Chest protection can often be a shunned cousin of the biker armoury, often seen as a fancy add on for track or motocross riding.
However, as many unfortunate bikers will attest, a forward dive during low speed impacts can necessitate protection.
Here’s a quick guide to chest protection.
Best Motorcycle Chest Protector Reviews
Lets take a look at our preferred picks.
Forcefield Elite Chest Protector
This strap-on unit contains Forcefield’s malleable Nitrex Evo material (a lightweight viscoelastic). It comes in two sizes, S-M or L-XL and also has height and width adjustments to tailor it to your needs.
It also boasts ‘Repeat Performance’ technology, which they claim allows the material to recover during an accident to protect from multiple hits (some websites seem to think this technology means you can reuse the product after an accident).
It’s honeycomb construction aids ventilation and it’s lower coverage also means it protects parts of the sternum. It’s Certified to prEN1621-3:2011 Level 1.
Flexible and moulded
Good coverage of upper and lower chest
Only Level 1 certified
Straps and adjusters can be fiddly
Forcefield EX-K Harness Flite Chest and Back Protector
The EX-K Harness, offers total upper body protection with chest and back protection all in one unit. Furthermore it allows you to add Nitrex shoulder and elbow protection and neck brace compatibility.
As with the Elite Chest protector, the unit boasts Nitrex Evo material and repeat performance technology, whilst the harness system is made with an aramid thread to provide good abrasion resistance. It’s available in three sizes.
It contains a central zip opening and velcro straps, making removal a fairly easy task. It also has adjustable shoulder straps and an adjustable velcro belt which offers further kidney protection.
Many users talk about how this product really inspires them to feel safe on the road and warrants a greater piece of mind when riding, making this our premium pick.
Modular unit, can be upgraded with shoulder/elbow armour
CE Level 2 certified
Good zip and velcro entry system
Could be a bulky solution for regular riders
May appeal more to track / off-road enthusiasts
Alpinestars Nucleon KR-Ci Chest Protector
These inserts are designed to be used in a number of Alpinestars jackets, however a few people have reported that they do fit in some other jackets.
They are slimline and made from Alpinestars ‘Nucleon’ viscoelastic polymer, meaning they are lightweight and will shape and mould to your body. They’re perforated as well so will vent when warm.
Alpinestars states that the Nucleon is CE Certified to prEN 1621-3:2013.
Nucleon material makes them comfortable and unobtrusive
Offers an upgrade to Alpinestars standard foam inserts
Perforated surface offers ventilation
Could have limited compatibility with non Alpinestars jackets
Can make an already tight jacket a bit tighter
Take time to mould when cold
Knox Chest Guard
This add-on unit is designed specifically as an accessory for the Knox Aegis back protector and comes in two sizes, a small (400mm) or large (475mm).
Not the most slimline chest protector, but it is CE Level 1 certified and offers a lightweight honeycomb structure.
When connected to the Aegis back protector, it limits it’s quick release belt system as the chest protector doesn’t have an opening mechanism resulting in you having to lift the unit over your head.
When twinned with the Aegis it offers a high level of all round armour option at a reasonable price, and I like it’s looks.
CE Level 1 Certified
Lightweight and flexible
Only fits the Aegis back protector
Cumbersome to put on / take off
Can be bulky under leathers
Alpinestars Nucleon KR-C Chest Protector
Made as an add-on to the KR-1, 2 and 3 back protectors, the KR-C chest protector is CE Level 1 certified.
As with the KR-Ci inserts, this protector contains Nucleon material making it lightweight and flexible. User feedback suggests that it moulds really well to the body, remains in place, and is well vented.
Perhaps it’s best feature is a central zip, which provides access, preventing the need to pass the whole unit over your bonce (tricky with a lid on).
Central access zip
Moulds and holds
Only compatible with Alpinestars KR back protectors
Only CE 1 certified
So how is your armour certified?
It is a complex area when you get into the detail, but there are essentially two main standards that manufacturers can apply to their products:
CE Level 1: The armour has been tested and will provide decent protection for general use.
CE Level 2: Offers almost double the protection of CE1 and with recent advances in materials technology can remain light and flexible. Always go for level 2 if you can afford it.
Read more about motorcycle armour.
Inserts or strap-on?
As with all armour, chest protection is available in insert of stand-alone strap-on options.
These are best to upgrade existing armour, however, they are not always compatible with every type of jacket (check with the supplier or take your jacket into a store).
It’s less convenient but it’s superior in its ability to hold armour closer to the area it’s protecting.
Your clothing fit needs to be considered. If your current jacket or race suit is a ‘slim fit’ you may struggle to incorporate a strap-on protector.
If your jacket is loose and you opt for inserts then they will be ineffective and not hold the armour close to your body.
Many riders who buy chest armour have learnt from bitter experience how painful a fall can be when landing on your chest. So if your budget allows, chest armour should be on your list.
Inserts are clearly more convenient, allowing you to simply armour up without having to think about it. Whereas separates can be bulky they offer that extra level of protection that many people crave for longer or more adventurous riding trips.
See our other guide: Best Motorcycle Back Protectors