Where are they now? Level 3 armour

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Where are they now? Level 3 armour

Post by Hot_Air »

When Dr Woods was developing the Cambridge standard for high-performance, was there also a so-called “level 3” for body armour? Brian Brian Sansom’s BKS used to talk about this level of armour as an upgrade from level 2 (while being careful to avoid claiming it was an official standard).

Similarly, Hideout used to say that there were three levels of armour. But now Hideout uses D30 that’s CE Level 2.
So, is there a mythical “level 3” standard for armour hidden in the bowels of Cambridge University (never to be revealed, except in Latin after a college dinner)?
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Re: Where are they now? Level 3 armour

Post by Mascagman »

There is no level 3, just the standard level 1 or 2 for chest, back and limbs
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Re: Where are they now? Level 3 armour

Post by Hot_Air »

Thanks, I know there's no official level 3. I was wondering if Dr Woods at Cambridge had ever defined a higher standard of impact protection (e.g. potentially the unofficial standard for 'BKS Upgraded armour'?).
Mascagman wrote: Tue Jun 16, 2020 9:22 pm There is no level 3, just the standard level 1 or 2 for chest, back and limbs
And also level 1 or 2 for airbags. (It's an interesting difference between Alpinestars and Dainese: the Tech-Air Street is level 1 for airbag back protection but the D-Air Road is level 2 for airbag chest protection.)
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Re: Where are they now? Level 3 armour

Post by Mascagman »

Oh okay, i see what you mean.

> CE standards allow a pass at 50 joules.
> High Performance is awarded at 75 joules
> Ultra High Performance at 85 joules
> Extreme Performance at 90 joules

I guess it's just their unofficial way of selling their protectors. Considering how poor some products are at 50 Joules, i am not disproving it at all but 90 Joules seems very high. I would be interested in seeing them. I would take it with a pinch of salt, without "official" levels over 2 there is no proof to back it up unless they are providing test reports (which they might well do).

I will seek further clarification on Dr woods theory.
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Re: Where are they now? Level 3 armour

Post by Hot_Air »

Thanks, I hadn’t known there exists different levels (pass, High Performance, Ultra High Performance and Extreme Performance). As a regular consumer – not in the industry – how can I find out the level of my armour? Or is everything on the market only tested at 50 joules?

The performance level is highly significant. We know (from a Liz De Rome publication) that motorcycle armour isn’t associated with less risk of breaking a bone – despite most crashes taking place at low speed. What could explain this failure of PPE? Well, we know (from a Bianca Albanese publication) that the allowable transmitted force of EN 1621-1 may be too high to reduce the chance of impact injury: Bianca Albanese et al: Energy attenuation performance of impact protection worn by motorcyclists in real world crashes

So, the current CE standard for armour may be too low to do any good. But without a higher standard, what commercial incentive is there for manufacturers to make better armour?
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Re: Where are they now? Level 3 armour

Post by Horse »

Hot_Air wrote: Wed Jun 17, 2020 3:06 pm We know (from a Liz De Rome publication) that motorcycle armour isn’t associated with less risk of breaking a bone – despite most crashes taking place at low speed. What could explain this failure of PPE?
As the medicos say, "mechanism of injury"? :eh:

How often are bones broken by a direct blow to the end (i.e. a joint, where most armour is placed)? How often are spines severely damaged by a direct impact?

Rarely will you see substantial armour coverage mid-shaft on the long bones of the thigh and upper arm. I've seen one US suit advertised where they had pads on the front of the thigh. IIRC many spinal injuries are indirect - such as a side-on impact to the shoulder, or from landing head first.

Again, on mechanism, if you slide up the tank during a frontal impact (do you wear a 'box'?), you're likely to smash your legs on the 'bars. If your knee hits a car, it's likely to be broken thigh and hip.

When you say 'most crashes at slow speed', that's scant information on what actually happens. What are the particular bone injuries from specific crashes? Until you know that, surely it's difficult to determine how armour might be improved. And, of course, it's the rate at which you lose speed, the impact force, that's important, not the 'low speed'. To quote from a medic on TV, arriving at a car V bike scene, "It's never a good sign when the rider is still close to the car".
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Re: Where are they now? Level 3 armour

Post by Hot_Air »

I thought the original research (by Ron Woods?) found that riders tend to land on the same bits: elbows, shoulders, knees, hips or backs? In her interview with Spin, didn’t Kate Jennings mention that it was apparent – when she collaborated with Dr Woods – where protection was required?
Horse wrote: Wed Jun 17, 2020 5:12 pm IIRC many spinal injuries are indirect - such as a side-on impact to the shoulder, or from landing headfirst.
Can you remember the source for this info about shoulder impact? A paper (published this year) found that spinal injuries were predominantly compression fractures and, therefore, back protectors needed a redesign. Presumably, it means riders either land headfirst or on their coccyx? So back protectors need to protect the coccyx.

