1st Time Track Day Questions - Chicagoland Sportbikes
Chicagoland Sportbikes
Track Talk This forum is all about discussing riding and setup tips for different types of racetracks. As well as discussion about the local racing scene.

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-10-2004, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
phlflyrsfan's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Mt. Prospect
Posts: 438
Location: Mt. Prospect
Sportbike: '08 FZ-1
Years Riding: 7
How you found us: SBN
Send a message via AIM to phlflyrsfan
1st Time Track Day Questions

I would really like to get out and do my first track day sometime this year. But first, I have a few questions I hope you can all help answer for me:

1) Is a Joe Rocket Ballistic Jacket / Pants good enough gear for a beginner track day? I really don't want to drop the $$$$ on race leathers to find out I really don't like track days (although from everybody I hear talk about track days this isn't likely)...

2) Which is better for someone's very first time on a track.. a NESBA day or one of Ken's CLSB track days? Ken, do you do any beginner lesson type stuff??

3) Alot of when and if I do a track day depends on schedule and $$$, BUT, if given a choice which track (Blackhawk, etc,...) is best for a first track day?

OK, that's about it...... let me know what you all think. THanks!

Phlflyrsfan - Andy

AMA Member
phlflyrsfan is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-10-2004, 06:29 PM
Odysseys's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: balls deep in someones mom
Posts: 60,258
Location: balls deep in someones mom
Sportbike: 2010 Electra Glide Police Edition 103cu
Years Riding: a long time!
1. its better then nothing but good enough for B class, now full leathers with armor is the way to go, remember the most important thing to consider is yourself, and doing the most you can to protect yourself , you will feel that much better when you crash....(yes we all crash at one point or another)
oh and with that gear your limited to the B group

2. yes i do, to which one is better? i dunno, ill stay out of it and let others that come to my track days speak...but when i do these private track days, my PRIOR concern was not to teach, but the last private track day and the others that follow i will be giving B group a classroom session about all kinda things about the track and riding do's and donts, also thanks to the kindness of our control riders, alot of riders, have been working with them and ofcourse getting alot better....but nesba does a DAM GOOD JOB!

3. blackhawks

Odysseys is offline  
post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-10-2004, 07:16 PM
Registered User
Doc's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Bourbonnais, IL
Posts: 1,560
Location: Bourbonnais, IL
Sportbike: 2006 Lemond Zurich
Years Riding: since the age of 4
How you found us: SBN...back in the day!
Send a message via AIM to Doc
For your first time, the JR gear you have will be fine. It would be better to have a full circumference zipper for attaching the pants and jacket, but it'll do. If you do get into doing trackdays, don't skimp on gear. I guess that goes for any riding you do too.

As for which org. to do a 1st time track day. NESBA offers an intro session for free where you do 2 20min. sessions. If you like and there is room, you can pay for the day and do the whole day. I can only speak for myself, but I'm sure the other control riders for Ken's CLSB day did a great job of dictating pace and working with people. If you want to do one of Ken's days as your first day, talk to one of the control riders and they will show you lines and follow you to give you tips. NESBA will offer the same and their control riders give great advice and they have a lot of experience.

As for which track...I second Blackhawk Farms Raceway. There's no elevation change, no off camber turns, no blind turns, and it's not crazy fast. It does have some run off issues, but I've never seen them become an issue.


2006 Lemond Zurich

"A man who dares to waste an hour of life has not discovered the value of life."-Darwin
Doc is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-10-2004, 07:23 PM
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 552
Kens and Nesba are both newbie friendly. The control riders of NESBA may be a bit more helpfull only because they've been at it longer. Kens Kids will be there soon enough. Either way learning the capabilities of the bike and yourself are worth the cash outlay. Its also a real adrenaline rush!!!
YTRAP is offline  
post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-10-2004, 07:50 PM
Registered User
Thundercat's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: glendale hts
Posts: 322
Location: glendale hts
Sportbike: AARRRR1
Years Riding: long
How you found us: net
can we make this #4

4. how much cash do i have to bring for one day of one of these track days? with either org.

