Armor Safety Information
Research is the key to purchasing properly ce tested and approved motorcycling apparel.
Manufacturer claims as follows, should be verified by requesting proof of Testing and Certification:
"The back plates can absorb up to 90 % of the energy from a 50 KN impact which exceeds the requirements of the EN 1621-2 test for motorcycle back protection."
CE verification and legitimacy has become an issue; CE certifying bodies do not conduct ongoing compliance testing on given certifications and instead leave it up to the Manufacturer to "maintain" the proper product specifications as when originally tested. Manufacturers in third world countries share these certifications and pass them around like playing cards. The CE agencies giving these manufacturers certifications are in no way pursuing or enforcing their certifications; but rather, they're ignoring the reality, hurting not only the CE label but customers Worldwide who buy subpar products unknowingly with a CE label. We understand they cannot police the world; but some sort of ongoing verification is crucial to ensure manufacturing compliance, customer safety and ongoing CE Certification relevance. Most of these subpar products can be found on Ebay and Amazon.com and through vendors who rely on those third world certifications, many times unknowingly. If it's "cheap" there's 99% certainty that the product in question is subpar...
Another example comes from http://www.leatherup.com where they state many of their jackets contain LEVEL 3 Armor for the shoulder and elbow guards and presumably the back as well.
After calling them to find out more, I was told they simply take descriptions from the Manufacturer, in this case MotorcycleCenter.com/Xelement. I was unable to get any answer from MotorcycleCenter.com after repeated phone calls.
The point here, ask questions. Clearly, CE certifications aren't being taken seriously and are just considered "bullet points" as mentioned by the sales representative at LeatherUp.com.
The following excerpt was written by an unknown independent third party not affiliated with Velocity Gear. The information below is out of date, but it is an excellent example of what consumers should know before purchasing so called "protective" gear.
"It is ridiculous to buy "protective" gear based on marketing hype, sponsorship deals, rumors, arbitrary experience, looks, and feel. Real, scientifically derived numbers should be the first reason for buying a piece of gear, always.
Testing is the only real way to know how crash worthy a product is. Arbitrary crashes are all similar in one way; they involve forces in direction acting on the equipment. It is simple rudimentary physics that decides how you come out of an accident and simple impact testing that is 100% repeatable is the only practical way to determine actual differences in products that may help you in a fall."
I have found six companies that offer actual CE approved back protectors and specify compliance with the proper back protector CE standard.
Before addressing each of these companies it is important to understand how CE standards are determined.
Draft standard prEN 1621-2 covers back protectors. The impact energy is the same as for limb protectors, 50 joules, but the transmitted force is lower than for limb protectors at 18 kN for Level 1 products and 9 kN for the higher performance Level 2 products.
Back Protectors that aren't certified to the EN1621-2 standard (Level 1 or Level 2) are unsafe and should be considered inferior products by current CE Motorcyclist Protection Guidelines. Current Motorcyclist Jackets typically incorporate EN1621-1 compliant padding for the back, shoulders and elbows. However, it should noted that EN1621-1 compliant products DO NOT meet current Motorcyclist Back Protection Standards.
Verify Each Product with the Correct Standard Designations
It is important that consumers verify each product with the correct standard designations; otherwise, consumers may be confused regarding what certification level the product is that they are purchasing, or may be purchasing outdated or obsolete items.
The EN1621-2 standard contains two levels that are considered passable. One transmits no more than 18 kN of force (LEVEL 1), and the other transmits no more than 9 kN (LEVEL 2), but both of these levels fall within that 1621-2 back protector standard. For example, Alpinestars states that the Tech Protector is 1621-2 approved but makes no claim of LEVEL 1 or Level 2 compliance.
To reinforce the previous explanation: What the consumer needs to know is that there are several different CE certification standards. There is the EN1621-1 standard that applies to shoulder,elbow and knee protection. There is, also, the EN1621-2 standard that comes in two levels, Level 1 and Level 2. EN1621-2 Level 1 transmits 18 kN of force through the product, from an initial impact force of 50kN, while EN1621-2 Level 2 transmits 9 kN of force through the product from an initial impact force of 50kN. The Level 2 certification literally transmits half the force through the product in comparison to Level 1.
The back protector standard (EN1621-2) can be either 18 kN for LEVEL 1 compliance or 9 kN for LEVEL 2 "high performance" compliance.
Have the Safest Possible Piece of Equipment
There are more out there, the important thing is to know what to look for before you spend any more money thinking you have the safest possible piece of equipment. In the end you have to ask yourself how much limited personal experience, limited arbitrary crash experience, limited knowledge of the actual forces at work in any crash story, and the beliefs of others in what they have heard through the grapevine. Is any of this speculation going to satisfy your motivation to part with your money? What information will provide you with the safety expectations you have decided are appropriate. The problem with decisions made with this kind of information is that it is never complete or accurate, no matter how well intentioned it may be.
We have no standards for motorcycle gear in the United States, which means somebody can slap a piece of cardboard together, and call it the world's best protection system ever, and it may even look the part. I'm also sure that you could find some racers or average Joe's to swear by it as well. Perpetuation of poor information and marketing hype leaves too much to our own speculation as the basis for our protective measures.
Velocity Gear offers the lowest price level 2 armor in the world. Simply put, no other company can outperform our armor in legitimate CE certification tests.
Factor our price into the equation and there are no equals!