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Wearing protective equipment is a must when it comes to safe motorcycle riding. While helmet and chest protectors are the two most often talked about gear pieces, you might also want to consider a back protector.
A motorcycle back protector provides additional safety and impact resistance during riding. It’s more efficient than a jacket as it works as a back armor.
Still, the many models make it somewhat tricky to pick just one. The market offers plenty of different models that range in efficiency, size, and comfort level. Below you’ll find some of the best pieces and a buyer’s guide to help you pick among as many.
5 Highest Rated Motorcycle Back Protector Reviews
Alpinestars – Lightweight
Alpinestars is a well-known brand when it comes to motorcycle equipment. It’s one of the biggest names, so it’s no surprise that we included one in our list.
This protector is one of the most lightweight options on the market. It’s made from polyurethane-injected impact foam that protects your back from impact and shock.
The entire design is quite flexible and easy to wear for an extended period. It’s comfortable thanks to its contoured and anatomical fit.
This one has CE certification level 2, which tells a lot about its reliability, safety, and ease of use. One thing to keep in mind is that it comes in three sizes to choose from.
This makes it easy to find the best fit, so make sure to check the dimensions.
Surlim – Comfortable
Surlim is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a back protector to use for hours at a time. It’s comfortable and easy to put on in a few seconds.
This one is designed as a removable motorcycle armor that fits many different types of jackets. It has excellent cushioning performance along with impact resistance.
It has a CE certification level 1, so it’s suitable for different riding styles. On top of that, it’s breathable and comfortable, allowing you to wear it for an extended period.
It’s made from shock-absorbing materials that become hard under the impact. The materials are non-toxic and designed to dissipate the impact energy. It becomes flexible again after the impact.
It measures 17.4 x 11.4 inches and weighs 17.6 ounces. In most cases, you won’t even feel you’re wearing one thanks to its weight.
Joe Rocket – Adjustable
Joe Rocket is an adjustable CE approved back protector that’s lightweight and easy to wear. It’s 3D molded and articulated, featuring high-density foam and no plastic.
It’s comfortable and allows unrestricted movement, so you get maximum protection without any movement limitations. Another thing worth noting is that it comes in two sizes.
The foam backing is made of shock- and impact-absorbing materials that are lightweight and comfortable. Its design features two adjustable shoulder straps that provide some more safety and ease of use.
The straps have two pivot points to provide more mobility. On top of that, the protector has double waist straps that are also adjustable.
Keep in mind that the honeycomb design is meant to provide breathability and comfort. It’s lightweight and provides enough humidity and heat dissipation. Plus, it’s slim, so it’s pretty non-restrictive.
Dainese – Ideal for Leisure
Dainese is meant for leisure as it’s comfortable and easy to wear for hours at a time. It’s CE approved, so you can be sure of the level of safety it provides.
It’s meant to provide four degrees of movement, so it’s suitable for different riding styles. It stays in place even during off-road adventures, protecting your back at all times.
It features perforated plates that allow improved airflow. This means the protector won’t keep you too warm, which makes it perfect for summertime riding.
The reduced contact area adds even more to the overall comfort, still protecting your back in case of an impact. It has a unique tensioner that helps to control lateral bending.
This one stretches and bends as needed to provide maximum mobility and comfort at all times.
Fly Racing – Impact Resistant
Fly Racing is another impressive back protector insert meant for riding jackets. It fits both leather and textile jackets as it features a universal and comfortable fit.
It’s a CE approved piece, designed to deliver maximum protection without taking any comfort away. It improves abrasion and impact resistance of your jacket by acting as an additional barrier between your back and the road surface.
It measures 11.5 x 15.5 x 0.75 inches and weighs 1.24 pounds. It comes in one size only, so make sure to check if these dimensions work for your needs and preferences.
Another thing worth noting is the ease of use. This one is pretty simple to put on and remove within a few seconds.
Motorcycle Back Armor Buying Guide
Size and Fitting
Most back protectors come in a few sizes, although you’ll probably come across one-size-fits-all models as well. In most cases, it depends on the model and brand.
You should always consider the size and how it would fit you. For this reason, check the dimensions and think about if they would fit your needs.
Those that come in one size only are usually more universally designed. These are made to fit most jackets, but again, make sure to double-check just in case.
You want it to fit correctly, or it won’t provide sufficient protection it was made to deliver.
As you probably noticed, most models have CE certification. You should always aim for a product tested to CE standards because those are the safest and most reliable.
Still, remember that there are two CE certification levels, so you’ll have to choose between Level 1 and Level 2.
