Many riders now consider buying a helmet to be an essential purchase. Yet despite the fact that it also reduces injuries in an accident, body armor isn’t always viewed in the same way. Here’s why it should be.
Being out on the open road is why so many riders love their motorcycles. Although anyone who’s been riding for a while will know that it doesn’t come without any risks. As of 2019, 84,000 injuries and more than 5,000 fatalities were reported as a result of motorcycle accidents, which accounts for around 58 deaths per 100,000 US-registered motorcycles.
This risk has led some states to introduce universal helmet laws, which require all riders to wear head protection, for their safety. Indeed, the positive impact of wearing helmets on rider safety is widely reported. Studies show that motorcyclists not wearing a helmet are three times more likely to suffer traumatic brain injury and helmeted riders reduce their risk of death by between 37% and 42% during an accident.
Although it’s also been proven to protect motorcyclists from the worst impacts during accidents, some riders still view body armor as optional.
Otherwise known as body armor, motorcycle armor is protective equipment that is worn on the chest, back and limbs to reduce the risk of injury to riders during an accident. Motorcycle armor helps to minimize the likelihood of injury from impacts from riding accidents on the road, track or trail. The impact protection materials, like D3O®, which make up motorcycle armor, are what help reduce the risk of severe injury and soft tissue damage. Wearing impact protection armor can mean the difference between a few scrapes and bruises, and life-altering injuries.
There are two CE levels of motorcycle armor impact protection: Level 1 and Level 2. Level 1 armor offers a good, standard level of protection. It’s more likely to be worn by riders who are commuters or leisure riders, or otherwise want armor that is more lightweight, flexible and thin. Level 1 is often included as standard in motorcycle clothing, such as jackets and pants.
Level 2 armor is designed for more extreme impact protection, and tends to be chosen by riders who want the highest level of protection possible. This includes racers and off-roaders who may be more likely to have a serious crash or fall. Level 2 armor is usually purchased separately and isn’t fitted as standard into most motorcycle clothing. Typically riders might upgrade a few key pieces of their Level 1 armor to Level 2, such as their back, knee, elbow or shoulder pads.
Always check the level of certification and testing when choosing motorcycle armor. Look for the CE and UKCA marks to guarantee a good quality product that’s been through rigorous safety testing and is fit for use in motorcycling.
The best motorcycle armor is flexible, breathable, comfortable and durable. Motorcyclists should feel protected while they’re riding, without feeling restricted in their movement or overheating in their gear.
There are many types of body armor that help to keep riders safe in the event of an accident, whether that’s a high speed crash on the track, or a wobble off your bike on an uneven road. Not all riders will wear all these types of armor, but it’s good to know about the different types if your riding style changes or you’re keen to add extra layers of protection to your gear.
Motorcycle armor works by absorbing the shock from an impact. Rather than the impact striking your body with full force, motorcycle armor helps take the brunt of the impact and dissipate the force to reduce its severity. The impact protection material found in motorcycle armor is what makes this possible, and the materials used in and around the armor (such as leather in a jacket, or woven kevlar in motorcycle pants) helps to resist abrasions.
D3O® motorcycle armor offers the most advanced impact protection available on the market. Based on non-Newtonian principles, D3O® materials are soft and flexible in their resting state, but stiffen under an impact to disperse the energy of the force across the surface area of the product. D3O® armor is durable and designed to withstand multiple impacts, only needing to be replaced when showing wear and tear. This is in contrast to other armor which can flatten out over time, quickly losing its ability to protect effectively.
The design of motorcycle armor is also key to ensure it gives maximum levels of protection and comfort. Each piece of D3O® armor is designed to fit specific parts of the body comfortably, including the back, chest and limbs, such as knees and elbows. This gives these areas optimum coverage and reduces the likelihood of injury.
As you may expect, motorcycle armor’s main benefit is to give riders protection from serious injury in the event of an accident. But what other benefits can it offer?
Although many motorcyclists who ride competitively wear body armor to protect themselves while they’re pushing their limits, some everyday riders see this as optional. Yet some of the biggest names in motorcycle sport say that body armor is just as essential for everyday riders.
Michael Dunlop, an internationally-recognised road racer and 20-time winner of the legendary Isle of Man TT, is one of these body armor ambassadors. He said: “It only takes a slight second for it all to go wrong. Life can bite you, something I’ve unfortunately experienced.” He also explains that finding body armor that will keep you comfortable as well as safe is key.
He said, “With D3O® you get the best of both worlds, it fits you perfectly but also provides the best protection that you can ask for. That’s the name of the game. You have to get back up on your feet.”
Explore the full range of D3O® motorcycle armor today and upgrade your safety kit to get protected.