Gear Spotlight: Necksgen REV

By Bradley Iger

February 18, 2014

If you've been shopping around for a head and neck restraint system, you may have noticed that your options are somewhat limited. HANS brand devices are by far the most common choice, and have become the de facto standard for head and neck restraints as a result. However, a relative newcomer to the market, NecksGen, has recently released the new Necksgen REV, and it offers some very interesting advantages over the HANS design. Let's take a closer look at the REV and see how it compares to a traditional HANS device.
What is it?
If you've been following The Guide to Getting Started in Road Racing, you may have noted in Part 2, which covers safety gear, that an SFI-approved head and neck restraint system is required by most sanctioning bodies, including the SCCA and NASA. So essentially whether you want to or not, you're going to need to pick up a head and neck restraint system if you want to go racing. The HANS brand device has enjoyed a largely uncontested command of the head and neck restraint market for some time, but with the recent introduction of the NecksGen REV, a genuinely viable contender is now available.
What's included?
The NecksGen REV comes with quick-release helmet hardware, anchor posts (to attach the NecksGen to your helmet), a carrying bag for the NecksGen, as well as some schwag in the form of a NecksGen baseball cap, patch and stickers.
The system is available in three sizes (Small/Medium/Large). One particular item of note here is that while the Medium and Large size NecksGen systems will accept 2" and 3" harnesses, the Small size will only allow for 2" harnesses. You can determine the appropriate size for you with this chart.
Things We Like
The first obvious advantage the NecksGen provides over a traditional HANS device is its low-profile design, which provides several distinct advantages.
The NecksGen's lighter weight and lack of frontal yoke mean that putting on your helmet and removing it is a much less arduous process. Additionally, the system's "tension neutralizing" tethers offer bolstered angular and side impact protection.
Another benefit of the system's unique design is significantly improved range of motion - not only forward and backward, but also with a wider degree of left-to-right head rotation as well, allowing for a better field of view while driving.
We also liked the fact that the NecksGen's quick release posts offer a worthwhile alternative to the sliding tether design typically found on HANS brand devices, making separation between the helmet and the restraint easier and quicker - a feature which may come in handy during an emergency situation.
Things We Don't Like
Clearly, the NecksGen system has a lot going for it. But like any new entry into an established paradigm, there are some potential caveats. While the NecksGen has an SFI 38.1 certification, some worry that sanctioning bodies could change their head and neck restraint mandates in the future, potentially making these devices ineligible for use in certain types of racing. While there's no indication that's going to be the case, it is none-the-less a concern for some racers. Also, the NecksGen's lack of FIA certification means it is currently not an option for those planning to use their head and neck restraints with sanctioning bodies that require an FIA-approved device.
Bottom Line
From nearly any perspective, the NecksGen REV's design is an improvement in terms of comfort, safety and range of motion over a traditional HANS device. However, the lack of FIA certification may be a deal breaker for some. But if that's doesn't apply to you, the features and price of the REV make the NecksGen system a very solid alternative to a similar HANS offering.