Knox Venture Shirt, £109.99
Time used: Four weeks
What’s good: This Lycra shirt contains CE-approved elbow and shoulder armour plus a hard protector. It’s excellent. I wear it beneath my Barbour International which for me lacks just one thing – protection.
After a very big crash at the tail-end of last year, I decided it was time to take protection seriously again, and the Venture shirt has been a revelation. It’s unobtrusive enough in use, and I honestly do forget I’m wearing it, so snugly does it fit and so flexible is the armour.
The real boon is that, for little extra bulk, you’re fully protecting yourself against the worst. The back protector is satisfyingly bulky, yet not uncomfortable; it’s just enough to remind you that you’re wearing one. All the armour is removable so you can wash the shirt, too.
I’ve had little chance to wear it in extreme heat (living in England doesn’t help matters), but in the depths of our temperate late springtime, it’s looking like £110 well spent – a decent back protector alone would cost you that.
What’s not: It does take a bit of wriggling to get the armour seated firmly and correctly on the shoulders and elbows, although once it’s there it stays there.
It’s an extra layer of clothing to don and remove at either end of your trip, and – let’s be honest – the slightly Matrix-meets-MX styling is at odds with a classic-looking Barbour.