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 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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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.
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