Chest Protectors, Roost Deflectors & Body Armor for Kids
This past weekend I made it back onto my back and went for an epic ride with my dad and his buddies around our local enduro track. The terrain was a lot tougher than I remember – although I coped fairly well considering it was my second time back on the bike in over 2 years. Although – that doesn’t mean that I escaped scratch free.
I took a couple big hits from low hanging tree branches that actually split my chest protector right across my upper chest/shoulder area. Needless to say, I’m on the market for a new chest protector / roost guard. Let me guide you through my thoughts and criteria as to what makes the best youth chest protectors.
Best Youth Chest Protectors (Enduro & Trail Riding)
The best youth chest protectors for enduro and trial riding should cover the core, back, shoulders, and upper arm regions. Let’s get into this youth motocross chest protector review.
This is a really good option. This is exactly the type of chest protector I ride with. What I really like about the Fly Racing Roost Deflector is that it’s convertible. Easily swapped between a roost deflector and a chest protector. This makes it a multi-purpose item that your kid can ride with on the track or on the trails.
The Fly Racing Roost Deflector offers all the important protection I look for. Chest, back, shoulders, and arms. It also has excellent ventilation as you can see around the ribs and the large cutouts on the front and back. It also offers a wide range of adjustability so your kid can find the right level of comfort while still offering enough mobility to be comfortable on the bike.
Fly Racing is a highly reputable brand that has been making protective gear for adults and kids alike since 1998. They’re not the oldest players in the market, although have quickly established themselves as a leading brand in action sports from snowboarding, bmxing and motorsport.
I’ve actually recommended this chest protector in my summary post of kid's gear. Hit the link if you’re interested in taking a glance at the full list of the best kids dirt bike gear I recommended.
Fox Racing is another highly reputable brand in the world of motorsports. They make excellent products that would be a great fit for any junior rider. This specific chest protector is well designed in it’s compact form. It has less moving parts than the Fly Racing guard above which makes it simple and easy to ride with and one of the top youth mx chest protectors.
It offers a good level of protection for the core region as well the shoulders and arms. In a way, not having removable parts is actually better. I say this because when it comes to action sports like riding dirt bikes, protection comes before comfort. As soon as you introduce an option to improve comfort at the cost of protection, you’re stepping onto a steep downhill slope.
This roost guard has a nice level of adjustability in the form of velcro straps around the waist and the arms. The one thing I don’t like about this protector is the ventilation. While the protective padding is perforated – harder plastics with large cutouts generally offer a better level of ventilation as well as protection. You’ll also find the durability of this item to be inferior to the Fly Racing chest protector, or any other full plastic protector. Materials tends to get snagged and rip on branches and other objects.
This is a good option for a child that’s just starting out on a bike – particularly at the price point. Although, as I mentioned earlier – I would recommend getting something a little more durable that will last longer.
As far as Fox Racing chest protectors for kids go – the R3 is the next step up. It offers vastly more protection than the PeeWee Titan, as well as much better ventilation. The PeeWee is more designed for – well – “PeeWee’s”, while the R3 is designed for the more adventurous/serious young rider – not limited to dirt bikes either. This is also a top youth atv chest protector.
The entire body and shoulders are protected by the hard plastic which has large vent holes throughout. Just what I look for. The waist and shoulder straps are adjustable for a tailored fit. What’s also great about this youth roost guard is that it’s designed with serious riders in mind – it’s compatible with a large number of youth neck braces. You know you’re getting high quality protection when the item is CE EN 14021 certified.
Getting your child to ride with a neck brace from a young age is a really good idea. I’ll revert back to what I said earlier about substituting protection for comfort. Once you get into the bad habit of doing this – it’s tough to go back to riding the right way – with safety first.
The Leatt roost guard with neck brace is certainly on the top shelf of the price range but it’s also right at the top of the shelf when it comes to value and protection. As a parent, the safety of your kid is always your number 1 priority. Especially in sports like riding dirt bikes and ATV’s. The Leatt Junior chest guard with built in neck brace is – in my opinion – the safest option on my list.
