All certified back protectors will help prevent spinal injuries, but the SHRED. Flexi Back Protector adds ample space to carry gear and snacks. The vest has two side pockets that are large enough for snacks and cellphones, a lower rear zippered pocket of roughly the same size, and a hydration bladder pouch that you can use for water or whatever you like.
The overall fit of the vest is slightly looser than other back protectors I have tested. I ordered the size medium, per the SHRED. size chart, though my usual size small would have fit better. If you always fit in a particular vest or jacket size, that is the size you will want to order. Fortunately, the vest can be tightened down for a more snug fit.
- $150 (€160) – buy online at shredoptics.com
- Weight: 662 grams, size medium tested
- Construction: Slytech Flexi structure, super stretch nylon vest, integrated hydration bladder pocket, zippered back pocket, two stretch side pockets, velcro adjustment on each side, full front zipper closure
- Safety standards: EN 1621-2 Level 1 CB (motorbike central back protectors)
- *Hydration bladder not included.
I prefer to use a water bottle on my frame over a hydration bladder, and I have made use of the bladder sleeve to hold jackets and other crammable items.
On the trail, the Shred Flexi Back Protector vest has been a fantastic companion for long rides when I wanted the security of spine protection, with no need for a hip pack. I managed to cram enough snacks in the pockets that I needed to wear a baggier jersey over it, which added some welcome ventilation between the jersey and vest.
On hot spring and summer days, there is no way to escape the fact that protective gear makes you hotter. The vest material is light and nearly see-through, leaving it as breathable as possible for sunny shreds.
The honeycomb structure of the Flexi Back Protector helps it conform to the contours of your back, while the channels between each piece of foam allow air and moisture to move throughout. If you need to wear spine protection throughout a race, the Flexi is a fantastic option and it will also serve you well for big parties in the park.