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Armor Safety Information

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.

  • there is no such thing as a Level 3 CE certification.
  • there is no current shoulder or elbow guard that meets the EN1621-2 back protector CE standard.
  • a direct quote from their site: "Level-3 Armor is the Next Generation in Armor Technology"

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 The information below is out of date, but it is an excellent example of what consumers should know before purchasing so called "protective" gear.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.

  • Alpinestars
  • Dainese
  • Knox
  • Spidi
  • T-pro

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.

Market Comparison

Dianese

Dainese Backspace is made of an exclusive and innovative aluminum honeycomb construction, and has breathable polyurethane padding, and patented transversal joints on the waist. Its innovative structure, Backspace is extremely light, anatomical, and comfortable. It has undergone rigorous CE approval tests, which it surpassed with an average transmitted force of 15 kN or LEVEL 1 certification.

Unfortunately, using aluminum as an inner core makes this armor a one time use armor. That is, once it has sustained an impact it must be replaced in order to offer the consumer the same absorption qualities as new.

Bohn

Bohn's website offers no specific information regarding which CE specs are being met and how it is being proven. I find this claim to be blatantly deceptive and dishonest. Such claims should be backed-up. Companies that attempt to join the bandwagon of certifications without providing evidence for such certifications is on the verge of false advertising, saying nothing of poor business practices and deception of the public.

Fieldsheer

Fieldsheer claims their X20 back protector exceeds all CE standards leaving the specifics to the imagination, and leaving you to hope they meet the back protector Level 2 standards, but do not refer to the actual certification or standard that their protector has passed.

Knox

Knox doesn't specify the level that any of their back protectors comply with, just that they are approved to the appropriate EN1621-2 standard.

Knox refers to improper use of CE claims by other companies. They don't name names, but it appears to be in response to Bohn's non-certified CE labeling practice. Bohn uses a CE label without actually being certified. Bohn also does not specify which standard they are referring to in their marketing statements of "exceeding CE specs" or "built to European CE standards." An article on the Knox site implies that unnamed companies are being sued for improperly using the CE mark and not complying with the proper specs for back protectors. I cannot find any actual information that directly refers to Bohn or the standards that Bohn allegedly meets or exceeds.

Impact

Impact Armor protectors make no claims of CE certification. They offer testimonials from unpaid professional racers, but nothing in the way of proven results of crash worthiness or protective levels.

Joe Rocket

Joe Rocket's website says very little about their GPX back protector. It is not shown to be CE certified.

Kobe

Kobe back protectors claim CE approval as well, but no mention of which standard is being referred to.

Helimot and Teknic

Helimot and Teknic (though they also sell Knox) are other brands that I have seen on the web, but make no specific claims of protective levels or performance results.

Spidi

Spidi offers two families of CE approved back protectors, the Airback and Warrior. I noticed a difference in information and the photos of the Spidi Warrior protectors on the Spidi US website vs. the Italian (English version). The mid and lower back versions of the new Warrior protectors are listed only on the Italian site, and are CE 1621-2 LEVEL 1 approved. The US Spidi website shows a Warrior protector that looks different than the Warrior protectors on the Italian site, and the literature about these protectors is very different as well.

The US site does not state that the Warrior protectors are compliant with the CE back protector standard EN1621-2, just that the they are compliant with the CE Directives for PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), which have nothing to do with the actual standards and testing performance of the equipment. The Directives are simply an ethics code and basis for testing procedures and standards operations. Suspicious? It certainly appears that way, and the price of the US version leads to that assumption as well.

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!