I am a massive exponent of the motorcycle back protector and it’s something that I consider to be compulsory for anyone riding on the track or the street.
With that, below I have listed my top 5 back protectors based on my own experience as well as research into what products riders are talking about most and how they’re standing up to reviews and tests. I’m confident one of the below will serve you just how you need it to, and that is to protect the second most important part of your body.
A very popular choice of motorcycle back protector and for good reason, the Forcefield Pro L2K is well praised by riders and official testers alike.
From a comfort perspective the Pro L2K scores very highly due to the way it moulds to your back. Once it starts to get heat from your body it actually changes shape to fit your own contours. Coupled with that is its thin and light construction which only serves to make it both easy to get under your leathers and comfortable once you get them on.
Looking at the protection stats, this back protector conforms to the CE test EN1621-2 level 2 which is the highest standard of back protection test. To give you some numbers, in tests carried out by RIDE magazine, the average force transference across 7 impacts was 5.6kN, which is in fact a lot less than the minimum level 2 standard of 9kN, so this clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of the Forcefield Pro L2K Back Protector.
The Aegis is another popular choice for track riders and the one I actually own myself. I’ve used it for two track day seasons now and I’m very happy with my purchase. It’s light and flexible and provided you get the right size (see the size chart through the below link) it does a good job of fitting to your back shape.
It fits nicely under my leathers and gives me the confidence that it is going to do its job. In fact I can tell you first hand that it did do its job during my 70mph crash at Brands Hatch, not a single mark on my back or the protector, which is really all you want from a bit of kit like this.
The Knox Aegis also conforms to the level 2 test, another good sign that this is a very capable back protector.
The price has come down considerably since I purchased mine, so in terms of value for money the Aegis scores very highly in my book.
Another protector to the highest level 2 standard of CE tests, the Bionic is said to be light, thin and breathable and the majority of riders claim it fits nicely under their leathers, even if extra room isn’t abundant.
The manufacturer claims that this back protector has been formed out of the innovations that have come from MotoGP, and that coupled with its level 2 standard makes me feel this will indeed do the job it was intended for.
Lastly it has what Alpinestars call Dynamic Force Dispersion technology which is said to spread the load of an impact across a large area of the back to dissipate the overall force. However I do believe most top level protectors offer a similar feature in their products.
Moving up the price range slightly we have the Spidi Back Warrior Back Protector (yes there’s meant to be two ‘backs’). This particular model is very light, coming in at just 560 grams making it both comfortable and almost unnoticeable, yet in tests the average force transference was just 7.8kN which lifts it easily up to the CE level 2 test standard.
Another thing the Warrior has going for it is the fact it can be folded up for storage (due to its lightweight construction), so those that are trying to squeeze every last inch of space out of their car boot or garage (probably because they have too much stuff like me) will find it useful when packing and/or transporting it around.
If you’re after something in a different style to the normal strap on protectors, the FastBack Gillet actually comes as a wearable vest with a protection plate fitted into the back portion of the vest.
It is said to be very light and comfortable (if you buy the right size), and the vest style does a good job of keeping the protection nicely in place. The only downside is there isn’t as much flexibility as some of the above so you may find it doesn’t quite fit as nice.
The FastBack conforms to level 1 standard of CE tests, but in the test carried out by RIDE it only just fell outside the 9kN rating, so it’s not too far off.
As said earlier I own the Knox Aegis back protector and I am very happy with it, however at the time I wasn’t aware of the Forcefield Pro L2K and looking at the stats and reviews it’s what I will probably go for when my Aegis gets a bit tired.
However, factoring price into the equation means the Aegis offers superb value for money which is something that is hard to ignore.
Whichever you choose, any of the above have been designed and tested to a very high standard and I would fully expect them all to stand up to the test they were designed to take.