Tandem Trips

REVIEW: Rev'It! Ignition Jacket & Forcefield Back Protection Insert

Posted in Gear, Reviews by Me on November 24, 2008

I’ve been riding for a year now and in that time I’ve tried on a fair amount of gear. For torso protection I opted for the Ignition Jacket by Rev’It!, a fairly young Belgian company, and a T-Pro back protection insert from Forcefield in the UK. My second choice would have been the Spidi well-reviewed Step-in-Road, but at the time it was $200 more and it seamed like a giant waste of money considering I couldn’t find one to try one anywhere in NYC.

The Ignition jacket is a textile/leather combination jacket with two interior liners, one long sleeved rain liner that covers the entire torso, and a quilted vest liner for cold weather riding. It’s billed as a 3 season jacket, and I found that, when combined with a full set of Under Armor compression underwear does the job well. It’s available in all black or black leather with silver textile blocks.

This jacket vents nicely in the summer time and I found that I rarely overheated. There are sleeve vents over the biceps that zip shut that add quite a bit of flow through the jacket. I found them extremely difficult to zip closed with gloved hands, so you need to decide whether or not to open them before you get rolling.

The back of the jacket it totally mesh, which makes the liners very necessary on days with cold or wet weather. This is part of the reason it vents so well and I found that even with the aftermarket back protector installed I have few problems staying cool. If you are riding in traffic jams every day, it might not be enough, but I haven’t seen a completely mesh jacket that looked this rugged, so I think this is a better option.

Leather covers all of the contact points from your forearms to your shoulders and across your back. I haven’t had a get-off (knock on wood), so I can’t speak to it’s ability to hold up to road rash, but the leather is very corse and reasonably thick. This is the main reason I went with this jacket. You can get cheaper full leather and full textile jackets, but this is the best deal for a combo I could find that still had good styling and craftsmanship. You also get ACE armor on your impact points (shoulders and elbows) which are really tough. I don’t think there is any need to upgrade these and they stay in place nicely when you are shifting around.

The overall fit of the jacket is perfect for me except that it rides up about three inches in the back. I am 170 lbs. @ 6′ 1″ and ride a relaxed stance sport bike (face over the tank), so that’s the main reason. On a touring, standard, or cruiser you probably won’t have this problem. I plan to get a pair of pants from Rev’It! at some point that zip into the jacket and should mitigate this problem.

Rev’It! is still young and kind of hard to find. You can try the Ignition on at Corsa Motorsports, the Ducati/KTM/Triumph dealer in Manhattan, which is a good indicator of the kind of people wearing their gear. I found mine online at Moto Liberty in Texas for about $80 under Manhattan prices (free shipping at the time, too!).

I can’t say much about the T-Pro back protector insert because I haven’t had occasion to use it, thankfully. However, it’s fantastically thicker (and heavier) that the wimpy, uninspiring foam insert that came with the jacket. Be careful if you try to buy one of these because US retailers dramatically inflate the price. MSRP was £29 on the manufacturer’s web site when I bought it, but I couldn’t find a US retailer selling one for less than $125. I used to recommend buying one from a UK shop and paying the extra on shipping, which got it into your hands for about $70.00 a year ago. Now, however, I recommend Johnson Leather in California where you can get it for about $115 and is the cheapest place I could find in 2009.

As I said, I haven’t had to use it yet, but I did have my wife take a broom handle to my back with it and I can say that it dulls the vast majority of that sort of impact. For a better review, check out this one at Yam Yam, or this one on their range of body armor at Web Bike World (one of the best MC resources online, IMO).

Overall I am very happy with both of these product and recommend them. The jacket is definitely not enough for heavy rain or very cold weather, but then it’s a 3 season jacket, not a year rounder. The back protector is as good as it gets without going for a stand alone system like the racers wear. This is probably what we will get for my wife, and you know if I recommend it to her I must place a good deal of faith in it.


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