Review: Forcefield body armour

Review: Forcefield body armour

Reviews of the Forcefield Pro Vest X-V and EX-K Harness Flite+

Forcefield Pro Vest X-V - £119.99

By Simon Greenacre

WITHOUT doubt the best fitting back protector I’ve ever used, Forcefield’s Pro Vest X-V is a snug, comfy and protective piece of kit that’s relegated my ancient Oxford Max back protector to being unmissed at the bottom of a cupboard.

The Pro Vest X-V is essentially a wicking base layer vest that includes a CE level 2 back protector and chest armour.

The back and chest armour both sit nicely against my body and no matter how much I’m moving around, I’m always completely oblivious to it being there.

One of the reasons for this is because the back and chest protectors are sensitive to body heat. Off the body, the armour feels like a slightly rigid foam, but with the Pro Vest on, the armour becomes supple so it conforms to the shape of my chest and back, fitting exactly as it should (although that’s not to say that the Pro Vest is ill-fitting or uncomfortable when it’s first on).

Size-wise, the small I’ve got feels just right - the length of the back protector isn’t unnecessarily long and the chest pads sits where they should and don’t move about.

The zip at the front is easy to get at with gloves on, and the vest is easy to open when I’m stopped mid-ride and want to let some air in to cool my sweaty man boobs.

However, there have been a few occasions when the vest has come open of its own accord. After a few rides I’ve found that the zip has started to come apart at the bottom, with the vest still zipped up at the top. It’s not too big a problem right now, but there’s definite potential for the zip to break as a result of me having to force it back down past the point where it’s split.

The vest is washable and the armour removable, which is hygienic but also means the front armour can be removed if wanted, turning the Pro Vest X-V into just a back protector. I occasionally do this on hot days if I’m riding on the road because the chest armour sits right against me, reducing the cooling effects any perforated jacket/leathers and making for a sticky, sweaty chest.

As I said at the start, the Pro Vest X-V is the best fitting back protector I’ve ever used. It’s let down by the occasionally temperamental zip, which is something I’ll have to keep an eye on – a shame because the Pro Vest X-V is an otherwise unfussy and dependable piece of protective kit – there’s no need to mess about with shoulder and waist straps, I just zip it up and I’m away.

Tested: Forcefield Pro Vest X-V

Price: £119.99

Sizes: XS - XL

Contact: Forcefield

Forcefield EX-K Harness Flite+ - £269.99

By Kane Dalton

I HAVE been testing the EX-K Flite off-road, and first used the it in constantly changing conditions at the Mick Extance Experience in Wales last year.

The EX-K Harness Flite+ is Forcefield’s newest armour system, and features CE level 2 back and chest protectors, plus CE level 2 shoulder and elbow protection. It’s reinforced with Kevlar, features a neck brace location point and opens up at the front with a zip.

The EX-K Harness is meant to be worn under MX clothing, but for the purpose of a photo...

Forcefield says it’s been designed to be the ultimate in upper body protection and the system is designed to diffuse the energy of an impact without the armour crumpling and subsequently becoming useless after it’s been tested. I’ve put it to the test a few times, both at the Mick Extance school and while out longboarding and after hitting both rocks and tarmac a few times, I walked away with no bruises or injuries. Wearing the EX-K Harness give me extra confidence when riding off-road.

Getting some protective gear to fit well can be a challenge for me thanks to my wide shoulders and chest, so when kit that that fits my shoulders it tends to be loose around the waist. The EX-K’s harness is easy to adjust to a good fit because it’s made up of separate parts that Velcro together.

The fully-adjustable waist strap kept the back protector in place and the waist belt doubles as a kidney protector. Crucially, the harness is soft and flexible, which makes it really comfortable because it matched the contours of my body.

The zip makes it easy to get in and out of the harness but there’s a compromise: the two sides of the protective padding don’t quite meet at the zip. I wasn’t completely shielded from stray stones being flicked up from the bike in front but for the additional ease of fitting and comfort it provides, it’s a compromise I’m willing to accept.

The armour is perforated and vented to allow air to get in behind it and when moving, I could feel the air getting through to cool me down but when stationary, I was definitely a bit hot.

The Flight system is modular, so parts can be replaced if they become damaged in a crash. Additional protection for the shoulder and elbows can also be added.

It’s easy to clean too – I’ve blasted it with a pressure washer and cleaned it in the bath with non-bio soap and after drying it look as good as new with no sign of colour loss.

At over £250, the EX-K harness isn’t a budget product but having used cheap armour lots of times, I’ve ended up spending money on replacing bits that have broken or become damaged so if you ride a lot, over time, the EX-K justify its price – although I think the design, quality and level of protection are high to begin with.

Tested: Forcefield EX-K Harness Flite+

Price: £269.99

Sizes: S - L

Contact: Forcefield