Back Protector Issue

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:


1) Rev'it Levante Jacket + Seesoft Back Protector

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.

revit_womens_levante_jacket_detail revzilla revit_seesoft_back_protector_insert


2) External Back Protector

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.



Summer Women's Motorcycle Jacket for a Petite Frame

Hi Joanne,

I came across your blog doing research on motorcycle gear. I love how informative and thorough your writing is -- please continue sharing your insight and wisdom!

A friend of mine rides a Harley cruiser and we'll be taking a 2 hr road trip in a couple weeks. I'll be the passenger and I want to be properly geared up. I was thinking about getting the Rev'It Ignition 2 jacket, but am wondering if you had recommendations for other jackets, considering that I don't know how frequently I'll be on a motorcycle (this will be my first ride!) and I will most likely always be the passenger :)

My info is:

1/ 5'7" / 125ish

2/ bust -- 34 / waist -- 28 / hips -- 36

3/ I'll be Colorado in a couple weeks and it looks like that weekend is going to be in the low 90s, eek.

4/ What I'm concerned about is that the chest area will fit ok -- I'm pretty busty (32DD) but have a small back and narrow shoulders so ideally the jacket would need to fit my shoulders well and not be too big. I am also looking for a jacket that's not going to ride up too much when I sit.

Have you tried Ugly Bros denim? There's some versions that have kevlar woven in. I'd love to hear your thoughts on that brand if you're familiar?

I look forward to hearing from you!

best, amy

At your size, I don't think the Ignition 2 is a good option. It's *very* busty. I would actually recommend this jacket because it's longer, 3/4 length and without the waterproof/windproof liner (one liner keeps you warm and dry) and it's ventilated for hot weather. Comes in silver too. I'd go with a size 34. It's better for you than other mesh jackets due to the combination of fit/features that you need.

Rev'it Levante $299: http://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/revit-womens-levante-jacket

revit_womens_levante_jacket_detail revzilla

If it's going to be 90, I recommend 2 things:

  1. Wear a baselayer, something to moisture wick and help the gear breathe better: http://gearchic.com/2013/08/22/what-are-baselayers/
  2. Wear  a sportsbra to compress the girls a bit if need be. The sports bra will also be more comfortable on a hot, long trip over a traditional bra. A running / workout bra is great. I wear a simple Gap Body one that's light and super comfy. I'm a 32D bordering 34C myself.

Rev'it and other companies make other mesh jackets, but this one hits all the points you need; bust fit, narrowness in shoulders/arms, length, coverage, etc.

The Maven will simply be too Hot. You need mesh and breathability. Keep in mind that the Levante is also a breathable mesh, not an open weave mesh like you see on other jackets. So it'll still breathe really well but not as direct as traditional mesh. Check out my cohost's review of the jacket here: http://gearchic.com/2013/07/10/revit-levante-jacket-review-by-advgoddess/

As far as denim jeans, haven't heard of that brand. My favorite is Rev'it because they offer Hip And Knee protection. It's very rare when someone offers us both! Body armor is as important as abrasion resistance, so hips and knees are a must. These offer both, as well as Coolmax lining which should help in the heat, and the denim is weaved with Cordura so it's not just regular denim with panels for reinforcement. Revit says that their lining is stronger than Kevlar, and more breathable. It's certainly softer, that's for sure. I'm very tempted to get these to commute to work with myself. I don't do riding jeans because none of them so far have offered hip and knee armor and I don't like riding without hip armor. The fit is fabulous and true to waist size. They fit like a nice bootcut jean. My only issue with them is that the legs are really long, I have a 28.5" inseam and the knee armor pockets are almost an inch too low in riding position. :(

Rev'it Broadway: http://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/revit-womens-broadway-jeans

REV'IT Levante Jacket Review, by ADVGoddess


Check out my girl Cristi's review of the Levante. A fantastic, 3 season, 3/4 length jacket for almost year round riding (depending on how cold your 4th season is). The fit is nice and long, but with the usual REV'IT fitment; flattering yet easy to wear. With a nice pricepoint of $299, this might be your next purchase.


Available at Revzilla.com