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Schroth SHR Flex Frontal Head Restraint In-Depth Review

Posted on: Apr 18, 2016 | Author: DiscoveryParts_Ron Zappendorf | Categories: New Products

DiscoveryParts gets the long awaited Schroth SHR Flex Frontal Head Restraint for an in-depth review. Let's learn about the most innovative SFI 38.1 restraint since the introduction of the HANS Device.

Schroth SHR Flex Frontal Head Restraint In-Depth Review

SCHROTH SHR FLEX PROTOTYPE DELIVERED TO DISCOVERYPARTS FOR REVIEW

Back 2 years ago we were shown a prototype frontal neck restraint from the masters of auto racing harnesses, Schroth. At first sight it looks a little like something old and something new. Some features we have seen before like the basic Hans style that has been the industry standard for many, many years but, there are features we haven't seen before. As I approached a very busy display table at the Schroth Racing booth at the 2014 PRI trade show, there was quite a variety of people waiting to get their hands on an almost universal fitting SFI 38.1 frontal neck restraint, the Schroth SHR Flex. The crowd was big and loud.

Now it was finally my time to not only see but put my hands on the new neck restraint device that has a never before seen articulating pivot point. The design is claimed to “not only improve comfort, but to load a greater surface area on the driver's chest upon high g impacts,” states the employee working the Schroth booth. The device is handed to me. I finally put my hands on what seems to be lighter than the current model Hans Sport 2 by grabbing the leg of the device. The rest of the device kind of flops, or droops a little if you will.

This makes me think of some of the home grown aero devices I have seen put on race, time attack and, unfortunately, some street cars. Having a background in aviation maintenance for many years with one of the big 3, I think some of those aero devices on those cars were created by a genius or someone far from it. I am holding the same opinion now about this device, so it is time for me to get educated.

UNBOXING:

Fast forward to today and first up we got to get this thing out of the box. Our device is a final prototype and while it is the same design, mold, and accessory kit of the final SFI 38.1 approved piece, it is not a final production piece like the one found here, but is the same. The outer boxing, being a prototype, comes as a plain brown cardboard box.

Inside, after cracking it open, you will find a pretty awesome string bag with a large Schroth SHR (Schroth Head Restraint) Flex logo on it. The bag is a nice touch, and anything to keep a racer organized is a great help.

Inside the pretty cool sling bag is a layer of bubble wrap in the form of a pillowcase style bag containing the device and 2 helmet anchors.

And that’s it. Nothing else is needed (not including your car).  

Installation & Configuration:

All SA2015 helmets and most of the good SA2010 helmets are designed and ready for SFI 38.1 neck restraint anchors by having a 6mm threaded nut/plate/anchor installed for you.

I decided to use my carbon fiber forced air helmet for the test. It is an old favorite and has many, many NASA-SE enduro laps on it. Even a few podiums and season championships. Like I stated, an old favorite.
 
My current Hans Device is an older model Pro Medium 20°, so I must remove the Hans Post Anchor.
 
 
This helmet did not have a built in 6mm nut plate, so I used a flat wrench to hold the nut plate and I used a normal allen wrench to remove the center bolt of the Hans post anchor.
 
 
It comes out just as easily as it goes in. I use the same allen wrench (nice work here Schroth) and install the Schroth Flex Anchor.
 
As you can see, the anchor has a channel that the teather must align to in order to connect. This is a safety feature to prevent accidental disengagement, whether in the pits during a fast driver change or in a multiple impact. On the window net side of the helmet, the notch is installed in a 2 o'clock position. On the Shifter side it is in a 10 o'clock position.
 
 
I connect the metal buckle from the device tether (I use the sample metal piece) to the anchor by lining up the groove of the buckle with the slot. I push in and rotate. That's it. You are ready to go after repeating on the other side.
 
 
Once installed, there is a range of movement from about the 2 o'clock position rotating to about the 5 o'clock position. This is to automatically adjust as spine/neck angles change as you go forward in the harness in an impact. This is pretty simple.
 
 
 
This is what a properly connected Schroth SHR Flex should look like. Small and compact and should not get caught up in a head containment seat as it is pretty sleek with no sharp edges.
 
 

WHAT MAKES THE SCHROTH SHR FLEX DIFFERENT?

Other companies who make devices designed to work with different seat angles, either because of the driver's body shape or vehicle type, make different angle or adjustable devices. The biggest adjustable competitor of the Schroth SHR Flex is the Hans Adjustable. The angles can be changed on the Hans Adjustable device by unbolting and repositioning the legs to the collar piece. Angles that are attainable are 10° for sprint cars to 40° for very “lay back” formula cars.

