Are you looking for the best armored jacket or upper chest body armor for riding an electric unicycle (EUC)? Upper body protection for EUC riding is especially important if you ride at faster speeds, off road, or perform stunts. The best chest protectors will fit comfortably, not restrict movement, and provide good protection if you fall. Of course, there are drawbacks to any piece of safety gear.
In this article, I share my experience with shopping for good EUC upper body protective gear.
Disclaimer: This post does contain some affiliate links. But, I personally bought the Leatt chest protectors, motorcycle gear, and Alpinestars Bionic Tech v2 jacket shown below with my own money, so that no one could claim bias or demand a positive review to support their products. All opinions are my own based on personal use of these products.
In a Hurry? Check Out 3 Popular Upper Body Safety Gear for EUC Riders
- Armored Hoodie (CE rated) (Inconspicuous)
- Leatt Brace 5.5 Pro HD Chest Protector (Great for Off-Road)
- Motorcycle Jacket (Popular Budget Friendly)
Summary (TL;DR): What to Know About Choosing the Best Armored Jacket for Electric Unicycles
- You can find 3 popular kinds of upper body protection for EUC riding: hoodies, motorcycle jackets, and motor cross body armor
- The number factor you should consider with any EUC chest protector or upper body armor is comfort. If you feel uncomfortable with your safety gear, then you probably won’t wear it regularly (bad), or the protective gear has a bad fit and won’t function properly in a fall or crash.
- Consider your riding environment when choosing the best EUC armored jacket. Ambient conditions like temperature, riding terrain, and even appearance may affect what upper body safety gear you’ll want to use.
RELATED: BEST PROTECTIVE GEAR FOR RIDING ELECTRIC UNICYCLES AT ANY SPEED
There are plenty of other options for protecting your torso while riding an EUC. All of them have pros and cons. Check out the review of a few armored jackets and EUC chest protectors below!
Do You Really Need Safety Gear for Riding an Electric Unicycle?
People wear protective clothing and gear for all kinds of reasons. Some riders may want to look like professionals or seasoned riders (not a great reason), while others simply want to avoid injury in the event of a fall or an accident (best reason). The best upper body protection for EUC riding will depend on several factors.
Must-Know Features for Choosing the Best Armored Jacket or Chest Protection for EUC Riders
- Impact Protection
Comfort is one of the most important factors in choosing any safety gear, including chest or upper body armor for EUC riding. The best protective gear fits snugly, but not too tight! Put another way, any armored motorcycle jacket, armored hoodie, or chest protector for EUC riding should be comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.
This is especially important if you’re riding in high ambient temperatures or high humidity. In this case, you’ll have to balance body coverage with staying cool enough to ride your EUC in the heat. On the opposite end of the spectrum in very cold weather, you may find some of your bulky motocross armor doesn’t let you wear that comfy winter jacket. Here, you may need an integrated armored jacket with good insulation.
For maximum safety, your armored jacket should provide good visibility to other road/track/path users. In urban environments with traffic or pedestrians, you’ll want to be seen from quite a distance (more than 200 feet away). This is especially important because It will be hard for others to judge your EUC riding speed–we are such small moving targets.
RELATED: BEST LIGHTS FOR RIDING ELECTRIC UNICYCLES AT NIGHT
If you plan to ride off-road or at night, then visibility becomes even more important. You’ll want a brightly colored armored jacket (e.g., high vis green) or protective jacket with reflective strips.
There are two kinds of impact protection you should consider when shopping for best armored upper body gear for EUC riders: a back protector and a chest protector. The best protective jackets will integrate a quality back plate that protects the majority of your spine. If you want extra protection, you may also consider chest protectors. There has been some debate about whether armor on the front or chest is important for EUC riding. I tend to think it’s better to wear as much safety gear as you can, just in case.
Most motorcycle jackets do not have chest padding due to the bulk it adds that prevents operation of a motorcycle–where the rider may be leaning forward to reach the handlebars. However, off road motorcycle or dirt bike body armor will usually have the most complete torso protection that a more aggressive, faster EUC rider would want to wear. The Alpinestar motorcycle jacket is very popular for this reason, as well its more affordable option.
