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How effective is motorcycle body armor?

Sometimes, no matter how much you try to ride safely or how often you check every single part of your motorcycle before riding, external factors such as reckless motorists on the highway, road hazards, and extreme weather conditions will always put you at risk of an accident.

In such cases, defensive riding is not always enough. And while it is a good practice, no rider can ever be safe while on the road. With the inherent risks that come with motorcycle riding, being a responsible rider not only means obeying the speed limit and being highly conscious of your surroundings. It also means wearing appropriate protective gear.

Is motorcycle body armor truly effective?

The answer is yes. According to a study by Dr. Liz de Rome, motorcycle body armor significantly reduces the risk of open wound injuries on the torso by 63%, hands and wrist by 73%, legs by 59%, and feet and ankles by 90%.

The de Rome study analyzed the correlation between wearing motorcycle body armor and the likelihood of injuries in motorcycle accidents by examining 212 motorcycle riders wearing minimal protective clothing and full body armor at the time of their crash.

Out of the 212 riders, 82.5% wore motorcycle jackets, 87.3% wore motorcycle gloves, 34.9% wore motorcycle pants, and 38.2% wore motorcycle boots. The majority of them suffered only minor injuries, with only 23.1% admitted to the hospital and 58.8% required to undergo some treatment but did not necessarily stay long in the hospital. The rest were either uninjured or have decided not to seek medical attention.

These statistics suggest that aside from reducing the risk of sustaining injuries, motorcycle body armor can also lessen the possibility of hospital confinement after a crash.

Why wear motorcycle body armor

How effective is motorcycle body armor?

It is crucial to protect the head especially, since traumatic brain injuries remain the leading cause of death in most motorcycle accidents. But what some people forget is that it is crucial to protect other body parts as well.

Motorcycle body armor lessens the amount of force transferred to you and distributes the impact you receive if you hit anything during a motorcycle accident. This is made possible by materials with abrasion resistance properties that protect high-impact areas such as the shoulders, elbows, spine, hips, and knees in the event of a crash.

Aside from the physical protection, wearing motorcycle body armor can also give you some peace of mind. We all know that riding a motorcycle is already inherently dangerous, but wearing enough protection can make you feel more confident and safe on the road.

Different types of motorcycle body armor

There are many kinds of motorcycle protective gear, but the most fundamental articles of protective clothing that every rider should have are listed below. The de Rome study also assessed how each of them is effective in shielding the body part they are supposed to protect.

  • Jackets

The de Rome study found that wearing motorcycle jackets lessens the risk of open wound injuries on the upper body by 63%. This means increased protection for the spine, shoulders, and elbows which, are considered high-impact areas.

Motorcycle jackets are made from various materials, but leather remains superior because of its incredible ability to resist abrasions. However, leather is not exactly the most comfortable. While it is more protective, it is heavier, more expensive, and does not provide adequate ventilation.

If you find leather motorcycle jackets uncomfortable, you may want to consider motorcycle jackets made of textile, mesh, or Kevlar. Jackets made of these materials are lighter, less expensive, and more comfortable to wear.

But more than the price and comfort, protection should still be the priority. So when you are shopping for motorcycle jackets, choose one that has additional padding in the back, shoulder, and elbows because these are typically the body parts that receive the initial impact during a motorcycle accident.

