Used: Knox Aegis back protector

Living with the Aegis

LET'S get it out of the way - if Lady Luck is on your side, the full abilities of a back protector will never be tested 'real world'. On a day-to-day basis, the practicalities of wearing are primarily how it's assessed.

So when I received the Knox Aegis, it was with a view to a long term test. I am a new rider and was told by the keen advocates here at Visordown that a back protector is an essential piece of safety equipment - but I wanted to know that I'd be happy to wear it every single time I get on the bike. It looked like a real hassle...

In reality, it could hardly be less so. 

The Knox Aegis is one of the most 'advanced' looking back protectors out there. I was sceptical to begin with about the number of moving parts - what would the quality be like? Are there just lots of things to go wrong?

As it happened I needn't have worried. When the Aegis first arrived, my layman's hands immediately recognized the quality. The series of moving panels that make up the central system of the back protector feel rugged and well constructed. I had feared a degree of rigidity, as a consequence of the sheer amount of 'hardware' you seem to be carrying about, but again I was very surprised. Using a snazzy sliding system ('flex channels'), the Aegis moulds to the spine neatly, offering phenomenal range of movement.

Beneath your kit, the Aegis remains low-profile, and quite light (not the lightest back protector out there, but not 'heavy' by any stretch of the imagination - and apparently 30% less so than it's predecessor). As a relatively tall chap, I had opted for the size 9 (the largest avaliable), which amply covers my whole back. It also features a slightly extended 'tail', giving a slice of extra protection for one's coccyx (or 'upper arse bone'). It's worth mentioning that if you choose one that is too large for you, this extra length might push it upwards when seated, cruelly afflicting the wearer with a convincing hunchback. Not ideal.

On the road, I immediately forget it's there. It genuinely feels as though the longer you wear it, the more it adjusts to the nuances of your posture and the less you notice it. It is breathable, so doesn't require peeling off at the end of of a longish ride, and the shoulder strap 'sliders' progressively relax the straps into their most natural (comfortable) position during a ride. It is possible to actually notice that this has happened if you concentrate hard enough. 

A bonus feature which I like are the soft kidney protectors which velcro onto the midriff strap. These are removable, although they add no meaningful bulk beneath your jacket and seem like an eminently sensible addition. Since you are already resigned to having a big, fat strap around your middle, why not capitalise on the protection it can offer? 

Perhaps the Aegis could be improved by thicker shoulder straps - they are quite thin and very elastic which sometimes gives them a bouncy quality, making them harder to adjust than you'd first think. But once you've worn it a few times out and about you will begin to get the measure of whether or not these should be relaxed or tightened. 

As a beginner, I am absolutely sold on the importance of back protectors and would urge all in my situation to get one. So far, I would not hesitate to recommend the Aegis, it really is a sterling piece of kit. Comfortable, reassuring and very reasonably priced for a potential life saver.

Knox Aegis back protector RRP: £99.99 

Watch this space for an update on the Knox Aegis.