HANS, HANS adjustable, install, how to, tethers, anchors, drilling, sparco, harness, racing, racing harness, 6 point, hans review

HANS Photo (replace with Cover)

 TESTED: HANS Adjustable and Sparco Harness

By Steve Rockwood


Racing is hazardous to your health.  With a helmet on, one of the most immediate dangers to your continued existence on this planet is a basilar skull fracture (see Dale Earnhardt).  See, hanging an extra 4lbs on your head, then keeping your torso stationary in a racing harness, makes it so that your head becomes a nice tether ball in a decent crash, especially one that's head on.  I, like most out there, prefer my neck to stay unbroken, so I went in search of an SFI 38.1 compliant device and harness built specifically for it.  Luckily, HANS and Sparco had something available that had higher expectations than me.

Back to the tether ball.  The forces of crashing and your heavier than normal head put a lot of strain on the base of your poor skull, and can result in a break that's certainly hazardous to your health, and is fatal more often than I'm comfortable with.  Rather than continue to attempt to use words to explain this phenomenon, I'll just use this video:


 Physics are a real bastard to deal with sometimes.


Luckily for us idiots who like to drive too fast for our own good, guys like Dr. Robert Hubbard are inventive enough to come up with inventions like the Head and Neck Support (HANS) Device that go a long way towards preventing such injuries. 


I am a late adopter to the HANS Device game.  My first line of reasoning (okay, excuse-making) was that HANS devices were pricey.  Indeed, its original 4-digit price tag put it out of reach for this budget-minded privateer racer until HANS dropped the price significantly with the Sport Series.  My next excuse was that the HANS device limited sight out of the car.  This was a valid complaint once upon a time, as the fixed tethers did not allow you to move your head much at all side to side.  Again HANS addressed these concerns by introducing a sliding tether system.


HANS Adjustable sliding tethers
The orange clasps allow the tethers to slide back and forth to allow for maximum movement left and right.


These slider tethers allow anyone but a road racing owl and the girl from Exorcist to turn their head as much as they would without the device. 


HANS Adjustable head movement
We really need to hire some models...


My last bastion of ignorance was that while the device fit pretty well if you selected the correct device, it did not work everywhere, and the angle you chose was a compromise.  With the latest HANS Adjustable, it seems even idiots like me no longer have a valid excuse to get one, so I did.


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Thursday, September 13, 2012 4:45 AM
Any opinions on the competitors? Such as the NecksGen or Simpson Hybrids?

Dan DeRosia
Dan DeRosialink
Thursday, September 13, 2012 5:44 AM
I find it a little funny, in a "small world" sense that the whole thing was thought up by Jim Downing and his brother in law (professor of biomed engineering) as early as the 80s. Big big name in Mazda roadracing, and a nice guy.

You can also find them used - my dad picked up one of the fancypants pro-grade HANS devices used from an ad on a bulletin board at a local stock car part supplier for about $200.
Thursday, September 13, 2012 8:06 AM
Didn't get a chance to test the other units, but since they're all about the same price, and the HANS Adjustable is not only comfortable and flexible, but the de facto standard, I don't see a huge reason to switch.

Kenku: definitely a good idea. I would make sure to have it inspected by HANS, as well as refreshed. These have expiration dates like everything safety-related.
Dusty Duster
Dusty Dusterlink
Thursday, September 13, 2012 10:29 AM
I think on Halloween I'm going to drive around in my car in a full Stig getup. Because I'm at least partially insane.
Thursday, September 13, 2012 11:15 AM
Four of us did that at an SER Convention in Austin. People looked at us funny...
Thursday, September 13, 2012 12:58 PM
@Rockwood Is that when we put the raw meat on the rental car exhaust manifold to cook?? Oh no, that was Chicago. In texas is when we lowered the rental Jaguar XJ8 for Ray K. BTW, that Peruvian man model works awesome. I was able to concentrate on looking on the Hans device installed and not stareing at some hot looking female. Although, Martin G. is a Beatiful man model!
Thursday, September 13, 2012 1:54 PM
I instruct for DEs and would like to be as safe as possible in student's cars as well. My car has harnesses, but many of their cars go fast and do not, which would make all of the HANS devices useless in their cars. Any thoughts on the only certified "harness independent" head and neck restraint out there, the Safety Solutions (now owned by Simpson) R3?
Thursday, September 13, 2012 4:27 PM
@ Freak: CHI was the meatloaf roast. Austin TX was the bumper cars/helmet wearing in public situation. Who could forget the Malibutay?

@ blops: Simpson would definitely be the brand I'd choose were I in your shoes...

Whenever I instruct, I look for the slowest FWD car in the grids. :)
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, September 13, 2012 10:54 PM
I instruct girls because they listen and don't want to kill you!
Friday, September 14, 2012 7:45 AM
@ Mike: Word. A lot less likely to let the machismo keep them from listening to reasonable advice like "hey, maybe we shouldn't try 4 wheel drifts through T9 at Willow Springs"...
Saturday, September 15, 2012 5:11 AM
DuPont Zytel is what Skyway Tuff wheels are made out of. Interesting they use it as a fireproof layer on the HANS device.
Saturday, September 15, 2012 8:18 AM
Don't want machinery wheels catching fire? :)
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