As our feature “Level Up!” makes clear, an important part of preparing for a motorcycle ride is wearing abrasion-resistant apparel with protective armor covering critical impact areas like elbows, shoulders, knees and back. Some motorcycle apparel has removable armor built in and some, like jeans or jackets that put more emphasis on style than protection, may not.
For more than 20 years Bohn Body Armor has been manufacturing protective under-apparel for motorcyclists. Bohn’s long-sleeved shirts, pants and shorts are made of stretchy material designed to be worn over a T-shirt and underwear or other base layer, with a snug fit so the armor stays in place. I tested the lightweight Cool-Air Mesh armored shirt and pants, which are designed for warm weather, but Bohn also makes All-Season and Performance-Thermal versions. Bohn says its armored shirts can be worn alone and its armored pants can be worn under regular jeans, but since its garments offer no abrasion resistance we strongly recommend wearing Bohn Body Armor under dedicated motorcycle apparel that won’t easily tear or wear through upon impact.
Bohn Body Armor offers several advantages over the armor that may have come with your jacket, pants or suit. Except for the back protector (a large foam pad with a stiffer section along the spine), all of the armored protectors in Bohn’s apparel are CE Level 1 certified. Also, in the shirt, the elbow protectors extend down to cover much of the forearms, and in the pants, the knee protectors cover much of the shins. And the pants come with CE-approved hip, tailbone and thigh protectors, which are rarely included in riding pants. Each protector fits in a dedicated sleeve within the garment; just make sure the edge of the protector is tucked into the small pocket near the opening of the sleeve so it will stay in place. With the protectors removed, the garments can be thrown in the washing machine to freshen them up.
The Bohn Cool-Air Mesh shirt zips up the front and is easy to put on and take off, like a light, form-fitting jacket. The pants slide on and off like a base layer, and there is a small zipper up the back of the calf to open the cuff so it more easily goes over the foot. I’ve worn the shirt and pants during commutes and daily rides, under a Joe Rocket leather jacket and Spidi riding jeans, and during two long, hot days on the Indian FTR 1200 press launch (read the review here), which included a couple hours of very active off-road riding. Once I put the Bohn gear on, I immediately forgot I was wearing it; the four-way stretch fabric allows complete freedom of movement.
Retail pricing for Bohn’s Cool-Air Mesh shirt is $163 and pants is $173, and both are available in men’s and women’s sizes, S-XXL. All of Bohn’s garments are made in the U.S.A., and the company offers free U.S. shipping as well as a 90-day money-back guarantee.
For more information, call (888) 922-9269 or visit bohnarmor.com.