This is an ideal piece for young motocross riders. It’s gone through rigorous testing procedures and is fully CE compliant. What’s incredible about this item is the 3D Airfit technology. This is referring to the soft foam padding which offers both the comfort and ventilation I look for, while also offering protection in the way that it instantly hardens on impact.
Best Youth Roost Deflectors & Roost Guards (Motocross Riding)
Leatt are well known for making incredible durable protective gear for dirt bikes and motocross racers. I mentioned the Leatt Fusion chest guard above as the top shelf safety item. The 2.5 sits on the middle shelf. It offers the same great chest protection, just without the neck brace or shoulder pads.
This is tailored more for the junior motocross racer where shoulder padding and upper arm padding is less important than in trail and enduro riding. With this piece you get some of the best comfort levels and mobility for fast action paced MX racing while still giving enough chest protection and ventilation that you would need in a junior motocross chest protector.
This roost deflector by Fox Racing is the direct rival of the Leatt 2.5 above. It offers the same compact design which covers the full extent of the core region, but does not include the shoulder guards or neck brace as seen in the Leatt Fusion. This is what we call a roost deflector and is tailored to the youth motocross scene where shoulder guards are not needed as much as in the youth enduro riding scene.
This is one of the best under jersey motocross chest protector options if your child prefers to ride with a low profile look or typically wears his/her roost guard underneath his/her riding jersey. The fact that there are no bulky shoulder pads means that there should be no uncomforting and restrictive feeling when riding with the protector under the jersey.
In all honesty, I’m not completely familiar with the WebeTop brand – despite this being one of the most reviewed kids chest protectors on Amazon. I’ve done a bit of digging to find out more and I actually struggled to find a company website.
What I do know is that this is a Chinese company that seems to make products ranging from portable generators, air purifiers and apparently dirt bike gear. I have not physically seen or touched this product. From the research I’ve done, the reviews all seem positive and not too many complaints. From what I can see, there are no CE or safety approved ratings for this item. The chest protector “looks” good from a coverage perspective.
I would actually say the back plating offers much more coverage than the other brands I’ve listed – but more coverage doesn’t necessarily mean more protection – especially if the plating hasn’t been approved by any industry standard safety rating. To get to the point -If I was to buy a chest protector for my kid, I’d stick to a well known brand that specializes in riding gear – not portable generators.
Best Youth MX Body Armor
Body armor differs to chest protectors and roost deflectors in the way it completely covers the body, not just the chest and shoulders. It has the advantage of offering better protection. Although this comes at the cost of ventilation, mobility, and comfort.
As far as kids motocross body armor goes, Alpinestars have some of the best body armor around. Well known for top quality boots, helmets, jerseys, pants and of course body armor and chest protectors. You won’t go wrong with the A-5S – it’s right up there with the best kids dirt bike body armor. The front chest, back and shoulder padding are all CE safety rating certified. This is possibly the best ventilated body armor with it’s ultra large breathing holes found on the front and back. It’s also designed to work in perfect harmony with the Alpinestars Youth Neck Support. This kids motocross body armor strikes a nice balance between being lightweight, comfortable, mobile and still offers a great level of protection. The customizable straps are ideal for true sizing and fit.
What To Consider When Buying Youth Body Armor
Type of Riding
The type of riding your kid is doing will largely determine whether you should be looking for a “chest protector” or a “roost deflector”. While many people use the terms interchangeably – they’re actually different. A chest protector is used for trail riding and enduro while a roost deflector is used for motocross. The difference between the two large comes down to the amount of body coverage and protection they offer. If you enjoy trail riding and enduro like myself, check out my review of the best chest protectors for adults.
The easiest way to spot the difference between body armor and roost guard is to look at how much of the body each of these protective items cover. A chest protector will cover more of the body. Chest protectors often have an extra panel of protection which hangs off the shoulder and covers the front of the upper bicep / triceps area.
