While we’re ATGATT (All The Gear All The Time) people around here, we won’t tell you not to ride in shorts and flip-flops. Deciding on the level of protection you’re comfortable with is a very personal choice. But understand you don’t have to look like a Power Ranger to be well protected. Impact protection is a key component to overall safety, and advancement in body armor technology has made it less of a sacrifice in convenience and comfort than ever. We think choosing the right motorcycle gear—including all the different options in impact protection—is another part of the fun of motorcycle ownership.
D3O’s famous orange armor is made from a dilatant, a material that’s a “a non-Newtonian fluid where the shear viscosity increases with applied shear stress.” So says Wikipedia. For non-scientist motorcyclists, that means the armor is pliable and comfortable, but becomes firmer upon impact as it dissipates energy. D3O makes a variety of universal and brand-specific armor inserts for your riding gear.
Many riding jackets feature chintzy foam back protectors because the manufacturers assume riders will plan on upgrading back protection as a matter of course. Alpinestars' Nucleon KR-1 back protector is a CE Level 2 protector that still manages to be relatively thin and lightweight. It manages energy transfer by coupling a ventilated hard shell with viscoelastic memory foam.
While neck braces are typically more associated with the off-road world (it’s true—you don’t see MotoGP racers using them), Leatt has several models designed for street and track riders. The STX RR is a carbon-fiber model designed to fit over race suits and sport jackets that have back humps. Weighing only 1.55 pounds, it’s CE-tested and ready for your next ride.