When looking at motorcycle equipment that incorporates armor, you will often see the terms CE Level 1 or CE Level 2. CE is short for “Conformité Européene” (European Conformity in French), and CE ratings are the mandatory motorcycle equipment standards in Europe.
CE Level 2 armor is by far the superior option because, quite simply, it is designed to absorb more of an impact than CE Level 1 armor.
CE ratings are not actually required in the US unless you are competing on the track. However, CE-rated armor is still a popular choice for riders due to the intense testing procedures manufacturers have to put their products through in order to get a rating.
CE Level 1
Level 1 armor is a good option for casual road riding at normal speeds, for example commuting, touring, and urban motorcycle riding. It can absorb a good amount of impact to protect your joints.
You should be wearing at least CE Level 1 armor for a track day, but it is always recommended to step up to Level 2 for better impact absorption and protection. (Some tracks may even require Level 2, so it is best to check before you go.)
CE Level 1 rated armor can have a maximum transmitted force of 18 kN, and no single value shall exceed 24 kN.
CE Level 2
Level 2 armor is the best option for those who want the most protection possible. It is suited to high-speed riders, stunt riders, professional racers, and amateur track-day riders, as well as the everyday rider who prioritizes safety.
CE Level 2 armor can have a maximum transmitted force of only 9 kN, and no single value shall exceed 12 kN.
Level 1 Armor or Level 2 Armor: Which Is Better?
Both CE Level 1 and CE Level 2 armor will reduce injury from impact and abrasion in an accident and all CE-rated armor has been tested to prove its effectiveness, so it’s always a good idea to choose CE armor over anything else.
However, because CE Level 2 rated armor is 50% more effective at absorbing energy from an impact and keeping it away from your body, Level 2 is a better choice than Level 1 when it comes to protection performance.