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post #1 of 3 Old 08-29-2006, 9:25 PM Thread Starter
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Good back protector article

Back protector recommendations - Page 2 - Georgia Sportbike Forums
(post 12) the original poster I believe is also a member here based on having the same name. that original post is 3 years old but still has some good info (and a lot of info at that) and there are a couple of valid points brought up in that discussion.

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post #2 of 3 Old 09-01-2006, 6:49 AM
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Re: Good back protector article

Yeah, thanks for posting that, much of the info is still very relevant, but the post is old, current options have changed, and there are some inaccuracies here and there, but I the basics remain the same, look for a piece that is at minimum EN1621-2 Level 2 certified, and don't settle for anything less, as it's still not what the medical data suggests is appropriate, though it's hands down better than old options and un-certified options, any of which are old designs too.

As for the Bohn and STT foolishness. Nobody has any real data concerning performance from either Bohn or STT, and the logic there is faulty from the start, all as justification to make money off the stuff, which I really don't appreciate when it comes to safety gear. Good intentions are one thing, but safety gear requires real solutions, regardless. The bottomline with that is that whatever constitutes a back protector in the eyes of STT for their trackdays must somehow include the Bohn pieces they also sell, and there is nothing in the way of performance, coverage, materials, or anything of substance that differentiates a piece of cardboard from a Bohn Pro Racer.

Motoryclist back protectors are simply impact protectors for the back area, they are not spinal braces, can't prevent paralysis or even affect those types of injury mehcanisms at all, but a properly designed one can be made to handle average impact energies down to levels of force transmission that ca minimize rib fractures and bruising. RIb fractures can happen at 4kN of force, and not many back protectors can lower the forces to that level at those average impact energies, though Level 2 CE-approved protectors come the closest for motoryclist-specific gear. Horse riders vests rated to the BETA 2000 Level 3 standard actually provide 4kN force limits at 45J and a broader coverage area, but may not be ergonomically useful for sportbike riding, and certainly not under tight leathers, but could be a more protective option in certain riding conditions or under or over some clothing, and they are relatively inexpensive too.

Someone in that thread also brought up the question of impact energy level and what is appropriate. 50J is apparently taken from accident injury data, and is also used for limb armor(impact protectors) within that standard. It's also similar to the requirments of DOT helmet testing, and to that used for horse riders protectors. A fall fro ma horse to the ground may be the most similar, and 45J is the highest amount of impact energy used in any tsting guidelines for those protectors, with the use of both load-conterating and flat anvils, though the flat anvil only generates 35J, I believe. The basic idea there is to have an energy level that covers the weight of a rider's torso falling from the height of a horse, I guess. Of course, motoryclist helmet standards go up from there all the way to 150 J, and the idea there has little to do with average crash force measurements, but the concept of packing as much proection within the accepted size and weight of the riding community. You will find that levels of impact energy for other sports, though the crash severities from bike or jump to ground are similar or even higher, that the impact energies used for various testing standards is less, and that almost completely comes down to user acceptiblity, 100% of the time. That is no more apparent within biccylcing helmets, as venting, weight, aerodynamics, and looks are even larger considerations for those helmets than all-out impact management considerations. You will find that adding even a little bit of range can often times double the thickness or weight of a piece with any current passive foam or materials technology, so those issues become much larger than trying to find and replicate crash any sort of typical crash energies or even mimick load-concentrating surfaces. There are massive amounts of variables, so the real issue becomes range within what the technology can provide up to that is acceptable by the consumer. An ideal method is to provdie levels accoridng to range of impact energy capabilities, rather than force transmission threshoolds. Since ribs break at 4kN, that should be an essential pass/fail mark, and better options should be designated by their ability to handle impact energies down to that level of force. Helmet standards work that way for the most part, all imparting a pass/fail threshold for the types of injury they are trying to prevent, and some, like Snell, raise the bar on the impact energy range they can maintain that usefulness at. The Cambridge standard for impact protectors works similarly as well, though they don endorse back protectors on the whole, as they feel that the ideas of real spinal protection should be addressed by them because that is truly the assumption of most riders. Anyhow, the Cambridge standard for impact protectors ups the CE minimums with a high-perfromance 75J mark or a 100J extreme performance mark, and it also requires a lower force transmission level for limb protectors at 25KN, which again is recommended by medical experts as more appropriate for limb bone fractures, but compromised within the CE standard to allow existing products to pass. That 100J mark was only instituted after testing confirmed the abilities of some materials in wearable forms could exceed the previously lower levels of 60 and 80J. There is only one option for limb armor that passes the Cambridge standards requirements for extreme performance, and that's pieces made by T-Pro. So the range is really limited by acceptable forms and the technology. Lab testing provides rerpeatable and dependable results that can give a much better picture of what actually works and how well than anyhting else we have available, and should be demanded by the community for real solutions to safety equipment.

Last edited by license2ill; 09-01-2006 at 7:22 AM.
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post #3 of 3 Old 09-01-2006, 7:56 AM
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Re: Good back protector article

Good informative post, License2ill.

"It is better to post and risk reposting than to have never posted at all."

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