I’ve always been a big fan of chest protectors and Troy Lee Designs has the concept nailed as far as I’m concerned. The Bodyguard 2 Roost Deflector took residence in my gearbag full-time when the 2010 TLD riding apparel became available. There seemed to be no good reason to change since it did virtually everything I expected from a rigid deflector, but then I got my hands on the Troy Lee Designs CP 5900 chest protector.
Troy Lee Designs has teamed with Shock Doctor to provide protection from head to toe that is on the cutting edge of design, comfort, safety and technology. The rage for upper-body wear these days is integration with neck brace systems. The 5900 uses a low, wide neck port and minimalist shoulder cups (we don’t even want to call them that) to allow the Leatt neck brace without any need for modification or interfering with the protective qualities of either piece of equipment. At the base of the chest protector is a hinged three-piece chest plate which allows the softly padded rib protectors to flex and contour around the sides of the torso. The trio of plates use a mixture of hard plastic and foam which eliminates clattering or binding, offering a smooth and secure fit. The two outer panels are held firm by a strap on each side which buckle into a clasp at the chest plate and provides easy and quick access. The chest panel is connected to the rear via a “soft-yoke” component that rests lightly on the shoulders. Combined with the articulating panels, the flexible yoke is another way that the 5900 is able to move with the rider’s body, even if it’s bouncing along the ground.
My riding style isn’t the most graceful, but I can still appreciate the clean look of a small, lightweight chest protector that goes unnoticed under a rider’s jersey. Unfortunately, I just don’t have confidence in them for crash protection. Getting roosted sucks and any deflector will help with that, but I really count on the hard plastic frame to keep me from getting punctured when I hit the ground, or skewered by a passing branch. The CP 5900 is the best blend of a soft under-jersey protector and hard outer protector that I’ve seen. I prefer to wear it over the jersey, but when looks are a concern I wear it directly on my skin without any chafing.
This is the most form-fitting chest protector I’ve worn. The flexibility and overall coverage is amazing. TLD also offers a version with arm guards.
Vents on the rigid outer panels feed the Vent-Trak system – a network of channels in the base foam layer which allows airflow around the rider’s body. Because the CP 5900 clings so tightly to the body and doesn’t shift around, I was concerned with heat retention, but the venting system works exceptionally well. Available in medium or large adult sizes, at 5’11” and 177 lbs sans gear, I ran the large and it fit perfectly right out of the box. TLD says there are 50 possible combinations to tailor the fit, but I was able to cinch down the side straps and go ride, no adjustment needed.
The only flaw I can find is that the multitude of screws that hold all those panels together come loose easily. This is mostly my fault for not checking them regularly, but after I find some replacements I’ll be certain to go through each one with a touch of Loctite. TLD brags that the CP 5900 sets a new standard in the moto industry, and from what we’ve seen it’s a fair statement.