hope i can hold onto my license this summer
Thundercat is offline  
post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-10-2004, 07:53 PM
Registered User
racingxtc7's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Oconomowoc WI
Posts: 1,404
Location: Oconomowoc WI
Sportbike: R6, FE570, TZ250, CFR450
Years Riding: 33
How you found us: friend
Send a message via AIM to racingxtc7 Send a message via Yahoo to racingxtc7
As fas as best track to go to for your first track day, I'd go with Blackhawk or Putnam because niether is technical and niether has any blind turns.


racingxtc7 is offline  
post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-11-2004, 10:33 AM
Posts: n/a
My .02

1) Ride naked. Just put baby powder on your ass and legs so you can hang off the bike and drag some knee (or some junk, depending on how well endowed you are).

2) I think the best thing to do for your first track day is to do a more school-oriented day with STT or NESBA (Sorry Ken! But as you said, this is not a track school). They'll teach you important things about picking lines, looking through corners, and the other do's and don'ts of "crash prevention" that Ken and the others just don't have time to make sure everyone knows.

But CLSB track days have a great "learning among friends" atmosphere, so if you can hook up with one of the more advanced riders from the board who are willing to give you the kind of coaching and instruction that you'd get in the classroom, then I would recommend a CLSB day...If you are a stroke and no one likes you on here, then this would not be an option.

Regardless of who you get the instruction from, DO NOT GO ON THE TRACK WITHOUT THIS INSTRUCTION. I for one, f*cked up pretty bad a couple times out there, and I know I woulda crashed without the things they taught me in the instruction sessions.

3) Anything but Grattan. Grattan is HARD! I didn't learn a whole lot out there because it was just too technical. Learn to walk before you try to run...
post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-11-2004, 10:56 AM
Chills's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Naperville, IL
Posts: 23,638
Location: Naperville, IL
Sportbike: Kawi ZX-10R
Years Riding: Since February 2012
How you found us: NESBA bbs
Send a message via Yahoo to Chills
Originally posted by r1iazmi
can we make this #4

4. how much cash do i have to bring for one day of one of these track days? with either org.

You need just enough for some food if you don't bring any. I gas up before the track day and I also bring a 5gal can of gas. My gf also packs plenty of food, so if you prepare you don't need any cash. There is a consession stand where you can get burgers and such.

Never a bad time to climb... unless the weather is really horrible, and then you climb inside!

I bleed GREEN
Chills is offline  
post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-11-2004, 10:59 AM
Posts: n/a
And Allison serves strawberry shortcake out of her ass crack in her bikini bottoms.
post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-11-2004, 11:01 AM
Kiecker's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Redondo Beach, CA
Posts: 906
Location: Redondo Beach, CA
Sportbike: '09 Yamaha R15, '07 BWM X-Challenge, '05 SV650, (2) '00 VFR, '84 RZ350
Years Riding: 14
How you found us: Speedzilla
Originally posted by Slowass
And Allison serves strawberry shortcake out of her ass crack in her bikini bottoms.
btw Allison, where's my pics??

"and yes, I will be serving strawberry shortcake right out of my bikini bottoms. just come on by with a spoon and scoop it out of my ass crack." ill_ag

"Why would I beat someone with a pillow when all I really want is dirty coochy?" ill_ag
Kiecker is offline  
post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-11-2004, 11:27 AM
Posts: n/a
Any track but Daytona is a good enough track to start on. My first time on the track was at Grattan . I loved it!!!!!! You are only as dangerous as you make it out to be. Don't be intimidated ride at your own pace and you won't crash. Once you get your bike ready for the trackday and pay the fee to ride the track the cost after that is minimal. Bring your own cooler with water and gatorade, food and snacks like fruit. A five gallon gas can full of gas and fill you bike before you get to the track and you are set. Your leathers are fine you won't have any problems. If you need help talk to someone who is in the advance group or someone who has a # plate on there bike. Chances are they have been on the track many times before and can help you out. I have never meet anyone who hasn't lended a hand in the racing or trackday community so don't feel like you are imposing when you ask a question at the track. Feel free to PM if need be.

post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-11-2004, 11:37 AM
I'm always learning......
SloRoll's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Southwest Suburbs
Posts: 5,778
Location: Southwest Suburbs
Sportbike: 2k14 FLHXS, 1981 FXE, 1949 HD EL Panhead, Yami PW80
Years Riding: Long, long, long, long, long time.
How you found us: GPS
Go for it, Andy. Just ask a lot of questions when you're there. You'll get all the help you need. Start out at the back of the pack and get a feel for the track. After a couple of laps you'll be fine and I bet you'll be rippin' it up with the rest of them. Also, it's better to have the bike prepped before you go cause there doesn't seem like there is a lot of time to do it all when you get there. Go have a blast.

