Forcefield Pro Sub4 back protector, £139.99
Time tested: Two years
What’s good? In an impact, this back protector withstands more force than any other, transmitting just 3.38kN during the EN1621-2 Level 2 safety standard – far exceeding the 9kN required to pass the test. I always ride in a back protector and have been a convert of Forcefield’s soft brand of armour for pretty much most of my eight-year riding career and never ride without one. Due to the extremely thick nature of the Pro Sub 4 it did take a little bit of getting used to, but as the shock-absorbing material moulds to your body contours when warm you soon forget about it. Another feature I like is the fact that the Pro Sub 4 has a removable, washable cover meaning that it’s easy to keep it looking (and smelling) as good as new. There’s little evidence to support that wearing a back protector prevents spinal injuries, as these injuries are often caused by twisting forces at the neck and hips, but a back protector definitely protects your ribs, shoulder blades and internal organs. I’ve crashed twice wearing this back protector and have suffered no bruising, breaks or injuries to the areas covered by the Pro Sub 4.
What’s not? It’s thick. I know it needs to be thick to transmit less force in an impact, but its size did originally prevent me from wearing it when racing, as I didn’t want to bulk my leathers out wearing both this and a chest protector. However I reckon the safety benefits far outweigh the slight compromise on comfort, and I did get used to the extra bulk under my leathers after a while, and I never hesitated to wear it while road riding.
Quality rating: 5/5
Value rating: 4/5