If you’re wearing best protective gear because you want to look like a professional rider, you’ll probably be best off buying an armored motorcycle jacket. However, if you’re riding an EUC for transportation purposes and comfort (rather than fun), it’s probably best to get best armored upper body gear that doesn’t scream “motorcycle” or “dirt bike.” Armored hoodies or vests that you can wear under normal clothing may be all you need.
Because electric unicycles are still new to the world, unlike mainstream forms of transportation, e.g., cars, bikes, even e-scooters, the culture of EUCs has not matured enough where function and style have solidified. Most EUC riders like myself choose what works first, then looks and style second. There will be a day when the style of protective gear catches up and is equally as important as how protective it is. I’ll emphasize that it is more important that your gear fits, protects you well, and feels comfortable.
If you’re wearing best upper body armor to protect yourself from injury, then it’s best that your jacket/chest protector has ergonomic design features. This means that the best protective gear should fit comfortably around all parts of your body and has enough options to fit different types of people. The clasps, buttons, or velcro attachments should work well without binding or snagging, as you’re riding.
Protective armored jackets should conform close to your body without feeling too tight or constricting. Jackets with armor around the arms and elbows may feel a little uncomfortable when you first put them on, but once you begin moving these parts should move with you like a second “hard” skin.
Joints around your shoulders, armpits should be flexible or loose, while areas around your chest (the ribs) and upper and lower back should feel secure and laterally stiff. You should have no side-to-side movement on pieces on your upper or lower back armored areas. Chest padding or plates should not move up or down (e.g., should not move toward your face), staying firmly around your sternum.
Get the best quality safety gear you can afford, most riding experts would recommend. The best protective jacket for EUC riders will be the best quality and most protective. This may mean paying a little more than you’re used to, but it’s worth it in the long run. If you think you need to wear more safety gear and upper body armor is part of this decision, then prepare to pay between $150-500 USD for CE rated gear (more about this below).
What is CE Rated Armor?
Here’s a quick word about the CE label you may see when you’re shopping for EUC safety gear. The abbreviation “CE” comes from the French phrase “Conformité Européene” which literally means “European Conformity” (source).
The CE Mark is a label awarded by the European Union to indicate that a device meets EEA safety, health, and environmental protection requirements. The CE Rating may be seen on items produced in the EU and sold throughout the world, but it is not a quality or certification mark.
When it comes to armored pads in some pieces of protective chest gear, you’ll want to know what the CE levels of 1 or 2 mean:
- Level 1 protectors: The maximum transmitted force must be below 18 kN, and no single value shall exceed 24 kN
- Level 2 protectors: The maximum transmitted force must be below 9 kN, and no single value shall exceed 12 kN
To learn more about armored apparel and CE ratings mean, you can check out this article.
Is CE Rated Armor Important for EUC Riding?
This is hard to answer. I think having CE rated armor is important for the way I ride my electric unicycle. Whether you want to use armor with CE levels of protection depends on how you ride and what kind of risk mitigation you’re willing to pay for in your safety gear. CE testing, certification, or approval costs money for the manufacturer, which is passed along to you as a consumer.
For armored hoodies or motorcycle jackets with removable armored pads, I recommend making sure to have at least a CE level 2 protector in the back to ensure that you’re as safe as you can be. Falling on your back or spine is probably the most risk for serious injury since you can’t break your fall with your hands or arms as easily.
Recommended 5 Best Armored Jackets and Upper Body Safety Gear for Electric Unicycles (EUC) Riders
1. DFNDR Armored Hoodie
There are many types of protective equipment that blends in with “normal” everyday clothing. An armored hoodie, like the DFNDR Hoodie, is an example of this type of protective gear. The DFNDR Hoodie is like the popular Lazy Rolling armored jackets with an affordable price point. I picked mine up and was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable it was to wear during the warmer months of late-Spring and Summer.
For an alternative hoodie with a bit more quality construction, check out the LAZYROLLING ARMORED Cotton Sweater Hoodie. You can grab a $20 off discount by using the coupon code “EVERYTHINGEUC” at checkout.
The DFNDR hoodie comes in black or gray with elbow, shoulder, and back CE rated armor pads. They are removable armor plates that slide in and out of built-in internal pockets of the hoodie. The pads themselves work to protect you from the initial impact of a fall or crash from your electric unicycle, whereas the Kevlar woven fabric will guard against abrasion, cuts, and sliding injuries against pavement, dirt, or gravel.
