LAST UPDATED: December 19, 2020

The Best Motorcycle Armor (Review and Buying Guide) in 2021

Best Choice Alpinestars Bio Armor Kit Alpinestars Bio Armor Kit
Best Value Wicked Stock 5PC Hard Armor Wicked Stock 5PC Hard Armor
Premium Pick Takuey Kids Armor Suit Takuey Kids Armor Suit

The world loves motorcycles and the overwhelming feeling of freedom they offer. However, motorcycles are incredibly dangerous to operate. Not only are they fast and quick, but motorcycles also offer little to no protection to the rider. It’s the rider’s responsibility to protect him or herself in the event of a mishap. Unfortunately, a lot of modern motorcycle apparel is more about fashion than function. 

Some apparel that’s purpose built for riders and designed to protect is equipped with armor-ready pockets in the shoulders, elbows, knees, etc., but the armor itself is sold separately. Luckily, there are plenty of armor options available. Today’s motorcycle armor is both thick and flexible, capable of protecting against all kinds of injuries from road rash to broken bones. However, not all armor is equal. To help you stay safe on the road, here are our picks for the best motorcycle armor.

The Best Motorcycle Armor

The best overall motorcycle armor is the Alpinestars Bio Armor kit. Alpinestars has long been making high-quality gear for motorcycle riders all over the world. The Bio-Armor kit is a complete replacement kit for leather and textile motorcycle jackets. With two shoulder and two elbow protectors to add to your jacket, you can give yourself the added padding you truly need. The sizes are based on your size and can fit jackets that aren’t made by Alpinestars. If you’re in need of good protection to keep you safe while having the versatility of adding the armor to a jacket you already own, this kit is ideal. 

Unfortunately, this armor is not moisture wicking and can feel heavier than other armor options. It’s also better suited for men than women.

Key Features
  • Two shoulder and two elbow protectors
  • Level 1 CE certification
  • Black
  • Large/X-Large
Specification
  • Brand Alpinestars
  • Model Bio Armor
  • Weight 1.27 pounds
PROS

Fits other brand jackets

Ventilation holes

Replacement kit upgrade

CONS

Not moisture-wicking

Better for men than women 

Feels heavy

The world is a tough place, and saving money can go a long way. The best value motorcycle armor is the Wicked Stock Hard Armor. At around half the price of most motorcycle armor, Wicked Stock still provides a quality product. Five pieces are included in the set, including two shoulder pads, two elbow pads, and one large back piece. In addition, this five-piece set is specifically designed to be easily inserted into most motorcycle jackets. The armor is also CE certified, with a vented design that allows for air to flow to each area. For a good price, the Wicked Stock Hard Armor will deliver the safety and protection you need. 

The downside of this set is that the shells are very thin and feel as though there’s minimal padding. The elbow shells are also relatively thin.

Key Features
  • Five pieces of armor
  • CE certified Level 1
  • Back protector is 1/2-inch EVA foam
  • Vented design
Specification
  • Brand Wicked Stock
  • Model PR1
  • Weight 14.1 ounces
PROS

Very easy to insert

Affordable price

Complete upper body set

CONS

Very thin

Elbow shells aren’t very wide

Not a universal fit

As dirt biking and off-roading gain popularity, kids need motorcycle armor as well. The best motorcycle armor for kids is the Takuey Armor Suit. Kids often get overlooked in the motorcycle industry, but they make up a great deal of the extreme sports areas like motocross. The Takuey Armor Suit is designed to be flexible and comfortable for kids of all shapes and sizes. It is simple to use due to the elastic waist straps and hook loop closure. The suit comes with high-elasticity foam for the shoulders and elbows and hard rubber chest and back pads. These dynamic features make it perfect for racing of all kinds and for a ride on Sunday with dad. 

The downside of this set is that it isn’t the most durable. It also only comes in children’s sizes and isn’t meant for use out on the road.

Key Features
  • Full body armor set
  • Available in three colors
  • Available in three sizes
  • Constructed of EF and rubber
Specification
  • Brand Takuey
  • Model B073P4DQ19
  • Weight 2.26 pounds
PROS

Flexible and comfortable

Breathable

Impact and abrasion resistance

CONS

Only sized for children 

Not meant for riding on the street

Not durable

Next to head injuries, spine injuries are the number-one cause of serious injury, paralysis, or death to motorcyclists. The best spine armor is the RIDBIKER back and spine armor. Fit and ready for any type of sporting activity from cycling and skiing to snowboarding and motocross, the armor is made with a lightweight porous honeycomb structure. This structure gives you the maximum ventilation and movement that you can ask for in motorcycle armor. Too many times, motocross armor becomes heavy for riders. The RIDBIKER armor solves that dilemma. For more safety measures, the armor is made with a protective shell that has high-impact resistance. This armor will keep you safe in any fall or skid. 

