Fashion is a funny thing. The other day I was at a race and over half the field must have been wearing a neck brace, but yet only a tiny fraction were wearing a back protector. One guy was even sporting his ‘cool’ neck brace along with his ‘oh so protective’ wife beater. I’m surprised he was even wearing a lid. Anyway, my point is that if you’re serious about protecting your body in a crash then why stop at a neck brace, because after all, keeping your back in one piece is surely just as important?
From Dirt Issue 114 – August 2011
Words and Photos by Ed Haythornthwaite.
I, like many others no doubt, was put off wearing a full suit of upper body armour years ago when the designs on offer were uncomfortable and restrictive to say the least, but just as bike technology has moved on, so too has body armour. Some of the improvements are simply down to a better cut due to an increased understanding of what a rider needs, but others can be put down to the use of new materials. Easily the biggest advancement in that respect is the stuff that moulds to your body and then absorbs impacts in a highly controlled manner, as used by the likes of O’Neal, POC, and 661, but even the more traditional hard shell protectors have come on a long way too. They’re now lighter and more comfortable than ever before.
I think the whole comfort thing is really the most important aspect when it comes to body armour because in the end you’re far more likely to wear something if it doesn’t piss you off. And that’s the reason why you won’t find any real bargain basement offerings here, because they may well offer similar levels of protection but we’ve yet to find one that’s comfy to wear. Oh, and sadly you also won’t find a Dainese offering here. For years they’ve been making some of the best body armour that money can buy, but at this moment in time distributor issues mean that getting hold of their kit is nigh on impossible.
Finally, if you’re still wondering why you’d want a full suit compared to running separate pads then I think the biggest reason has to be the fact that because everything is joined together each of the pads stays where they’re meant to. Anyway, if you’re now sold on the idea here’s our selection of the best stuff that’s currently on offer…>>