Synthetic Lifelike Organism Responsible for Observation and Logical Learning - SLOROLL

Remember there's a big difference between kneeling down and bending over. Zappa 1974

And I said....."Look here brother, who you jiving with that cosmik debris? Now is that a real poncho or is that a Sears poncho? Zappa 1974
SloRoll is offline  
post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-11-2004, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
phlflyrsfan's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Mt. Prospect
Posts: 438
Location: Mt. Prospect
Sportbike: '08 FZ-1
Years Riding: 7
How you found us: SBN
Send a message via AIM to phlflyrsfan
First off, thanks to everyone for the great advise. I think between what I have read on the board and talking to people at Strats... I definetly need to get on the track this year.

Before doing a track day though I am definetly going to invest in a good back protector and a set of riding boots. What brands / models are good??

Phlflyrsfan - Andy

AMA Member
phlflyrsfan is offline  
post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-11-2004, 01:49 PM
Registered Abuser
v2neal's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Hastings, MN
Posts: 1,601
Location: Hastings, MN
Sportbike: ATK605,CR250,VTX
Years Riding: 26
How you found us: S.C.M.O.D.S.
Sorry this is so long. We had this discussion on SBWS...

Hi Andy, check out this link. This is an odd subject, almost as bad as what oil to use.
I went with the Joe Rocket back protector and am happy with it. I'm not racing, so I feel it's enough protection for my needs.

Edit: (it looks like the link will only work for gixxer.com members. Here's the full text.)

Anything that is actually CE approved is going to be best, preferably Level 2 rated. The Stowaway is made by Knox and meets the Level 1 cetification, and has a larger coverage area than the Alpinestars Tech prtoector.

The Bohn Pro-racer model is a Knox knock-off that is not certified and illegally uses the CE tag with the statement that they are "made to CE standards". They don't make any claims with the KC Carbon kevlar models. Another Bohn question mark is the multiple-use claim. Its been stated from other manufacturers that the only materials that will absorb the proper amount of energy to comply with the CE standards will permanently deform, though they may withstand multiple impacts during a crash event, just like a helmet.

There are only a couple of Level 2 rated protectors out there, the T-Pro Forcefield, The BKS Suproflex/Astroshock, and the Dainese Folding protector.

I've recently updated my back protector post with more accuracy and details, I'll just post an edited version below:

The CE standards establish a unified testing procedure to be used by clothing or protector manufacturers who intend to have their products qualified for sale in Europe and who want to offer their protective wear in all countries of the European Union. The result of this testing procedure determines whether manufacturers can market the protective equipment as "protectors" or simply "protective padding".

All of the certified back protectors are only good for a single-use due to the structure and/or crushable materials used to absorb impact, though a few offer better protection for multiple impacts during a crash.

The CE BACK PROTECTOR standard is labeled EN1621-2. The test is performed with a 5kg “kerbstone” dropped from one meter to create the test impact force of 50 Joules The standard contains two levels of energy transmission performance. 18kN passes LEVEL 1 "basic" compliance and 9kN passes LEVEL 2 "high performance" compliance. So LEVEL 2 protectors allow 50% less energy to reach the spine/ribs.

