What's the difference between CE Level 1 and Level 2 Armor?

What's the difference between CE Level 1 and Level 2 Armor?

Minimizing your Risk on Two Wheels

Riding a motorcycle is inherently more dangerous than driving a car. We know this, but we still can’t get enough of it. While you are more vulnerable on the road without any metal frames to protect yourself, you can drastically minimize your risk by investing in a bit of motorcycle safety gear. After a bit of research, you’ll come across items rated Level 1 and Level 2 according to the CE rating systems. What’s the difference? Which is better? We’re here to help you make sense of it.

Whether you’re new to ripping your motorcycle down the streets or have been putting down miles for years, we want to keep you safe on the roads. Read on to learn the ins and outs of joint protectors, back protectors, and the amount of impact they can take (so you don’t have to).

Level 2 Phantom armor detail

If you already know you want to invest in a set of Level 2 joint protectors, check out the super flexible ones we have for sale here on our website. They’re some of the most comfortable and lightweight on the market.

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What is CE-certified armor in the first place?

The CE mark stands for Conformité Européene (French for “European Conformity”), which you’ll actually find on everything from documents to electronics to children’s toys, not just on motorcycle safety gear. The mark indicates that the product is certified to conform with European safety, health standards, and environmental protection standards. When it comes to protective motorcycle armor though, there are quite a few more regulations than you’d have for a teddy bear.

There are an elaborate set of codes applied to different types of armor and their usages. These designate if a product is rated for motorcycle use, which area of the body it’s designed for, and the coverage. Some crash pads are for protection zones K: knee, S: shoulder, E: elbow, H: hip and another type may be for the central back (CB). The type (A or B) refers to the coverage area. Type A meaning "reduced coverage for specialized applications" and Type B "normal coverage".

For example, the joint protectors we sell on our website are certified EN 1621-1:2012 by SAS-TEC (the German manufacturer), meaning they are motorcyclists’ protective clothing against mechanical impact. But more important is the performance level, 1 or 2. Level 2 can absorb double the impact that level 1 does, so it’s always ideal.

If you want to get into the numbers, here is how the transmitted force (what you’ll feel) is calculated for each level when comparing S/E/K/H protectors certified under EN 1621-1:2012

CE Level 1 joint protectors: The mean value for transmitted force must be below 35 kN
CE Level 2 joint protectors: The mean value for transmitted force must be below 20 kN.

So level 2 must transmit less force, meaning more diffusion (shock absorption) into the material.

CE Level 2 Back Protector

Helmets must be CE marked to comply with European health and safety regulations in motorbikes. In the United States and Canada, helmets and gear can just be DOT standard approved. As there have been more innovations in brain trauma research and protective materials, more safety standards have immerged like SNELL, ECE, and FIM rating systems. These standards significantly surpass those set by the US Department of Transportation (DOT). But for joint and back protectors, we fallback to CE Level 1 and Level 2.

Level 1 at Great Lake Supply Co

CE Level 1 Armor

Level 1 armor is good to go for casual road riding and can absorb an adequate amount of impact. At the very least, Level 1 armor is required to enjoy a ride on your local track. But if you are riding more advanced and high-speed tracks, you’ll need to level up your apparel armor to reduce the chances of injury. Level 1 is great for skateboarding, rollerblading, and cycling.

Shop Ultra-Thin Level 1 Tripleflex Armor →

Level 2 Phantom Tripleflex Armor by SAS-TEC at Great Lake Supply Co

CE Level 2 Armor

This type of armor gives ideal protection from high-speed crashes and is best to wear when riding on advanced tracks. If you have it, you might as well wear it when commuting on your motorcycle and riding on the freeway or other high-speed environments. Hitting the pavement is traumatic, and level 2 reduces the traumatic impact the most. Level 2 is capable of absorbing double the impact, and the transmitted force to the body must be below 9 kN (Kilo Newton) to receive this certification.

Shop this Level 2 Tripleflex Armor →

Which One Is Better— CE Level 1 or Level 2 Armor?

Without any doubt, the CE Level 2 motorcycle armor is better than CE Level 1. Both will serve you well in reducing impact and abrasion in the event of a motorcycle crash, but CE Level 2 will perform the best to reduce your potential accident injuries.

Ventilated Armor

Ventilated Level 2 Phantom Tripleflex Armor by SAS-TEC at Great Lake Supply Co

Some people avoid wearing armor because of the discomfort and bulk, but with all of the new innovations by companies like SAS-TEC and D30, we don’t have to sacrifice comfort for protection on our motorcycles. The Tripleflex Level 2 armor we sell in our store (AKA Phantom) now comes in a ventilated edition to add even more to the comfort factor. While the channels between the armor elements (the textured side) do allow a decent amount of airflow, the ventilated edition has holes to promote even more flow.

Is there a downside? This version is slightly thicker than the regular level 2 (10mm as opposed to 9mm) to compensate for the ventilated design. The Phantom Air armor is still CE Level 2 protection and transmits a residual force below 15 kN. This is actually less transmitted force than the regular Phantom; that extra millimeter contributes to extra protection. And of course, they are not destroyed by impact and can be re-used and hand washed if necessary! These are our most protective option available.

Need to compare all of the styles we offer? We created a handy document for you to do just that.

Let’s get you geared up

With great risk comes great reward, and everyone who enjoys riding motorcycles understands that it’s worthwhile for the freedom of the open road. But it never hurts to reduce your own risk and gear up. We encourage you to also ride as attentively and responsibly as possible to keep the rubber side down while you’re putting down all those miles. Gear can be costly, but the hospital costs even more (especially in the USA).

Protective Motorcycle Gear at GLS Co.

Interested in seeing what we have to offer for motorcycle protective equipment? We’re proud to sell modern Kevlar lined pants and hoodies that hold flexible joint and back protectors. Reduce abrasion and impact, but look awesome on your ride with Milwaukee’s Great Lake Supply Co.

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Casual motorcycle riding pants from Great Lake Supply Co.