Reader Emily wrote me recently about a back protector issue she's having while riding 2-up. Check out what she had to say along with my reply:
Hi there, I live in Berkeley (I know you've decamped to Philly) and my b/f and I ride a BMW 1200GS Adventure with me on the back. We recently upsized from an 800GS. Because I found it hard on my lower back to not have no backrest, when he got the new bike he had a box put on the back with the backrest cushioning installed.
Now I am getting a bruise mid-spine from the top of the box (even though it is cushioned as well). I have a FirstGear Kilimanjaro Air jacket that I've liked but the back armor goes down just to the place where the top of the box hits. I went into the BMW dealer in SF yesterday to try their jackets and found they have the same problem. I am 5'8" and long waisted and BMW jackets for women don't come in long sizes, though their men's apparel does. Kent in the BMW store suggested I try Rev'it because they make better apparel for women then BMW (actually he suggested I start my own company making women's motorcycling appa rel).
However, I note in looking at the Rev'it website that the women's gear also does not come in long sizes. Do you know how long the back armor is in the women's jacket (I wear an 8 in the BMW GS Dry) or do you have any other suggestions? We're taking a two week trip in Montana in September and I've got to have this figured out by then or I will be be super uncomfortable.
I have a couple ideas for you:
This combination gives you two things including a longer cut in the torso and sleeves as well as a back protector that's fairly long. It shouldn't be taller than your shoulder blades but I think it'll alleviate the issues you're having with the top box. This jacket is one of the only ones that work well for women who are looking for a jacket that's multi season (removable thermal layer with a mesh shell) and have a longer torso fit as well a sleeve length. Unfortunately you have to use Seesoft with the Levante because the pocket is specifically cut out for Seesoft. Alternatively, you could also use D3O instead, you'll just have to trim the sides to fit. To find out more about this jacket, check out my tall co-host's review here.
Keep in mind that all back protector inserts will never be higher than the shoulder blades because it's just too uncomfortable in riding position and the jacket just won't fit right. It would really restrict the driver's ability to fully turn their head from side to side.
If the previous combination doesn't work, try wearing an external back protector underneath like this one by Spidi. I like this one because it's pretty long but really thin. You can also adjust the waist belt to your height via velcro. I think this would fit perfectly underneath the Levante as well.