If you have been around motorcycling long enough you will know Motorcycle gear should be made with ‘abrasion-resistant’ materials like leather, Cordura, high denier nylon/polyester and Kevlar, these are one of the key factors riding gear should do to protect us in case of a fall. The other key factor is ‘impact’ and to achieve this it must be constructed with the right materials and it must fit properly. Motorcycle protective wear should typically come with basic armour at a minimum in the: shoulders, elbows and back for jackets, knees for pants.
Another consideration to look at when purchasing protective gear is chest protection, neck braces and jackets that have anti hyperflexion back protectors. As the utilisation of back protectors may be an effective preventive measure for spine injuries.
When it comes to armour you may have noticed on motorcycle clothing CE Level 1 or CE Level 2 but what does this mean? It is easy enough to understand that it has to do with a level of safety but to obtain this level of safety it has to be tested and looks alone are not a good enough indicator that it will keep you safe and not fail in an accident.
An easy way to understand the differences between the two levels is the amount of force the protectors transmit from an impact. For Level 1 protectors: the maximum transmitted force must be below18kN. Level 2 protectors: the maximum transmitted forces must be below 9kN, essentially double the level impact protection.
There are also many lines of gear that do not have certification on their amour, so best not assume that all protectors are of CE rating. know what to look and ask for when purchasing your next jacket, pants and glove. In Europe, if you are seeling and developing motorcycle safety apparel then it is required to meet a level of standard. If a jacket, pants or even gloves are labelled CE LEVEL 1 or 2 then you know it has been tested and complies with a European standard for abrasion, impact, cut and burst resistances which are the measurements of injury protection and are more likely to do its job.
Falling off a racebike at speed and it can seem like a week before you stop sliding. This is where a suit made of thick leather earns its keep. A typical motorcycle crash at street speeds, you’re just as likely to be injured by the initial impact with the ground, a car bumper, or some other solid object as by the slide itself. Armour in the shoulders, elbows, knees and chest of your riding gear can all help protect you in case of a fall.
At first glance, you may think how can CE Level 2 armour that is soft and flexible offer more protection compared to thick rigid plastic armour that makes you look like RoboCop but as mentioned earlier this armour has the ability to withstand a higher level of impact and allowing for a more comfortable wearing experience but a safer one because it moulds to your body and it will be in the right area when needed. Ensure when you make your next purchase the jacket fits tightly, don’t just go for the bigger option because its ‘more comfortable’. If it is a layered system take the layers out and ensure that the adjuster adequately tightens around the shoulder, elbows and torso keeping protectors where the need to be.
Another great source of information on gear and anything ridding safety-related is: