Forma Akira Back Protector: Motorcycle Gear Review
- by Jehan Adil Darukhanawala
- Dec 22, 2019
- Views : 4927
Should you keep this back protector only for track days or can you use it in the city too?
A back protector is one of the small items of motorcycle gear that usually goes unnoticed. In the event of a crash, the back protector takes a majority of the impact when you land on your back, minimising spinal injuries. Hence, it has become mandatory for not only the national racing championship but also for a few track days. Team ZigWheels picked up two sets of the Forma Akira back protectors from the Performance Racing Store for Rs 8,000 each. I have been using one for a while and here are my impressions:
What Is It Made Of?
The exoskeleton of the back protector is made from hard plastic with enough cutouts for easy ventilation. The Sas-tec foam covers the entire length of the protector. You get shoulder straps that are adjustable while the stretchy waist belt is secured via velcro. The Akira receives CE Level 2 certification.
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Using It With A One-piece Race Suit
Slipping on a race suit with the Akira back protector is a relatively easy affair. In fact, even in the sweltering heat of Chennai, it allowed air to easily pass through.
The Akira has a unique two-piece arrangement that has, what Forma says, controlled lateral movement. To put it simply, the lower half of the back protector is securely in place with the lower half of your torso while the upper half allows that bit of flexibility when you are moving your upper body. On the race track, this allows you to bend your upper body further into the bend with relative ease.
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Using It Daily
Wearing the Akira back protector in isolation is not what we would suggest as you would miss out on the basic levels of protection a riding jacket offers. I wore the Akira under my urban mesh jacket and found it to be a bit too snug fit for my good. I realised this after a few rides but I was wearing the back protector with the jacket’s standard protector still in place. It did become a bit roomier after I removed my jacket’s foam padding.
Breathability was a bit of an issue. Given that most commuters will be riding with a backpack, there was no way for the heat to escape when wearing the full protector. With the vents obstructed with the bag, the hard plastic traps the heat, which becomes apparent when you are stuck in traffic for a long time. The Sas-tec foam does absorb a majority of the sweat, but it is the heat that you might find a little unbearable.
There is a solution for this as the Akira can be split apart and used as just a lower back protector. This allowed me to ride with my regular jacket’s protection intact while getting an extra layer of security for my lower half. You also do not perspire as much from the lower back and breathability is also not that big of an issue with most backpacks.
Currently, there aren’t many choices in the market for a back protector. While you would find one at most race schools, they lack the adjustability and the flexibility of the Akira. I have tried a colleague’s Dainese back protector a couple of times. It did not give me as much flexibility as the Akira and it costs a bomb if you try to buy it here. Hence, at Rs 8,000, the Forma Akira back protector seems like a winner. It is comfortable, adequately breathable and with the two-piece arrangement, you could use the lower half on daily rides.
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