When riding off road, you want loose-fitting, breathable outer layers to allow airflow in the heat. However, a loose fit means armor can’t be attached to the outer layer as it would in more snugly-fitting street gear, because it will displace in a mishap and not protect as well. To get around this, riders have strapped armor to their elbows and arms and slipped into breastplates and back armor that look like they are designed for modern-day gladiators. The other option is to wear a lightweight-but-snug armored jacket that offers breathability and impact protection but little abrasion resistance under either a jersey or an abrasion protective shell. The REV’IT! Proteus Armored Jacket falls into the latter category.
Part of the REV’IT! Dirt Series of off-road/adventure gear, the Proteus Armored Jacket is designed to be worn under a jersey or a more street-worthy outer shell, both of which are part of the line. Made of an extremely stretchable mesh, the Proteus wraps snugly around the rider’s torso to prevent the armor from shifting in a crash. The places likely to receive more abrasion inside the outer shell, such as the elbows and shoulders, have a layer of densely woven Hicom mesh, while the inside of the sleeves are constructed of a fabric REV’IT! calls PWR|Stretch. The rider doesn’t need to think of all the names, but they will be aware that the jacket fits like one would expect a Spandex-like garment to. Thumb loops make sure the stretchy sleeves don’t ride up in a slide.
The armor itself is ample, with CE Level 2 back, elbow, and shoulder protection plus a two-piece Seesoft Level 1 impact protector on the chest. Since breathability is important, all the armor is perforated to allow airflow. An adjustable 4-in. kidney belt supports the rider’s low back while helping to hold the jacket in place. All of the armor is easily removable from the jacket’s chassis so it can be washed on a low-temperature delicate cycle and hung to drip dry.
One issue snug-fitting gear is sometimes guilty of is having the waistband climb up on the torso during extended, active riding. The bottom hem of the Proteus features a rubberized material that grips to the riding pants and has its grip assisted by the stretch fit of the jacket. A front, centered zipper secures the garment, though it comes up a little higher than some people may like.
I’ve logged over 700 miles (about 70% in the dirt) wearing the Proteus in temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to over 100° F. While it was quite comfortable against my bare skin, I found that adding a moisture-wicking base layer in hot weather helped the Proteus Jacket to cool more effectively, by drawing sweat out from under the sections of armor that were not perforated. Unlike some other dirt-focused armor I’ve worn in the past, the REV’IT! Proteus Armored Jacket never chafed or irritated my skin, so the base layer was strictly for cooling. I feel it is well worth the $240 retail price, and I plan to wear it on a five-day, 1,300-mile adventure ride I am embarking on in the near future. The Rev’It! Proteus Armored Jacket is available in sizes S-3XL in black only.
Is motorcycle armor necessary?
Protective armor is essential when riding motorcycles, especially when riding off road. While the most important piece of protective gear is a certified helmet, body armor, particularly chest and back protection, is a key part of your off-road riding kit. Protection for your major joints is also vital since they are likely to contact objects before your torso. The well-protected dirt/adventure rider will wear a helmet, boots, gloves, knee/elbow protection, chest armor, and a back protector. Why so much gear? Because the constantly changing riding conditions cause off-road riders to crash more frequently.
Do motorcycle jackets protect you?
On the street, jackets provide two kinds of protection: abrasion and impact. Being constructed of sturdy materials like leather and certain textiles, motorcycle jackets protect the rider’s skin from serious injury in a slide. Armor lessens the amount of force transmitted to the rider in an impact. Off-road motorcycle jackets provide less abrasion resistance because the speeds are typically lower and the surfaces are not as damaging as asphalt. Instead off-road jackets and jerseys offer additional protection from the sun. Impact protection for dirt riders is typically handled by separate armor.
Do motorcycle chest protectors work?
In a word, yes. Recent advances in shock absorption technology means that newer forms of armor can be flexible and comfortable while offering superior protection to that of earlier armor. Dirtbikes.com’s recommendation is to always wear the best protective gear you can afford.
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