| Owner Comments (Below)
When we started our exploration of the various forms of
motorcycle armor and protective clothing, I never thought we'd get beyond
one or maybe two back protectors.
But here we are with the sixth article in what can now be
considered as a series. We originally thought that these type of
products were very narrowly focused on motorcycle racers and track day
specialists, but apparently many different types of motorcycle riders are
interested in protecting their bodies, which is surely a positive trend.
We discovered that race-style back protectors aren't for
everyone though, because they are somewhat bulky and slightly uncomfortable.
The companies that make motorcycle armor are aware of this, and they have also developed products that I
suppose can be classified
as motorcycle protective underwear, designed to be worn underneath most types of
motorcycle clothing or even street clothes, if so desired.
Bohn Cool Air Bodyguard
Adventure Pants are one example, and they are also available with a
matching armored undershirt.
Motorcycle Gear, the distributor for Knox Armor in the U.S.A., sent us
two other very interesting examples of this type of motorcycle protective
clothing: a Knox Cross Shirt and the matching Knox Cross Sport Shorts (a
tongue-twister for sure!).
Both of these products offer large areas of protective padding, and
the Cross Shirt includes a built-in (but removable) back protector, hard
armor on the elbows and shoulders and even a chest protector.
comfortable to wear, and although we don't have any scientific proof, they
sure seem like they offer more and better protection than found in most
motorcycle clothing, including some of the race-oriented and one-piece
leathers we've seen.
The fabric used in both the Cross Shirt and the Cross
Sport Shorts is a highly breathable stretch mesh. It must be woven with a high
percentage of Spandex or some other type of elastic fibers, because it's
very flexible and form-fitting. Knox claims that the material is also
highly resistant to tearing.
The elasticity of the material is very important to the
functionality of the products, because it keeps the armor close to the
rider's body. This is crucial to receive the maximum potential benefit
of the armor or padding.
We've seen many motorcycle jackets, pants and
one-piece leather or textile suits that fit much too loose by design to keep
the armor in place if the rider falls. And all the armor in the world
will be useless if it doesn't
stay in place, so be very careful when choosing motorcycle clothing to
ensure the correct fit.
My experience tells me that most riders wear their clothing at least
one size too big. Next time you watch a MotoGP or World Superbike race, notice the
leathers worn by your favorite racer. They look skin-tight and for a
Since very few of us can afford to order custom-fitted
motorcycle clothing, another solution is to wear armored underwear that does
keep the armor snug.
I have recently removed the standard armor from
several of my jackets and pants and I'm wearing the Knox armor underneath
instead. I've found that it's actually more comfortable, because the
armor and padding stay in place and move with me. I also feel more
confident that I'm better protected.
Knox Cross Shirt
Knox claims that the Cross Shirt includes CE impact protection for the
entire upper body. The shirt is made from a stretchy elastic breathable mesh,
and it's worn like a jacket. It has a PEX zipper up the front and a
Velcro tab at the neck to keep it secure.
The sleeves of the Cross Shirt are slightly longer than
normal, because the cuffs include a thumb hole, similar to what is sometimes
found on Polypropylene thermal underwear shirts used for skiing.
Wearing the sleeves with the thumb through the hole helps keep the elbow
armor correctly oriented and it also prevents the sleeve from riding up on
the arm when getting into a tight set of leathers or jacket.
The elbow hard armor is Knox CE-approved and backed with
softer padding. It is permanently attached to the outside of the arm
of the Cross Shirt, and it is long enough to cover from the elbow down about
3/4 of the way to the wrist. The shoulders are also protected by Knox
hard armor, which is also permanently attached to the shirt.
The Cross Shirt includes a full-length Knox back protector,
which is attached to the shirt with a zipper on top. It hangs loose at
the bottom of the shirt to allow freedom of movement as the rider leans
It also includes a flexible waist strap that is brought
around the rider's waist over the top of the shirt after it is zipped up.
The back protector is similar to the
Knox Stowaway product we reviewed recently, and it uses the same waffle
type of attached sectioning that allows it to bend.
The front of the Cross Shirt includes a section of chest
padding, which is enclosed inside some mesh fabric.
It is attached to
the inside of the shirt with a section of Velcro, so it is very easy to
remove if desired. Dirt bike riders use chest protectors to help
protect against rocks and debris, but I leave mine in on the street for
The Cross Shirt currently lists for $249.00, which may seem
expensive until you start adding up the cost of a dedicated back protector,
chest protector and hard armor for the elbows and shoulders.
found that the Cross Shirt is definitely the most comfortable way to stay
protected. It's available in 6 different sizes, from XS to XXL.
Knox Cross Sport Shorts
The Cross Sport Shorts are made from the same type of elastic mesh
fabric as the Cross Shirt. The shorts cover everything from the waist
down to just above the knees. The Knox "Ultra lightweight Advance X
Protectors" (e.g., padding) are removable so the shorts can be washed when
The outer sides of the legs have an upper and lower zippered
pocket containing Knox soft armor padding. The padding is cut in
waffled sections to maintain flexibility. The shorts seem to have much more
surface area and the padding is thicker than the type of protection normally found in
motorcycle pants or even leather race pants.
Each upper pocket contains a section of kidney-shaped
padding that is designed to protect the hip. Each lower pocket
contains a separate section of padding to protect the outer thigh.
back of the shorts has another zippered pocket that contains a section of
padding to protect the coccyx, or tailbone. There are also two small
sections of thin padding that are permanently attached to the seat of the
The shorts zip up in the front and they have a nice, wide
elastic waistband that closes with a YKK metal snap button. The Cross Sport Shorts are as
comfortable to wear as the Cross Shirt, and I like the fact that they have
more surface area of thicker padding than any of my other motorcycle pants.
I only wish that the shorts were available as a full-length
underwear that included knee and shin armor! The shorts are also
available in 6 sizes, from XS to XXL and they currently list for $149.00.
I really like wearing the combination of the Knox Cross Shirt and the Cross
Sport Shorts. They're comfortable and the stretchy fabric keeps the
armor close to my body where it will do the most good and it feels good at
the same time.
This combination may be a better solution than
purchasing several pieces of dedicated armor, although the only thing that
it's missing is protection for the knees and shins.
Review: Knox Cross Shirt - Knox Cross Sport Shorts
Retail Price: $249.00 (shirt); $149.00 (shorts).
Comments: Fits under most motorcycle or street clothing.
Stretchy fabric is comfortable and does a good job of keeping the armor
in place so it can do its job. Review Date: January
2005. Product provided by British Motorcycle Gear (more).
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