As the names indicate, Level 2 CE certification offers more protection than Level 1. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for maximum safety. Still, even Level 1 is good enough for leisure and commuting.
Most brands state the certification and level of protection their products have, so make sure to pay special attention to that detail.
Brand reputation is always important when buying safety equipment. Brands that have been around for ages have plenty of customers to talk about their quality.
Most motorcycle riders know the most famous names, and those are usually the best to stick to. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t try a product that comes from a company you haven’t heard of.
But, check customer reviews to see how people feel about the company and its product. Most customers try to leave an honest review that you can learn a lot from, especially regarding brand reputation, reliability, and customer service.
You want a protector that’s lightweight and breathable, especially if you usually ride in warm weather. It’s safe to assume you’ll wear a shirt and a jacket, so the last thing you want is a protector with poor ventilation.
Thick materials can make you uncomfortable because they’re rarely breathable. However, some have a honeycomb design that allows quite some airflow, even with all the thickness.
It’s an essential factor to consider because low breathability can cause discomfort, especially when it comes to long-hour rides. It can cause your back to sweat too much, which is never pleasant.
Protection typically depends on the quality of materials and manufacturing. Many people think that a back protector has to be thick to keep you safe, but that’s not always the case.
It shouldn’t be too thin, but there are other things you should focus on as well. For example, you want to think about its flexibility and impact resistance. These two usually depend on the type of materials used.
Also, check if your model of choice is CE approved. A CE certification shows a certain level of safety, protection, and reliability.
Types of Motorcycle Back and Spine Pads
Strap-on models are the ones that look like rucksacks. You wear them over your shoulders, securing the fit with a waist strap.
These are typically quite comfortable and offer high levels of protection. They’re highly popular among adventurists, off-road riders, and other extreme riding enthusiasts.
Replacement models work as inserts that you add to your jacket. Nearly every jacket has a slot where you can insert the protector for some added safety.
These are typically smaller than strap-on models. However, they’re simple to use and easy to replace when they wear out.
Understanding CE Levels
Level 1 CE protection transmits less than 18kN of force from a 50 Joule impact. This is often good enough because experts claim that an impact to your back that’s over 4kN can cause serious injury.
Although this is the lowest CE certification level, it’s often better than not having any. It means that it had exceeded specific safety standards.
Level 2 models need to transmit less than 9kN. They’re safer than Level 1 models and are often used by extreme riders exposed to higher chances of injuries.
Another thing worth noting is that these are often more expensive because they offer higher levels of protection.
Check the brand of your riding jacket and if it offers a suitable back protector. Most brands make inserts that work the best with their jackets.
Also, stay away from secondhand models. These are meant to protect and keep you safe, which is why you don’t want a model that someone already used. You don’t know the state of the product and whether it’s safe to use.
Make sure to check the dimensions to ensure that the insert will fit your jacket. Also, keep in mind that nearly all pieces bed in with use. This means your protector will become more flexible and comfortable after a few uses.
Motorcycle Back Protector Alternatives
Don’t be too worried if you’re one of those who don’t like wearing a back protector. What you can do is get an insert that goes into the internal pocket of your rucksack. It acts the same way, but it’s sometimes more comfortable than classic models.
It’s an easy-to-use method as these are often made to withstand high levels of impact. You can reuse this type many times, which can’t be said for classic pieces.
However, this is only an option if you wear a rucksack and have somewhere to place the protective insert.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I store a motorcycle back armor?
This very much depends on its shape, flexibility, and thickness. You can store it any way you see fit, as long as you don’t damage it.
Some models can be rolled up and stored in a carrying case. You can keep it pretty much anywhere as long as the place is dry.
Is it safe to buy secondhand back protector inserts?
You should stay away from secondhand safety equipment because you can never know how it was used and whether it went through a crash.
Plus, new equipment often comes with a trial period and warranty. This allows you to test the product or return it if you notice a manufacturing defect.
Is it advisable to use one after a crash?
Many people say you shouldn’t use a protector after a crush, but you shouldn’t consider this a rule. It often depends on the model and manufacturer, so make sure to check with the company.
Still, it’s safer to replace it if it has visual signs of damage as it probably can’t perform as it used to.
A back protector is a crucial piece of equipment you should always wear. It keeps your back safe from impact and potential injury.
As you know, the market offers many options, allowing you to choose what fits your needs the best. However, you should consider the buying factors we discussed as they can help you make the best choice.
Focus on safety and reliability, but also breathability and comfort. Consider its CE certification, ease of use, and size as well. It should help to keep you protected without taking away from your comfort regardless of how much time you spend on the road.