Retrofit protectors for motorcycle clothing in the test

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Retrofit protectors for motorcycle clothing in the test
Drawing: Aue

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Retrofit protectors for motorcycle clothing being tested

Product test retrofit protectors
Which retrofit protectors are safe??

There are padded bras that are on “wonderbrare” Wise to conjure up a tight cleavage, and there are protectors that are just as wonderfully supposed to give real superpowers to motorcycle protective clothing.

It’s all just a brawl?

Thorsten Dentges

03/03/2011

A protector can possibly alleviate injuries, not prevent them, if the fall is successful. It is not an assurance that nothing can happen, and in a frontal crash with a car you would need an angel to lift you over it to get away safely”, explains Michele Vulcano, product manager at the protector manufacturer Viscotec in Stuttgart. Professor Dietmar Otte, Head of Traffic Accident Research at the Hannover Medical School, draws a similar conclusion. His team investigates around 200 motorcycle accidents every year, and Otte is considered one of the pioneers in research into “Personal protective equipment” (PSA). He still remembers the beginnings in the 1980s: “When we examined the protective clothing after an accident, normal mattress foam still oozed out as padding on the chafed fall zones.” And in racing, the drivers initially tied plastic shells around their knees in order to slide in a more controlled manner in the event of a fall, at that time you couldn’t speak of real shock absorption.

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In Otte’s opinion, preformed shells made of progressively cushioning polyurethane foams by the Swedish manufacturer Halvarssons were the first effective protectors around 25 years ago. And it has only been around 15 years that various working groups have been working on defined test standards: Since the EN 1621-1 standard, which came into force in 1997, manufacturers who expressly refer to the protective effect of motorcycle clothing have had their products certified accordingly.

Accredited testing institutes are responsible, for example TuV Rheinland in Germany. The CE marking (abbreviation for “European Community”, french for “European Union”) has been considered a seal for tested safety ever since – at least that is what the providers of protectors advertise. In practice, however, the norm is controversial, after all, after a tough scramble between science, politics and business (each with different interests of the individual country representatives), an agreement was reached on limit values ​​that, according to current knowledge, seem to have been made out of thin air . If a norm-compliant residual force of 35 kilonewtons actually hits bones and joints, it would – to put it casually – pulverize them. Medical studies, which cannot be transferred one-to-one to the course of an accident, have shown that human bones can withstand a maximum of five to six kilonewtons.


Retrofit protectors for motorcycle clothing in the test


Dentges, mps photo studio

Force-time behavior: While the IXS knee protector (red curve) already has the full residual force at 5 ms, the Safemax (green) only has less than 5 kN.

Based on more recent, even more targeted research, international working groups are currently meeting on an amendment to the standard. “Germany would have liked to anchor the force-time behavior there, because in our opinion acceleration peaks that are passed on by the Protector are particularly critical”, explains Christoph Gatzweiler, Head of Technology at the Motorcycle Industry Association (IVM) in Essen. Simplified, this means: a quick hit with comparatively little force can be more dangerous than a more powerful one, but in which the bone has more time to digest it. The Germans were unable to assert themselves with this requirement, however, a standard is expected to be drawn up in mid-2012, according to which joint protectors (such as back protectors already) can now be tested according to level 1 and 2, with the limit value of level 2 from 35 to around 20 kN is to be lowered. “At least a step in the right direction”, says Gatzweiler. One thing is clear: joint and back protectors make sense, even if opinions still differ as to whether hard shells or soft foams are better. Specialist Otte sees the combination of the two as the ideal solution, but remarks in general: “Fractures can hardly be prevented, but the type of fracture can be influenced.”

Protectors could lead to dangerous open fractures (risk of infection) and complicated debris fractures, which are often the result of strong point loads, into comparatively simple fractures “convert” (with better chances of recovery). In addition, even simple hard shell and foam parts protect the skin and tissue well against abrasions and friction-related burn injuries, because they serve as additional protection against abrasion when the outer material of the jacket and pants dissolves on the asphalt with pleasure (in the event of a fall, usually after three seconds of sliding time) . However, in addition to wearing good motorcycle boots and gloves, the prerequisite for increased safety is that the protectors fit well. Bad idea: to order blindly from the Internet, especially since many protectors do not fit into the pockets provided. Smarter: into your motorcycle clothes and off to the store. A detailed try-on makes it easier to determine whether retrofitting makes sense.


Retrofit protectors for motorcycle clothing in the test


Dentges, mps photo studio

The Rukka back protector absorbs the impact in the strong center of the protector well (green), but fails completely in the thinner edge areas (red).

Protectors should be firmly connected to the outer fabric and not dangle too loosely in the pockets provided. In the event of a fall, they would turn away – protection then: zero. To test, assume your driving position and have a helper check how tight the protectors are on your back and joints. Protection is all well and good, but freedom of movement should not be restricted. Helmut Faidt, protector developer at Sas-Tec in Markgroningen in Swabia, states: “We could make foam protectors so that they only let through a residual force of five kilonewtons, but they would then be three centimeters thick and would limit active safety.” Counterproductive. A certain amount of air circulation to increase driving comfort is also desirable, as all experts agree. However, none of the current test candidates really failed in the comfort rating, which is very pleasing, and – even more important – the majority of the protectors tested ensure good shock absorption. So there is a lot to be said for setting off now rather than right away and revamping your motorcycle clothing, which may be a bit dated in terms of safety, with the latest generation of protectors.


Retrofit protectors for motorcycle clothing in the test


mps photo studio

Safemax Premium

Price in euros (each for a pair of S, E, H, K *)  16.95 (S), 18.95 (E, K), 14.95 (H)
Provider, telephone, internet  Polo, Tel. 0180/5225785, www.polo-motorrad.de
   
security
max.value according to EC standard  35 kN 
shoulder  11.0 kN
elbow  13.0 kN
hips  10.2 kN
knee  8.7 kN
cover  excellent coverage with all protectors, asymmetrical construction
   
Comfort
Points (max. 70)  64
Fit  very good
ventilation  Good
Weight in g S / E / H / K *  100/124/88/148
Points (max. 30)  23
 
Conclusion  Direct hit! Everything is just right here: first-class comfort with full security without compromise. Great shock absorption on the knee, great fit, acceptable weight. Complete set around 70 euros, a perfect offer. That gives the gold medal.
Total points (max 100)  87
grade  very good
city ​​square  1.

* S = shoulder protector, E = elbow protector, H = hip protector, K = knee protector


Retrofit protectors for motorcycle clothing in the test


mps photo studio

Hero Quattrotempi

Price in euros (each for a pair of S, E, H, K *)  19.95 (S, E, K), 17.95 (H)
Provider, telephone, internet
 Held, Tel. 08321 / 6646-0, www.held.de
   
security
max.value according to EC standard  35 kN 
shoulder  18.4 kN
elbow  16.1 kN
hips  17.0 kN
knee  14.0 kN
cover  generally good, shoulder protectors extend unusually far into the back 
   
Comfort
Points (max. 70)  53
Fit  very good
ventilation  very good
Weight in g S / E / H / K *  80/98/86/98
Points (max. 30)  27
   
Conclusion  Great ventilation and comfort, asymmetrical construction – but not at the expense of safety. And the price for this complete set of high-tech protectors is fair. Very close to the motorcyclist – silver.
Total points (max 100)  80
grade  Good
city ​​square  2.

* S = shoulder protector, E = elbow protector, H = hip protector, K = knee protector


Retrofit protectors for motorcycle clothing in the test


mps photo studio

BMW NP

Price in euros (each for a pair of S, E, H, K *)  11.00 (S, E, K), 9.00 (H)
Provider, telephone, internet  BMW Motorrad, Tel. 0180/5001972, www.bmw-motorrad.de
   
security
max.value according to EC standard  35 kN 
shoulder  17.0 kN
elbow  17,, 2 kN
hips  17.3 kN
knee  10.7 kN
cover  excellent, especially the knee joints are completely enclosed
   
Comfort
Points (max. 70)  56
Fit  Good
ventilation  satisfying
Weight in g S / E / H / K *  88/140/62/180
Points (max. 30)  21
   
Conclusion
 The great strength of BMW protectors is their safety: the joints are well covered and the shock absorption is consistently good to very good. The wearing comfort, on the other hand, should like to be better. Bronze medal.
Total points (max 100)  77
grade  Good
city ​​square  3.

* S = shoulder protector, E = elbow protector, H = hip protector, K = knee protector


Retrofit protectors for motorcycle clothing in the test


mps photo studio

Supershield HTP-2/03

Price in euros (each for a pair of S, E, H, K *)  16.95 (S), 17.95 (E), 14.95 (H), 18.95 (K)
Provider, telephone, internet  Louis, Tel. 040/73419360, www.louis.de
   
security
max.value according to EC standard  35 kN 
shoulder  28.5 kN
elbow  25.5 kN
hips  15.8 kN
knee  18.9 kN
cover  asymmetrical construction with extensive coverage, overall good
   
Comfort
Points (max. 70)  44
Fit  Good
ventilation  very good
Weight in g S / E / H / K *  92/74/78/106
Points (max. 30)  26
   
Conclusion  Light, comfortable, well thought-out concept. Lots of high-tech with the aim of offering the highest level of comfort. That’s very good. However, the sometimes rather average values ​​for shock absorption prevent a place on the podium.  
Total points (max 100)  70
grade  Good
city ​​square  4th.

* S = shoulder protector, E = elbow protector, H = hip protector, K = knee protector


Retrofit protectors for motorcycle clothing in the test


mps photo studio

Buse SC-1 / 04-07

Price in euros (each for a pair of S, E, H, K *)  11.95 (S), 10.95 (E), 8.95 (H), 12.95 (K)
Provider, telephone, internet  Buse, Tel. 02471/12690, www.buese.com
   
security
max.value according to EC standard  35 kN 
shoulder  25.3 kN
elbow  22.0 kN
hips  23.6 kN
knee  20.1 kN
cover  Commendable, all the protectors cover the individual joints perfectly
   
Comfort
Points (max. 70)  42
Fit  Good
ventilation  satisfying
Weight in g S / E / H / K *  100/84/50/122
Points (max. 30)  23
   
Conclusion  Decent shock absorption, even without top values. For under 50 euros offers Buse a trustworthy protection for retrofitting. In terms of comfort, especially with regard to ventilation, there is still room for improvement.  
Total points (max 100)  65
grade  satisfying
city ​​square  5.

* S = shoulder protector, E = elbow protector, H = hip protector, K = knee protector


Retrofit protectors for motorcycle clothing in the test


mps photo studio

Rukka APS Air

Price in euros (each for a pair of S, E, H, K *)  89.95 (S, K), 69.95 (E), 59.95 (H)
Provider, telephone, internet
 Rukka, Tel. 040/5511055, www.rukka.de
   
security  
max.value according to EC standard  35 kN 
shoulder  20.8 kN
elbow  22.9 kN
hips  21.0 kN
knee  24.0 kN
cover  good coverage, which results from large areas rather than clever shapes
   
Comfort
Points (max. 70)  41
Fit  good to satisfactory
ventilation  very good
Weight in g S / E / H / K *  212/156/136/202
Points (max. 30)  21
   
Conclusion  The Rukka protectors only meet the requirement of being particularly comfortable when it comes to ventilation. Decent shock absorption, but comparatively heavy and extremely expensive (over 300 euros per set).
Total points (max 100)  62
grade  satisfying
city ​​square  6th.

* S = shoulder protector, E = elbow protector, H = hip protector, K = knee protector


Retrofit protectors for motorcycle clothing in the test


mps photo studio

Spidi Multitech

Price in euros (each for a pair of S, E, H, K *)  42.90 (S + E only as a complete set), 11.90 (H), 29.90 (K)
Provider, telephone, internet  Shark, Tel. 04108/458000, www.spidi.com
   
security
max.value according to EC standard  35 kN 
shoulder  24.9 kN
elbow  23.9 kN
hips
 Limit Exceeded
knee  15.0 kN
cover  the shapes fit, good coverage, the protectors only sit moderately on the shoulders
   
Comfort
Points (max. 70)  36
Fit  Good
ventilation  satisfying
Weight in g S / E / H / K *  64/122/80/122
Points (max. 30)  22nd
   
Conclusion  Except for the extremely cheap hip protector (which thwarted a better overall result) you can immediately see that the Italians developed it with sense and understanding. The result: highly recommended protectors.
Total points (max 100)  58
grade  satisfying
city ​​square  7th.

