Are Motorcycle Back Protectors Worth It?

Jan. 22, 2024

Motorcyclists are using body armour more than ever before as the number of accidents continues to rise.


While some people may think that back protectors are ineffective, they are actually very beneficial in certain situations. Back protectors protect the tissues of the back, shoulder blades, ribs, and spine from injury in the event of an accident.


They are most effective during commutes and recreational riding; however, they can also be used during racing events.


Motorcycle back protectors are plates that cover the entire back and closely adhere to the biker's body, designed to provide protection in the event of a crash or fall.


There are three types of motorcycle back protectors based on their intended use: for sports riding, road riding, and off-road riding. These protectors are crafted to cover the cervical to the coccyx area, ensuring effective protection, especially at high speeds.


However, in most countries, they are not mandatory, leaving the decision to purchase one entirely up to the individual rider.


Motorcycle back protectors aim to safeguard the rider's back in case of a crash, coming in various shapes and sizes, all offering some degree of protection. Back protectors for road use typically cover half of the back, balancing protection with improved mobility on a motorcycle.


Additionally, there are protectors that conform to the body and bike-specific back protectors that wrap around the entire rider. While the latter provides enhanced protection, they are not as prevalent as jacket or gilet versions.


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Types of Motorcycle Back Protectors


Various types of back protectors cater to different activities or situations, each serving a specific purpose. While some may question the necessity of a back protector, it plays a crucial role in preventing severe injuries in the event of an accident.


Back protectors come in different categories, including those specifically crafted for off-road riding and general use. Choosing the appropriate protector is essential to ensure comprehensive protection tailored to your needs.


Typically, individuals opt for a high CE level back protector, prioritizing both protection and comfort.


Back Protector for Track:


Back protectors designed for track use vary in size, featuring full plate protection for the entire back. This type of protector is particularly well-suited for professional riders and individuals who engage in high-speed riding, prioritizing maximum safety.


While they may incur a slightly higher cost, track-oriented back protectors are unquestionably worthwhile for professional riders or those consistently riding at very high speeds.


Back Protector for Off-Roads:

Back protectors tailored for off-road riding differ from those intended for the track. Although they may be less flexible, they offer enhanced protection by covering a larger portion of the back. Most back protectors are seamlessly integrated into motorcycle jackets and suits, making them less versatile in terms of standalone use.


Back Protector for Normal Road Use:


Back protectors serve a purpose beyond racing or high-speed riding. Many back protector jackets feature a built-in back protector designed for simplicity and ease of wear. Although less customized and slightly more challenging to put on, this type of protector is excellent for city riders seeking additional protection without the need for a bulky jacket. The trade-off is that it doesn't provide extensive coverage of the back.


CE Levels of Motorcycle Back Protector:


Motorcycle protectors are specifically crafted to safeguard the rider's back in the event of a crash, adhering to the CE European safety standard EN1621-2-2014. To meet this standard, a protector must transmit 18kN of force. There are three CE levels of protection: levels 1, 2, and 3. Level 1 protectors must transmit 18kN of force, level 2 protectors must transmit 9kN of force, and level 3 protectors must transmit 6kN of force.


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Are Motorcycle Back Protectors Comfortable?


Motorcycle back protection serves as armor to safeguard your spine and back in the event of a crash. Available in various sizes, it is typically crafted from a soft, comfortable material. The protector is designed not to hinder airflow, ensuring comfort and keeping you cool on hot days.


How to Choose the Size of the Motorcycle Back Protector


When selecting a motorcycle back protector, consider a few key factors. The most crucial is ensuring that the protector fits your jacket. As most protectors come in different sizes, it's important to choose the size that corresponds to your jacket size.


Additionally, check that the protector features an inner pocket to keep it securely in place while riding. Many manufacturers provide size guides on their websites, so be sure to consult those before making a purchase.


How to Place the Motorcycle Back Protector?


A motorcycle back protector is a device worn by motorcyclists to safeguard their spine in the event of a crash. Before purchasing, it's crucial to ensure that your jacket is compatible with the back protector and that it fits well. The protector is typically secured on the body via straps or bands, and some jackets come equipped with a hook for this purpose.


Do Motorcycle Protective Gear Work?


Motorcycle armor plays a vital role in preventing injuries during accidents. While it may not prevent all injuries, it offers more protection than not wearing any protective gear at all.


There are various types of motorcycle armor available, and selecting the right type is essential based on your needs.


For those riding on closed courses at high speeds, specialized motorcycle armor designed to protect against crashes is necessary. However, wearing motorcycle armor is still recommended for general protection against most accidents.




Back injuries stand out as the most prevalent type of injury in motorcycle accidents, constituting almost half of all motorcycle-related fatalities. Although back protectors cannot entirely prevent all back injuries, they can serve as an effective measure against spinal cord injuries in motorcyclists.


The evolution of back protectors has focused on reducing abrasion injuries in normal traffic. They can now be seamlessly integrated into motorcycle jackets and are available as armor that covers the upper thoracic spine to the lower lumbar spine.


Effectiveness ratings for back protectors pose challenges, as it is difficult to compare outcomes between individuals who use them and those who do not. Generally, however, it is believed that back protectors are more effective when used preventatively rather than solely after an accident has occurred.

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