Milwaukee Crossover Scooter Leather Jacket
Milwaukee Crossover Scooter Leather Jacket
  •  Made of Premium Cowhide 1.1-1.2mm Thick Leather with Front Zipper Closure and a Collarless Design
  •  OUTSIDE FEATURES: Full Chest, Arm and Back Dual Striped Blacked Out Highly Reflective Piping + 2 Lower Zippered Hand Pockets + Zippered Cuffs with Snap Button Strap Closure + Full Action Back Shoulder Panel + Side Hip Zipper Opening with Gusset Panel for Added Room When Needed + Antique Brass Color Hardware
  •  VENTILATION SYSTEM: 2 Chest Pockets with Zipper Closure, 2 Arm and 2 Back Vents
  •  INSIDE FEATURES: Conceal Your Piece with Dual Inside Left and Right Gun or Ammo Pockets + Zip Out Vest Thermal Liner + Built-In Mesh Liner to Jacket + Built Inside Hanging Loop
Fly Racing Terra Trek Jacket (Black, Small)
Fly Racing Terra Trek Jacket (Black, Small)
  • MOTORCYCLE ACCESSORIES: Quality protective gear is imperative while riding. This comfortable jacket offers you optimal mobility and protection on highways, back roads, and more. This jacket also protects against the wind and cold.
  • OPTIMAL PROTECTION: This jacket has quality construction with CE-certified elbow and shoulder armor and a PE back and spine protector to protect vulnerable parts of the body in case of falls. Our jacket provides more protection than traditional vests.
  • DURABLE MATERIAL: The multi-material construction and advanced poly-fabric textile main shell provide this jacket with excellent abrasion and tear resistance. It also offers HYDRAGuard protection for waterproofing, windproofing, and breathability.
First MFG Co Street Cruiser Motorcycle Leather Jacket
First MFG Co Street Cruiser Motorcycle Leather Jacket
  • PERFECT DESIGN: This Men's Sporty Scooter Jacket has a unique Scooter style with a single snap banded collar and center zipper
  • POCKET STYLES: This Motorcycle Leather Jacket for Men has two zippered chest pockets and two zippered slash pockets and two conceal carry pockets with tapered holsters.
  • FEATURES: Zippered sleeves with gussets, Perforated action back, Underarm gussets and grommets airflow, and Armored pockets for CE rated armor
  • CUSTOMER SATISFACTION: Complete customer satisfaction is our top priority, so we work in close contact with our clients throughout the procedure. We are offering a ‘money-back guarantee for customers that are not 100% satisfied. If for any reason you are not satisfied – just contact us and you will get a full refund!
  • Gloves

riding gear image

According to the de Rome study, gloves reduce the risk of open wound injuries on the hands and wrists by 73%.  Your initial reaction is likely to put your hands out to catch yourself from falling in the event of a crash, so it only makes sense that you protect your hands as well.

Like motorcycle jackets, gloves also come in leather, textile, mesh, or Kevlar. Whatever material you prefer, always try to choose gloves with extra padding and armor on the fingers, knuckles, palm, and back of the hand to lessen the force of impact and prevent abrasions.

Aside from the material used, it would help if you also considered the fit of your gloves. They should be tight enough but still comfortable to wear. Ill-fitting gloves can make manipulating levers and buttons difficult, so having the right fit will enable you to handle the vehicle comfortably.

Denim & Leather Motorcycle Gloves  by Indie Ridge
Denim & Leather Motorcycle Gloves by Indie Ridge
  • Premium Denim and Leather Motorcycle Gloves. These high-quality denim and brown leather motorcycle gloves protect hands and fingers during motorbike rides during the summer, fall, and cool weather.
  • Mobile touchscreen fingertips that actually work. The thumb, index and middle finger all have mobile touchscreen material.
  • Perforated, Pre-Curved Comfort. These pre-curved brown leather motorcycle gloves are perforated to provide breathability during hot summer rides.
Alpinestars Men's SMX Plus V2 Motorcycle Riding Glove, Black, Large
Alpinestars Men's SMX Plus V2 Motorcycle Riding Glove, Black, Large
  • Short vented summer glove.
  • Outer seam palm construction for enhanced levels of rider comfort.
  • Hard carbon knuckle for superior resistance to impacts.
  • Knuckle panel with perforated gusset construction to increase flexibility.
  • Full perforated leather with open stretch mesh for improved ventilation.
INBIKE Motorcycle Gloves for Men Premium Genuine Perforated Leather
INBIKE Motorcycle Gloves for Men Premium Genuine Perforated Leather
  • [Comfortable and Breathable]-Breathable fabric, With a stylish design that will complement any kit choice, the motorcycle gloves are an excellent choice for motorcycle,driving,road cycling,training and so on.
  • [Protection]- Carbon fiber protective case on the back of the motorcycle glove, which can shields knuckles. and also have a built-in protective cover to shield joints and prevent cuts and injuries.
  • Pants

Motorcycle Pants

The de Rome study also found that motorcycle pants reduced the risk of open wound injuries on the legs by 59%. It also helps reduce the impact on the hip and knee joints, which are highly vulnerable in motorcycle accidents. So if you want enough lower body protection, you should invest in a pair of high-quality motorcycle pants.