* S = shoulder protector, E = elbow protector, H = hip protector, K = knee protector


Retrofit protectors for motorcycle clothing in the test


mps photo studio

IXS CE Protector

Price in euros (each for a pair of S, E, H, K *)  19.95 (S, E, K), 15.00 (H)
Provider, telephone, internet  IXS, Tel. 07631/18040, www.ixs.de
   
security
max.value according to EC standard  35 kN 
shoulder  28.4 kN
elbow  31.8 kN
hips
 Limit Exceeded
knee  30.1 kN
cover  Except for the knees, all joints are well encompassed and protected
   
Comfort
Points (max. 70)  19th
Fit  satisfying
ventilation  satisfying
Weight in g S / E / H / K *  84/98/80/98
Points (max. 30)  22nd
   
Conclusion  The average shock absorption values ​​are at the limit of the required standard specifications (hips even above). The wearing comfort is okay, but overall the protectors are no longer up-to-date. 
Total points (max 100)  41
grade  sufficient
city ​​square  8th.

* S = shoulder protector, E = elbow protector, H = hip protector, K = knee protector


Retrofit protectors for motorcycle clothing in the test


mps photo studio

Hiprotec Comfort

Price in euros (each for a pair of S, E, H, K *)  17.95 (S, E, K)
Provider, telephone, internet  Hein Gericke, Tel. 0180/5229522, www.heingericke.de
   
security
max.value according to EC standard  35 kN 
shoulder  30.7 kN
elbow  33.9 kN
hips  unavailable
knee  Limit Exceeded
cover  cover very large areas, but rather limp and do not really enclose the joints
   
Comfort
Points (max. 70)  20th
Fit  Good
ventilation  sufficient
Weight in g S / E / H / K *  114/114 / – / 114
Points (max. 30)  20th
   
Conclusion  Moderate ventilation, the name “Comfort” doesn’t exactly say it all. As a minimum protection for everyone who would prefer to do without protectors entirely, the thin, mat-like rubber protectors fulfill their purpose. 
Total points (max 100)  40
grade  sufficient
city ​​square  9.

* S = shoulder protector, E = elbow protector, H = hip protector, K = knee protector


Retrofit protectors for motorcycle clothing in the test


mps photo studio

D30 T5

Price in euros (each for a pair of S, E, H, K *)  14.95 (S, E, H), 17.95 (K)
Provider, telephone, internet  Held, Tel. 08321 / 6646-0, www.held.de
   
security
max.value according to EC standard  35 kN 
shoulder
 Limit Exceeded
elbow  Limit Exceeded
hips  27.7 kN
knee  Limit Exceeded
cover  Sufficiently large test zone according to the standard, but nothing more. Somewhat poor
   
Comfort
Points (max. 70)  11
Fit  good to satisfactory
ventilation  sufficient
Weight in g S / E / H / K *  60/76/62/94
Points (max. 30)  22nd
   
Conclusion  The provider speaks of intelligent molecules in the material, but these “gifted” are more likely to be problem students who have not done their homework. The shock absorption values ​​are underground.
Total points (max 100)  33
grade  inadequate
city ​​square  10.

* S = shoulder protector, E = elbow protector, H = hip protector, K = knee protector


Retrofit protectors for motorcycle clothing in the test


mps photo studio

Alpinestars bio marble

Price in euros (each for a pair of S, E, H, K *)  29.95 (S + E only as a complete set)
Provider, telephone, internet  Alpinestars, Tel. 0039-0423-5286, www.alpinestars.com
   
security
max.value according to EC standard  35 kN 
shoulder  20.4 kN
elbow  Limit Exceeded
hips  unavailable
knee  unavailable
cover  Elbows just adequately covered, slightly sparse at the shoulder
   
Comfort
Points (max. 70)  15th
Fit  satisfying
ventilation  Good
Weight in g S / E / H / K *  118/134 / – /-
Points (max. 30)  17th
   
Conclusion  The ventilation is great due to the numerous holes, and the weight is also okay. The elbows are inadequately protected and the fit is only average. Overall result sobering.
Total points (max 100)  32
grade  inadequate
city ​​square  11.

* S = shoulder protector, E = elbow protector, H = hip protector, K = knee protector

interview


Retrofit protectors for motorcycle clothing in the test


Dentges, mps photo studio

“More comfort despite security – I think that’s difficult”.