Unfortunately, this spine protector can feel a bit flimsy. You may also find that the panels slip out of place and will need re-adjusting. If you have a shorter torso, this one may be too long for you.

Key Features
  • Back Protector
  • PP shell a film, lycra fabric, high-density EVA
  • Black
  • PVC waist protection belt
Specification
  • Brand Ridbiker
  • Model 13
  • Weight 1.15 pounds
PROS

Adjustable

High quality plastic buttons

Protective and comfortable

CONS

Panels can move out of place

Can be too long

Feels thin

If you only need shoulder pads, the Surlim Shoulder armor makes our list for excellent design. Inserted in the shoulder of most riding jackets, the armor is removable and washable. It offers outstanding impact resistance and cushioning performance for protecting riders of all kinds. Including two shoulder pads, the best quality of this armor is the comfort. Lightweight, soft, and breathable; these pads can be put into any jacket and still allow you to feel the same freedom you always do. With high shock absorbency, you can rest assured you’ll be protected and still feel light while on the saddle. 

One potential drawback of these shells is that they are very thick. This makes them rigid, so they won’t flex and bend with your body. You may also find them hard to insert.

Key Features
  • Pair of shoulder shells 
  • CE certified EN1621-1:2012 Level 1
  • Shock-absorbing materials
  • Non-toxic
Specification
  • Brand Surlim
  • Model 8.3 ounces
  • Weight AP-EVO-S
PROS

Extremely comfortable

Lightweight

Breathable

CONS

Thick 

Rigid

Hard to insert

This chest protector is made from PE plastic and EVA high-density foam. It has adjustable straps on tube shoulders and around your waist to help you get a secure fit around your torso. It comes in black. This vest is versatile and can be used for activities where you want a bit more protection. The shell is durable and sturdy. The shell pieces of the vest are anti-slip, anti-fall, and shock-resistant. This protector fits a minimum waist circumference of 30 inches and a maximum circumference of 59 inches. 

Unfortunately, it may not be as protective as you’d hope. It’s not CE certified, so there’s no guaranteeing its performance in the event of a fall. You may also find that the sizing runs small.

Key Features
  • PE plastic shell 
  • Black 
  • EVA high-density foam
  • Adjustable size
Specification
  • Brand Blueimperial
  • Model C01
  • Weight 1.65 pounds
PROS

Versatile

Durable and sturdy

Anti-bump, anti-fall, and shock-resistant

CONS

Not CE certified 

Runs small

Hot to wear

This high-quality armor is made by one of the top gear manufacturers. It features a mesh shirt construction with protective shells on the chest, shoulders, elbows, and back. The shells are single injected to give them durability and strength. They’re constructed from a high-performance polymeric material. It has a pull-on closure. There are five sizes to choose from for a secure fit. You’ll appreciate how adjustable and breathable it is. This makes it comfortable to wear throughout the year. 

One drawback of this armor is that it runs small, making it tough to get the correct size. It also has an aggressive sculpted design that gives you a weird muscular look. This design can also make it feel bulky on your body while riding. 

Key Features
  • Single injected shells
  • Pull-on closure
  • Black or black and red color options
  • Five sizes
Specification
  • Brand Alpinestars
  • Model 6506818-13-S
  • Weight 2.95 pounds
PROS

Adjustable 

Breathable

Integrated grid structure

CONS

Bulky

Creates weird muscle shapes

Sizing runs small

These CE certified shells come as a set of five. There are two shoulders, two elbow, and one back shell. They come in a single size, but it’s a universal fit. They should fit your motorcycle jacket to act as a replacement. You’ll find them lightweight and comfortable. The material these shells are constructed out of makes them easy to insert into a jacket. If they don’t fit, you can cut them to the exact size that you need. 

One drawback of this armor set is that while they are CE certified, they don’t specify a specific level. You may also find that these shells are thin, which can make you nervous about how protective they are. They also lack durability that you’ll find in other shells.

Key Features
  • CE certified
  • Five-piece 
  • High-impact armor 
  • Universal fit
Specification
  • Brand Jackets 4 Bikes
  • Model 5PC_PU2-Black-U
  • Weight 12 ounces
PROS

Lightweight

Can easily be inserted

Can be cut to fit 

CONS

Feels thin

Could be off-center 

Not durable

Choose from either black and yellow or black and red for your protectors. The Rid Biker guards are made of high impact resistant PP shell material. They have a dual-pivot hinge at the knee to make them more flexible and comfortable while riding. They secure with a hook and loop closure to keep them secured to your leg. There is also a quick-release system to get the guards off quickly in an emergency. To put these guards on, there are three adjustable straps on the back. They also have high-density foam on the front for increased comfort and shock absorption. 

