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Dainese Manis Back Protector Review

Dainese "Manis" Back Protector

Review Summary

The new Dainese Manis back protector is very comfortable, relatively thin, has good ventilation and also meets the CE Level 2 standard.

The comfort comes from the overlapping plates that make up the outer layer on the back of the protector.

They are connected with rows of thin elastic strapping that allow the plates to move side-to-side and up and down.

The plates and the other three layers of padding on the inner portion are highly perforated, which gives good ventilation, adding to the comfort levels.

The waist belt can be a problem in some back protectors, but this one is thinner than most, flexible and mult-adjustable.

Maybe the Manis will be the back protector that finally gets street and touring riders to start wearing a “real” back protector?

We’ve reviewed several race-style back protectors on webBikeWorld and just as many back protector inserts.

While I usually try to wear the latter, I have to admit that up until now, I had never really found a full-size race-style back protector that was comfortable enough to wear for any length of time on the street.

I know I should be wearing one, but…

The new Dainese Manis may just change that. The Manis looks like its namesake: Manis is a genus of the family Manidae, commonly known as a pangolin or scaly anteater. As for the “T” (full race) and “G” (back protector insert) versions of the Manis, well, who knows?

Dainese has about as much experience in protective motorcycle race gear as anyone in the world and they said all of that has gone into the new Manis.

It meets the CE Level 2 standard for back protectors, so you know you’re getting the good stuff.

Dainese Manis Back Protector Flexibility
The Manis back protector is thin and moves quite comfortably with the rider’s shape.
Dainese Manis Back Protector
The Manis plates bend and are ventilated.

Manis Advantages

The difference between the Manis and other back protectors I’ve tried?

First of all, the Manis feels thinner and lighter. All of the parts on the Manis were designed as thin as possible, including the waist belt straps, which is usually one of the most uncomfortable features of a full-sized back protector.

I can barely feel the waist belt on the Manis, although for first-time back protector wearers — especially those with too-many-beer guts, the wide waist belt may take some adjustment time.

The belt adjusts across the front and also at the sides, with a “V” shaped elastic hook-and-loop system.

The upper shoulder straps of the Manis are definitely more comfortable than any others I’ve tried.

They’re made from thin neoprene and they’re made wide so they don’t dig into your shoulders. An adjustable elastic safety strap runs across the front.

The polypropylene plates that form the “pangolin” overlapping shells on the back really do move with your body, up and down, side-to-side and forward and back.

You can see from the photo above how thin and how flexible the Manis really is. Dainese said that the plates were designed to move with the curvature of the rider’s back whilst riding.

This includes “4 degrees of freedom”: the longitudinal stretching, lateral movement, stretching and torsion.

The inner portion of the Manis has layers of comfortably soft foam padding and the combination of the harder plates and soft cushioning give the protector its CE Level 2 rating.

Dainese Manis Back Protector Belt Adjustability
Adjustable side belting uses hook-and-loop.
Dainese Manis Back Protector Belt and Size
(L) Wide shoulder straps add comfort. (R) Size of the Manis compared to a back protector insert.
Dainese Manis Back Protector Size Comparison
Forcefield Pro back protector insert size comparison.
Dainese Manis Back Protector Cushioning
Cushioning, articulated sections and ventilation holes on the inside of the Manis back protector.
Dainese Manis Back Protector Front Strap
Front and side views of the waist belt and shoulder strap system.
Dainese Manis Back Protector Layers
Close-up of the padding layers.
Dainese Manis Back Protector Plate Connector
Special flat inner elastic straps hold the sections together and provide movement.
Dainese Manis Back Protector Plate Connector Back Side
Another view of the back protector sections held by the straps.
Dainese Manis Back Protector Plate Flexibility
Curvature and ventilation holes in the Manis.
Dainese Manis Back Protector Ventilation
Flashlight through the ventilation holes for illustration

Manis Back Protector Notes

The Manis back protector is specifically designed for touring and street riding (although it’s also listed as a race protector).

Note that any back protector will add some section width to the rider, so a snug-fitting jacket may feel even more so when you’re wearing a back protector.

However, there’s usually enough room in the fit of most street/touring wear to fit a back protector, once the jacket’s original padding is removed.

Depending on the collar adjustments, the jacket neck may feel tighter in the front as the rear of the jacket is pulled back to accommodate the back protector.

The Manis shown here is the Type 59, size L and it fits an approximately 178 cm (5’10”) person perfectly.

The Manis protection system is also available as the Manis G back protector insert for Dainese jackets, along with a Manis jacket, a shirt which has built-in shoulder, elbow, chest and back protectors of the Manis plate-style format.

It is designed for use under a jacket (remove the jacket’s protectors first). There’s also a Manis-T variant; it’s very similar to the Manis shown here but designed for racing.

The Manis back protector is relatively expensive compared to some other full-sized race-style back protectors.

But what’s the sense of saving 25 bucks if you’re not going to wear what you bought? The Manis beats them all for comfort, so in my book, that’s worth the additional cost.


The new Dainese Manis is the most comfortable full-sized back protector I’ve tried. Admittedly, I haven’t worn all that many but I have sampled several of the back protectors reviewed on webBikeWorld and the Manis is the hands-down winner.

wBW Review: Dainese Manis Back Protector
Manufacturer: Dainese List Price: $209.95
Colors: Black Made In: Unknown
Review Date: July 2014

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