As you can see from the above photo, the Schroth SHR Flex is articulating to keep a greater amount of surface area of the arms in contact with the drivers chest for not only safety, but comfort.

The photo below shows both arms in the same (40°) position

The photo below shows the range of movement available, The closest arm is about 10° and the farthest arm is 40°

To have a controlled rate of movement of the arms to the collar, there are rubber type "bump stops" at the limit of travel. These are the red pieces shown below. The left bump-stop is compressed and the right bump-stop is in a natural state.

 

SCHROTH SHR FLEX VS THE WORLD

Weigh:

First up, how much does this thing weigh? To keep everything fair, we chose all medium size devices. We weighed the devices with the tethers installed and pads (if any) also installed. This is as true to real race weight as you can get for a neck restraint. Other competitors have full carbon fiber devices to save weight, so we weigh the Schroth Flex SHR device and it comes in at 1.90 lbs then add 0.30lbs for the 2 anchors.  

How about the weights of other competing devices? No problem. Here are the Hans Sport 2, Hans III, Hans Adjustable, Hans Pro Ultra, Hans Pro Ultra Lite and NecksGen Rev 2/3.

 

 

 

 

 

 Weight Summary:

  • Hans Adjustable: 2.50 lbs
  • Hans Sport 2: 2.20 lbs
  • Schroth SHR Flex: 1.90lbs
  • Hans III: 1.70 lbs
  • NecksGen Rev: 1.50 lbs
  • Hans Pro Ultra: 1.50 lbs
  • Hans Pro Ultra Lite: 1.30 lbs
Above is what we find when we put all the devices on the scale. Like I stated earlier, these are "as raced in" weights using one of our shipping scales. Can the scale be .10 lbs off? Maybe, but then they would all be off 0.10 lbs. Hopefully you do not feel that the weight of a neck device is what is keeping you from the top of the podium.

Market Comparison:

If you are like most teams and like myself, we have a thing called budget. Sure, we are all sponsored by our credit card for the first 28 day grace period, but after that they usually pull their sponsorship and we have to pay it back. Pricing is pretty competetive on all of the devices. Here is a break-down.

  • Hans Sport 2: $ 549
  • Schroth SHR Flex $ 575
  • Hans Adjustable $579
  • Hans III: $599
  • NecksGen Rev: $599
  • Hans Pro Ultra: $949
  • Hans Pro Ultra Lite: $1099
Schroth SHR Flex Wrap Up:
Comfort:
Well, I like it. For comfort, it falls between my Hans Pro with Gel pads and a Hans III. I am a creature of habit and have worn in my gel pads to where they just find a home, and I do not notice I am even wearing a device. I can tell the Schroth Flex is there, just like the Hans III, but the Schroth SHR Flex is a little more comfortable. Not much, just a little. Of course this is done with race suit on, not a collared dress shirt.
 
Vision:
Vision is good. I get to see both my side mirrors, can see myself clipping in my waist belts, and can even almost put my chin to my chest. Because of the dual tether system, I can not move my head to the full left/right position quite as far  as I can wearing my Hans. This is important for backing into your pit spot or when entering the track after physics and geometry have exceeded current skill level. 
 
Wrap Up: 
I am still going to use my Hans Pro with gel pads but I'll be swapping to the Schroth SHR Flex every 2-3 events. This will give me the opportunity to not be such a creature of habit. If I did not have the gel pads, I think the Schroth SHR Flex would be my favorite device. 
Who is the Schroth SHR Flex perfect for?
Anyone with multiple style track vehicles. Example: If you own a Formula V and an ITA Neon, or a Porsche GT3 Cup and a Radical RXC Turbo 500, this is your device. Also if you have a larger chest (think barrel chest or are a swimmer) and are between 20° and 30° seat angles, this will make the perfect angle, comfortably. Schroth has done a great job on an innovative neck restraint and you will see more and more of SHR Flex devices every weekend trackside.

Found this review useful? Or just wanna save 10%? Read on.

Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I am a racer just like you and do not have an unlimited race budget...yet. My company, www.discoveryparts.com, is offering you a 10% discount on everything in your cart by adding code FlexSafe16 at checkout in the voucher code section.

Thanks for reading! Always feel free to post comments or questions in the comment section below. I will be happy to answer them as quickly as possible. Also, if you found this review was helpful, I always appreciate feedback in the comments below.

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