It goes without saying that motorcycle gear is now safer than ever before. Continuous research and the undying innovation of several gear and equipment manufacturers continues to spur the development of safer gear, and along with this, new regulations surrounding safety equipment continue to be rolled out, particularly in Europe.
When it comes to riding gear, the CE standard, which stands for Conformite Européenne in French, or European Conformity, is pretty much the globally recognized standard. In order for a garment to attain such certification, it must possess certain attributes, and presumably, have passed a series of tests. However, complex garments like jackets and pants work hand-in-hand with protectors in order to achieve this certification. That being said, when buying a pair of pants or a riding jacket, all the protectors should come as standard, right?
Apparently, this isn’t the case, as there have been reports of some motorcycle gear shops not including the armor as part of the garment’s sale price, as highlighted by a recent article from Australian motorcycling publication Motorbike Writer. For the record, however, it’s important to note that not all jackets come with a back protector. In fact, most manufacturers explicitly state that a back protector can be added as an optional extra. That said, most jackets do include shoulder and elbow protectors, especially those that conform to the latest CE standard.
Going into more detail, the CE AAA and AA certifications entail riding jackets to be fitted with shoulder and elbow protectors, while pants must receive hip and knee protectors as standard. A slightly lower standard, the CE A certification requires pants to have just knee protectors. Naturally, removing knee, hip, shoulder, and elbow protectors from these garments will drastically reduce their ability to offer the needed protection in the event of a crash.
As such, the issue of stores charging additional fees for armor that should otherwise come as standard was addressed by Deakin University researcher Dr. Chris Hurren, who ascertained that armor should always be included in the garment, especially if it’s CE certified. Hurren stated in the same report by Motorbike Writer, “One of the benefits of CE certification is that most gear must include impact protectors. This means that riders get the protectors without having to shell out additional cash.”
Based on my personal experience, I have never encountered a situation where my local motorcycle gear shop charged extra for standard protectors, be it on riding pants or jackets. It is, however, common practice for them to sell upgraded protectors such as lighter-weight or more comfy inserts and back protectors. Have you ever experienced being charged extra for the impact protectors that should have come standard with your riding gear?