Afquir et al. Descriptive Analysis of the Effect of Back Protector on the Prevention of Vertebral and Thoracolumbar Injuries in Serious Motorcycle Accident

Maybe – in about a hundred years – the CE standards will be updated accordingly!
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Re: Where are they now? Level 3 armour

Post by Mascagman »

Hot_Air wrote: Wed Jun 17, 2020 3:06 pm Thanks, I hadn’t known there exists different levels (pass, High Performance, Ultra High Performance and Extreme Performance). As a regular consumer – not in the industry – how can I find out the level of my armour? Or is everything on the market only tested at 50 joules?

The performance level is highly significant. We know (from a Liz De Rome publication) that motorcycle armour isn’t associated with less risk of breaking a bone – despite most crashes taking place at low speed. What could explain this failure of PPE? Well, we know (from a Bianca Albanese publication) that the allowable transmitted force of EN 1621-1 may be too high to reduce the chance of impact injury: Bianca Albanese et al: Energy attenuation performance of impact protection worn by motorcyclists in real world crashes

So, the current CE standard for armour may be too low to do any good. But without a higher standard, what commercial incentive is there for manufacturers to make better armour?
Every protector no matter the level is tested at 50J as stated in the EN1621 standards and must pass at ambient temperature and hydrolytic ageing (in a 70 degree oven for 72 hours in a sealed container of water to simulate long term use).

Level 1 Limb protectors:
They must not exceed a 35kN peak force for Area A (the centre of the protector for limbs), and Areas B and C (outer most zones of protection including any weak areas) must not exceed 50kN.

Level 2 Limb protectors:
They must not exceed a 20kN peak force for Area A (the centre of the protector for limbs), and Areas B and C (outer most zones of protection including any weak areas) must not exceed 35kN.

So basically what I believe BKS are suggesting is that they have been tested at a much higher force as experimental tests and it still fell within the level 2 boundaries.

You will have a number 1 or 2 in your pictogram table on the protector itself along with the protector Type A or B. It will state which optional tests it has passed (low and high temperature.

The impact protector standard is currently being revised but I dont believe any changes to the requirements are changing. In reality, lile you said 50J is not the same force as a full speed impact.
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Re: Where are they now? Level 3 armour

Post by Hot_Air »

Thanks Mascagman - very useful info :thumbup:
Mascagman wrote: Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:51 pm The impact protector standard is currently being revised
Would you know how stakeholders can contribute to this revision? Is there a way that riders (or their representatives like the BMF?) can input? Presumably, the revision process must include some form of stakeholder input.
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Re: Where are they now? Level 3 armour

Post by Mascagman »

Hot_Air wrote: Thu Jun 18, 2020 1:34 pm Thanks Mascagman - very useful info :thumbup:
Mascagman wrote: Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:51 pm The impact protector standard is currently being revised
Would you know how stakeholders can contribute to this revision? Is there a way that riders (or their representatives like the BMF?) can input? Presumably, the revision process must include some form of stakeholder input.
Without naming names there are quite a few brands on the working group involved. There are routes BKS could take to have their views heard if needed, like contact someone within the group or contact notified bodies to raise in the working group or at the domestic level meetings, however there are so many people involved in these meetings it can be quite hard to persuade a majority to implement major changes etc.
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Re: Where are they now? Level 3 armour

Post by Hot_Air »

Sorry - I wasn't clear - would you know how riders can input in any way? Or, are only manufacturers able to input?

(I've no association with BKS; I merely used their armour as an example.)

Also, many thanks for being a brilliant help :thumbup:
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Re: Where are they now? Level 3 armour

Post by Horse »

Hot_Air wrote: Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:18 pm I thought the original research (by Ron Woods?) found that riders tend to land on the same bits: elbows, shoulders, knees, hips or backs? In her interview with Spin, didn’t Kate Jennings mention that it was apparent – when she collaborated with Dr Woods – where protection was required?
Do you know the old story about the US scientist sent curing WWII to assess US bullet-ridden bombers, to work out where they should have increased armour?

Yes, they probably see riders landing on all the sticky-out bits ;) But that's different to what breaks bones. I don't know.. But like I said, hit something hard enough and something will give.
Hot_Air wrote: Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:18 pmCan you remember the source for this info about shoulder impact? A paper (published this year) found that spinal injuries were predominantly compression fractures and, therefore, back protectors needed a redesign. Presumably, it means riders either land headfirst or on their coccyx? So back protectors need to protect the coccyx.
My 1989 ProTek jacket had a coccyx protector, they're available now. Same as chest protectors, but you don't often see suits with them in.

IIRC I've seen it twice, once was in an Aerostich catalogue. Can't remember the other.

