Skateboarding in general is a fairly dangerous sport, and strapping motors to them hasn’t improved their safety at all. Therefore, it is advised that you suit up accordingly, as injuries can range from scrapes and bruises all the way to the grave. Dress for the slide, not the ride, and you’ll be able to push the limits harder with the confidence good protection can give you.
It’s to this end that Beyond Riders Armor has developed their line of stylish protective outerwear specifically with the personal electric vehicle (PEV) community in mind. Their designs feature both flannel options and a selection of solid colors, with options appropriate for both warmer and cooler seasons.
For this review, I tested the New Generation Grey Checkered Armor Protective Shirt. I stand 5’11” at 170lbs and the large fits perfectly, with a nice casual length.
It seems that all of their products are embedded with DuPont’s Kevlar technology, and they use a lightweight “aramid fiber” lining with incorporated pockets for both personal items as well as the armor that can be added. This lining is reminiscent of those found in some sports bags and men’s swimwear, and it feels durable. The shirt offers 2 breast pockets and 4 interior from my count, each one large enough to accommodate a phone, camera, water bottle, or wallet. The pockets, like everything else on this piece, are symmetrically placed. This is especially thoughtful on a skating jacket since it allows the rider plenty of options within reach of either hand. That said, it would be nice to have some pockets on the sides as well, as these would be the easiest to access.
The jacket itself feels like it would be very resistant to tearing. I imagine it could go through a few falls without showing much wear, and it’s not the type of fabric to run if it does get scuffed up. Unless you are really covering some concrete on a slide, this should protect you from scraping up your upper half.
I really enjoy a well-made piece of hardware on cloth, and these zippers are such a thing. They are thin, smooth-moving YKK’s and have the perfect resistance to prevent them from moving without a firm, intentional tug. The largest zipper features on the front of the jacket, and smaller ones accompany the cuff gussets to tighten the sleeve. Used as part of the underarm vents on either side, the zippers offer operation from either end. This is another example of Beyond catering to the ambidextrous needs of a skater since we do not all face the same direction with the remote in the same hand! If a rider needs to pocket something or open a vent, it’s likely a good zipper is within reach.
The quality hardware extends to the buttons as well. These are branded with the triangular Beyond Riders Armor logo, and accompany the front zipper to close the jacket and also feature on the cuffs. They are metal, and they snap shut confidently. Other hardware of note includes the belt loops on the back of the jacket, allowing you to secure your pants to your jacket!
The armor itself is unremarkable to behold, but I am confident it offers good protection. Although it’s fairly thin, I think it’s where it needs to be to balance protection with ease of use. As they are, they will protect your body from some of the impact of a fall and absorb some of that force. It would also offer some protection against the uneven nature of the ground when a fall occurs, such as the added injury of falling on a small rock instead of just flat pavement.
The armor pads can be added to 5 regions of the jacket; shoulders, elbows and upper back. These are certainly the most likely areas of impact during a fall, and the pads offer good coverage on all of these points. I was a bit skeptical when I first laid eyes on the elbow pads, but the pocket system actually works well to hold them in place so that my entire elbow and some of my forearm is protected.
I used the size chart on the Beyond Riders Armor website, and my test unit fits perfectly with a casual length.
They offer sizing suggestions for use with/without a hoodie underneath, which is another indication that they really know their audience and are keeping real-world use in mind. The fit is comfortable over the entire jacket without the armor in, and that comfort level decreases 20% with the back armor in. It’s not awful, certainly not painful, but it stiffens the jacket and squares the back. I anticipate this will improve over time and the armor molds to my back. The shoulder and elbow pads do not significantly impact the comfort of the jacket.
I would not plan to wear this jacket outside of skating…because it’s a $100+ jacket you bought for skating. With that in mind, the level of protection I believe this jacket offers is very generous given the level of comfort it also affords. If you pair this with a helmet, wrist guards, and knee pads, this jacket will be the most comfortable piece of gear you’ve got on.
Beyond Riders Armor has jackets on offer from around $90 for a sale piece to around $140 for a summer model. The unit we tested was priced at $119 at the time of review, and a “Protective Summer Mesh” version can be had for $139. Beyond also offers crash replacement insurance for $29, which would give you access to 50% a new jacket should yours be destroyed in a fall.
There are several notable competitors in this space, each focusing on different styling but with similar goals.
Based in Sweden, LazyRolling is one such company that specializes in hoodies, jackets and pants. They have a contemporary look, lots of dark denims and black designs…it’s a good look. Their jackets feature highly reflective material, which can help avoid collisions with vehicles. LazyRolling has higher price points, hovering in the low $200 range for most products. It’s definitely nice to have a European offering in the market, that part of the world is known for its dedication to build quality and no-nonsense design.
Nobleman Tech is a Chinese company focusing on…well, everything. They offer jackets, pants, helmets, pads, and the like at reasonable pricing, and like most Chinese companies the price you see is often higher than what you need to pay. The quality looks fine and the builds make sense, but there have been customer service concerns over the years. Nobleman has responded to these concerns, and hopefully, we’ll see better reviews moving forward. They offer products with removable linings, waterproofing, and the requisite armor padding, so we’d love to see them get their service up to par and succeed.
ONSRA also offers armored skate gear, although they currently only list one hoodie for sale. It’s not particularly competitive at $174, but it does look sharp and it’s made with Kevlar. Looking at their offerings it’s apparent that they are building boards first and supplying apparel as an afterthought…no problem though, there are plenty of companies working on gear and ONSRA does bring us, good boards!
Regardless of the styling, design, or country of origin, all of these brands seem to be using nearly identical padding for their armor. Since this is fairly straightforward technology, I doubt that one has a far superior formula than another. Base your decisions on which product you will actually want to wear because if you won’t put it on, it won’t help you.
The jackets offered by Beyond Riders Armor are certainly well made, and they don’t look half bad either. The build quality is good, and the protection offered is adequate enough to call this protective gear. Should you buy it? That depends.
You should be wearing protection on your elbows and back, that much is for sure. It’s also helpful to have tear-resistance, but that can be had in other garments. The reason to buy this jacket is to accomplish these things in a way you feel you will use. Putting on pads is a barrier already, and often people skip doing it on a short trip. Grabbing a jacket off the hook and having all but your head covered is pretty sweet, and that can mean more protection, more often.
We certainly encourage you to find products that will make your ride safer and more enjoyable. If this jacket is in your budget and you’re on the fence because the brand is unfamiliar, I can at least say that it seems very well made and I do believe the price reflects the level of craftsmanship in the piece.