A good quality chest protector (body armor) is an essential piece of riding gear if you are serious about your safety, and may just save your bacon one day. There is a valid reason why you should wear one, and that is to protect your shoulders, chest, back, ribs and pretty much all of your internal organs from injury caused by various types of impact. They are a ‘must have’ for roost protection when racing – yes, having fist sized clumps of dirt and stones roosted into your bare chest does hurt!
If you’re into your trail riding I also suggest you buckle up your body armor to protect your vital organs from being skewered by tree branches. I have heard some real horror stories of guys being stabbed through their chest and/or shoulders after accidentally taking on trees… not fun.
As with all safety gear, the key is to make sure you wear it! I fractured my T5 vertebrae after stacking it on the beach and landing on my back. My chest protector was sitting in my ute at the time and if I had of been wearing it I may have escaped such a painful injury.
The first most important quality of a chest protector is the level of protection it provides. The second most important quality is the comfort. You’ll struggle to wear it if the collar bites into your neck while riding, or it restricts your movement too much. So choose a good quality brand like Fox, Thor, Oneal, SixSixOne, Answer e.t.c, and make sure you get the right fit.
These SixSixOne Evo Pressure Suits are pretty sick! The pioneering motocross riders of the mid-1900’s certainly didn’t have this level of protection available. These are light weight, ventilated for cooling and offer serious protection.
Here are some features to look for in body armor:
- Adjustable shoulder straps offering flexibility in the shoulder area.
- Removable arm guards.
- Cooling vents to allow airflow to your body.
- Good padding esp. around the neck and shoulder area.
- Light weight.
- High impact polycarbonate materials.
- Flexible plastics to allow it to move and conform to your body.
- Designed to be used in conjunction with the Leatt-Brace or other neck braces.
- Available in various sizes and colors.
These snug fitting roost protectors fit under your shirt out of the way. When you see the pro’s riding and it looks like they aren’t wearing body armor – they are, underneath. They have bio foam liner which can help soften the blow on impact. I own this exact model and it does the job nicely.
TIP: When cleaning your chest protector it pays to use a sponge with water. Some warranties become void if you use chemicals as it can weaken the materials. Also, try keeping the straps buckled together when not in use to help prevent the buckles from snapping in storage.