This is particularly useful when trail riding through trees, bushes and low hanging branches.
Roost guards are usually worn by motocross riders and serve primarily to cover the core region from and hard packed sand and mud from stinging the body. Roost guards usually do not include protection for the arms and offer less coverage for the body
Full body armor and chest protectors generally offer better protection than a roost guard. The downside to this is the extra bulk from the additional padding and protection. The added bulk can have an impact on overall mobility, although I’ve never had any issues while riding with a chest protector.
I’d rather have a little extra coverage than a bit of extra pain from the whip of tree branch. For kids that ride motocross, full body armor may not be necessary and you would most likely be fine with a roost guard. Motocross generally requires more mobility and fast response than enduro trail riding.
Best Youth Dirt Bike Goggles
In my personal opinion, weight isn’t the biggest factor for me. The weight between the lightest and heaviest options isn’t all that substantial. Unless you’re looking at buying a full suit body armor which I don’t suggest. These types of protection offer terrible ventilation which i would say is one of my most important criteria.
For enduro riding and trail riding, you definitely want a chest protector that offers a good amount of ventilation. There’s nothing worse than being bogged down in an overgrown forest with no airflow. This works against the rider in every way. Your body overheats, you dehydrate and you struggle to breath. Avoid body armor suits when riding in hot and humid conditions.
And, when you eventually get out of the forest onto some free flowing trails, your body can’t fully appreciate the nice cool breeze because your chest protector doesn’t offer enough ventilation. Bad idea. Make sure the chest protector offers adequate ventilation. This is the main reason why I don’t recommend those full mesh body armor suits. Great for protection, bad for everything else.
This is an interesting one. I’ve been riding with the same chest protector since I was 18. That’s 10 years now and it still fits – although it’s completely damaged. As long as the guard covers all the vital areas like the chest, organs and back it will work fine. You don’t want it too big that it’ll be sliding around. But, it should fit loose enough to feel comfortable and allow your kid to ride with enough mobility.
Another factor to consider with sizing is if you’re child rides with the protector under or over his/her riding jersey. There’s no right or wrong here. I generally ride with my protector over my riding jersey. Many of my riding buddies wear it underneath their riding jerseys. Just make sure that your kid’s riding jersey will be large enough to fit over the chest protector and not restrict his movement.
If I wear my chest protector underneath my jersey, I need to wear an additional undershirt to prevent chafing. I don’t like this as it doesn’t help with my ventilation and I end up hotter, sweatier and more dehydrated. Additionally, my riding jersey is a size too small to allow full and free movement if I wear the roost guard under my jersey. I find that it restricts my shoulders and causes a lot of friction and irritation while riding.
Chest protectors and roost guards are not the most expensive piece of riding gear. At Least not when compared to your boots or helmet. Speaking of helmets, if you’re looking to buy a new dirt bike helmet for your child, here is an awesome guide to buying the best youth dirt bike helmets. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been riding with the same chest protector for 10 years, and only now is it time to part ways.
I would highly suggest not skimping on this piece of gear. It’s going to last a long time. Your biggest concern is actually how fast your kid is going to grow out of it. But I can almost guarantee that when your kid does grow out of it, you’ll be able to sell off a high quality chest protector much easier than a cheap unknown brand – so you’ll get some of your money back.
Hopefully this article has helped you find what you’re looking for. If you’ve just jumped to the conclusion looking for a quick answer here it is. If you’re looking for a mid budget youth motocross chest protector – check out the Leatt 2.5 Roost Deflector. If your child is more into the enduro scene – the best premium all in one chest protector with neck brace for your kid is probably going to be the Leatt Fusion 2.0. If your child is very young and just getting started, you’ll be well off with the Fox PeeWee chest protector. Lastly, for a multipurpose, all round chest protector / roost guard – I would recommend the same piece that I personally use – the Fly Racing youth chest protector.
If you have any questions or suggestions – I look forward to getting back to you in the comments down below. Until next time – keep it on two wheels.