Like the UCL brain research I linked to, it would probably require a lot of in-depth crash on the spot and post-crash follow-up research.
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Re: Where are they now? Level 3 armour

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Re: Where are they now? Level 3 armour

Post by Hot_Air »

Thanks Horse, I see that spinal injuries are caused by landing on the head, upper back or shoulders. The shoulders are extremely relevant to CE standards: it's been shown that (unlike CE knee armour) the CE standard for shoulder armour is ineffective:
Meredeth et al. wrote: Of the 23 shoulder impact protectors tested, the average percentage reduction of transferred force to the shoulder from the baseline test was 7.6 ± 4.8%
Meredeth et al. Assessing the Performance of Motorcyclists' Impact Protectors in Simulated ATD Knee and Shoulder Impacts
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Re: Where are they now? Level 3 armour

Post by Horse »

spinal injuries are caused by landing on the head, upper back or shoulders
Put 'some' into that.
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Re: Where are they now? Level 3 armour

Post by Mascagman »

Hot_Air wrote: Thu Jun 18, 2020 3:21 pm Sorry - I wasn't clear - would you know how riders can input in any way? Or, are only manufacturers able to input?

(I've no association with BKS; I merely used their armour as an example.)

Also, many thanks for being a brilliant help :thumbup:
Riders directly - there would be no easy way to suggest or enquire unless you were able to speak to someone one inside the commitee by calling a notified body or a consultant. But it would be quite redundant as the standards are heavily infulenced by notified bodies and manufacturers.

No problem, I enjoy seeing things from the view of the consumer.
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Re: Where are they now? Level 3 armour

Post by The Spin Doctor »

I would guess that a lot of lower leg fractures are spiral, from the foot being twisted. Nothing armour of any sort can do about that. When I crashed the moped endurance racer and got my foot caught in the footrest hanger, I ended up face down with my foot facing the wrong way. I suspect I was very lucky not to fracture something - it was the knee that was damaged.

My own spinal injury was of the compression variety from landing on my backside after a 70 mph highside.
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Re: Where are they now? Level 3 armour

Post by Mascagman »

Hot_Air wrote: Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:56 pm When Dr Woods was developing the Cambridge standard for high-performance, was there also a so-called “level 3” for body armour? Brian Brian Sansom’s BKS used to talk about this level of armour as an upgrade from level 2 (while being careful to avoid claiming it was an official standard).

Similarly, Hideout used to say that there were three levels of armour. But now Hideout uses D30 that’s CE Level 2.
So, is there a mythical “level 3” standard for armour hidden in the bowels of Cambridge University (never to be revealed, except in Latin after a college dinner)?
Just to get back to the original point Hot_Air:

I have been passed a copy of Dr Woods original 13595 draft in which he lists the requirements for impact protection (and many other ridiculously in depth and detailed testing specifications. Riders really would be safe if even half of the stuff were taken onboard).

He states that Level 1 would be tested at 40Joules, Level 2 50Joules (this is currently in practice as standard) and Level 3 60Joules. Transmitted force mean value of all impacts would be below 25 kN and no single impact shall be above 37.5 kN. Level 3 is present throughout the original draft standard for everything including abrasion resistance.

2 specific larger brands did not want Level 3 to be included as they were worried about their products not passing, therefore it was somewhat "muscled" out.
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Re: Where are they now? Level 3 armour

Post by Hot_Air »

Many thanks Mascagman :thumbup: It's fascinating to know, and perhaps explains the 'level 3' armour from BKS Made-to-Measure.
Mascagman wrote: Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:11 am 2 specific larger brands did not want Level 3 to be included as they were worried about their products not passing, therefore it was somewhat "muscled" out.
Would these be Italian brands? Or French? Either way, it's incredibly disappointing that overseas manufacturers in this industry have lobbied so hard - over many years - to level down protective standards. What's worse, Albanese et al showed that the allowable transmitted force of EN 1621-1 is be too high to reduce the chance of impact injury. And Meredeth et al found that the CE standard for shoulder armour is ineffective. Yet we've not updated the standard! It's a disgrace.

I have worked in several other industries and found that higher standards catalyse innovation. In every company I worked, we accepted more stringent standards and stepped up to create better products.

More stringent standards would benefit UK manufacturers. If the standard for armour were raised, innovative British companies like Knox, Forcefield and D30 would have the edge compared to low-price competitors from the Far East.
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Re: Where are they now? Level 3 armour

Post by Mascagman »

Hot_Air wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:21 am Would these be Italian brands?

:silent:
Hot_Air wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 9:21 am I have worked in several other industries and found that higher standards catalyse innovation. In every company I worked, we accepted more stringent standards and stepped up to create better products.

More stringent standards would benefit UK manufacturers. If the standard for armour were raised, innovative British companies like Knox, Forcefield and D30 would have the edge compared to low-price competitors from the Far East.
I agree, the brits lead the way in the protection field as it is, in terms of quality and safety. It is the same with suits. Good old British manufacturers who have been making them for years would have excelled through higher standards as they are such a high quality.

But here we are in 2020, we have motorcycle stores that still don't require clothing and gloves to be CE marked before selling it to the public.