The CE LIMB/JOINT PROTECTOR standard is labeled EN1621-1, it allows joint/limb armor to transmit no more than 35kN of force. Both of the CE body armor standards(back or limb) use the same amount of energy as a starting point, 50 joules. However, limb/joint armor is rated based on its performance at an initial force of 50 joules, 75 joules, or 100 joules, leading to 3 levels of performance within the standard. They all must allow no more than 35 kN of energy to transmit: LEVEL 1 (50 joules), LEVEL 2 "high performance" (75 joules), and LEVEL 3 "extreme performance" (100 joules). “Astrene” gel/foam is the highest rated material used in body armor (extreme performance level in 8mm non-perforated thickness), followed closely by varying thickness and perforated forms of “Astrosorb”, and T-Pro’s four layers of “Armour-Flex” material.

http://www.pva-ppe.org.uk/ PART%203...20EXPLAINED.htm

Here's an excerpt from the link above with an explanation of the current CE Back Protector Standards:

"There has been criticism of the standard from medical experts who consider the transmitted force levels too severe; citing decades of automotive research which indicates 4 kN is the maximum force the brittle bones which form the human ribcage can withstand before they fracture. Four kiloNewtons is the requirement adopted in standards covering, for example, horse riders' body protectors and martial arts equipment.

Attempts to reduce the transmitted force requirement to 4 kN and to correspondingly reduce the 50 Joule impact energy requirement were strongly resisted by industry, who claimed consumers would be confused by different impact energy requirements between EN1621-1 and EN1621-2.

In truth, it was in the industry's commercial interests to test both types of protector at 50J, since they could then extol the efficacy of back protectors which, when struck with the same impact energy as limb protectors, transmitted only 9 or 18 kN compared to 35 kN. The consumer would be unaware that subtle differences in the impactor and anvil were responsible, and still less aware that 9 kN was still more than double the safe limit supported by medical experts. Furthermore, during the late 1990s, some companies had used the wholly inappropriate EN 1621-1 to CE mark their back protectors. Commercial objectives were given priority over consumer safety.

Despite these concerns, EN1621-2 represents a starting point from wholly unsafe products should be rendered obsolete and unsellable. It will be important, however, for consumers to ensure back protectors are marked with the correct standard number, if they are not to mistakenly purchase an old stock.

Finally, there are a small number of back protectors on the market which have been dual-tested against the requirements of EN1621-2 and also against a 4 kN transmitted force requirement. Reading the manufacturer's technical information will disclose which are the superior products.” Don't we only wish that was true.

So there are two levels that are considered passing, but both of these levels fall within that 1621-2 back protector standard. However, 4kN is the medically recommended level of transmitted force, but is NOT actually required by the current CE back protector standard, and most protectors cannot provide this level at the 50 Joule impact level. Keep in mind that when a protector is just labeled as CE Approved, and no mention is made of the level of performance, it probably implies Level 1 compliance, but the claim should be verified (European sold models must comply by law).

Here's a list of all of the back protectors I have found, starting with the LEVEL 2 rated protectors, followed by some LEVEL 1 protectors, and finally by those that are NOT RATED and/or offer no performance data or verification of claims:

BKS is the only motorcycle clothing manufacturer that offers back protectors that meet the medically established 4kN energy transmission level with their Astroshock model protector.

BKS also offers limb/joint armor that meets the CE 1621-1 standard's highest rating, the "extreme performance" energy absorption level ([email protected]).

They seem to have the right attitude and the highest quality merchandise available, but they are also THE most expensive producer of leather motorcycle apparel on the planet. Should we really have to pay $3000.00 for the kind overall protection we need? Nobody else claims suits that are 100% CE approved in each area (abrasion, tearing, seam burst, and impact) as a whole. Why is there only one manufacturer willing to meet the baseline testing requirements and apply for certification? It’s a sad statement about level of respect we are shown as consumers by the majority of gear manufacturers.


T-Pro offers similar products, their website is full of good info and their products clearly stand-out as the highest-rated in crash protection. Both BKS and T-Pro protectors and body armor are effective for multiple impacts during a crash event, and are made with no hard plastics which should be much more comfortable and is potentially safer than products made with hard materials.

The most interesting piece of info from the T-Pro Body Armor site:

"Back Protection for Motorcyclists--Only a few motorcyclists receive a direct blow to the spine causing serious injury; more spine injuries are probably due to direct blows to the shoulders and hips. The products commonly known as motorcyclists back protectors, if correctly designed and constructed may alleviate some minor direct impacts on the back, but will not prevent skeletal or neurological injuries to the spine in motorcycle accidents."

