When the opportunity arose for me to get my hands on the Forcefield Pro Jacket X-V2, I jumped at it. I have long admired their line of amazingly protective armor in a minimalist garment. While I know that these are designed to be worn as impact protection in conjunction with another layer of abrasion protection, my desire was to try this jacket out as a solo option for the super hot summer climate in Phoenix, Az.
To be honest, there are many riders in Phoenix and other hot environments who wear no protective gear during the hottest months of the year. And while I am not condoning or recommending that, I do understand that at 115 degrees, almost every piece of protective gear ever created feels hot and oppressive. My thinking is that great impact protection that is as comfortable enough to wear in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees is better than nothing. And it is something that I really wanted to check out for myself and others who live on the face of the sun so to speak.
What I discovered is that the Pro Jacket X-V is perfect for my adapted use case. I know that I am sacrificing some abrasion protection if I slide across the asphalt, but the armor is going to protect my arms, shoulders, and back very well from impact with the ground or anything else. And 4 layers of padding across my back will provide some serious friction protection. It’s a risk that I am willing to take to get out for a ride without overheating to a point that can actually become life-threatening.
An added bonus is that this very lightweight “Be Cool” fabric provides great protection from the sun. I have ridden in just a t-shirt on really hot days in an effort to not overheat. But I later discovered that I have a really nasty sunburn to show for it. The “Be Cool” fabric is every bit as comfortable as riding in just a t-shirt and I don’t end up sporting bright red arms and a farmer’s tan for the rest of the year.
I was looking forward to testing the Forcefield Pro Jacket, even though I was not sold on it being as cool and comfortable as I wanted it to be. The first thing that I was concerned about was the color. I always shy away from black garments in Phoenix because they seem to intensify the heat of any sunlight. I also had concerns about how well this relatively thin fabric could hold the armor in place while riding. I imagined that it would stretch out quickly and begin to sag and feel very uncomfortable as well as being a bit unsafe, or at least provide less protection.
When the Pro Jacket X-V arrived, I was shocked at how light the jacket felt. It is just a little bit over 2 pounds and that is with the CE2 armor. For anyone used to riding in leather and full armor, this really does feel like wearing just a long-sleeved t-shirt! And the fit is very similar to any base layer spandex athletic garment or gear that you might wear. From the moment that I put it on, it felt very comfortable. It is very easy to move when wearing it but it also feels secure and the armor remains in the appropriate locations.
The jacket with CE2 Isolator Armor in the back, shoulders, and elbows sells for $249.00 US, currently (and Revzilla generously ships orders over $39.99 for free). The jacket with no armor sells for $149.00. The CE2 shoulder and elbow armor each sell for $49.00 per set. The Freelite CE2 back protector sells for $129.00. When purchased complete, the Forcefield Pro X-V offers you a lot of high quality back and limb protection at a very reasonable price.
Available in sizes Small, Medium, Large, X-Large/XX-Large
The Pro Jacket fabric is constructed using 61% polyamide BeCool material, 32% polyamide, and 7% elastane. Once the armor is removed from the pockets, the jacket is fully machine washable. The manufacturer recommends that the jacket air dry.
Fit and Comfort
I ordered a medium as I measured 42 inches around the chest. The sizing chart lists the medium as fitting 42-46 inches. In retrospect, had I known the quality and expansion capabilities of the BeCool fabric, I would have ordered a small. But I am still incredibly happy with the jacket quality, the comfort of the fit and the impact protection that it provides.
Fit and comfort are really important to me because as I have gotten older and wiser, I have also become more honest with myself. If something does not fit well, then it won’t be comfortable. And if the item is not comfortable, I am not going to wear it. And sadly that even goes for safety gear that I know I should be wearing but don’t. I have kind of adopted the life is too short to be uncomfortable, mindset.
But with the Pro Jacket, I would never consider not wearing it due to comfort issues. The spandex or elastic nature of the jacket material is very stretchy and also very soft. I always feel that the armor is being held in place and in the correct location. However, I have never felt a place where the jacket material feels too tight or binding. It somehow feels like it is custom sized to fit my arms and upper body.
What I did notice is that the entire jacket is a bit long. Part of this I chalk up to the design of the jacket. The sleeves have a thumb hole so that you can tuck them into gloves and have them remain securely in place. The waist of the jacket comes well down over my hips and can easily be tucked into riding pants.
In addition, I am taking into account that I am at the low end of the medium size range so a larger person might find that the jacket fits them a bit differently and expands out more than down in length as it does on me.
To add perspective to how the jacket fits me, I am 5’ 10” tall and weight in around 155 pounds on average. My height comes mainly from my legs as my torso is rather short in comparison. I say this to be able to add that my arms are proportionate to my legs giving me a wingspan of nearly 6’.