Christiane Reckter, 45, is an expert in personal protective clothing at TuV Rheinland in Cologne and tests, among other things, prototypes for CE protectors on the test bench. In her private life, she also checks the protectors on motorcycles, snowboards and mountain bikes – and is already quite fall-tested.

Ms. Reckter, do you really believe that these small pieces of foam offer real protection?

Yes of course! At least if the material is sufficiently strong and can withstand an impact energy of 50 joules relevant to the test. Actually, these protectors were developed primarily to protect skin and tissue from abrasion in the event of a fall, and less to prevent bone fractures. However, practice has shown that these comparatively simple parts can prevent worse injuries, even fractures. Personally, I don’t just wear protectors on my motorcycle, but in all high-risk sports. Since a serious fall with my snowboard, at the latest, I’ve been riding it better and can only recommend it.

What exactly does the test according to the EN standard actually map?

The test facility is designed in such a way that a rounded anvil for the joint protectors reproduces the shape of a human joint, which is hit by a flat impact body that simulates the impact on the road (energy is introduced at points). Back protectors, on the other hand, rest on a flat anvil, and a falling, edge-shaped impactor is intended to simulate a curb (energy is introduced in a linear manner). During the test, however, we also ensure that obvious weak points such as large ventilation slits or incisions that are supposed to ensure better mobility should also meet the standard requirements, as they harbor a greater risk potential. If the motorcyclist hits something in an accident, the curb doesn’t really care.

Are current protectors now safer than in the past?

In the past, around ten years ago, we very often had to deal with styrofoam cores that were prone to aging, but in the last four or five years the materials have become more and more technical and better. The plastics are now very specifically trimmed to certain properties so that a manufacturer can better design comfort and safety zones.

And where is there still room for improvement??

An additional level of performance is planned for joint protectors, analogous to the back protectors, which are already certified to level 1 and the better level 2. I would welcome that as an incentive for the industry to achieve even better shock absorption values ​​for the joint protectors as well. It would also be desirable that all manufacturers pay attention to a sufficiently large protection zone. In my opinion, some see this a little too loosely when they argue with greater comfort. After all, we are talking about a protective component here, and for me maximum security is clearly in the foreground. In general, however, one has to say that the industry is currently making great progress, and the protectors have recently become significantly lighter, more flexible and easier to wear, with ever better shock absorption values. That is exactly what motorcyclists want. If this development progresses like this, I can look to the future with confidence.

This is how MOTORRAD tests


Retrofit protectors for motorcycle clothing in the test


Dentges, mps photo studio

Targeted blows determine the damping.

With the help of TuV Rheinland, MOTORRAD checked the shock absorption values ​​of the individual protectors. All joint protectors each had to endure three blows within the safety zone specified in the CE standard EN-1621. An impactor with a defined shape and weighing five kilograms falls from a height of one meter with a kinetic energy of around 50 joules onto the test protector, which rests on an anvil, which is also defined in terms of shape. The latter houses a sensor that records the residual force passed on by the protector as well as the force curve. The average value of the three blows in the MOTORCYCLE measurement (which is based on the EN 1621 standard) must not exceed 35 kilonewtons (kN), and a limit of 50 kN applies to each individual blow. The following applies to the back protectors: The average value from three test blows should not be more than 18 kN (single blow: 24 kN) for protectors certified according to level 1, and not more than 9 kN (single blow: 12 kN) for test persons certified according to level 2. After evaluating the results, the testers also assessed how well the protectors cover the parts of the body to be protected and how they feel in practice (fit, ventilation, weight).

Marking: joint protectors


Retrofit protectors for motorcycle clothing in the test


Dentges, mps photo studio

Marking: joint protectors.

Left to right:
(a) Very useful, but only needs to be specified optionally: the Mounting position. So you know how the protector should be properly inserted into the pocket provided.
(b) Marking of the CE standard, after which was certified.
(c) Model name. Attention, manufacturer information! The providers often use different article names in their catalogs and on the packaging.
(d) Installation location, in the case shown here: elbows and knees
(e) It is imperative that the Size of the protection zone. In addition to type B, there is type A, which is actually only intended for children and very small sizes.
(f) Name of the producer.

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