Unfortunately, these guards aren’t durable. You may also find that the rivets on the sides can pop out. You’ll also need to be careful; the sizing can run small.

Key Features
  • High impact resistant PP shell
  • Dual pivot hinge
  • High-density foam padding
  • Adjustable elastic straps
Specification
  • Brand Ridbiker
  • Model B07BKQVGZG
  • Weight 1.69 pounds
PROS

Hook and loop fastener

Secure fit

Quick-release strap system

CONS

Not durable

Rivets can pop out

Run small

This motorcycle armor stands out because it’s a full shirt that has armor built into it. It features a hip-length hem and long sleeves. The chest, back, shoulders, and elbows. At the end of the sleeves, there are thumbholes to keep the sleeves in place while riding. Throughout the jacket, there are half-inch high-density hard foam and EVA pads. To give you a custom fit, you can secure the adjustable Velcro strap. You’ll appreciate how lightweight and breathable this shirt is. You’ll want to wear this shirt for various activities, and you’ll be able to with how versatile this shirt is. 

Unfortunately, the zippers on this armor aren’t very durable. The pads in the shirt may not line up perfectly. This can reduce its effectiveness at protecting your key impact points.

Key Features
  • Full shirt design
  • Half-inch thick high-density hard foam
  • EVA pads
  • Adjustable Velcro strap
Specification
  • Brand Ykang
  • Model B07LDBTSWS
  • Weight N/A
PROS

Multiple Sporting Purposes

Lightweight 

Breathable

CONS

Zipper not durable

Pads may not line up

Material can rip

Best Motorcycle Armor Buying Guide & FAQ

Buying motorcycle armor is a great way to add protection to any clothing you’re wearing. It’s like wearing an exoskeleton that protects your joints and commonly injured body parts. When looking for the best armor, you want to consider the type of riding you do, the level of protection you’re looking for, and your budget. This lets you scale the armor to your needs. 

Perhaps you only need a spine protector or an upper-body set. This guide will help you understand what to look for when buying your armor and how to know when you’ve found the right set.

Benefits of Motorcycle Armor

The most significant benefit of wearing motorcycle armor is increased body protection. The armor is designed to absorb most of the impact and abrasion that occurs when you get into an accident. The durable material the armor is made out of prevents you from getting road rash or other serious injuries. That’s why the armor is designed to go over your most vulnerable body parts. 

Unlike a riding suit or jacket, you can wear your armor with a wide variety of clothing. This gives you more freedom in what you choose to wear while riding. You can layer the armor over or under your t-shirt and jeans if you want. This freedom comes in handy when the climate changes. This makes the armor wearable for more time throughout the year than compared to a heavy leather jacket for winter or a lightweight, breathable jacket for summer

Finally, wearing body armor will give you that badass rebel look while on your sport bike. It’s usually black in color and has aggressive styling. 

  • Increased body protection
  • More freedom in the clothing you can wear
  • Have a cool moto style

The Most Common Types of Motorcycle Armor

The easiest way to classify motorcycle armor is by the body part that it’s designed to protect. A complete set of armor will protect everything, your chest, spine, shoulders, elbows, hips, and butt. You also have the option of buying each piece separately. This is nice if you’re looking to supplement your current protection or need a specific size for each piece.

Man in motorcycle armor
Motorcycle armor comes in various styles and designs

Chest and Spine

This is the most commonly purchased piece of protective armor after a helmet. It’s designed to protect your torso. Since all of your vital organs and spine are in this area, it makes sense that this armor is so popular. There are some pieces that will have the majority of their protection on either the front or back. 

However, the best choice is one that gives you complete protection of your entire torso on the front and back. These are the most effective at absorbing impacts and dispersing the shock force. Your vest should fit snugly against your body and conform to your torso shape. 

Shoulders and Elbows

There are three ways you’ll find shoulder and elbow armor. They either come as a part of an upper-body armor set. Mesh material will construct the sleeves, and the armor is sewn in. The other option is to buy individual shoulder and armor protectors that have straps to secure them into place. 

Your third option is to buy the individual shells. You can add them to your motorcycle jacket as an addition or replacement for your inferior shells. Some modern motorcycle clothing comes with pockets for you to add your own armor, and these individual shells work for these too.

Hips and Butt

All too often, people underestimate their need for hip and butt protection. But these two areas are highly likely to see injury when you fall. If you want to have hip and butt protection, you’d have to buy a pair of leather or textile riding pants. Thanks to modern innovations, you can buy motorcycle armor with the shells built in that you wear under your regular pants. 

The best armor will mold to your body and feel like a second skin for the most comfort while riding. You should also look for tailbone protection. This bottom part of your spine is susceptible to injury and very painful if injured. 

How We Tested The Motorcycle Armor

The best way to test motorcycle armor is to go down in it. But we don’t recommend purposefully crashing to test out the gear. This would be dangerous to both you and your motorcycle. Instead, you can look at the safety rating and test data from the manufacturer and independent third parties. Some tests will show you how the gear performed in a variety of situations, such as impact absorption and abrasion resistance. This gives you an idea of how the gear will perform when you need it most. 

The second part of testing out the gear is how it works with you. This means putting the gear on and riding in it. Pay attention to how comfortable the gear is. Find out what your range of motion is while wearing it. Wear it in different temperatures to determine its breathability and insulation. 

The Most Important Features of Motorcycle Armor

When shopping for motorcycle armor, there are three things to consider. The first is to find armor that’s CE approved for use while on a motorcycle. The second is to find the armor that’s meant for the area of your body that you want to protect. The final thing to look for is the correct size so that it will fit you. 

CE Approval 

For a manufacturer to claim that their armor is protective, it must qualify through independent testing for CE standards. There are two levels of protection for motorcycle safety gear. Any armor that you buy should have a CE marking and either Level 1 or 2. Level 2 is the higher and more protective rating. 

Be careful when buying gear that is only marked with CE approval and not a specific level rating. This gear may be CE approved as protective but not approved for motorcycle use. This makes the gear protective, but not necessarily as protective as motorcycle-specific armor. For example, roller skating knee pads are CE approved but not for use on a motorcycle. 

Body Part Protected

If you know what part of your body that you want to protect, then you can narrow down your armor search to those pieces that will protect that particular body part. This makes shopping for armor easier. 

Once you find the armor for your needed body part, the next step is to look at how it protects it. Consider the shaping of the armor. Some will fit closer to the body than others. Then consider the armor’s size, as some will protect a larger area of your body than others. The shaping fit and coverage are a personal preference. 

Size

As with all safety equipment, it needs to properly fit you to be effective. This means you need to pay attention to the sizing. For the most part, armor comes in generic sizing, so it shouldn’t be too hard to pick the size closest to you. The armor that you buy should fit snugly against your body without being too tight. This will ensure that it stays in place on the body part it’s supposed to protect while you’re riding. Look for Velcro straps that let you adjust the fit of your armor. Velcro adjustment is the best because once you place it, it stays there with a stronghold. 

Care and Maintenance for Motorcycle Armor

Caring for your motorcycle armor ensures that it will last for years to come. The first thing you should do is air it out after riding. This gives it a chance to dry so that bacteria and mold don’t grow.

Woman in motorcycle armor
Motorcycle armor is a necessity for safe riding

The second thing you should do is wipe it clean. This gets the dirt, grit, grime, and bugs off of it. These contaminants can cause your armor to age and deteriorate faster. 

When you’re deciding where to store your armor, it needs to be in a cool, dry place. This will keep the armor and material from rotting, molding, or developing mildew. 

  • Air it out
  • Wipe it clean
  • Store In a cool, dry place. 

Best Motorcycle Armor FAQ:

When you start comparing motorcycle armor, the natural question is to ask which one is the best. Then you’ll see different types of armor names. It helps to get those questions answered to be fully informed when making your purchase. We are going to help you understand what you’re looking at. 

Q: What is the best motorcycle body armor?

The best body armor is the one that fits you, is comfortable to ride in, and is certified to be protective while riding a motorcycle. 

Q: Is D3O armor any good?

Yes, D30 is very good armor. It’s thinner than other types of armor, which makes it lighter and more comfortable. 

Q: Can motorcycle armor stop a bullet?

No, your motorcycle armor won’t stop a bullet. You need Kevlar that’s strong enough to stop a bullet. 

Q: What is motorcycle armor made of?

Several materials are used in the construction of armor. There are Kevlar hybrids, leather, mesh, and other textiles. 

Our Top Pick

Our top pick for the best motorcycle armor is the Alpinestars Bio Armor Kit. It comes with four shells to protect your shoulders and elbows. It’s CE certified Level 1 for maximum protection. There are ventilation holes throughout to keep them breathable. You can even fit them in other branded jackets. 

Final Thoughts

You can’t go wrong with the Alpinestars Bio Armor Kit. This kit is perfect for upgrading your current armor setup. If you’re looking for a more affordable option, then you’ll like the Wicked Stock 5PC Hard Armor and its CE certified protection and breathability.

Sources:

  1. Motorcycle Armor – Wikipedia