After my first motorcycle accident, I decided it was time to add protection everywhere I could. I found an armor vest a convenient but practical way to do just that.
After looking at all the options, these were the five I liked the most.
Reviews of the Best Motorcycles Armor Vests
Icon Stryker Vest
I picked the Stryker as my top armor vest because it maximizes safety and comfort. It features extensive ridged back armor to protect your spine on top of a BioFoam chassis. This is resistant to abrasion if you slide across the pavement and shock absorbent for forceful impacts.
You would think all that protection would get in the way, but on the contrary, the adjustable waist and shoulder straps let you fit it comfortably to your torso.
The Stryker has a low-profile design that lets it slip under your motorcycle jacket without bunching up or ruining the fit.
Its temperature regulation is top-notch as well. Not only does it have ample ventilation, including airflow channels in the back armor, but it also has a moisture-wicking liner to pull sweat and therefore heat off your skin.
Lastly, if you plan to wear this vest as your outer layer, you can even get in a striking red-on-black color scheme if you need to intimidate your enemies.
- Injection-molded back armor
- BioFoam chassis
- Highly adjustable
- Low-profile design
- Extensive ventilation
- Moisture-wicking liner
- Striking color options
Fly Racing Barricade Zip Vest
If you’re like me, you likely won’t wear your armor vest every time you ride. Instead, it’s for long rides or heavy traffic where you’re more at risk of an accident.
In this case, you don’t want to spend your entire motorcycle gear budget on something you aren’t going to wear that often. The Barricade Zip Vest is a great budget alternative.
Even with an affordable price point, the Barricade provides quality safety. Not only does it have a full back protector, but there’s padding at the chest and kidneys that you can remove if it gets uncomfortable.
Speaking of comfort, the cut is body contoured, ideal for sports bikes. It is a bit short and can be tight due to the slim fit, but open mesh provides a bit of stretch, not to mention ventilation. Plus, the zipper design makes it easier to put on and take off.
- Great value
- Back protector
- Removable chest and back padding
- Body-contoured cut
- Breathable mesh
- Short and tight
- Limited sizing
Alpinestars Track 2 Vest
As a tall guy, I like the Alpinestars Track Vest 2 because it has a long design that includes a height-adjustable and removable kidney belt so you can get it secure at the waist. Similarly, it has stretch net construction so that it adapts to the shape of your torso and is breathable to keep you from overheating.
Of course, to make the list, it had to be safe too. It has a full back protector and a chest compartment with foam padding to absorb impacts from the front. You can also insert a Nucleon chest protector, but it’s sold separately.
- Long design
- Height-adjustable kidney belt
- Breathable stretch net
- CE Level 2 back protector
- Chest padding
- Higher price range
Fox Racing Raceframe Impact CE Roost Vest
Here’s a great armor vest for racing. That’s primarily because of its low profile that lets it fit under a jacket or jersey and provides you more flexibility with your movements so you can tuck and maneuver.
It also has adjustable shoulder straps and a waistband with adjustable buckles to get a fit that’s comfortable but secure.
At the same time, the Roost Vest has all-around protection to keep you safe in the unpredictable crashes that racing can cause. For instance, it has armor in the chest and back that absorbs impacts whether you hit the ground, a wall, or another bike.
Finally, racing can get hot. To help, the Roost includes ample ventilation and open sides that help cool you down.
- Low profile
- Adjustable shoulder straps
- Buckled waistband
- Chest and back armor
- Extensive ventilation
- Limited sizing
Icon Field Armor 3 Vest
The Field Armor 3 is another Icon vest that gives you protection and comfort while riding. It was developed from the Stryker vest in an attempt to create a more innovative model. While that makes it a tad pricier than the Stryker, it gives it some unique features.
For example, the Field Armor 3 has Viper protection on the chest and back. That’s mounted on an injection-molded chassis that increases your safety in case of an accident. It not only saves your skin from abrasions but absorbs impact to protect muscles, bones, and vital organs.
As for comfort, it’s vented for temperature control and has a low profile, so it’s not annoying to wear under a shirt or jacket. Plus, it’s highly adjustable, thanks to hook-and-loop straps.
- Chest and back protection
- Injection-molded chassis
- Low profile
- Adjustable hook-and-loop straps
- Bulky width
When trying to find the best motorcycle armor vest, there are two main factors: protection and comfort.
Most importantly, an armor vest should have full armor at the back along the spine. This protects the spinal column from impacts that could otherwise damage it and leave you permanently injured. Ideally, look for armor rated CE Level 2. CE Level 1 is also suitable.
Not all armor vests have it, but many also have armor at the chest. While not as likely to cause permanent injury as an impact to the back, a shock to the chest could still break bones and damage vital organs. Chest armor decreases the risk of that.
In addition to armor, many motorcycle vests include foam padding. This isn’t quite as protective as armor, but it still absorbs impacts in case of a crash. It’s a great feature to find at the chest and kidneys.
A good armor vest should be tough all around. It should be able to protect your skin from abrasion in case you slide across the ground in an accident.
Many riders overlook the importance of a good fit, not just for your comfort but your safety too. If your armor vest doesn’t fit right, it’s likely to slide and move out of position in the jostling of a crash.
As a result, the armor might cover the part of your body it’s supposed to, and you could end up injured.
No two people are shaped the same. Even if an armor vest comes in numerous different sizes, you won’t be able to get a comfortable fit unless you can adjust it to your torso. Features that allow for adjustability include:
- Kidney belts
- Hook-and-loop straps
- Shoulder straps
Most riders choose to wear their armor vest under a motorcycle jacket. Of course, that can be uncomfortable if the vest has a high profile that prevents the jacket from fitting correctly. Look for an armor vest with a low profile if you plan to wear it under other clothing.
Ventilation is essential to a comfortable armor vest. Otherwise, you’re likely to overheat underneath it. Ventilation lets air pass through the vest and blow off sweat. That sweat takes heat with it, cooling you off.
Like ventilation, moisture wicking in an armor vest keeps you cool by pulling sweat off your body. Sweat is your body’s cooling system. It absorbs heat and then carries that heat out of your skin. That doesn’t work if it stays on the skin, so moisture-wicking helps it finish its job.
A motorcycle armor vest is an effective but inconspicuous way to add another level of safety to your ride.