The IPS Back Pad is a wide, hard plated, back protector which is most often used in gravity mountain biking. A back pad is best used on it’s own or with arm pads and allows more mobility to the rider than a full upper body armour protective suit. Two arm straps and a hip belt hold the IPS Back Pad to your body while six hard plastic plates make up the spine protector.
Materials and Procedure:
The IPS Back Pad was tested and abused in both Whistler Mountain Bike Park and on the North Shore of Vancouver over several days of riding. It was compared with the IPS Back Protector, a higher end option from Pro-Tec. It was only used in downhill and bike park riding.
- 42.5cm vertical hard plastic plating
- 17cm wide hard plastic plating
- 24 plastic screws, 4 per plate, to hold on plating
- 6 hard plastic plates
- 16 mesh vents
- MSRP $64.95
After testing and comparing both of Pro-Tecs back protection offerings, the price different between the higher end Back Protector and the lower end Back Pad is justified. It doesn’t appear to be in the protection so much as the comfort. There is no doubt that the IPS Back Pad, if worn correctly, will provide protection in a crash, but the difference comes in the riding experience. The higher end model will stay very snug and comfortable throughout the ride while the lower end model had more of an ability to move around on your body. Some adjustments to the IPS Back Pad had to be made between riding laps or trail-side in order to stay comfortable. This being said, the pad will still protect you in a crash, and that is the most important. The shoulder straps held fairly tight, and the velcro waist band stayed snug.
The IPS Back Pad is a good option for those looking to protect their back but do not have a $100+ budget to do so. The reality is, these people are likely those who won’t mind the periodic fit adjustments required to stay comfortable through a day’s worth of riding. Though the piece is not as comfortable as the higher end Back Protector, it is still comfortable and worth wearing for the extra protection rather than only wearing a jersey. Construction quality does not seem to be jeopardized, but instead the more basic Back Pad does not have some of the nicer features that the nicer model does. Remember when considering buying the IPS Back Pad that your back will still be just as safe.