Best New Motorcycle Back Protectors

We review a dozen new motorcycle back protectors that fit under any jacket

Motorcycle Back Protection gear
A back protector can be worn under any of your jackets to add an extra level of impact-absorbing armor.Animated GIF by Robert Martin

Most motorcycle jackets come with impact-absorbing armor in the shoulders and elbows, but some, especially those built to a price point, omit a back protector. You can sometimes buy an optional insert, but usually it fits only that one brand of jacket. A motorcycle back protector with waist or shoulder straps, or both, can be worn under any of your jackets, and don't require armor sleeves sewn into the jacket's liner.

Alpinestars Nucleon KR-1 back protector
Alpinestars Nucleon KR-1 Buy It NowPhoto: Alpinestars

The Nucleon KR-1 features race-oriented protection certified to CE Level 2. The hybrid design uses hard-shell vertebrae protection and high-energy-absorbing viscoelastic memory foam. Special ergonomics and ventilation make it ideal for street or performance riding, and the light weight makes it all-day comfortable to wear. (XS-XL, $169.95, www.alpinestars.com)

Bilt Arma + back protector
Bilt Arma +Photo: Cycle Gear

The Arma + is certified to CE Level 2 and comes with shoulder straps and a double-layer hook-and-loop waistband. The articulated molded back increases the protection and flexibility of impact zones. Comfort padding and a cushioned back pad are included. (S-XL, $39.99, www.cyclegear.com)

Cortech Latigo spine guard
Cortech Latigo Buy It NowPhoto: Cortech

The Latigo meets CE Level 2 standards and uses a combination of segmented plastic plates backed by dense memory foam that allows the protector to bend into the riding position while protecting the rider from impacts. Removable and adjustable shoulder straps and an adjustable chest strap let you tailor the fit. A padded waist offers kidney protection, and mesh inner and outer construction maximizes ventilation. (S/M-L/XL, $89.95, www.cortech.net)

Dainese Wave D1 Air back protection
Dainese Wave D1 Air Buy It NowPhoto: Dainese

The Wave Air is certified to CE Level 2 and is made with polypropylene plates and an aluminum honeycomb frame. It's lined with thermoformed polyurethane foam and has a lumbar band with a double adjustment strap. The inside backing is lined with mesh fabric. (M-L, $189.95, www.dainese.com)

EVS Sport protector
EVS Sport Buy It NowPhoto: EVS

The low-profile Sport back protector has articulating spine protection panels that move with you as you ride. The custom-molded foam back provides improved ventilation and air flow. The arm straps are adjustable, and a built-in kidney belt is included. (S-XL, $89.00, www.evs-sports.com)

Forcefield Blade
Forcefield BladePhoto: Forcefield

The Blade is certified to CE Level 2 and uses heat-activated molding to conform to your body. Its shock-absorbing material is made in an open system that allows it to move freely and makes it highly flexible and comfortable. Repeat Performance Technology ensures consistent protection even after multiple impacts. The adjustable waist band and should straps are breathable. (XS-L, $129.00, www.forcefieldbodyarmour.com)

Icon Stryker Vest protector
Icon Stryker VestPhoto: Icon

The Stryker combines a ventilated chest with a low-profile back protector, which is CE-approved thanks to a breathable D30 insert with custom-molded Icon geometry. The chassis uses vented biofoam and mesh, and features a HydraDry moisture-wicking liner. The shoulder and waist straps are highly adjustable, and the low profile fits under most riding jackets. (S-3XL, $130.00, www.rideicon.com)

Joe Rocket Speedmaster 2.0 back armor
Joe Rocket Speedmaster 2.0 Buy It NowPhoto: Joe Rocket

The Speedmaster is certified to CE Level 2 and is made with a 3D molded, articulated, high-density foam (not rigid plastic) for unrestricted movement without sacrificing protection. The fully adjustable shoulder straps have two pivot points for added mobility, and the double, extra-wide adjustable waist strap ensures a secure fit. (M-L, $74.99, www.joerocket.com)

Knox Aegis V14 spine protector
Knox Aegis V14Photo: Knox

The Knox Aegis is certified to CE Level 2 and uses flexible sliding spine protection that moves freely over a shock-absorbing honeycomb material for maximum coverage. Open-cell technology provides superior air flow to keep you cool, and a multi-position waist strap gives the best individual fit while side adjustment straps give a more secure fit over the spine. Quick-release shoulder straps are included. (5 plates, 6 plates, $129.95, www.knoxarmorusa.com)

Rev’it Tryonic Feel 3.7
Rev’It Tryonic Feel 3.7Photo: Rev’It

The Tryonic Feel 3.7 has a CoolMax stretch mesh outer shell and an EPS inner core. Certified to CE Level 2, it's ergonomically shaped and molded to fit the contours of your body. It comes with a Tryonic Custom Fit closure system, and air vent channels in the outer shell. (S-L, $174.99, www.revitsport.com)

Speed and Strength Killer Queen protection for women riders
Speed and Strength Killer Queen Buy It NowPhoto: Speed and Strength

The Killer Queen protective vest is designed for women riders, and features a tri-composite Fierce mesh and a PU and flex-foam frame with a removable CE-approved spine protector and an injection-molded chest protector. Lockdown waist and shoulder adjusters offer an adjustable fit. (S-XL, $129.95, www.ssgear.com)

Spidi Back Warrior EVO
Spidi Back Warrior EVOPhoto: Spidi

The Back Warrior EVO is certified to CE Level 2 and has a limited thickness to fit comfortably under jackets. It features air ventilation and a height-adjustable belt that's removable for racing, and can be adapted to fit a wide range of rider heights. A vented elastic belt improves comfort and accommodates most riders. (one size, $149.95, www.spidi.com)