It appears that most riders’ assumptions about the use and effectiveness of back protection is more than even the highest rated protectors can live-up to in actual performance. This information won’t stop me from purchasing a back protector, but it certainly gives me a better understanding of what to expect at current levels, so as not to be fooled by stories or sales pitches to the contrary. Is minimizing spinal, scapular, rib, and kidney bruising worth the cost of most of these protectors? I’d say so.

T-Pro's Forcefield back protector is CE certified to the 1621-2 LEVEL 2 standards, making it one of the few that advertises meeting this higher level. They also claim that the "Armour Flex" material will absorb multiple impacts with the same effectiveness. However that doesn't necessarily mean that it should be used again after a crash, but, just like a helmet, it will protect against second or third blows in the same area in a crash.

T-Pro also makes a chest protector/harness system, the 8100 harness, that they say conforms to the 1993 Swedish Off-Road Standards. I’m not familiar with the requirements for that certification. I would assume that off-road standards wouldn’t be ideal for street-speed impact protection, and I would consider 1993 to be archaic in terms of technology and materials advancements. I’ll look into it, and try to find-out just how stringent that standard is, and if it applies favorably for street protectors.

Johnson Leather, in the U.S., sells the T-Pro Forcefield products, as well as what looks to be the BKS "Astroshock" back protector inserts under their own name, and BKS now also sells a re-badged version of the T-pro Forcefield protector as well.



Dainese doesn't tout or even mention CE approval anywhere on their own website, but I did manage to find some info on the Dainese protectors from MotoLiberty's website. Dainese makes quite a few different models, not all advertise the same levels of protection, but most appear to be certified. They use an aluminum honeycomb structure, similar to the Knox protectors.

"The new Dainese folding back protector--Paraaschiena Ripegabile, is made with a hard plastic tortoise shell type construction. It has an optimum shock absorption capacity which easily superceded the tough test at the highest level, EN1621-2 LEVEL 2." It also has the added convenience of being foldable for storage.

The Dainese Wave 2 protector is CE rated LEVEL 1.

The BAP protectors are also CE approved, LEVEL 1.

The Back Space and Gilet Space models are also CE approved to the LEVEL 1 standard, passing with 15kN of transmitted force in tests.



Knox was the first company to apply for CE approval for their KC protectors back in 1997, under the previously established limb/joint protector standards(EN1621-1). For a while, Knox was the only company that offered a certified protector. All of the Knox protectors are approved to the current 1621-2 (Level 1) standard. They claim to surpass the basic requirements, but do not claim higher level compliance. They offer the largest coverage area of any of the protectors available with all of their models.

The Stowaway model is flexible enough to roll-up for convenient storage, and comes with its own storage bag and is still approved to the LEVEL 1 standard.


Alpinestars states that their Tech Protector and RC back pad inserts are EN1621-2 approved (LEVEL 1).


Spidi offers two families of back protector options, the Airback and Warriors.

The Airback protector is CE Level 1 approved according to the Italian Spidi website. However, SpidiUSA doesn’t mention any of this info. I was told that the European versions are updated and not yet available in the U.S which could explain these differences.

The Warrior “mid” and “low” options are LEVEL 1 approved, but offer very little coverage area, focusing on the lumbar region with no shoulder blade coverage. Spidi touts the Airback protector as being more effective because of its shoulder blade coverage and the nature of most initial crash impacts hitting the shoulder blade region.

It is also confusing with the Warrior protectors. I noticed a difference the photos of the Spidi Warrior protectors on the Spidi USA website vs. the Italian site (English version). The US website shows a Warrior protector that looks different than the Warrior protectors on the Italian website. Again, I was told that the European version is updated and not yet available in the U.S which would explain these differences.

Both Spidi websites state that the regular Warrior and “compact” versions are compliant with the CE Directives for PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), which have nothing to do with the actual testing performance or standards for the equipment. The Directives are simply an ethics code and basis for testing procedures and standards operations. This is a very misleading statement regarding the effectiveness of these products. Have they been properly tested and certified to the EN1621-2 standard? It certainly doesn’t appear that way.




