Motorcycle racers have been wearing back protectors for a long time; well aware of the benefits should they part company with their motorcycle unintentionally. But road riders are taking advantage of the protection offered by them too.
Back protectors will absorb energy from an impact and help prevent damage to the spine and ribs – as well as internal organs. A 2012 survey by a riders organization in Europe revealed that 80 percent of riders in Europe use a back protection, but only 68 percent were CE approved and fewer than half (48 percent) were separate – i.e. not fitted into a jacket or suit. In Thailand the numbers of people using back protectors is obviously lower. But where do you start? Back protection comes in a number of forms and for a range of budgets…
In most modern motorcycle jackets there will be a pocket at the back for a back protector insert to be fitted, or there may even be a protector included in there. If there isn't or you're unhappy with the level of protection – sometimes they are just pieces of foam – then you can upgrade them by buying inserts. If your motorcycle jacket doesn't have a pocket, or you prefer this style then you could always consider a seperate back protector – which straps on separately to your jacket with two braces over your shoulders and a Velcro strap around the waist which allows you to get a snug fit. These are a good choice if you wear a number of different jackets and often cover more of your back as the size isn't restricted by the size of the pocket.
There's a huge range to choose from so head to your local dealer or take a look online to see which you like to look of.
Fit is so important with back protection so we'd recommend heading to a local motorcycle shop so that you can be measured up properly – and try it on before you buy – preferably with the rest of your gear to make sure it sits comfortably with everything. You probably also want to emulate the riding position of your motorcycle before you're buying it.