has a split back design which gives the brace a lot of flexibility.The split design adds a ton of flexibility to the brace! And I believe it’s the main reason so many people are saying that the Atlas Brace is the most comfortable neck brace on the market. With each side free to move up and down on its own the brace is better able to conform to whatever body position you throw at it, making for a less restrictive feeling. And the fact that it does this without sacrificing much needed strength during a crash is impressive.

My First Impressions

The instant I took it out of the box I was like…Yep!…this thing is nice! The weight of it, the feel of the padding, the way the supports pivot and flex…every inch of it is high quality. I could hardly wait to put in on with my helmet and check out the range of motion. I’ve been riding with a Leatt for about a year or so before I bought this one and I was hoping the Atlas would feel less restrictive. It did!

*I should point out that the Leatt I’m referring to is the old model. I have not tested the new one yet.

I could now turn my head to the left and right with ease, even while shrugging my shoulders a little. As I suspected, the height of the Leatt was too much. I also felt like the Leatt restricted my ability to look down the track. So, with my Atlas brace and helmet still on, I assumed the attack position, then I looked up, and.….thud! The range of motion was better, so I was happy about that. But I was a little bothered by the sound it made when contacting the helmet.

Now to see if it fits with my chest protector. Bingo! It took a couple tries to figure out, but it ended up being a perfect fit. Plus I realized that the brace was now sitting on my shoulders more evenly, (not pulled forward, raising the backside). This gave me a little more range of motion to look further up before contacting the brace.

At The Track

Already feeling quite satisfied with my purchase, I pulled my new neck brace out of my gear bag to show it off to my riding buddies. They both shared my first impression, a nearly instant approval, and agreement that it was a quality piece of equipment.

And now, without further ado, the test drive. As I wait in the starting area for my turn on the track I banged my helmet off the brace a few times so I could here that noise again. It wasn’t nearly as annoying as before, since it was being drowned out by the noise from my dirt bike. But I still wondered if I could get used to that.

Well, it only took a few laps to realize that I really had something here. I barely even noticed the brace at all! Except for this one step up jump where I did hear and feel the brace a little. But it wasn’t too bad. And it was completely unnoticeable everywhere else. Awesome!

I don’t know if maybe I was exaggerating my head movements during my initial test in my bedroom. Or maybe I just didn’t have the brace sitting on my shoulders correctly. But, for some reason or another, the brace and helmet were not making contact much while on the track.

As far as the straps go, I greatly preferred having them on. I thought it was more comfortable that way. Plus I like knowing the brace will be in the right position even if I’m flopping around in a bad crash. But I know some people don’t like using the straps. If that sounds like you then you’re really going to like the Atlas, because the weight of the brace, and the super grippy padding keep it in place really well.

The Atlas Tyke brace rear supports fold in for easy storage and transport.Getting The Right Fit

Ideally you could try on a few different braces in your area before buying one, but not too many people live near major dirt bike gear distributors. Fortunately Atlas does a nice job of incorporating adjustability into their neck brace. As long as you measure your child’s chest size as mentioned in the beginning of this article, and select the Tyke, Prodigy, or Original accordingly, then you should have no problem getting a proper fit.

The rotating chest supports enable the brace to fit a variety of torso thickness’. And the rear support mounts have reversible inserts allowing users to further tweak the size.

The Atlas Tyke youth neck brace has reversible rear support inserts making the brace able to fit a variety of torso sizes.

If you have a thicker chest and/or back then just flip the inserts around to move the supports backward some. This feature also helps you to get more use out of your brace as it also allows for growing room.

Conclusion

Overall I’m very happy with the Atlas brace, and I’d recommend it to almost anyone. However, if you ride up steep hills than you will probably find this brace, or any neck brace, to be too restrictive.

Although no device can guarantee your child’s safety the Atlas Tyke youth neck brace is a cutting edge piece of safety equipment designed to lower the risk of injury and lessen the severity of injuries to the cervical spine. I know, I know, a neck brace is yet another expense, and they’re certainly not cheap. But think about what your getting for your money….

  • Top-of-the-line protection for perhaps the most critical area of child’s body.
  • The peace of mind that comes when you know you’ve taken every possible precaution to protect your kid while he rides.

Please feel free to share any comments, or ask any questions you may have about the Atlas Tyke below.

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