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MCN  says:

You Ask/You Answer: Back protectors

"I've been riding over 12 years, and have never worn a proper back protector. I've got one of those foam back pad things that you get in your jacket – which obviously isn't a 'protector', and Iv'e noticed that a lot of the riders in my bike club wear full-on separate protectors now. "Should I be wearing one? Are they comfortable?...

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  • Posted 2 years ago (03 April 2013 11:57)

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Dec 03

Posts: 317

hairyMuppet says:

I use one

Being slightly skinny of frame, the protector bulks me out and means the jacket is a better fit.  As to comfort, I don't really notice it one it heats up and forms to my back.

Protection is a trickier question.  They can help absorb impact.  They can help spread an impact.  They can also help against penetration and abrasion.  How much/little will vary from design to design .  What none can help against is torsion, crush or over-extension.

Compared to the foam in the jacket (most 'protectors' are just foam padding and offer no protection at all), a protector will normally extend from coccyx to shoulders, with a wrap around the kidneys and covering the shoulder blades (again, designs vary) but it's almost certainly an improvement on the jacket alone.  Also, as the protector is independent of the jacket, it is much more likely to stay put in a crash an do it's job.  If your jacket is loose, the protection it offers could shift and expose you to the full force of any impact.

Should you wear one?  That really depends on your attitude to risk, how well it fits you and how well it sits with your other armour.  No point in wearing it if all it does is distract you or hinders other protection.

If you are genuinely worried about your spine, consider one of the neck brace that are on the market.  They can protect against torsion and over-extension of the neck.

[This Reply has been modified by the Author]

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Oct 05

Posts: 322

BrandsR6 says:

I have a Forcefield Pro

which is so comfy. It's soft and moulds to the shape of your body, so you hardly know it's there at all.

As for prtection, I have never tested it, but it certainly covers a far larger areaof your back than a built-in one and the Forcefield protectors always score well in tests.

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Dec 12

Posts: 1454

Diablere says:

Spine Boards

i've been wearing one for 15 years now. should you be wearing one? i'd rather be wearing one than not.

Are they comfortable? you get used to them in the same way you do any motorbike protection, i hardly notice i have one on now.

Do they make a difference in a crash? don't know .haven't crashed whilst wearing one, but if it keeps me out of stoke mandeville hospital should i crash then its worth it!

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Jul 10

Posts: 50

Cadwell75 says:

I have a Knox fastback vest

Very easy to put on, it's just a vest with zip. It fits very close to the body and is very comfortable under my jacket.

My brother was knocked off in a sub 30mph collision by car pulling out of side street. He landed on the opposite kerb on his back and spent weeks in a spinal unit. Thankfully he recovered but at the time he wasn't wearing a protector. That event changed my mind about back protectors.


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Aug 11

Posts: 437

I wear a Dainese Wave (if thats how you spell it lol) I would rather wear it than not.  If in 15/20 years time i never needed it then bonus but thats the same deal with helmet, leathers, gloves and boots aint it ?

You get very little protection from a bike spill on the public road so incase of the worst i'd like as much protection as i can get.  Saying this i dont wear it for short slow rides.

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Aug 11

Posts: 437

plus the belt holds your gut in haha

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Feb 11

Posts: 38

Arranbru says:

I use a forcefield pro sub 4

And been wearing it for for a year. Riding without it feels unnatural now like riding without gloves. Also makes me ride more carefully strangely as it reminds me what i risk losing!

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Mar 12

Posts: 21

oscarman says:

It's a no brainer. they are cheap, compfy and they protect your back. end of.

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Jan 11

Posts: 124

petedj says:


Yes you should. Never notice it when it is on. Would never go anywhere without it.   Wear  a T shirt, shorts and flip flops. If you never fall off you will be fine, however ....

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Sep 08

Posts: 100

Andy_L says:

Try it

My advice is to borrow one from a friend and try it out before spending your money.  I bought a Knox one, and later tried some other brands as well, and with all of them found they rode up underneath the back of my lid and stopped me being able to look properly over my shoulder.  I now have a jacket with a hard-shell back protector in it.  It doesn't offer as extensive protection as a full back protector but at least I can get on with it.  The Knox hangs in the wardrobe.

On the other hand I know many other people who wear one as a matter of course and have no problems with it.

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