There are two pockets in the front that I use to keep my smartphone, or a little bicycle bell I use when I’m riding on pedestrian or local bike paths. In the sleeves, by your hands, there are thumb holes where you can put your thumbs to keep the sleeves from sliding up when you fall.
I do find it interesting that this jacket has a hood, when most of the time when you wear it you’ll have a helmet on. In other words, I don’t find the hood in the hoodie jackets to be all that useful when riding an EUC or any PEV for that matter, since you should be wearing a helmet anyway!
Overall, I find that on a casual ride where I’m not going beyond 25 mph, an armored hoodie like this is the perfect option for those who want to remain somewhat stealthy and yet protected on their electric unicycle–beyond the fact that you’re on a one-wheeled electric vehicle and probably wearing a full-face helmet with gloves on other gear, like knee and shin guards! 🤣
Best Used For:
- More casual, sub-25mph EUC riding
- General commuting when you don’t want extra attention
- Moderate seasonal temperature
- Full body abrasion protection with select impact armored areas, e.g., back, elbows, shoulders
2. Motorcycle Jacket Breathable CE Armored Torso Gear
This is a very popular motorcycle jacket with CE rated armor pads. You can find a lot of more adventurous EUC riders wearing this due to its intention to protect the faster, motorcycle rider. Adam Malicki from Wrong Way wears a similar style of motorbike jacket when he’s on his EUC in colder weather. A big advantage of this motorcycle jacket for riding an electric unicycle is that its more visible for others on the road. Built-in reflectors and high contrast styling (black against white, for example) keep you visible to traffic from farther away.
In terms of safety, the motorcycle jacket has a very flexible feel which makes it comfortable but also pretty mobile and less bulky than full body armor or hard-plastic or polymer armored jackets. This particular jacket has zippers with leather pull-tabs for ventilation.
The best part about this jacket is that its affordable, at around $80-$90. It’s great value for the money given that you’re getting a very durable, strong material constructed armored jacket. In all, this attire is best suited for protecting your body from abrasion and sliding injuries.
Similar to the armored hoodie (shown above), however, a motorcycle jacket does not have a chest piece to guard against frontal impact. You would need more comprehensive armored chest gear for this, which I highlight below. I like riding with an armored motorcycle jacket in the winter months because they are generally warmer and more resistant to wind and moisture than armored hoodies.
Of course, motorcycle armored jackets come in kinds of styles, fitments, and features. Most are somewhat bulky and heavier than “normal” outer wear jackets, and do require some getting used to when riding an electric unicycle. You may find it difficult to wear your larger wrist guards, e.g., D30 Flexmeter Wrist Guards, with a motorcycle jacket, which have longer, thicker sleeves.
Best Used For:
- Faster riders with conditions (e.g., no chest protection)
- EUC riders who navigate busy roads or paths and want extra visibility
- Riding in colder, less ideal weather conditions
- Want the extra protection against abrasion and impact on back, lower arm, elbows and shoulders
3. Leatt Brace 5.5 Pro HD Chest Protector
In the Summer or warmer weather months of the EUC riding season, the Leatt Brace 5.5 Pro HD Chest Protector is a great choice for those looking for upper torso protection. Leatt is best known for their protective equipment, makes the best chest protector on the market. Most of their armor is made of flexible, high-quality materials like elastic rubber (latex free), polyethylene or carbon fiber to protect against blunt trauma.
Unlike any other off road, motor cross gear I’ve tried, Leatt’s protection feels contoured, adaptable around your body while offering the best impact and sliding protection I’ve experienced. You can wear this kind of chest protection over your other clothes, e.g., a T-shirt or long-sleeve shirt or tee. Or, you can wear it under a baggy motocross racing jersey.
The idea of a chest protection like this is to guard your ribcage, spine, and vulnerable joints on your torso, e.g., arms and shoulders, from impacts you may incur in a crash against the ground, a tree, or other unexpected object. As with any armor, the idea is to dissipate the impact force so injury severity is reduced.
I’ll note that this chest armor is also worn by a few well-known EUC riders, e.g., Marty Backe of overheat hill fame, who ride incredibly long distances through and on mountain roads. For more aggressive EUC rides, the Leatt protector upper gear is compatible with neck braces, attaching directly with secure clips.
