It was the ‘70s and bikes were already racing fast. At that time, riders usually were heroes despising danger. They darted and jumped over pits, sidewalks and streetlights. But not all of them.
Not all of them raced like there is no tomorrow. It was back then that safety started to become an important matter in racing.
It was two minds, above all, that enabled sports to do the first great step in a contemporary direction. Lino Dainese and Barry Sheene brought to life the first motorbike back protector in history. Bazza expressed a need, Dainese designed a solution that became fundamental for everyone, not only for World Championship’s riders.
The first back protector was born in 1979. In the next 40 years its evolution never stopped. A product that initially seemed futuristic and out of its time very quickly became an essential piece in every rider’s equipment. The back protector is a must-have, exactly like the helmet, gloves and boots. Something that makes you think about how they managed when they did not have it.
Since the very beginning, Dainese had the most prominent source of inspiration: nature. Over millions of years, who better was able to explore and find solutions to every kind of challenge? In ’79, it was the lobster to ideally provide its shell to bring the first back protector to life. A series of jointed hard plates, extremely protective but able to ensure proper freedom of movement. The crustacean shell, with the right adjustments, was replicated in plastic materials. For this reason, the name is a tribute to the first inspiration: the Lobster.
Dainese moved on following this path, drawing ideas from other solutions in the natural world, such as the shells of the armadillo and the pangolin, two rare mammalians protected by high-mobility rigid scales that slide upon each other. Then fractals, the language used by nature to create complex structures, such as a snowflake, roman cabbage or thunders.
Technological research and an increasing master in the processing of materials led to ever more refined solutions, always closer to the real needs of users. To the point of being able to differentiate the offering to meet every type of requirement.
Certifications awarded by external bodies have always been one of the pillars upon which Dainese establishes its way of working and developing products. All back protectors listed here are part of the EN1621.2 Level 2 law, the highest one– in EN1621.2, the second 2 does not refer to the level, yet to the fact that it is a protector for the back; different numbers refer to other parts of the body.
To get the Level 2 certification, a protector should pass strict impact tests. The force applied to the back protector on different points of the surface is of 50 Kn. The average result of the force transmitted to the body should not exceed 9 Kn.
Then, there is a differentiation between Central Back and Full Back, which identifies protectors that cover only the spine and those that, on the upper part, become wider, protecting a larger area of the back.
Moreover, it is useful to remember that rigid and soft protectors with the same level of certification have an equal shock absorption capacity. It is not correct to say that a rigid protector is able to absorb more forces than a soft one. Instead, it is true that different materials and structures are studied to meet different personal needs of various types of bikers.
What to look for in a back protector?
The capacity of dissipating energy of an impact is the main characteristic of a protector. The higher its capacity to absorb and dissipate impact forces, the lower the force transmitted to the rider and, therefore, the impact perception. The level of safety of a protector increases with its capacity of dispersion.
The level of ventilation of a back protector determines comfort and the consequent confidence while riding, especially during the warmest days. Comfort is also an important factor related to safety: no hassles and consequent distractions allow a higher level of concentration while riding and on possible obstacles on the way.
A light protector can be more comfortable and worn longer, lowering strain while riding. Also in this case, this is an extremely important factor for safety: a less tired rider, freer to move, will be readier to react to dangerous situations on the way.
Fit and integration
Fit and integration with the jacket or suit are important features that allow greater freedom of movement and the reduction of bulkiness as much as possible. Making sure that the back protector best adapts to your gear is crucial to ensure spontaneus gestures on the bike and less hassle.
There are different sizes and types of back protector, covering different areas of the body. It is obviously true that the wider the area covered, the larger the protected surface. But you should also remember that it is fundamental to find the right balance between coverage and freedom of movement for the highest level of overall safety.
The Dainese range
Pro Speed is the latest Dainese back protector. Its structure is pre-curved and can twist laterally and lengthwise. External plates are made of polypropylene, they are perforated on 28% of the surface to allow optimal heat exchange. The heart of Pro Speed is the honeycomb aluminum core, the structure that most effectively absorbs impacts in relation to its thickness. The outer layer is made of EPP – polypropylene, a polyurethane foam conceptually similar to helmets’ EPS.
Pro Armor is the only Dainese motorbike back protector not featuring hard plates. It is a soft protector, made of carbo-elastomer. Its geometric patterns are inspired by fractals, the language used by nature to create complex structures. This structure makes it extremely light, flexible and highly resistant to impacts. The four tendons-junctions that connect the panels ensure great torsional capacity, lateral and lengthwise extensions. Its specific composition enables to dissipate part of the impact force as heat. Thanks to the structure inspired by fractals, 43% of the surface is perforated, for unparalleled air and heat exchange.
Wave D1 Air is the back protector meant to be inserted in racing suits, used also by MotoGP riders. Its external armor consists of rigid wavy plates that recall the armadillo shell, a perfect solution to dissipate impact forces on a wider area. Like Pro Speed, it features a honeycomb aluminum core, able to provide great impact protection although mantaining a very light structure. Reduced thickness is a further strength that ensures perfect integration inside the suits.
Manis D1 is the back protector that makes of breadth of coverage its main characteristic. On the upper part, it laterally extends beyond the spine, allowing for the Full Back certification. Its external shell is inspired by the pangolin armor, a mammalian covered with rigid and protective scales that slide one upon each other, ensuring great mobility without compromising protection. Its multi-layer localized padding ensures excellent impact absorption and great comfort. Lateral tendons enable outstanding flexibility, torsion and freedom of movement.
There is the perfect one for you. Lightness, breathability, coverage and impact absorption. Nowadays, there is a solution to any need. More and more advanced technologies enable to condense in a few-gram protector a wealth of experience developed in almost 50 years at the service of man in extreme conditions. The back protector is not an accessory, it is something you cannot do without. Choose the perfect one for you.