For a sport as extreme as motocross, protective equipment is a must. You’re riding fast on all sorts of tracks, close to other riders. The dangers you face range from flying rocks to serious crashes, all of which you want to protect your body from as much as possible.
Chest protectors prioritise airflow and ventilation while reducing chafing and friction. And, possibly most importantly, they decrease the chance of injury should something go wrong.
Chest protectors decrease how much debris and roost (dirt and rocks that bikes kick up) impact you, and they can also absorb the impact from your bike and the ground. In the event of a crash, a chest protector can protect you from bruises, scrapes and broken bones, not to mention keep your vital organs safe from harm.
With a form-fitting chest protector, you’ll be able to show off your jersey, ride comfortably and cooly, and stay safe – without looking like an american football player or limiting movement.
Which Type of Motocross Body Armour Do You Need?
Body armour protects your torso, elbows and forearms during a crash. A chest protector keeps your back and front safe from debris and injury during a crash, but it doesn’t provide as much protection as body armour. However, it’s not as warm as body armour, which is why some riders may prefer it.
A roost deflector is often confused with a chest protector because they cover some of the same areas of the body. However, a roost deflector is designed to prevent bruises and cuts from roost and branches. The lighter foam that’s used in roost deflectors doesn’t provide adequate protection in the event of a crash.
Features to Look for in a Chest Protector
Chest protectors use high-density foam to keep you safe during impact. The right chest protector shouldn’t limit your movement while protecting your front and back. Also, look for ventilation areas for cooling.
Overall, you want a form-fitting design that contours to your body so the bulk doesn’t get in your way and so you’re adequately protected. It may also be able to fit underneath your jersey, which is important if you want to show off the logos of your sponsors.
How Should a Chest Protector Fit?
You’ll know you’ve found the right chest protector when you forget you’re wearing one.
Your chest protector should provide coverage across your chest and back, and some have side straps with built-in protection for your ribs. The bottom of the chest protector should sit between the bottom of your ribcage and your belly button. It shouldn’t feel tight when breathing.
To buy a chest protector in the correct size, measure from the base of your neck to the top of your waist. That measurement in inches is the length of the chest protector you want. Generally, recommended lengths are 17 inches for adults, 15 inches for intermediate adults, 13 inches for youths and 12 inches for junior youths.
A chest protector with adjustable shoulder straps will help you find the right fit even if you’re shorter or taller than the typical rider, without having to go up or down a size from what you’d regularly wear. And since some brands make one-size-fits-all chest protectors, those adjustments are even more necessary.
Also, since chest protectors don’t provide neck support, look for one that lets you integrate the neck brace of your choice so you don’t have to go without it. You may find the easiest integration if your neck brace and chest support are made by the same company.
Best Chest Protectors for Motocross
Alpinestars A1 Roost Guard
The Alpinestars A1 Roost Guard has a CE-certified front shell, and its construction is weight-saving and flexible. The shell’s perforations provide air ventilation and breathability, and the padded chassis is comfortable for riders. There’s a removable upper back panel so you can adjust your neck support, and the shoulder pads are also removable and adjustable. Note that this is a roost guard, not a chest protector, so consider the level of protection you need.
Alpinestars Sequence Chest Protector
The CE-certified Alpinestars Sequence Chest Protector is comfortable and easy to put on, with an ergonomic design for maximum performance. Abrasion- and impact-resistant shells also have perforation zones for breathability and ventilation. The removable upper back panel and the soft-touch BNS puller let you customise your neck support. The chest protector’s soft shells are constructed in a way to give you as much protection as a hard shell while still feeling light and soft.
Leatt 3DF Airfit Lite Body Tee
The short-sleeved Leatt 3DF Airfit Lite Body Tee is CE tested and certified, made from flexible impact foam that conforms to the body. Upon impact, that foam hardens to protect the back, chest and shoulders. The well-ventilated Body Tee has an elastic chest strap to adjust its fit, and it can also integrate with your neck brace.
Leatt 4.5 Pro Chest Protector
The Leatt 4.5 Pro Chest Protector is CE tested and certified, and it has both impact foam and hard shell protection. During a crash, the impact foam changes into a hard material that absorbs energy, and the regular hard shell areas protect you against roost and impacts. A Leatt neck brace will easily integrate with this chest protector, and its ventilation zones allow for max airflow.
Leatt Fusion 3.0
The Leatt Fusion 3.0 doesn’t just protect your chest and back, but also your neck and shoulders while riding. The CE tested and certified protector is made of hardening impact foam as well as hard shell material to keep you safe from almost any problem you’ll encounter on the track.
Don’t forgo a chest protector because you think the extra gear will slow you down. Not only are they an integral part of protecting yourself, but lightweight options make them far less limiting than bulky, heavy equipment from the past. Trying different chest protectors until you find the right fit means that you can stay safe while remaining comfortable.