Top ways to upgrade your motorcycle armour

Improve the protection offered by your bike gear with these armour upgrades

A D3O back protector in a motorcycle jacket

by Jim Blackstock |

It can sometimes be overlooked that the most important function of your riding gear is not necessarily to ward off the weather or look stylish and be comfortable on-bike – but to protect you from serious injury should the worst happen.

And of the most important features of any item of bike wear, be it leathers or textiles or designed for summer or winter, is the type and quality of armour fitted to it.

But whatever armour your favourite jacket or trousers may have come with, this can often be upgraded. Replacement, higher-spec back protectors can be inserted; the latest D3O-type armour, which is particularly light and thin while offering outstanding protection, can be inserted instead of the standard back, knee, elbow protectors for example.

Related: Knox Urbane Pro universal motorcycle armour review

Knox Micro-Lock is another high-tech armour that becomes more rigid on impact and can be retrofitted to your gear; plus you can also often fit armour to areas of your clobber – chest protectors for instance – where it might not have been fitted as standard.

But what’s out there? What different types of insertable armour are available? What do you get for your money and how much do they cost? To help you choose, here’s our pick of some of the options around.

Alpinestars Nucleon KR-2i Unisex Back Protector Insert

Alpinestars Nucleon KR-2i Unisex Back Protector Insert
Amazon

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This is a hugely popular, universal-fit, back protector insert upgrade from one of the most respected names in motorcycle clothing. Itu2019s a soft, lightweight design thatu2019s both flexible and ergonomically profiled for maximum comfort and even features an airflow system to maximise cooling and ventilation yet is still safety certified to EU CE level 2 (EN1621-1:2014).

It’s also a doddle to fit, simply slotting into the existing protector sleeve in your jacket and temptingly affordable.

Pros:

Premium brand

CE level 2 safety rating

Reasonable price

Con:

Are some cheaper offerings

Knox Micro-Lock Back Protector

Knox Micro-Lock Back Protector

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Knox has long been one of the most respected names in motorcycle clothing and armour and its Micro-Lock range of replacement body armour uses revolutionary Smart technology and properties to keep the armour material super soft to the touch but which then locks upon impact.

What’s more, the locking action actually increases the amount of impact absorbed by the protector so reducing the energy passed through to the wearer’s body. It’s also CE certified to EN 1621-2-2012.

Pros:

Comfortable and lightweight

Smart Micro-Lock material

Range of fits and applications

Con:

Again, not the cheapest

Furygan Womenu2019s Full Back D3O Protector

Furygan Womenu2019s Full Back D3O Protector
Amazon

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D3O is another highly-rated, high-tech body armour material with similar properties to Knoxu2019s Micro-Lock which makes it highly popular with motorcycle clothing manufacturers. This example is produced by leading French brand Furygan and is specifically designed to be suitable for womenu2019s clothing as an armour upgrade.

It’s in D3O’s usual, distinctive orange colour, slots straight in as a replacement for your jacket’s standard protector and offers significantly uprated protection while maintaining comfort.

Pros:

High-tech D3O material

Respected French brand

Suitable for women’s clothing

Con:

You’ve got to like orange

Forcefield Hip Armour Inserts Upgrade

Forcefield Hip Armour Inserts Upgrade

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Forcefield was launched in 2003 and specialise in impact protection and high- performance clothing systems and also supply armour upgrades for motorcycle gear with these replacement hip armour inserts being typical of their wares.

They’re highly-rated, are constructed from Nitrex armour and employ Repeat Performance Technology. They’re lightweight and flexible, are CE certified to EN1621-1:1997 and come in a choice of performance levels. They’re also temptingly priced.

Pros:

Decent price

Respected company

Wide choice of types and fitments

Con:

Not as well-known as some

Dainese Pro-Speed G2 Insert Back Protector

Dainese Pro-Speed G2 Insert Back Protector
Amazon

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Names donu2019t really get bigger in motorcycle body armour than Dainese who, after all, led development of the original back protectors in the 1970s and their wares are still among the best today.

The Pro-Speed G2 is typical of their range in being a replacement insert type that’s universal fit (although different sizes are available), is fully CE certified to Level-2, has a pre-curved anatomical shape and is made from a combination of aluminium and polypropylene all in a stylish, ventilated design. Inserted back protector upgrades don’t get much classier (or pricier!)

Pros:

Hugely respected brand

Range of sizes

Fully certified

Con:

One of the most expensive

Held D3O Shoulder Protectors

Held D3O Shoulder Protectors
Amazon

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Another replacement D3O armour insert, but this time for the shoulder areas of your garment and from respected German motorcycle clothing specialist Held, who also have many variations of this theme u2013 weu2019re simply using these shoulder inserts as an example.

As with all D3O armour, they offer improved protection while remaining comfortable and lightweight, fit straight into most jackets), are distinctively orange and, at this price, they’re tempting value as well.

Pros:

Simple, quality protection upgrade

Respected German brand

Pleasingly affordable

Con:

Make sure they’re suitable for your jacket

Revu2019it Seesoft Divided Chest Protector

Revu2019it Seesoft Divided Chest Protector

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While back protectors are commonplace these days, along with elbow, knee and shoulder protection, a rideru2019s chest is sometimes overlooked as an area benefitting from high-quality body armour.

So for those seeking additional protection, Rev’it offer these CE Level-1 protectors which can easily be inserted into a variety of their jackets (if have the correct pockets).

In the case of an impact the flexible, multi-layer PVC design absorbs and distributes energy away from the rider. They’re decent value, too.

Pros:

Simple upgrade option

Easy to fit

Reasonable price

Con:

Specific to Rev’it jackets

Richa D3O Elbow Protectors

Richa D3O Elbow Protectors
Amazon

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Finally, another example of the brilliant D3O armour upgrades u2013 but this time to fit the popular Richa brand of motorcycle clothing. These elbow protectors are made in cooperation with Richa and are in the familiar, bright orange, lightweight yet ultra-protective D3O material which again is flexible, comfortable and lightweight while also offering premium shock-absorbing properties.

As before, they’re easy to fit, decently affordable and offer a significant, CE-certified, protection upgrade.

Pros:

Proven protection upgrade

Easy to fit

Comfortable and lightweight

Con:

Ensure they’re correct for your garment

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