The Leatt Brace 5.5 Pro HD Chest Protector has adjustable straps on the side to tighten it in place, and they are fully removable so you can wash this chest armor after wearing it in dusty conditions. I’ve worn mine on a few occasions in the warmer Summer months, when taking my EUC off of pavement onto dirt paths, fire trails, mountain bike single track, or simply riding fast on roads with less than smooth surfaces.
What I like about this kind of armored jacket is that it’s not only easy to wear and strap together (once you’re adjusted); but also that it provides some of the most comprehensive protection for riding an EUC aggressively. Armor plates cover every vulnerable part of your body, including your chest, upper/lower back and spine, shoulders, and your upper arms.
For extra protection while wearing these kinds of motocross chest armor pieces, you’ll probably also want some type of anti-abrasive guards for your lower arms (elbow guards and wrist/hand protection), among other safety gear.
Best Used For:
- Faster EUC riders who ride off-road, perform stunts
- Comprehensive upper body protection against impact
- Riding an EUC in warm weather
- EUC riders who want upper body armor you can wear on top of everyday clothing
4. Leatt 3.5 Chest Protector
The Leatt 3.5 Chest Protector is my favorite choice for when I want the extra back and chest protection, but less bulk and weight. Although this chest protector doesn’t provide the same level of impact protection or safety for my entire upper body like the Leatt 5.5 chest armor (see above), it is much more comfortable and easier to put on.
Because of the lower-profile I often wear this under other clothing, such as a light windbreaker jacket, or even a loose T-shirt. The rubberized impact plates aren’t as thick as any other armor I’ve worn, but they feel good when I’ve had to lay my EUC down and I’ve dropped to my back.
Of course, if you choose this as your upper body armor, you’re lacking other safety pieces, such as no shoulder protection and less lower spine or kidney guards. I think this is best used for EUC riding when the weather outside is especially hot and humid, or when you’re already coming prepared with other safety gear such as an armored jacket (and you want a tad bit more to wear underneath).
The Leatt 3.5 armor is the lightest piece of upper body protection I own for riding my EUC. For good reason, I wear this often when I’m casually riding bike trails or trying some silly tricks in a parking lot. Using this chest armor is basically the bare minimum for upper body armor I would wear when I’m riding my EUC. I still trust my snug-fitting armored jackets or hoodies a tad bit more.
Best Used For:
- Hot and humid weather EUC riding
- Basic chest and back protection
- Comfortable armored protection when worn underneath clothing
- Less conspicuous than other armored jackets
- Budget-minded EUC riders who want the decent back/chest impact armor
5. Alpinestars Unisex-Adult Bionic Tech V2 Protection
When I know I’m going fast or simply want to feel safe at any speed on my electric unicycle, I wear my Alpinestars Unisex-Adult Bionic Tech V2 Protection. It fits well, oh so comfortable, and it’s easy to put on when I’m ready to go for a ride. All you do is unstrap the front chest plate with clips, open the velcro around the waist and put it on like a normal jacket with a zipper upfront.
The elbow, shoulder, back and chest armor plates are somewhat flexible but thick and juicy enough to absorb the worst impacts I would expect on my EUC. The mesh fabric material feels like a second skin over my body, providing excellent ventilation and I expect a good deal of abrasion resistance if I fell.
I’ve yet to fall hard enough to test this jacet in my experience (and I hope I never have to). But, the reason I’m a proud owner of this armored jacket is that a lot of people in the EUC community recommend it with some eye-opening testimonies of crashes they shouldn’t have walked away from. These stories alone were enough for me to take a closer look and I’m glad I did.
Integrated spine protection, elbow and upper arm guards, with shoulder pads that extend right down the upper side of your arms all work together while being flexible enough to be super comfortable. Alpinestars makes a lot respected gear for motorcyclists, which I suppose is why this brand is sought after by many EUC riders who are willing to pay more for good gear. In fact, I’m having a hard time finding fault other than this is expensive. If you’re looking for a more affordable version of this armored jacket, you can also check out the Alpinestars Men’s Motorcycle jacket, too (which also comes highly recommended by many speedy EUC riders).
You can certainly wear this under other clothing so you don’t look like a ninja. I wear mine under reflective jackets so I’m more visible to traffic. You can see me wearing this Alpinestar armor under a white motocross jacket (Leatt, no armor padding) so I’m brighter at night in this interesting video. Overall, if you’re looking for the best (for now), most comprehensive upper body protection that’s comfortable, I suggest checking out the Alpinestars Bionic Tech V2 jacket.