One final feature that can make or break a jacket for me is the zipper. Not only do I look for a zipper that durable for one-handed use when I am riding, but I also want the top of the zipper to be finished well. There is nothing worse than having the top of a zipper dig into your throat while you are riding. It is annoying and unnecessary.
And it will never happen when you are wearing the Pro Jacket X-V! The folks at Forcefield took the initiative to add a small triangular piece of fabric that covers the top of the zipper when the jacket is zipped up. This might sound like a very picky detail, but it is just one more small indication of the effort that went into designing this jacket.
The great thing about the Pro Jacket X-V is that the people at Forcefield offer consumers the option to purchase this item with either CE2 or CE1 level armor. So if you are looking for lighter, thinner armor and are willing to give up a little bit of the protective quality, you can purchase CE1.
And if you are looking for all the protection you can get and are not deterred by the weight and thickness of the armor, then select CE2. But what is important to me is that I get to decide how to achieve the balance that I want between protection, cost and the size of the armor.
The Back Protection
The back protection in the Pro X-V is the Freefit, which is CE2. The Freefit is a combination of 4 layers that are specially cut to maximize flexibility and comfort. In addition, they have a series of holes that add to the ventilation and breathability of the back protector as a whole.
And as your body heat increases, it activates the 3D body molding capability to add to the customization of the fit and your overall comfort.
I have worn solid back protection, semi-flexible protectors and thin, single layer types in the past. Each one has its pros and cons when it comes to comfort and safety. What I have found in the Freefit appears to be the best combination of both maximum protection and maximum comfort. Forcefield is known throughout the gear industry as the go-to company for replacement armor.
They make armor to fit almost any other manufacturer’s garments and they sell a massive amount of it. Riders are hooked on it once they discover how comfortable the Forcefield armor is and how much protection it offers. The Freefit will be the back protector that follows me from jacket to jacket as the weather and my jacket needs change throughout the coming years.
The Pro Jacket includes Isolator 2 elbow and shoulder armor. This next-gen armor was created to offer lightweight, flexible, and breathable armor, and does a great job in all categories. The armor is very soft and flexible so that when you put the jacket on, it feels like it wraps right around your body. Part of this is due to the heat reactive material and part of it is due to the relief cuts in the armor.
In the past, I have elected to remove armor for added comfort on longer rides. And I have always been fortunate that is never cost me any injuries. But since getting the Pro Jacket, I have not considered removing the shoulder or the elbow armor. It is flexible enough to allow me to move without restriction and it allows ample airflow to keep me cool and comfortable. I am very pleasantly surprised at my level of comfort for all of the protection that this armor provides.
The BeCool fabric is nothing short of amazing! Even when riding in full sun at 110 degrees plus, I was comfortable as long as I was moving. The fabric breathes very well and wicks away moisture so that you don’t get that sticky, slimy feel.
This jacket also offers what are called armor windows. These are more open weave sections of fabric that are located at all of the armor inserts and under the arms. This thinner fabric works well with the vent holes in the armor to get fresh air right to your skin.
Often when you are riding in hot weather, you feel like you have little heaters stuck to your body where each piece of armor is located. The longer you ride, the hotter and more uncomfortable those areas become. But thanks to the unique X vents, I never noticed that superheating issue wearing the Pro Jacket.
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
To be very honest, I was concerned about wear a jacket that was form-fitting. My goal was to find something that would work in extremely hot conditions and I was fairly sure that a jacket that fit as snuggly as the Pro Jacket, would be, well miserable. I imagined it sticking to my skin and creating abrasions where it rubbed when I moved.
I am very happy to say that I was totally wrong! But I would never have believed how comfortable this jacket could be unless I tried it myself. Fortunately, Forcefield was kind enough to let me do it. And now I am telling anyone who lives in a hot climate to try this jacket because it is perfect for super hot weather.
I will be the first to tell you that I love the heat. But when the air temp is 115 degrees and my Ducati is cranking out 210 degrees or so, I have made the choice to ride with no jacket, but that will never happen again! I will be wearing my Forcefield Pro Jacket X-V and enjoying all that the sun and the heat have to offer. The CE2 armor is as much protection as you can get and the amazing X vents feel almost like AC vents piping the air right into your skin. After this hands-on test, I would be willing to pay far more than the $249.00 that Forcefield is charging for this jacket!
Very lightweight fabric
Excellent air flow through the fabric
Very expandable/stretchy fabric
Superior impact protection
Exceptional airflow through armor
Thumbholes in sleeves keep sleeves inside gloves
No abrasion protection-BUT NOT REALLY DESIGNED TO OFFER THAT