WHAT IS IT? The second generation of the Omega neck brace, with several key refinements aimed at personalization and increased absorption.
WHAT’S IT COST? $299.99.
CONTACT? www.omegabrace.com or (661) 775-0571.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Omega X1 neck brace.
(1) Safety. The Omega X1 is similar to the Leatt and Alpinestars neck braces in that all three are designed to absorb, transfer and disperse a heavy load away from the rider’s neck and into other areas of the body. Where the Omega X1 differs is in its frame design. The front of the Omega brace is open, so that the load path doesn’t transfer to the sternum. Instead, the brace distributes the load to the pectoral and trapezoid muscles. While transferring the energy caused by a crash is part of the equation, the Omega shines in absorbing midsize impacts, thanks to the softer frame design and leaf spring system.
(2) Updates. The MXA wrecking crew was satisfied with the original Omega neck brace (it received four stars), but we had three qualms. (a) The strap system was rather complicated, and the mounting attachments had a tendency to slip off the chest strap. Omega went back to the drawing board and created a snap-style mounting system that was simplistic and effective. (b) MXA test riders suggested that Omega should add in a leaf spring-style bumper system under the leaf spring wings to offer more control over flex. The idea didn’t fall on deaf ears. Omega created snap-in plastic bumpers exactly where we wanted them. So, riders now have the ability to customize the flex and height of the brace. (c) The look of the brace was decent, but boring. Omega redesigned their logo and added graphics to the foam padding and top of the brace. Much nicer.
(3) Fitting. The Omega X1 frame doesn’t sit on your body. Instead, the wide seat belt-style web material rests on the area from your shoulders to your chest. We like this concept, as opposed to having a rigid frame sitting directly on top of your shoulders. The structural design makes the Omega brace very comfortable to wear. The only complaint was that failing to attain the proper adjustment yielded a brace that rotated too far forward. Make sure to play with the adjustment straps until you find the proper fit.
(4) Mounting. Every rider was satisfied with the new mounting strap system. The straps didn’t bind or bunch, and the brace remained in place over jumps and rough straight-aways. Those riders who prefer wearing a chest protector shouldn’t fret about fitment issues. The Omega X1 worked in conjunction with many of the same chest protectors that a Leatt or Alpinestars would.
(5) Protection. Neck braces are the brave new world of protection devices?and the Omega is the first neck brace that really addresses the issues of fit, comfort and sleekness. It is the least obtrusive. It is designed to help keep crash loads off your sternum and spine. It is very light. It depends on both suspension bridge and alternate load path principles to divert energy. It is in many ways a neck brace for riders who don’t like neck braces. It should be noted that neck braces are designed to protect your neck from catastrophic injury. They aren’t designed to do anything else.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? The plastic leaf spring booster bumpers had a tendency to fall out if they weren’t snapped in securely. Also, you need to practice patience when adjusting the Omega brace, as it could take several riding sessions before finding the perfect strap setup.
We are proponents of neck safety, but we aren’t forensic scientists. What we do know is that the Omega X1 brace takes a different approach, focusing on both absorption and alternate-load-path protection. It bridges the gap between two different trains of thought well enough to gain a following among MXA test riders.