Dainese Wave Air back protector, £129.99
Tester: Tim Thompson
Time tested: Eight years/40,000 miles
What’s good? You instinctively feel that the thicker and denser a protector’s armour, the wider its coverage and the harder its shell, the more impact protection it will give. The long-running Dainese Wave Air goes the other way. Compared to most back protectors it’s extremely thin, light and compact. Its articulated corrugated shell is relatively delicate and dotted with perforations to flow heat away from the body. Contact with the back is limited to the perimeter padding only, with some 60% of its area sitting away from the body and flowing air through a light aluminium honeycomb core.
I run pleasantly cool and noticeably less sweaty when wearing the Wave. It’s barely 20mm deep at its thickest point so sits barely noticed inside jackets and leathers, too. It moves well, while straps are simple and unobtrusive.
What’s not? Can a protector as minimalist as this do a proper job? The Wave Air carries the higher ECE level 2 approval, though only for the central back area, and its coverage certainly isn’t as extensive as many modern back protectors. But if the definition of quality riding kit is something that can be worn largely unnoticed, without intrusion or irritation, then the Wave Air is pure class.
Quality rating: 5/5
Value rating: 3/5