Motorcycle Armor Ratings Explained
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Motorcycle Armor Ratings Explained

Motorcycle riding is an exhilarating experience, but it comes with inherent risks. To mitigate these risks, wearing appropriate safety gear is essential.

Motorcycle armor is a critical component of this gear, designed to protect riders in the event of a motorcycle accident. Understanding the various armor ratings can help you make informed decisions about the gear you choose to wear.

The Importance of Motorcycle Armor

Motorcycle armor is designed to absorb and distribute the force of impacts, reducing the likelihood of injury during a crash.

It is typically made from materials like foam, hard plastic, and advanced composites, strategically placed in areas most vulnerable to injury, such as the shoulders, elbows, back, hips, and knees.

Proper armor can significantly reduce the risk of fractures, abrasions, and other serious injuries.

Understanding Armor Ratings

Armor ratings are standardized measures that indicate the level of protection provided by a piece of motorcycle armor. These ratings are established by various organizations and testing bodies.

The most common ratings you will encounter are CE (Conformité Européenne) ratings, which are widely recognized and respected in the industry.

CE Ratings Explained

Motorcycle Armor Ratings Explained

The CE rating system is used to certify motorcycle armor based on its performance in a series of tests. These tests measure the armor’s ability to absorb impact energy, resist penetration, and maintain structural integrity under stress. CE ratings are classified into two levels:

  1. CE Level 1: Armor rated at Level 1 provides a basic level of protection. It must absorb a certain amount of impact energy without exceeding a specified force transmitted to the body. Level 1 armor is typically lighter and more flexible, offering comfort and adequate protection for everyday riding.
  2. CE Level 2: Level 2 armor provides a higher level of protection compared to Level 1. It must absorb more impact energy and transmit less force to the body. While it is usually thicker and heavier, it offers enhanced protection, making it suitable for high-speed riding and racing.

Additional Testing Standards

In addition to CE ratings, there are other testing standards and certifications that you might encounter:

  • EN 1621-1: This standard covers limb protectors, such as shoulder, elbow, hip, and knee armor. It includes both Level 1 and Level 2 ratings, similar to the CE system.
  • EN 1621-2: This standard applies to back protectors, crucial for protecting the spine in a crash. Like EN 1621-1, it includes Level 1 and Level 2 ratings.
  • EN 1621-3: This standard is for chest protectors designed to protect the chest area from impacts. It also includes Level 1 and Level 2 ratings.
  • EN 14021: This standard applies to off-road protective clothing, such as motocross armor. It focuses on providing impact protection while maintaining flexibility and mobility.

How Armor Ratings Impact Your Safety

Understanding armor ratings can help you choose the right gear for your riding style and level of risk. Here’s how different ratings impact your safety:

  • Basic Commuting: CE Level 1 armor typically provides sufficient protection for everyday commuting and city riding. It balances comfort with safety, allowing for greater flexibility and ease of movement.
  • Sport and High-Speed Riding: If you engage in sport riding or frequently ride at high speeds, CE Level 2 armor is advisable. It offers superior protection, which is crucial in the event of a high-speed crash.
  • Off-Road Riding: For off-road and motocross riders, gear certified to EN 14021 provides specialized protection designed to handle the unique demands of off-road environments.

Tips for Choosing the Right Armor

When selecting motorcycle armor, consider the following tips to ensure you choose the best protection for your needs:

  1. Check the Ratings: Always look for CE or EN certification labels on the armor. This ensures that the gear has been tested and meets established safety standards.
  2. Assess the Fit: Proper fit is crucial for armor to function correctly. It should fit snugly against your body without restricting movement. Loose or improperly positioned armor can shift during a crash, reducing its effectiveness.
  3. Consider Your Riding Style: Choose armor that matches your riding style and the type of riding you do most often. For example, sport riders should prioritize higher-rated armor for enhanced protection, while commuters might opt for lighter, more flexible options.
  4. Layering and Integration: Many riding jackets and pants come with built-in armor pockets. Ensure the armor you choose fits these pockets correctly. Additionally, consider using separate armor layers, such as back protectors or chest guards, for added protection.
  5. Maintenance and Replacement: Regularly inspect your armor for signs of wear and tear. Replace any armor that has been damaged in a crash or shows signs of significant wear, as its protective capabilities may be compromised.

When to Consult a Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer

Even with the best protective gear, motorcycle accidents can still result in injuries. If you are involved in a crash and sustain injuries, consulting a Seattle personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal complexities and ensure you receive fair compensation.

A skilled lawyer can assist with gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, and representing your interests in court if necessary.


Understanding motorcycle armor ratings is essential for selecting the right protective gear and enhancing your safety on the road.

By choosing armor that meets established safety standards and fits properly, you can significantly reduce the risk of injury in a motorcycle accident.

Remember, investing in high-quality armor is an investment in your safety and well-being. Stay informed, stay protected, and enjoy the ride with confidence.

Article by

Alla Levin

Seattle business and lifestyle content creator who can’t get enough of business innovations, arts, not ordinary people and adventures.

About Author

Alla Levin

Hi, I’m Alla, a Seattle business and lifestyle content creator who can’t get enough of business innovations, arts, not ordinary people and adventures. My mission is to help you grow in your creativity, travel the world, and live life to the absolute fullest!

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