Product name: Racer Motion Top 2 Price paid: €200 Score (out of 10): 8
Racers (Racer Gloves) second version of their "Motion Top" with lots of improvements.
There’s dozens of different "body armours" out there. They all pick their own line through the different compromises you have to make between protection area, protection level, weight and heat management.
Racer seem to have gone down the route of trying to offer good protection in specific zones, whilst putting it together in a package that’s light enough and cool enough to wear every ride and not think about it.
On the whole, they’ve succeeded !
The Motion Top 2 has a D3O BP4 L1 back protector – this is the latest D3O back protector and is considerably lighter and is designed to offer more air flow than previous versions. As it’s lighter and cooler, they’ve not had to do the usual thing and make it overly short to make it usable – so you get full length back coverage.
The other good thing with the BP2 is the dimensions (except for thickness) are the same for the Level 1 and Level 2 protectors, so you could swap out to a Level 2 protector if you wanted to.
The D3O shoulder pads feel good. They’re shaped well, light and well vented (as they’re also the newer type).
The chest has a selection of 5mm EVA foam padded sections. These won’t stop any major chest impacts, but will reduce the effects of some minor impacts. I think they’ve gone this route ultimately to keep the weight and heat levels down, so you don’t think "Shall I ride with my armour today" …
The elbows use unformed D3O pieces. If there’s one thing I don’t like – it’s these. For me, they feel too thin and too small. If you’re used to anything more protective on the elbows these don’t really feel like they offer sufficient area coverage or protection. That said, I did smash my elbow repeatedly against the sharp edge of a worktop and it didn’t hurt ..
The pad is the same pad they use in their motion knee pad.
The knee pad receives similar feed back with people not feeling like it offers sufficient protection.
Interestingly, this was the thing which most people complained about with the original Motion Top – it’s also the one thing they haven’t changed.
Because they’re unformed, they don’t feel like they’re going to stay sitting around your elbow in the correct place – though form alone doesn’t guarantee that. If you take this image from a "Scott" review for instance, it doesn’t really portray the elbow protector as naturally sitting in the right place very well ….. uhmmm … nice forearm protection … but what about the elbow …..
Back to the Motion 2 !! …
The jacket zips on and the zip is decent quality. It’s very form fitting all over. The main body being two different types of mesh, which breaths well but isn’t see through – so you don’t look like predator if you ride only wearing this top.
The upper arms are primarily lycra, which doesn’t really breath, but doesn’t feel hot. The lower arm is lycra with a mesh strip down the inside of the forearm.
The lower arms are also removable if you feel it’s too hot to wear them. These Zip on and off really easily and also have decent quality zips.
The mesh sections burr up really easily with any contact to velcro items, so be careful washing it or stashing it with your other gear.
In terms of practicality. The Motion Top two has two small zipped pockets at the waist and a zipped pocket at the base of the back protector. Lots of reviews show people putting a phone in here – unless you have a 5 year old phone, it probably won’t fit – useful for a multitool or similar though.
If you remove the back protector, you can also insert a hydration pack (not provided) and then put the back protector back in. The space will take upto 3 litres, but if you put more than about a litre in you start to notice the weight moving the jacket around.
In terms of comfort, I think it’s the most comfortable and least intrusive upper body protection I’ve tried. I think it’s probably also the coolest.
It felt so comfortable that in order to prove to myself that it wasn’t intrusive – I slept in it for the first night ! Other than noticing you had a firmer back than normal in certain positions, it was great ! It also works as great protection from angry wives who think you keep spending too much money on body armour.
The next day I wore it for the whole evening to see how it was in the heat and to further test intrusiveness. Again, it was great, though the dog did get repeatedly excited as he somehow can tell it’s bike armour and kept thinking we were going out for a ride.
Today, I finally got to do a hot ride in it. Just rode flat out everywhere. Ran out of battery. Rode home flat. It was excellent. Didn’t feel like I was going to suffocate. It never felt uncomfortable and I don’t feel like I’ve lost 10 litres in sweat.
The chest, you can tell there’s some insulation there, but not enough to start over heating. The arms, despite the lack of mesh, didn’t feel overly warm. It was also really easy to take off after the ride, which is a bonus with my presently knackered shoulder.
Fit wise, it’s quite long. If you pull it down as far as you can (it’s stretchy), it wraps around most of your arse and comes down to groin level. There’s a silicon band on the inside, but as you’d expect it rides up a bit on the move. I’m not sure if the idea is to wear it inside your shorts or outside. I might just be stretching it down too far though ! Personally, I quite like the length as it means the back protector is supported properly.
All in all, I really like it. It’s not a full coverage armour like a 7855, but it offers far better back protection & shoulder protection in a cooler package (due to a lot less protection area). It also doesn’t chaff your nipples, so you can wear it straight on your skin. It’s cool enough and discreet enough that you can just wear it for every ride without asking the question of "Do I think I need it" …
Weight wise, it weighs in at 1050g.
For comparisons. A 7855 is 700g – which is amazing for the amount of all over upper body protection it gives.
My 7855 is 860g, with higher protection Alpinestars moto shoulder pads.
A Leatt Airfit Light is 1250g – which will give you shorter back protection, better chest protection, but be a lot warmer as the Leatt armour pads don’t breath as well.
One other advantage of the forearms being removable, is if you really hate the elbow pads, you can use alternatives. Though really, it would have been nice if they’d done something more here. I can only guess they tried and it felt more constrictive and warmer – so it didn’t fit with the overall direction they were heading in.
Other upgrades or changes than the elbows ? .. It would be nice if they also produced a "Racer Mountain Top" – with higher protection – like bigger elbows for the clumsier rider.
The side zip means they could add a D3O CP1 L1 protector in the chest instead of the EVA foam – without too much weight or heat penalty :
Maybe offer it with the L2 back protector .. or maybe not … The BP4 L1 actually feels like the nicest back protector I’ve tried in terms of weight, heat & protection.
So yes … I like it … I think it’s actually going to become my main day to day armour – certainly whilst it’s hot !