Spiny subject: Best motorcycle back protectors for road and trackdays

Motorbike back protectors
Motorbike back protectors

We constantly talk about protective kit and how it is available for every condition, every journey and every style of bike. And one of the most important areas after a crash helmet to protect your head is a back protector.

It should go without saying that protecting your back – specifically your spine and the spinal column – is key and while many jackets will either come with a back protector or have provision for one, many people prefer to wear a standalone item underneath their jacket.

There are various reasons for this, each person is individual – they may prefer the fit of a wearable back protector, they may not like the shape or size of the integral version in their jacket, and they may want better protection than is available from the manufacturer.

Related: Best motorbike leathers

Like all forms of armour in motorcycle clothing, wearable back protectors are rated for safety, with a CE rating of either Level-1 or Level-2 and also like all armour, Level-2 is the higher of the two ratings.

Unless, of course, you opt for an airbag, which in addition to protecting your spine, will also help support your neck and torso in the event of an accident and will include back protection, though they are more cumbersome than a wearable back protector.

Back protectors now required on most UK trackdays

As of March 31, 2022, back protectors are compulsory on all Motorsport Vision Trackdays – an upgrade from previously ‘strongly recommending’ them. This includes events at Donington, Cadwell and Oulton Parks, plus Snetterton, Brands and Bedford Autodrome.

MSVT say you must use a protector that covers the majority of the spine, that is fit for purpose, and can be integrated into your jacket or standalone.

Here are some of our favourite back protectors.

Price: £134.99
Forcefield is renowned for its wearable armour and this back protector continues that theme. It uses a single-piece main section with a secondary part over the coccyx and its construction is reinforced with Kevlar, particularly in the stitching. The armour itself is moulded in 3D and is breathable to allow airflow in for cooling.
CE Rated: Level 2
The Knox Aegis is the result of an intensive 12 month R&D programme, which resulted in a low-profile, flexible protector which is 30% lighter than its predecessor. A system of flex channels allows it to sculpt around the back, making it more comfortable to wear under tight outer riding apparel.

The venting keeps riders cool, while the spine section is articulated, allowing it to move with the rider’s spine and give maximum protection in all positions. The shoulder straps adjust automatically to the correct position during use, which is a useful feature, and removable, PU kidney protectors add even more protection to vulnerable areas. The race-style 8 plate model has added coccyx protection.
CE Rated: Level 2
The Pro Sub 4K has been engineered to meet the highest CE level 2 standard but goes another step further u2013 instead of simply meeting the minimum 9kN requirement, the Pro Sub has been engineered to transmit just 4kN of energy.

This is apparently considered by medical experts to be the maximum amount of transmitted energy that should be transmitted to prevent severe back and rib trauma. It needs a few hundred miles to mould to the contours of your spine, however once it’s shaped properly, it offers a reassuring and secure hug.

The shoulder straps are easily adjusted, as is the three-part Velcro belt at the waist. The Pro Sub 4K also offers you an added layer warmth, but in order to stake the claim for the safest back protector on the market, the 4K needs to be very thick and it only fits under certain jackets.
CE Rated: Level 2
The Manis back protector has articulated external plates that help to improve movement and is certified to CE level 2. The lightweight design helps to keep the protector comfortable and the perforated design help regulate body temperature.

The people who created the first back protector in the 1970s (made at the request of one Mr. B. Sheene) have continued to advance the process. The Manis is designed to flex in several directions for greater rider comfort and is also highly ventilated to try and prevent heat build-up inside the rider’s leathers.

Protection meets the higher Level 2 of the CE standard, and there are adjustable shoulder straps and a waistband that can move up or down to suit the rider
CE Rated: Level 2
Price: $94.57
This standalone back protector from Acerbis is Amazons Choice for Motorcycle back protector and is a deep CE-rated protector that comes in two sizes; Small/medium and Large/XL. It has elasticated shoulder straps and a wide, elasticated waist belt and covers a large area of the back as well as down to the coccyx.
CE Rated: Yes
Price: £95.23
This back protector from Spidi is articulated so that it allows the back to bend, meaning it can easily be used on different styles of motorcycle, from upright to the forward-leaning sportsbike tuck.

With elasticated shoulder straps for comfort, it also has a wide, elasticated waist belt with an inbuilt height measure, to make sure the back protector and belt are in the right position for the rider. The straps can also be removed if it is to be used integrally with compatible Spidi clothing.
CE Rated: Level 2
Price: $124.95
Alpinestars Nucleon back protector is another that is designed to allow air to flow in and around the armour, preventing the rider from getting too hot or sweaty. It too extends down to the coccyx and features adjustable shoulder straps as well as a double waist belt, to hold the bottom of the back protector as well as pull the coccyx section in. It is available in three sizes to suit various rider heights.
CE Rated: Level 1
This back protector from Dainese is articulated to move both longitudinally and laterally and is formed in a perforated structure to allow the body to breathe. Both the adjustable shoulder straps and the lumbar/waist belt are removable so it can be used as an insert in appropriate Dainese jackets and it is available in two sizes to suit all riders.
CE Rated: Level 2
This racing back protector from Furygan uses a hard shell with D3O armour internally that moulds to the body yet provides the highest rating of protection. Available in three sizes for all riders, it is both flexible and protective and the shoulder and waist straps can be removed for it to be inserted into compatible clothing or leathers. It is also vented to allow the riders body to breathe.
CE Rated: Level 2
The Sakari from Held is available in five different sizes to ensure a perfect fit for every rider and is shaped to protect the spine and shoulder blades at the top and extends down to the coccyx at the bottom. The wide elasticated lumbar belt and the adjustable shoulder straps are all removable so the main section can be integrated into compatible Held clothing and protection comes from SAS-TEC 3D sections.

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