The Giali protector claims CE approval. No mention of level. It is a European model, so it is probably properly approved to the LEVEL 1 standard.


Clover, another European brand, has a couple of models specified to meet LEVEL 1 standards, no word of availability of Clover protectors in the U.S.


Kobe back protectors claim CE approval as well, but no mention of which standard or level.


Fieldsheer makes claims in their marketing copy for the X20 back protector that leaves the specifics to the imagination by not directly referring to the standard that their protector has passed.

"The X20 back protector provides protection internally using a new "honey comb" plastic core, proved to exceed all European CE standards."

Maybe I'm over-analyzing, but if you read it carefully, what is that really saying? Has it been certified? Has it been tested as a whole? Is the design or the final product proven to CE levels? All CE standards?

I have received confirmation from an X20 owner that it is properly rated to the 1621-2 LEVEL 1 standard. Not the best, as they make it sound, but properly rated and certified nonetheless. It would have been easier, if they just would have stated that in their ads.


Helimot carries a German brand of protectors, Erbo. The models on Erbo’s own website are shrouded in a Cordura cover. I don’t know if they are the same models sold by Helimot, but Erbo states that those protectors are CE LEVEL 1 approved.

Helimot has an interesting theory behind their TLV protector, but makes no claims of protection (Its an American market product). I have heard stories of the owner of Helimot performing "real world" tests with a hammer for skeptics, but sorry, I'd rather have repeatable measurements than seat-of my-pants guesses at what crash forces are going to feel like. These dramatic exhibitions should be saved for differentiating the meaning of the data, rather than basing your presumptions of efficacy on them.



Teknic makes no specific claims of protective levels or performance results with their 4 or 7 link protectors, but they also sell the CE approved Knox back protectors.


Knox makes reference to improper use of CE claims by other companies. They don't name names, but it appears to be in response to Bohn's non-certified CE labeling practice. Bohn uses a CE label without actually being certified. Bohn also does not specify which standard they are referring to in their marketing statements of "exceeding CE specs" or "built to European CE standards". An article on the British Motorcycle Federation website implies that unnamed companies are being sued for improperly using the CE mark and not complying with the proper specs for back protectors. I cannot find any actual information that directly refers to Bohn or the standards that Bohn allegedly meets or exceeds.


Bohn lists the Pro-Racer protectors as being "made to European CE standards", though they have NOT actually been certified. Is Bohn referring to the correct back protector standard when they make this claim? Well, Bohn’s claim was not only made prior to the existence of the 1621-2 back protector standard, but they have still refused to submit for proper testing and certification.

Bohn makes no certification, rating, or other protection claims with any of the Carbon/Kevlar models or the Pro-Racer Motard version, and offers no performance data or levels or verification of protection for those models either.

The Bohn X-Ploit chest and back harnesses claim to be "made to the Scandinavian Off-road Protection Standard." No word on whether these protectors are actually certified to that standard either. I don't know too much about the Swedish(Scandinavian) off-road standard, but it was instituted in 1993 and is probably not at the current level required by CE for street use items.

Bohn's website offers no specific information regarding which CE specs are being met and how it is being proven. I find this claim to be blatantly deceptive and deceitful. Such claims should be backed-up with formal proof. Any company that tries to tag-on to safety standards and markings without actually providing open evidence or paying for the right to market its products using the standard is not selling in good faith.
The other claim by Bohn is that their protectors can be used for multiple crashes. This goes against all other information about the only materials in use that will absorb the necessary amount of energy to meet the 1621-2 standard. So far, there are no companies that meet the proper standards without using materials that permanently deform after a crash impact, or multiple impacts during a single crash, just like helmets.

But they do offer-up some gems, like this quote from Eric Bostrom:

"After testing at the Jan 2000 Laguna Shakedown Eric reported: '...really comfortable, and made me feel safe on the bike' "

Boy that was convincing, haha. Yes, that is the entire testimonial.



