Body Armor in a Motorcycle Jacket [Types] Do You Need One?

do you need armor in a motorcycle jacket

Motorcycle body armor is important for your safety during a ride. You can choose to get one with built-in or removable parts made into a jacket or all areas of your gear. Regardless of how you wear it internally or externally, it is still very effective. The main goal is to keep you protected in case of a crash or collision.

What Is Motorcycle Armor Jacket and Why Is It Important?

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Motorcycle armor combines many items such as jackets, gloves, riding pants, and riding suits that contain high-density foam, carbon fiber, or Kevlar composite abrasion panels. Motorcycle body armor is a safety piece seldom discussed among motorcyclists.

Most times, the attention on safety is shifted to helmets when talking about precautions while using motorcycles. However, jackets, gloves, riding pants, and riding suits play major roles in protecting the body from damage in case an accident occurs. By using the armor, all major and minor joints are protected.

How Reliable Is Motorcycle Armor?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions by people who are not yet familiar with its use. The answer is that it is effective, although there have not been many studies that support that claim. However, it is a fact that it serves as a means of bodily protection when riding at a very high speed and an accident occurs.

Although not scientifically proven, this fact has been proven several times by high-speed riders who have always escaped unhurt while wearing the armor.

What Brand Should You Go For?

You can go for the one with the CE or EN ratings. They are widely recommended because they have international ratings. And people believe they will offer better safety gear with proven user reports if they have these ratings. These brands conform to European standards, becoming the standard for many authorities and organizations.

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There are no strict laws on using it on the streets or highways. However, it might be expected while on a close race track for pro-track motorcyclists and might be a directive from the track or organization in charge of the event.

Types of Motorcycle Armor

Motorcycle armor comes in two categories. The two have different features. They are:

1. The Replacement Armor

This type is the one that is designed to fit inside armor pockets perfectly in motorcycle apparel. As the name goes, it is replaceable, and users usually upgrade the stock armor that comes with the apparel in favor of a safer aftermarket padding.

2. The Strap-on Armor

This type has armored pads strapped to the body directly. They are often in the form of knee or elbow pads that you can strap over your clothing.

What Are the Purposes of the Motorcycle Body Armor?

As a rider, in case you get involved in an accident/crash, the body armor serves as your protection from impact on the road. It also protects you from abrasion as you roll or slide on the asphalt roads. In addition to that, the body armor helps to protect the bones from impact. This is done by absorbing energy that should have been transferred to you.

Types of Motorcycle Body Armor Jacket

There are different types of them made with other materials and designs:


  • This material is used for bulletproof vests.
  • It was introduced in the ’70s for steel in racing tires, though developed in 1965.
  • It is five times stronger than steel in rating its strength ratio.
  • Kelvar is used in motorcycle protective gear.
  • It is malleable and can be worn with other materials.
  • For more protection, bit is usually combined with denim to make it more durable as well as abrasion-resistant.
  • Kelvar is suitable for riders who desire more protection while keeping a low profile.
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  • Cordura is one of the commonest materials, and it is made of a high-denier nylon thread which makes it hard to tear out.
  • It was first introduced during World War II to help aircraft personnel in protecting them from shrapnel as well as other ballistic impacts.
  • It has been upgraded to have a blend of materials such as lycra for extra ease of movement. It has been layered with GORE-TEX, a waterproof material that keeps it from absorbing water.


  • It is made with recent materials such as fabrics, polyester, or nylon.
  • These materials are overlaid with minuscule hard plastic guard plates with abrasion resistance.
  • For easy breath and flexibility, the plates are made with a tiny amount of space.
  • It is very comfortable to wear.

Types of Shell Armor Materials

Motorcycle Armor

The armor needs to be impact resistant than abrasion resistant to absorb impact forces. That is why armor needs not to be blended with and woven into fabric. They are pieces that are sewn or inserted into specific pockets in motorcycle apparel. Apart from that, they look like knee or elbow pads that can be directly strapped to the body.


It is lightweight, pliable wear that provides comfort. The heavy denser foams like memory foam are very efficient at protecting against any impact forces. However, it can break down after impact after some time.


It is referred to as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene. It is a thermoplastic polymer that is used for injection molding. It is hard, impact-resistant plastic that usually makes up the first layer of protection in many helmets and hard-shell pieces of armor. In armor, ABS is usually backed with dense foam. The foam helps it to provide extra comfort when worn.

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This is a gel-based material that is very reliable for protection. Besides that, it is very flexible and comfortable to wear. However, it is very heavy and does not have abrasion resistance. It is always paired with another type of armor like injection-molded plastic.


EVA is another type of foam that is respected for durability and great absorption. It is also used in running shoe insoles. This product is very strong and has hard impacts, making it suitable for protection. However, it needs to be used in higher amounts for better reinforcement and effectiveness.

Viscoelastic Materials

Viscoelastic materials like D30 are softer and pliable when not in use; however, it gets firm instantly when struck. It is very comfortable and flexible, although it becomes hard when involved in a crash. Though it sounds shocking to experience such transformation during a crash, it has been tested and proven to be 100% true by using it on a rider.

Forms of Body Armor

As their name implies, these body armors come in different materials and help protect different body parts while riding. They include:

  • Back armor
  • Knee armor
  • Elbow armor
  • Shoulder armor
  • Chest armor
  • Hip armor
  • Hand armor


Motorcycle armor is very necessary while riding because it is an effective way of reducing accidents and death. It has been established that riders who use the protective jacket are 40% safe from any permanent physical disabilities that result from accidents. Also, it provides extra protection beyond the use of a helmet, which only protects the head during a crash. It is easy, comfortable, and flexible on the body.