Best Used For:
- Best overall protection for riding an EUC at any speed
- Full upper body protecionFull upper body protection including chest, upper/lower back and spine, arms, elbows and shoulders
- As a snug fitting armored jacket you can wear over thin clothing material, or under other outer wear
- Comprehensive upper body protection that you can put on or take off quickly
- EUC riders who want to use safety equipment without compromises
Bonus: A quick word about Lazyrolling Armored Jackets and Hoodies
Lazyrolling armored hoodies and jackets are a unique line of armored upper body attire that many EUC influencers on YouTube or social media recommend. I myself do not own a Lazy Rolling armored jacket but several of my friends do and I am impressed by how they look.
For $20 off any LAZYROLLING ARMORED gear, type EVERYTHINGEUC at checkout.
To keep things simple, I won’t get into too much detail here, but it’s worth mentioning that Lazy Rolling armored jackets and hoodies are designed for a low-profile look and style. They have reflective panels that are incredible for night riding and I’ve seen them work up close. The armored pads slip into built-in pockets and the bulk seems reasonable for anyone looking for extra protection when riding their EUC.
Yes, they are very expensive depending on the model and protection level you choose (upwards of up to $350). Whether this is worth it to you or not, depends on what you’d like to wear. In my opinion, a motorcycle jacket or less expensive armor hoodie could do the same job protecting you for less money. Overall, I think these armored jackets work well and look good, too, for their premium price.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. What is the best armored jacket for EUC riders?
I think the best armored jacket for EUC riders is the Alpinestars Bionic Tech V2 jacket. It provides comprehensive upper body protection, is comfortable to wear, and can be put on or taken off quickly. I’ve always wanted the best jacket to protect myself in case I ever go down on my e-scooter or EUC at high speeds (above 30mph). It’s expensive, to be sure, but you get what you pay for. If you decide to get any piece of safety gear, make sure it fits well and covers the areas of your body the armor is designed to protect.
2. What are the benefits of using an armored jacket?
Armored jackets, hoodies and other upper body safety gear provide torso protection. The most important area you want to protect in an EUC crash is probably your back and spine.
3. Are armored jackets worth the price?
There is no one definitive answer to this question. It depends on what you are looking for in an armored EUC riding jacket or any upper body safety gear for riding at speed. If you want better protection from head to toe, then an armored jacket or hoodie is likely worth the price. However, if you are just looking for basic protection for casual riding, you could go without torso armor and ride with the standard elbow, wrist, and knee pads (along with a helmet, of course). For more info about essential safety gear for EUC riding, check out this article.
4. How much safety gear is enough for riding an electric unicycle?
I wear safety gear all the time. This includes knee guards, wrist guards, elbow pads, and other protective gear. It doesn’t matter whether you’re riding an electric skateboard, a OneWheel (Future Motion), or electric scooter; as with any personal electric vehicle such as an EUC, you’ll be traveling at speeds that you will not be able to “run off” in a crash, motor cut-out, or other unexpected incident. The best safety gear will only reduce your risk for serious injury.
Not Sure? Check Out 3 Popular Armored Jackets and Hoodies for EUC Riders
- Armored Hoodie (CE rated) (Inconspicuous)
- Leatt Brace 5.5 Pro HD Chest Protector (Great for Off-Road)
- Motorcycle Jacket (Popular Budget Friendly)
I hope you found this article helpful and that it gave you some idea of what to look for in the best armored jacket for EUC riders. For riding an EUC, I’ll say that upper body safety gear isn’t perfect. I know this because I’ve often have to choose between several pieces of gear depending on where, when, and who I’m riding with.
For casual riding, for example, the armored hoodie is often enough to help me feel confident I won’t get seriously hurt in a fall. But, for faster EUC riding over 25mph, or in colder conditions, I may opt to wear the full motorcycle armored gear, e.g., the armored jackets, along with overlying layers of gear.
At the end of the day, I know it’s personal preference and using good riding practices with common sense that will keep me safe when I’m on my EUC. What your ideal safety gear choices are, if any, is your decision and will vary from person to person.
Do you have a preference for upper body protection when riding your EUC? Did I miss anything important? I’d love to know. Leave me a comment! Thank you for reading this article!
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