Motorcycle pants are typically made of leather and textile, but which one you choose will depend on the terrain and weather conditions you are riding in.

And just like with motorcycle gloves, you should also make sure that your motorcycle pants fit you perfectly and are comfortable enough when worn in the normal riding position. It should not be too tight, bulky, or ride up too high because it can make riding, maneuvering, and braking challenging.

Harem Pants Motorcycle Waterproof Windproof Male Leather Trousers
Harem Pants Motorcycle Waterproof Windproof Male Leather Trousers
  • Leather pants use asian sizes, which are smaller than american sizes, please refer to our size guide.
  • Motorcycles bike riding pants made of 100% genuine leather, with a luxury lined interior.
  • Casual leather pants are perfect to pair with daily look tops, v-neck tshirt, big and tall tops, tank tops, shirts, leather jacket, sport coats for stylish look. Suitable for spring, summer, autumn and winter.
  • Men's pants has fade, wrinkle, pilling resistant features. Wash recommended with cold water, do not bleach, lay flat or hang to dry.
Alpinestars Men's Missile v2 Airflow Motorcycle Riding Pant - Long, Black, 54
Alpinestars Men's Missile v2 Airflow Motorcycle Riding Pant - Long, Black, 54
  • Durable premium leather main chassis constructed from 1. mm genuine bovine leather.
  • Extensive high-density perforation panel strategically positioned on thigh.
  • Accordion leather stretch zones above the knee offer improved flexibility.
  • Extended high rear waist construction provides greater overlap with the riding jacket.
  • Extensive stretch panels on calf and crotch area for improved fit and feel.
Motorcycle Pants for Men Dualsport  Overpants Enduro
Motorcycle Pants for Men Dualsport Overpants Enduro
  •  600D CORDURA TEXTILE: Extremely optimal motorcycle riding pant with a LIFETIME WARRANTY! These ALL-PURPOSE daily-use HWK pants can also be used as tactical pants, work pants and cargo pants for men that will serve you for a lifetime, if anything goes wrong just message us for a replacement 🙂
  •  PROTECTIVE CE ARMORED(REMOVABLE): KNEES & HIP padded armor included with 1000D polyester cordura stitched on impact areas motorbike pants.
  •  WATERPROOF & WINDPROOF: REISSA MEMBRANE & MICRO-MESH lining makes these motocross pants / motorcycle trousers for men breathable & rainproof. Two air vents for hot summer weather.
  • Boots

motorcycle protective gear image

Lastly, the de Rome study found that motorcycle boots reduce the likelihood of open wound injuries on the feet and ankles by a whopping 90%. In a motorcycle accident, chances are you will use your feet and ankles to take the force of the fall. Your foot can also get trapped under the motorcycle in the process. But with motorcycle boots, such scenarios can be avoided.

Motorcycle boots typically have outer protection around the toes for abrasion resistance, steel toe inserts for impact protection, and oil-resistant soles that have a better grip on slippery surfaces. So if you think regular footwear is enough for riding, think again.

It would help if you also considered fitment when buying motorcycle boots. Riding with a pair that is too tight can hurt your feet, and the pain will take away your focus from the road. Riding with a team that is too loose can be just as uncomfortable because the boots would be slipping and sliding off your feet. So to ensure safe riding, choose a pair of motorcycle boots with just enough room for your toes to wiggle but also snug enough that they stay in place.