Impact Armor claims their protectors are ""Designed to exceed ALL European CE specifications for armor", but and are NOT actually CE certified and do not provide any performance data either. The CE had not introduced the 1621-2 back protector standards at the time that statement about the "design" was originally published. There is no reference to the proper standard, and the lack of open proof leaves that statement worthless.

Impact Armor relies on testimonials from unpaid professional racers, but nothing in the way of proven results of crash worthiness or protective levels in their marketing or correspondence.

I had email correspondence with Michael Braxton, owner of Impact Armor. He seemed friendly, but unwilling to divulge any real information about how his Impact Armor protectors have performed in tests. In fact, I got the gist that they haven't been tested at all or at least in the current form. He focuses on theory, which is fine, but the theory varies from a final product in practical terms. I inferred that his theories were tested in the early '90s while working with T-Pro. I don't know the complete history of T-Pro and Impact Armor or Michael Braxton, but I am leery of his evasiveness and lip service to safety and standards in our correspondence, though his intentions did sound sincere. However when it comes to my safety, somebody's sincere intentions won't buy a cup of coffee. One statement he made did bother me though:

According to Braxton, “Frankly, the cost, time and bureaucracy to obtain CE certification is just not worth the hassle... And if you did subject your self to the process, the quality of your product is treated no differently than the others.…”

Frankly, I think that the “quality of your product” would be revealed by performance testing. What does he really mean by that statement? Does it sound arrogant or just ignorant? Either way, it’s certainly laughable.

According to Paul Varnessy, head of PVA Technical File Services, “It actually costs less to test and certify a motorcycle suit than it does the average pair of safety shoes - as proven by the fact that the first companies to achieve EC type approval were the small, UK manufacturers of bespoke motorcyclists’ clothing.”


Joe Rocket's website says very little about their GPX back protector. It is NOT shown to be CE certified. It is, however, made with the same material that BKS uses in their body armor, "Astrosorb", one of the highest-rated foams used in LIMB/JOINT armor, but make no reference to the thickness used or performance results, just that it is one-piece. Other companies have stated that Astrosorb alone will not meet the CE back protector standards.


The NJK, another American model that offers nothing about protection levels or certifications:


The Italian made UFO back protectors. Don't know about their availability in the U.S., or certification, but they are likely properly approved as a European product.


There are plenty more out there, the important thing is to know what to look for before you spend any more money thinking you have the safest possible piece of equipment. In the end you have to ask yourself just how much limited personal experience, limited arbitrary crash experience, limited knowledge of the real forces at work in any crash story, and the beliefs of others in what they have heard through the grapevine will get you the right answers. The problem with any of that information is that it is never complete or accurate, no matter how well-intentioned it may be. Is any of this sort of speculation going to satisfy your motivation to part with your money? What information will provide you with the safety expectations you have decided are appropriate?

Life has no instruction manual. Parts and labor can be impossible to find. Many go down the road with parts that are in need of service. A breakdown is eventual.
v2neal is offline  
post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 06-12-2004, 07:34 AM
Chief Apex Inspector
BLARNEY's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Bartlett
Posts: 10,597
Location: Bartlett
Sportbike: The Bird is the *word* - XX
Years Riding: Lots
How you found us: Stuck on the bottom of my race boot.......
Reccomend that you do a NESBA day at BHF for your first time out.

Ken has a great program but NESBA has been doing this for a long time and will help a beginner get up to speed very safely.

When you first ride on the track there are some traps that street-riders are prone to fall into and NESBA helps oyu avoid them until you get up to speed and used to the new environment.

Your gear is fine for starting off......

Just remeber this..... that slightly panicked feeling you may have as you enter a corner a bit to fast...... that is your "Mistake Warning Indicator"....... If you are feeling this bit of unsure panic
*** SLOW DOWN *** your speed until it goes away.

When you are paniced like this you are just aobut to screw-up !

After a couple times on the track you'll be cranking without
the panic feeling....... start slow.....go fast !


( One of Ken's Intermediate CR's )

It's ALL between the ears.....
NESBA Midwest CR #82 ( Hey - T2! ) Retired ?
FJR and a Big Red Wing-Thing
BLARNEY is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Chicagoland Sportbikes forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome