“Chest Protector” is a generic term used in motocross to describe upper body protection, not all chest protectors are created equal. Some “chest protectors” on the market may be no more than a roost deflector. We aren’t just talking about hard plastic over the jersey vs foam under the jersey protectors here – there is much more to it than that. For the sake of this story a roost deflector is any upper body protective device with no CE certification and a chest protector is any upper body protection with CE certification. I’m not going to say some “roost deflectors” won’t pass CE testing if tested, but there is no way of knowing.
In this story I will tell you about the different CE ratings and help you understand what to look for when purchasing a true to life chest protector.
Here are the CE Ratings for chest protectors:
- CE EN 14021 “Stone shields for off-road motorcycling suited to protect riders against stones and debris”
- By reading the requirements and description of this standard, it seems this is a roost deflector that meets CE requirements – not a foam under the jersey protector, probably closer to a plastic over the jersey protector typically called a “chest protector”.
- Testing Hemispherical impactor 10 J (Joules) impact force transmitted force can not exceed 27 kN (kilonewtons).
- CE prEN 1621-3 “Motorcyclists’ chest protectors against mechanical impact”
- Testing Flat impactor at 50 J impact force.
- Level 1 Average transmitted force must be less than 30 kN, maximum transmitted force from a single impact must be less than 45 kN.
- Level 2 This is currently the highest level of front impact protection. Average transmitted force must be less than 20 kN, maximum transmitted force from a single impact must be less than 35 kN.
OK I know the numbers may not mean a whole lot. Who understands Joules and kiloNewtons anyway? Probably people who paid more attention in school than me… What it comes down to is that there are different levels of CE rated protection available. It’s easy to know what you are buying from the lowest CE rated level of protection to the highest and it is available right in the product information. If it doesn’t have any sort of CE rating in the product information, it probably isn’t going to offer much for actual impact protection.
CE Ratings for back protectors:
Since chest protectors commonly have some sort of back protection attached, I feel it is necessary to cover their CE Ratings as well.
- CE prEN 1621-2 “Motorcyclists’ back protectors against mechanical impact”
- Testing Kerbstone testing at 50 J impact force.
- Level 1 Average transmitted force must be less than 18 kN, maximum transmitted force single impact must be less than 24 kN.
- Level 2 This is currently the highest level of back impact protection. Average transmitted force must be less than 9 kN, maximum transmitted force from a single impact must be less than 12 kN.
Companies who have CE approved chest protectors
You know, there really aren’t many major mx brands selling CE approved protective equipment (in the U.S. anyways). I searched the web looking for chest protectors with CE certifications. What I found is they are currently somewhat hard to come by. Leatt offers a lot of CE approved chest protectors and Fly Racing offers re-badged Leatt chest protectors, while Acerbis and Alpinestars each have limited offerings. Make sure to read product descriptions before making a purchase as not all of these companies’ offerings are CE certified.
What to do when buying chest protector
- Do your research – Look at the chest protector you are considering on its manufacturer’s website. If it is CE approved the manufacturer will definitely mention this in the product description on their site.
- Know what you want
- Do you just want a roost deflector?
- Are you trying to wear it with a neck brace?
- Are you looking for the very top levels of protection (as outlined above)?
- How much bulk are you willing to wear?
- Buy it where you can try it – There are many reasons to try a chest protector before you buy it. The most important thing you will be able to tell by trying your chest protector on is how well it fits and how comfortable it is for you. You will also be able to tell how bulky it is, allowing you to decide how much bulk you’re willing to deal with vs the level of protection the chest protector offers.
What does all this mean for you?
You now have a way of knowing what you are buying and how much protection it offers. If the chest protector you are looking at has no CE approval, it is probably no more than a roost deflector. You may not care at all if that’s all you’re looking for. If you are looking for maximum protection for yourself or your child this information will be very helpful by letting you know exactly what level of protection you are getting.
Sources & More Info
- Leatt product CE Certificates available on the product pages on their website http://www.leatt.com/
- Introduction to European Standards
- EN 1621-2 (back protector) http://www.motorcyclegear.com/
- EN 1621-3 (chest) http://www.motosicurezza.com/?q=en-1621-3-petto-bozza
- Satra PPE Guide “EN 14021: 2003” http://www.satrappeguide.com/EN14021.php