Alpinestars Corozal Adventure Drystar Men's Motorcycle Touring Boots
Alpinestars Corozal Adventure Drystar Men's Motorcycle Touring Boots
  • Alpinestars has been redefining protection for motorcyclists
  • World-leading manufacturer of professional racing products, motorcycling airbag protection, high-performance apparel and technical footwear
  • Most advanced technical equipment for the racing world’s top athletes
WORKLAND 77411 Motorcycle Boots for Men - Leather Boots
WORKLAND 77411 Motorcycle Boots for Men - Leather Boots
  • 【Natural Genuine Leather】Black Boots for men are constructed from premium tannery soft and resistant Oiled leather for breathable waterproof & secure ride.
  • 【Rubber Sole + Polyurethane Midsole】Non-slip-high traction, long-lasting rubber & ultra-comfortable padded polyurethane wedge of biker boots for men have heavy duty sole with strong grip design to release water and mud
  • 【Add horsepower in Bikes】Padded and flexible insoles of motorcycle riding shoes have thick tread with a serious anti-slip surface which supports great weight-not deform over time. prevents fatigue and tiredness from prolonged use
Waterproof Motorbike Boots Motorcycle Armoured
Waterproof Motorbike Boots Motorcycle Armoured
  • Premium Quality Genuine Leather Waterproof Motorbike Boots Lined with Soft Polyester inside (Extra Comfort Guarantee)
  • Accordion At Front & Back for Easy Movement - TPO Hard Protection at Back Heel & Ankle
  • Side Zip - Easy To Wear and Use - Velcro Belt At Front for Adjustment
  • Perfect Gear Panel and Tread Design
  • Toe Sliders - Anti Skid Rubber Sole Provides Full Round Protection.

Things to consider when buying motorcycle body armor

Choosing motorcycle body armor is more than just finding the coolest looking garment that can make you look like a badass on the road. There are more important factors to consider, like the ones listed below:

  • Protection

Wearing complete protective gear from head to toe is ideal for preventing injuries in a motorcycle accident. However, it is not always practical. Each piece of protective clothing can cost hundreds of dollars, especially the premium ones, so if you can only afford to choose one piece of protective gear other than a helmet, your next choice should be something that sufficiently covers your torso because it is the body part that needs protection the most aside from your head.

Protecting your torso is crucial because the spine and vital organs are located. If you hurt your spine or any of your internal organs during an accident, it can cost you your life.

  • Fit and comfort

Your motorcycle body armor should fit you perfectly. If it is too large and loose, the armor may move around a lot and not provide adequate protection upon impact. If it is too small and too tight, it can make riding uncomfortable, prompt you just not to wear it at all.

It is also ideal if you buy body armor that offers enough ventilation. When considering comfort, you should take into account whether the body armor is too tight or too loose and whether or not you will be too hot while wearing it.

  • Certification

It is common to see a CE certification when shopping for motorcycle body armor. This symbol stands for Conformité Européene, or “European Conformity” in English, a European safety standard that measures how much force motorcycle body armor can absorb.

The CE standard focuses mainly on abrasion resistance and impact protection. Abrasion resistance refers to the body armor’s ability to withstand tears, cutting, or abrasions. In contrast, impact protection refers to the body armor’s ability to distribute the force of impact across a broader area to reduce the risk of injuries from a crash.

Most international brands that supply motorcycle safety gear to the global market label their motorcycle protective armor with this rating to indicate that their products conform to European motorcycle safety standards. However, such measures are not officially adopted in the United States. But despite that, manufacturers of motorcycle body armor in the US still use them as guidelines to produce high-quality protective clothing.

A CE rating is not simply a CE logo on a motorcycle protective gear. Here are the different CE ratings and what each rating means:

  • CE Tested – manufacturer tested the body armor according to CE criteria in their facility, but this does not necessarily mean the body armor passed CE standards
  • CE Certified – more secure than the CE Tested rating because the body armor is tested in CE-accredited facilities; however, it means that either only certain parts of the body armor were tested or only specific details were approved. It is still up to you to determine which factors were tested or have passed CE standards.
  • CE Approved – most secure rating, which means that the entire body armor was tested in CE-accredited facilities and all parts passed CE standards


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