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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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Edgar Jessop


Aug 03

Posts: 26

Edgar Jessop says:

"The back protector protects the spinal column" ...err, no it doesn't (see below).

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Feb 09

Posts: 7

mcchoc says:

I would - but I can't fit one over my hump.

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Feb 09

Posts: 7

mcchoc says:

I would wear one - but it won't fit over my hump

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Aug 04

Posts: 31

Chrisec87 says:


As someone has already said (and been shot down for) it does protect the spinal column by distributing the force of an impact across the full area of protector. I went for a Dainese protector with the biggest surface area for this reason.

No it won't protect me in all eventualities I know that. I think anybody who has bought one knows that too. Just like helmets, leathers, gloves and boots won't protect you if you, say, ride off a cliff!

Reason I bought mine was after a mate had a horrific accident on the Isle of Man mountain course. He had a back protector on but still suffered bad back injuries. If he hadn't chosen to wear it the outcome could have been worse.

Once you wear a back protector you realise how vulnerable you are with standard foam protection. I paid just over £100 for mine and it doesn't look like I'll need to buy another for a long time.

It keeps my gut in and promotes better posture on the bike and it allows me to chose from a wider range of jackets now because I'm not concerned about jackets with no back protection. As someone else said, being a skinny guy it helps to fill out my jacket and keep the rest of the armour snug.


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May 10

Posts: 427

X2Glider says:

Edgar...good job

You are definitely correct about the more extreme mechanical movements of the vertibrae being the one thing that any back protectector can not protect one from.  Even the hard segmented kind that limit hyperextension can only take minimal force before giving way.  So landing on an object large enough to displace your spinal segments beyond normal limits is something you can't do anything about.  Smaller stuff, then yes, you can protect soft tissue and even prevent the pointy bits of veribrae from breaking/crushing/cracking by reducing the Gs transmitted to it and preventing very shallow mechanical extensions.


But I am a believer in them for less extreme mechanical movements and I actually put one to the test this past September.  I had a Rukka SRO Anatomic jacket that had a thick back protector built in that is a 3D lattice-like construction that stiffens on impact and spreads load.  It looks similar to the lattice work on the Forcefield one in the picture for this article and is 4 lattice layers thick.  (Rukka APS armour) 


 Well, my Guzzi NTX broke a lower fork casting that clamps the axle, locked the front wheel and sent me skyward at 80 mph on the TransLabrador Hwy in Labrador.  It's rough and rocky over every sqaure meter or road for 1000 miles.  I did my absolute best to land in a shoulder roll so that I couold lay out flat into a side fall like I would in martial arts from a throw.  However my shoulder took most of the Gs from such a hig fall but i did roll onto my back, flattened out until I slid to a stop.  I was lying on top of all kinds on rocks, generally no larger than a golf ball but a few a large as a cricket ball.  The back protector did an amazing job as I had no bruising on my back nor broken pieces of spine.  I was sore as fuck hours later though.


So, to me, the back protector did its job and did it well.  Enough to make me believe that the outcome could have been much worse without it considering my clavicle ended up in 5 pieces with 2 cracked ribs.  Also not related to the back protector were my Scorpion EXO-900 helmet taking a large hit during trying to position myself for a roll and slide (seems I got my head on the ground first, ok, I'm not a cat).  It K.O.'d me.  No idea how long I was out.  So, the fact that the rest of my body turned out as well as it did at that speed and a fall from so high, I bought another Rukka with that bad ass armour as the SRO I was wearing was no longer 100% fit for duty.  It was worth it.


On the street where things are flatter (excepting the worst of the potholed roads) I'd say these back protectors will do even better.  Just mind the curbs.

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Jan 10

Posts: 11


... I've used a Knox 60 cm (length) KC2000 back protector for the last 10 years and it's been fine... the elasticated/velcro waist fastening does sterling work as a tummy 'control panel' too... being 6 ft 4 tall and of 'robust' build (ahem) I hope this is of use... check ebay too... Cheerio!

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Feb 10

Posts: 69

yzf07 says:


i bought a Dainese back protector, got 2 a point where i forgot i had it on. The one time i forgot 2 put it on, i felt really vonerable. Had 2 low sides wearing it both times walked away with no spinal injuries. So yes protect yourself in every way u can. Try one what have u got to lose, on yer being able 2 walk.

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Mar 13

Posts: 3

maglor says:

not a bad idea

well i broke my back 6 weeks ago because i wasnt wearing my spine protector (i will recover fine with time), admittedly i was downhill mountain biking and not on my motorbike but i think it applies.

if i was wearing my back protector which i normally do i may not of broke my back, not going to bore you with the details of why i wasnt wearing it but i also think it depends on the type of crash, sometime it might not help other times it might save you.

i do think the foam protectors in jackets are good and probably enough as i think on a motorbike if its not enough then maybe not much more would of helped.

if your considering this then should you consider a neck brace too? spine damage can be from compression and the neck is the end of the spine you really dont wont to brake.

as for comfort its generally not to bad (i usually wear it for mountain biking and not so much on the motorbike) is somtimes an issue on hard cycles but i think bulk isnt too much of an issue on a motorbike when your not really moving that much as long as its not making you jacket too tight.

as for cost try looking at MTB or motorcross kit or other extreme sports, possibly cheaper then dedicated road stuff as its used more in those sports.

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Oct 11

Posts: 2070

Piglet2010 says:


I have one of these in my Aerostich Roadcrafter suit:

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Oct 05

Posts: 129

romford4 says:


to have a Knox Ricochet protector and never got on with it - it used to ride up to around the base of my neck and hinder movement, and more of a distraction to my riding than anything else.  Then didn't bother with one for ages until I found an IXS Garuda at J&S Accessories - zip-up gillet/vest style protector, totally comfortable and gives me confidence wearing it.  I sometimes ride around the city in shorts and a t-shirt during summer, don't wear gloves or boots for 30mph limits, but always have my helmet & back-protector on.

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